Pleasure / August 2019

The Rake's Guide to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is in turmoil right now, but don’t let that stop you visiting one of the most culturally vibrant cities in all of Asia.

Hong Kong is all over the news right now. You can hardly have failed to notice — millions of disgruntled residents have taken to the streets in an ongoing series of protests. But we’ll leave reporting on political unrest and civil turmoil to the broadsheets. Instead, let’s look at some of the other remarkable things happening in this vibrant, far eastern metropolis.

The biggest hotel launch to occur in HK for many years, the new St Regis opened its doors in April. Though it happened to be hospitality giant Marriott Group’s 7,000th property, the St Regis is anything but a corporate cookie-cutter operation, focusing on warm, personalised service and aesthetically, evincing a real sense of its location. This is in large part thanks to its interiors, overseen by distinguished local architect and designer, André Fu.

Hong Kong born, British educated Fu’s work is often described as having an east-meets-west, ‘zen’ aesthetic — a look that is increasingly dominant in luxury hospitality. Today, Fu says, “People are looking for more genuine experiences. They don’t want frills. They want authenticity, honesty. Luxury is no longer about visual opulence… It’s like a beautifully tailored suit – it’s not about adding lots of unnecessary details. If it’s beautifully cut and a beautiful cloth, that’s all that counts, that’s all that’s needed.”

He says that although the St Regis brand is rooted in New York and traditional, velvety luxury, with the HK iteration, “We’ve taken a fairly modern approach to embrace the essence of the brand but in a different way.” Fu has integrated subtle silhouettes and motifs of Hong Kong — inspired, for instance, by the gateways of sixties apartment buildings and the 19th century gas lamps of historic Duddell Street — in order to “celebrate the city and its romantic, cinematic qualities.”

 

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.