Wow factor kicks in when one enters The HarbourView Place apartments
When Kowloon station began operating a decade ago it stirred a sense of pride among those on the 'less chic' side of the harbour at a time when the ICC Tower, presently taking shape as Hong Kong's tallest building, was but a mere sketch on a drawing board.
Now that long-awaited vision is bearing fruition. The final stages of construction may still be about two years away, but it is already an iconic addition to the Kowloon skyline.
An exclusive exit to the ICC 'megalopolis' from Kowloon station leads you straight to Elements. Billed as the largest luxury mall of its kind in the city, non-residents of The HarbourView Place may have to walk a little more to find an entrance, especially since it is so new that even regular shoppers have little clue where the ICC and The Cullinan towers are. Perhaps that's the genius of designing a 'megalopolis'. The casual visitor forgets that these gigantic constructions are soaring above them, yet those monoliths are the souls of discretion.
Spacious and upscale, the mall's myriad world-brand boutiques and upmarket restaurants are a pleasurable distraction while you search for The HarbourView Place. Before surrendering to a shopping spree, visitors can approach the reception desks and ask for directions. Surprisingly, the receptionists exude more than just politeness and, while still given a lift from such friendliness, more welcoming smiles from the bell captains await you at the entrance to The HarbourView Place.
Extending the elegance of the Four Seasons Place, high-flying luxury in The HarbourView Place begins with a super-smooth high-speed elevator ride to the 50th through to the 70th floors. Ambient lighting in the lift helps you wind down after a hectic day. In such a relaxed state, it is hard not to appreciate the three varying textures on the lift walls (if the panel TV above the door extolling the lifestyle amenities of The HarbourView Place, as you speed up through The CullinanII, is not enough to occupy you).
The presence of tasteful adornments continues as residents walk through the corridors and see sculptures and paintings by various commissioned artists. But before you confuse the experience with a visit to an art gallery, you encounter the luxurious suites. The feedback that Signature Homes has received from expats is that the show suites and the surrounding facilities have changed their perception of an 'ever-decaying Kowloon'. And it's easy to see why.
Think again if you expect basic homey couches, a coffee table and a dining table in the suite. The living room is neatly organised with a DVD player, an iPod dock and a wide-screen LCD TV. A wall-to-wall window gives a relaxing picture across the Victoria Harbour and the Tsing Ma Bridge. The fine view naturally draws you closer to the window to take an unblinking look at the panorama from 50, or perhaps 70, floors above.
The wow factor does not stop there. Besides the LCD TV in both the living room and the bedroom, there is another LCD TV and stereo speakers in the bathroom, which also features an automated curtain to conceal the shower enclosure.
I cannot recall ever cooking in a hotel, but it would be a crime not to use the kitchen provided in this suite. You don't have to be a great chef; just standing in front of the sink or the German-designed storage and full sets of quality kitchenware would make you feel capable.
Residents may spend their evenings entertaining friends by being the gourmet but, for me, the reality was about to bite. The media tour of Phase2 of the luxury apartments' launch ended, and it was time to exit The Cullinan and head home - but not before getting lost in Elements again.