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First look: Rosewood Hong Kong

21 Mar 2019 by Craig Bright

Background

Seven years of planning, design and construction came to fruition earlier this week as the Rosewood Hong Kong – the latest of a flurry of new five-star hotels opening up in Hong Kong over the past 18 months – officially opened its doors.

The property, located on the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront on the site of the former New World Centre, is the 26th hotel in the Rosewood Hotels and Resorts portfolio, and as reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, a “pivotal” addition for the Hong Kong-based hotel company, according to the hotel’s managing director, Marc Brugger.

The Rosewood Hong Kong occupies 43 of the 65 storeys of the tower that now stands where the old New World Centre did, offering 322 rooms and 91 suites. Connectivity is decent; the property is walking distance from East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station exit J, though this is through a fairly long underground tunnel.

With Rosewood finally having a property in its own back yard, we headed over to take an in-depth look at the new hotel.

Rosewood Hong Kong lobby

What’s it like?

Brightly lit and understated in its approach to five-star luxury. The design ethos behind the property was one of a private residence, and the company aims to make guests feel as though they are entering the manor home of an individual rather than an international hotel chain.

The lobby is small, though not in an unpleasing way. The check-in desks are placed in an alcove off to the right-hand side of the space, rather than in plain sight of the entrance. This adds to the illusion of an upmarket apartment complex, though could be a little confusing to first-time visitors.

Indeed, the layout of the Rosewood is more than a bit befuddling at times, and on my visit I did find myself getting slightly lost on occasions. Spaces blend into one another, and you may find yourself having to go through one venue in order to get to another.

A prime example is the hotel’s local chan chan teng (tea restaurant) inspired Holt’s Café, where guests can have their main breakfast. From the lobby, you need to walk past a glass-encased flower shop…

…through a room with a massive sculpture of an elephant lying prostrate on the floor…

…through an atrium containing The Butterfly Patisserie…

…before turning right into a slightly formal tea house.

The tea house (complete with seating booths overlooked by crystal-encrusted peacocks)…

…is technically the beginnings of Holt’s Café, but you’ll need to go through a further doorway to enter the main dining area where the buffet is served.

The way these spaces flow between each other does make for a pleasant experience if you’re exploring the property in your spare time, though it can be a little unclear where things are, and more prominent signage may have helped here.

The rooms

A good size for Hong Kong, whose hotels often feel the need to cram you in to maximise floor space. The 322 guestrooms are split across four categories – Kowloon Peak View Room, Harbour View Room, Grand Harbour View Room and Club Grand Harbour View Room – with all offering a reasonably spacious 53sqm of space.

The 91 suites, meanwhile, come in five categories including Kowloon Peak View Suite, Harbour Corner Suite, Deluxe Harbour Suite, Grand Harbour Corner Suite, and the Manor Suite, that range from 105sqm to 174sqm.

The design is definitely residential in its feel, with wooden blinds and books on shelves that make it feel lived in and personal.

Beds are sizeable. So is the walk-in wardrobe…

…the white and grey marble floors look great, and the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, whether of the Peak or Victoria Harbour, are stunning.

There are also fun, local artworks on the walls.

A particularly nice touch is the way amenities are laid out. The coffee and tea making facilities are secreted away inside a chest of drawers…

…while the minibar comprises full-size bottles and cocktail-making equipment set up on a table by the window.

The price of these beverages unfortunately do not come included in the room cost – an active decision that allows the hotel to offer superior beverages at a small cost rather than more standard options at no fee, according to Brugger.

Bathrooms are also particularly impressive, with standalone white baths, large mirrors and two – yes, two – showers, even in the standard rooms.

The design is clean and trendy, with the same white and grey marble as seen in the rest of the room combined with checked floor tiling. Guests also get amenities from Maison Caulieres.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the Rosewood Hong Kong’s guestrooms, however, is not to be found inside the rooms at all. Each guest floor has a number of armchairs out in the area by the lifts, positioned among glass cabinets with various books and knick-knacks. The aim is to get guests socialising in these mini public spaces – which the hotel calls “salons” – giving each floor a pseudo-neighbourhood feel. There are even butlers that come along with trolleys serving cocktails (free for suites guests, at a cost for others) from between 5pm and 8pm.

Executive lounge

If you are looking for a more traditional socialising space, then the Manor Club is a solid option. The space definitely owns the classic lounge feel, with dark woods, tiled floors, partitioned seating areas and sofas aplenty. Like many other areas of the hotel, the Manor Club is divided into rooms, adding to the residential feel, and you’ll find a mix of dining area, bar…

…and even billiards room if you wander around and explore the space.

There’s even a lovely poster of an Imperial Airways two-deck “flying boats” for the aviation enthusiasts out there.

The piece de resistance, however, is the lounge’s balcony. This may not be huge – there are a few seats in a small square space, followed by pairs of chairs along a narrow edge of balcony space…

…but the views you get of Tsim Sha Tsui, the Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline are truly fantastic. Well worth a visit if you have the chance.

Food and beverage

There are four main F&B offerings at Rosewood Hong Kong. Along with the aforementioned Holt’s Café and Butterfly patisserie (which allows for takeaway as well as seated dining in an adjacent, insect-themed Butterfly Room)…

…there is also The Legacy House and Darkside bar. Legacy House is a Cantonese fine-dining restaurant with both public dining areas and private rooms, the latter featuring “tea service” areas with sofas attached to each of the dining rooms.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s bar Darkside exudes an air of sophistication akin to a cigar lounge with live jazz performances and intriguing, rotating hour-glass fixtures adorning the ceiling. There is also alfresco seating just outside.

Leisure facilities

Rosewood Hong Kong features the group’s new Asaya wellness concept and includes a variety of spa-themed offerings. For those guests looking to get some exercise, there is the 25-metre-long outdoor pool, or the 24-hour, 260-sqm Asaya Fitness gym.

Meetings spaces

Weddings are likely to be the Rosewood Hong Kong’s key big events focus, according to Brugger, but that shouldn’t dissuade corporate event organisers from considering the hotel’s spaces, which encompass 3,200-sqm of space across 11 venues.

The Grand Ballroom lives up to its Grand name, with high ceilings, no pillars and large LED screens. The hotel has done away with the extravagant crystal chandeliers so often seen in high-end hotel ballrooms and instead opted for intriguing polygonal lighting fixtures that can be lowered to just over two metres above guests heads. The space can also be subdivided using a large wood-pannelled partition.

The property also features a number of smaller meeting and dining spaces with dedicated F&B facilities and these rooms can similarly be partitioned or combined together depending on the size of the event. There are even outdoor grassy lawns that can be used for cocktail receptions.

A particularly unique feature of the hotel’s dedicated events wing is its own manned bar, designed to offer a space for the last remaining guests from a large function to enjoy a few sundowners at the end of an event.

But the standout feature has to be the grand, white staircase that leads from the events wing’s separate entrance all the way to the fourth floor, providing a striking visual when attendees first enter the building.

Verdict

A thoroughly impressive hotel with a lot of great, subtle touches. The focus on providing a slightly more low-key vision of luxury akin to a residential property shouldn’t be underestimated for business travellers looking for a property that can offer a bit of peace and quiet. Its location is sound, though guests may find it easier to go to and from by car or taxi than by MTR. With the opening of the adjacent K11 Artus (and its K11 Atelier commercial block, both operated by Rosewood Hong Kong owner, New World Development) the area is likely to form an interesting destination to explore when it finally all comes together. 

rosewoodhotels.com

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