Editor's review: 99 Bonham

99 Bonham

I’ve always believed that Sheung Wan is the backstage to the orchestrated glamour of Central. Sheung Wan is where it all happens, it buzzes with constant activity: delivery trucks unload dried seafood onto trolleys, while seniors with bird cages meet in Hollywood Park to play chess. 

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In recent years, I have noticed international shops and restaurants springing up in between local chachaantengs. Yet 99 Bonham took me by surprise when I came upon the shiny bluish grey tile-clad boutique hotel apartment on Bonham Strand.

Milan-based architect Antonio Citterio designed every inch of 99 Bonham with his partner Patricia Viel for the building’s owner and developer National Properties. While I have long admired his understated, highly polished oeuvre, I wondered if the rooms were going to be all style with little substance. I was pleasantly corrected as I entered the building. The dark and moody lobby was outfitted with leather-clad ottomans that reiterated the sleek, contemporary exterior. Like the façade, the lobby stood out without being conspicuous.

99 Bonham

While checking in, I chatted with a fellow guest who hailed from Germany. He explained that he lived in Hong Kong previously and was back for business for a few days. All of his friends live in Sheung Wan so he chose 99 Bonham due to its convenience. I learned that the property was popular as a boutique hotel, though it offers monthly rates for long-staying guests.

Before heading up to my suite, I ducked into the gym to check out the facilities. Situated on the first floor, it shared the same space as a DIY business centre. Although small, it had everything I needed for a good workout: plenty of free weights, treadmills and stationary bikes. There was also a sundeck on the roof of the 36-storey building with panorama views of the city and harbour.

99 Bonham

Above the gym were 84 units ranging from 540 to 600 square feet, with three studios per floor. My studio boasted all the creature comforts of home. Beside the entry was a closet with a sliding door that doubles to open to the adjacent pantry. Equipped with a fridge, sink, a Nespresso coffee maker and kettle, it included all the crockery I needed to enjoy a meal at home. It was smart use of a corridor that kept everything neat and organised.

Citterio’s preference for neutral colours was prevalent—grey hues abound, complemented with dark hardwood flooring, back painted glass and soft white Frette sheets on the bed. I appreciated having a sofa, dining table and chairs for entertaining; and to have the option of using the table as a desk to get some work done. The dropped ceiling with rounded corners also played up the wrap around floor to ceiling windows, allowing the maximum amount of light. Art was limited to a simple graphic drawing behind the bed.

As I enjoyed a long, leisurely bubble bath—complete with Citterio designed Hansgrohe faucets and surrounded by black marble—I imagined Citterio hand crafting this pied-a-terre for design aficionados like me to indulge in some authentic made in Italy surrounds in the heart of equally authentic Hong Kong. The thought put a smile on my face.

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