Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 November 2019

Executive Travel: serene harbour views from Hong Kong's new luxury 'vertical estate'

With an ideal location and the finest touches, Rosewood Hong Kong is one of the most exciting properties to open its doors in Asia’s financial capital

As far as city skylines go Hong Kong has one of the world’s most recognisable, and from the Manor Club on the 40th floor of this new harbourside establishment I’m happy to say that all eyes are on the views rather than the ongoing tensions that dominate global headlines.

As I stand on the narrow terrace off the executive lounge admiring the twinkling panoramic landscape before me, I can say with confidence that Rosewood Hong Kong is one of the most exciting properties to open its doors in Asia’s financial capital, perhaps ever.

The 26th hotel to open under the Rosewood brand — which was acquired by the Hong Kong-based Cheng family in 2011 and today boasts properties in cities like London, Paris and Abu Dhabi — this landmark location sits proudly on prime real estate that dates back to 1910. Formerly Holt’s Wharf, a railway and freight logistics hub, the Salisbury Road site is significant today because it is one of the last parcels of prime land left.

Positioned as a high-end manor rather than a luxury hotel, the so-called “vertical estate” towers over Kowloon Island in the popular Tsim Sha Tsui shopping and nightlife district. It adjoins the harbour’s new arts and retail complex, K11 Musea, which is owned by Adrian Cheng, brother of Rosewood chief executive Sonia Cheng. The Avenue of Stars along the Victoria Harbour waterfront and the famous Symphony of Lights multimedia show are right on the doorstep too.

A 4.7-metre-long bronze sculpture of British artist Henry Moore welcomes guests to the hotel. It’s a clever introduction and an indication of what to expect beyond the heavily branded brass doors at the entrance. Once in the lobby (or foyer if you like) the mansion vibe resonates — it’s immersive, dynamic, refined and very Tony Chi.

With this site, the Taiwanese-born, New York-based, interior designer who has had a hand in hotel projects including Park Hyatt Shanghai, Andaz Tokyo and Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, manages to cleverly roll Hong Kong history and the Cheng family legacy together to create a unique "Sense of Place" (the hotel’s philosophy).

I’m booking into a Grand Harbour Corner Suite on the 39th floor of the 43 storeys the hotel occupies. It’s sophisticated and stylish with incredible floor-to-ceiling windows that absolutely celebrate the harbourside location.

I’m impressed that each floor has its own communal "salon" where guests are invited to mingle or settle into a lounge and have a read, a handful of sweets, grab a cuppa and enjoy the warmth of the space.

Of the 413 rooms and suites and 186 additional luxury residences, most of them offer Kowloon Peak or Harbour views, differing only in size, floor level and services offered. Entry-level rooms are a generous 53-square-metres while the suites are some of the biggest in Hong Kong (at 92 sq m), and yes, they do feel more like private residences than hotel accommodation.

I’m afforded access to the hotel’s 24-hour butler service and Manor Club, and have at my fingertips an in-room beverage trolley, a luxurious marble-laden double shower and vanity, a statement soaking tub with inbuilt television, dual lounge areas, a sizeable walk-in robe and an intelligent smart toilet that wants to speak to me constantly (annoying but easily fixed by shutting the door).

The block-out blinds ensure I have a restful night’s sleep, the pillow menu is luxurious and the furnishings adequately refined, but, it’s the attention to detail — things like the free charging device and USB I’m lent, the pocket guide I’m gifted as a resource, and the beautifully curated vintage collectables and considered haute chinoiserie touches — that make this hotel a home.

Service is mostly on-point if a little slow in some outlets, but that’s understandable given the popularity of the place. Overall, I’d say it is efficient and thorough. I have access to my butler via WhatsApp and find the level of attentiveness offered measured yet not overbearing, which I appreciate. Special mention must go to Cultural Concierge Lotus Leung who went out of her way and showed me her Hong Kong.

Not unlike myself, suite guests will likely spend a good chunk of their time in the Manor Club lounge thanks to its all-day dining offerings (breakfast, dinner, lunch, afternoon tea), pool room and outdoor terrace with those views. But, outside of that, The Legacy House is the standout dining outlet. Designed to honour the Cheng’s family heritage and its patriarch Dr Cheng Yu-Tung, the restaurant is the ideal business dinner or lunch meeting venue. Interiors are warm and of the region aesthetically and the Cantonese menu full of great options with dishes starting from HK$50 (Dh23).

Breakfast is served in Holt’s Cafe, the all-day dining establishment named after the historic wharf and modelled on a traditional tea house. The buffet is full of fresh fruits, cold cuts and cheese, eggs as you like them and à la carte options including smashed avocado, wonton noodle soup and chicken congee.

The Butterfly Room is the more refined go-to location for high tea, for in-house and external guests, and when the sweet trolley is rolled out and coffee and tea is served it’s not hard to see why. Meanwhile, those looking for an after-dinner drink or late evening coffee hit should head to DarkSide, the nightspot that features live jazz and a mesmerising hourglass Murano ceiling installation.

Business travellers will appreciate the meeting and event facilities — there are two ballrooms, indoor and outdoor function spaces catering for up to 2,000 people, along with seven meeting rooms and a hospitality suite with its own private terrace and, of course, harbour views.

A little over 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, transfers to and from the hotel to the airport can be arranged at a cost of HK$1,650 (Dh772) each way. If travelling within Hong Kong, the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and Star Ferry terminals are within walking distance.

Double rooms start from HK$5,005 (Dh2,343) per night, including breakfast, taxes and Wi-Fi. Access to the Manor Club costs HK$1,980 (Dh926) per room, per day.

The writer was a guest of the hotel. Etihad and Emirates fly in and out of Hong Kong from Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively. For more information or to book go to https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/hong-kong

Updated: October 17, 2019 06:55 PM

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