Editor's Review: Kaza

I have a strong sense of direction, and am often the one who navigates whenever we travel. Thumbing my nose at my GPS,  I once managed to navigate our way back to our riad from the opposite end of the Fes Medina: no mean feat for anyone who has ever been to the ancient Moroccan royal city. Sometimes, though, my innate homing device lets me down—and it is usually when it is least expected. The Kaza banner on Queen’s Road East has long been at the back of my mind and I naturally assumed the service apartment was in the building that the sign was attached to. I was wrong. Instead, the banner referenced an alley alongside the building, leading to Sik On Street and stairs up to a white walk-up building with black trimmed window and door frames.

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Kaza’s property manager warmly welcomed me to my ground floor studio apartment with private terrace. Although 650 square feet is large enough for two or three bedrooms in private residences by Hong Kong standards, Kaza’s owner decided to keep the floor plan open. I appreciated that there were only 10 units in the building, and that it was a stand alone one midway up a hill, giving each flat plenty of natural light and green views.

Being the only unit on the ground floor, my studio has an unique layout; a peek into a few of the other ones informed me that the units above all had beds opposite the main entry door. My bedroom, in contrast, was an alcove beside the main door. Like the others, though, it was demarcated by a wooden lattice screen. The spacious living area featured an L-shaped sofa facing an LG TV and Panasonic Blu Ray, while an open kitchen equipped with under counter fridge, microwave and induction cook tops plus plenty of well stocked cabinets encouraged culinary experimentation. Along with a small dining table and chair, I loved the spacious terrace that formed an extension of my living and dining area. Clad with wooden decking, it looked northwards out to Wan Chai’s skyline. A bathroom with a generous shower stall and combination washer dryer rounded out the spaces. 

The open layout, two-tone styling and contemporary furnishings reminded me of traditional five-storey walk-ups typically found in France, Italy or Spain. The narrow staircase was bright and airy, and finished with a number of photographs that gave it personality. As the apartments were all studio alcoves, the mostly European, Australian and American guests were all singles or couples. I learned that the majority worked in finance, and appreciated the convenience of being so close to Star Street’s restaurants, shops and cafes, yet be within a distinctive residential neighbourhood. Some have been guests for years, preferring to leave the hassle of sorting out cleaning, bills and other expenses to management.

I also learned that Kaza’s best feature was the flexibility of its property manager when it comes to accommodating guests’ needs. Feeling a little chilly? No problem—she can pop out to pick up a space heater to solve the problem. The mattress is too soft? Easy—she can replace it with a harder one. I really appreciated the personal touches that made my stay truly memorable, as well as the ability to transform the place into my own home. It was like staying in an European home, complete with a local European to take care of me and ensure that I was happy. What could be better?  


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