Rediscovering our neighbourhood with a staycation at the
J Plus Hotel by YOO
A few weeks ago, a long weekend was approaching so the only “logical” thing for our family to do (according to my four-year old son, Aiden) was to hop on a plane and go on a holiday (what have I done?!). After explaining to Aiden that flying somewhere nice was usually reserved for special occasions and that doing something special with the family didn’t necessarily mean we had to leave Hong Kong.
The hubby and I had previously gone on a staycation before but never with the kids. So when the opportunity to stay overnight at the J Plus Hotel by YOO in Causeway Bay came up, we jumped at the chance. Read on as I share about how this “holiday” was unique and why little adventures like this are great memory-makers for families.
If you’ve ever walked past the J Plus Hotel by YOO in Causeway Bay, you’d mistaken it for a modern art gallery. And in some respects, it is! The hotel was originally designed by world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, with an update on its 10th anniversary in 2014. With 32 luxurious studios and 24 stylish, spacious suites, it’s no surprise the hotel was voted best boutique hotel in Asia by Conde Nast Traveller. Unique pieces added by Graffit4hire from the UK hung around the lobby including a set of three playful Renaissance-style women portraits having a drink (my personal fav). As a dedicated art space, the lobby is ever-evolving with different artists showcasing their masterpieces.
Head up to the 2nd floor to the [email protected] space which leads you to a good-vibes-only open-air terrace with two stunning murals on the exterior of the hotel aptly named, Hong Kong Dream and Wisdom Tree by Chinese urban contemporary artist, Fansack. It’s a great spot to read, have a drink and relax with friends. On the 24th floor, you’ll find [email protected], a small gym with several machines and weights plus a pantry loaded with cold bottles of water and towels.
After having a look around the hotel, I was eager to get to the suite and get myself sorted before the kids (Aiden and Everly) and hubby arrived.
Home away from home
Upon opening the door, I was pleasantly surprised by how big the suite was (780sqf to be exact!). Every area has a purpose and the vibrant pops of colour and artwork were consistent with the entire hotel aesthetic. For families needing to warm up baby bottles, leftovers or just want to whip something up, there is a fully-stocked marbled kitchenette with everything you could possibly need right at your fingertips (including a microwave, fridge, dining ware and even a small stove!).
The desk had helpful information regarding the hotel as well as an unique in-room dining menu that delivers from all the hottest restaurants around the area! Xiao long baos from Din Tai Fung, anyone? Another special perk (especially for out-of-town guests) is the free usage of your very own HANDY smartphone as your Hong Kong mobile during your stay. There is unlimited IDD for assigned countries, local calls and unlimited 3G data connectivity, WIFI hotspot and J Plus’ electronic travel guide and discounts. Sweet!
The living and dining room had sweet little touches of fresh fruit and a welcome note to our little family. The attention to detail really helped make us feel at home and the kids felt special knowing that too. The staff also prepared a playpen cot for Everly and a daybed for Aiden. In the bathroom, there was also a baby bath (which, to be honest, Everly has outgrown!) but it was great nonetheless to know that the option was there. The main bedroom was sectioned off as a separate room with a mounted TV, closet and phone which made the hubby and I feel like we were in another hotel room!
There was also a state-of-the-art home theatre unit and guests can peruse the DVD library in the lobby for the latest flicks. (FYI, the kids chose “Inside Out” and there may have been a tear or two when I was watching it whilst holding the both of them!) After dinner that evening, we pushed the lounge chair and sofa together to make a makeshift bed where all four us could get under the blankets (#cosy) to watch the film. The kids loved the idea of having a “sleepover” at the hotel and staying past their bedtime – definitely a highlight for them! We also loved the extra snuggles. #winwin
We live quite close to Causeway Bay, so staying in our neighbourhood felt odd at first, but what made it particularly special was that we did things with our kids we wouldn’t usually do. Causeway Bay is known for it’s amazing eats and despite the vicinity to our home, we rarely eat in that area as a family.
Between Din Tai Fung (which is conveniently located across the hotel!), Tiger Curry, Pacific Coffee Company, a plethora of Japanese and Korean BBQ spots… you’re spoilt for options. We opted for Meat King (right next to the hotel), a Japanese-styled hamburger place that is perfect for large parties or families. Afterwards, we walked down a block and made a stop at Via Tokyo for its famous soft serve ice-cream. There are so many dessert options in that area including the popular ice lolly spot, I See I See and other local places serving up the classic Hong Kong fav, freshly made egg waffles.
Read more: Sassy Mama’s Favourite Icy Treats
After a good night’s rest (the kids slept in!), we decided to walk around the block and check out a local cha chaang teng, Nam Loong Café for some good ol’ HK brekkie. A no-frills kind of place, the café serves up some favourites, like macaroni and ham soup, satay beef ramen, pineapple bun (bo loh bao) with butter, egg sandwiches and Kowloon Dairy milk served in glass bottles. A great place to end our little staycation in town. We had such a fun time exploring our neighbourhood with fresh eyes and grew in our appreciation for all Causeway Bay has to offer.
It’s the little things
Our stay at the J Plus Hotel by YOO felt like an eclectic home-away-from-home and although we didn’t hop on a plane to a faraway destination (as Aiden had hoped!), we still experienced the same “holiday” feel that we were looking for. From the friendly staff, to the lush accommodations to the attention to details to make our kids feel special – I would highly recommend this hotel for a staycation or for your family and friends visiting from out of town.