If you are a fan of design, you will likely know who Philippe Starck is. The world renowned, prolific French designer creates almost anything from interiors to furniture and condos to hotels. J Plus by YOO is one of the latter.
Nestled on the corner of Irving and Pennington Street on the eastern side of bustling Causeway Bay, its trendy from the outside in. Formerly known as the J Plus Boutique Hotel, it was Hong Kong’s first boutique hotel designed by Philippe Starck. In 2014, the YOO Studio (founded by Starck and entrepreneur John Hithcox) dedicated a team to refurbish the property by injecting new life and hip design elements to attract fast living professionals and style conscious travelers. If this is you, there’s a lot to feast your eyes on.
Before you enter into J Plus, you’re greeted by a very large panel artwork of a renaissance-style woman on the corner exterior of the building who watches calmly as the world goes by. Once you step into the lobby there is a plethora of art and design to ingest. The ground floor is home to the reception, Art@JPlushk which is a series of pop up exhibitions and Indulge@JPlushk which serves breakfast, afternoon cakes and wine in the evening for guests.
The lobby area itself will keep any design lover intrigued with imported European furniture such as the sculptured gold hand seat, wheelbarrow chair, Babette chair manufactured by Fratelli Boffi and traditional French-style sofa re-upholstered with modern fabric giving it a contemporary touch. Currently the pop up exhibition is in collaboration with a young private gallery called Artyze featuring French artist Yaz. The artist himself specialises in mixed media, painting, sculpture, photography and the art of mirror and has recently been photographing visual paradoxes found in cultures around the world.
His collection at J Plus by YOO is heavily influenced by America’s ‘Get Down Street Culture’ which is evident in his pieces such as the ‘Twitter Bus’, ‘New York Get Down’ and ‘Times Square Multicolor’ on display. As a lover of travel, Yaz has visited Hong Kong and shares his impressions of the city in his personal style with pieces such as ‘Forever Causeway’, ‘No More Fake’ and ‘Hong Kong Taxi Driver’. The collection is extensive and intriguing, but as a pop up, is only temporary.
More permanent art pieces are upstairs on the smoker-friendly terrace that the hotel calls Chill@JPlushk. Chinese urban contemporary artist Fansack has created two large Hong Kong-related pieces on the walls of the alfresco sitting area called ‘Wisdom Tree’ and ‘Hong Kong Dream’ which guests can muse over while they take in the buzz of Causeway Bay below.
The rest of the 25-storey building is home to 56 rooms which comes in two sizes and a gym on the top floor called Fit@JPlushk. The Studio and Studio Plus rooms are 380 square feet, while the larger, one-bedroom Suite and Suite Plus are 780 square feet. Each floor is colour themed with one of four vibrant colours described by the hotel as Dreamy Pink, Tangerine Joy, Sunshine Yellow and Tranquil Blue.
The influence of Philippe Starck continues in the rooms themselves. Contemporary and imaginative touches are noticeable with chairs made of cardboard and coffee tables depicting slice of life scenes from Hong Kong life featuring close ups of milk tea and buns, bundles of dried noodles and weighing scales. The use of space is clever, with a pervasive use of white in the rooms, marble in the bathrooms and a select use of tile on the floor. Sheer curtains are used as dividers and TVs positioned to swivel so they can be watched from different locations. There are also touches of luxury that are evident with the bespoke handcrafted carpets, goose down duvets and high end toiletries that are changed seasonally. On top of other conveniences like the handy phone and complimentary broadband, if a guest fancies taking home some mementos of Hong Kong they also have an in-room shopping menu, from which chosen items will be brought to the room.
If you are looking for somewhere that rebels against the conventional and you want to immerse yourself in art and fine design, then JPlus by YOO hits the spot.