My first memory of Rosewood Hong Kong is, in all honesty, its women-only speakeasy, XX Bar – at my visit, the only guys around were the mixologists. There were fluffy pink slippers to borrow as I sipped my ‘Radha’ cocktail, a strawberry, plum, and Monkey Shoulder single malt concoction named for Rosewood’s ultra-suave President, Radha Arora.
Back to my arrival at this stunning hotel, right on Victoria Harbour’s waterfront on the Kowloon mainland. Think of a giant 66-floor sculpture, by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, filled with 413 bedrooms by designer Tony Chi, and 186 long-stay residences.
At the top of a circular, angled, approach drive I was welcomed by a posse of immaculate young male greeters and taken up to the 31st floor, which is more like a library than a corridor (ceiling-high semi-dividers bear displays of books, or model cars, or calligraphy brushes, and there are arrangements of comfy seating). A small proximity pad, bearing a blue-swirl design by Chloé Ho, opened the main door of suite 3105. A short foyer led to my living room and from there to bedroom or via walk-through closet to bathroom.
Rosewoods all have special touches. Here, door handles were stag’s head-shaped silver knobs, my impressive selection of new hardbacks included Assouline’s Hong Kong: Heritage, Art and Dreams, with a foreword by Sonia Cheng, by all telephones are notelets in floppy leather cases, and silver pens, the safe is covered in orange leather, the room service menu has an orange floppy-suede cover, matching a same-size maroon suede book that is a hotel-bespoke local guide, a throw is Loro Piana cashmere, instead of those stupidly-flimsy luggage racks I have a fixed shelf, big enough for the largest wheelie, and so on.
I head for the 40th floor Manor House club, where I can mingle with other hotel guests, and local members. I continue on my perambulations, to check out the sixth-floor fitness centre, 24/7 of course, with the latest bits, and perfect bananas. This floor combines so many aspects of wellness – I walk through retail, and new-look dining.
Rosewood’s Sonia Cheng told me, there on the sixth floor, that this is all part of the Sanskrit Asaya concept, promising wellness in all its forms, including community, digital, exercise, and nutrition. She sees a profound shift in the way people perceive wellness – once it was regarded as a luxury add on, now it is infused into every aspect of day-to-day lives, including source of food. This has led to the opening of Asaya Kitchen, a casual restaurant – collapsible directors’ chairs, wood tables, stone floor – that is basically a corridor between the spa-proper and the poolside (which has a glass box big enough to seat about 50 for events). Asaya’s glossy magazine-look menu includes Garden, from which I choose green asparagus salad, avocado, almond dressing, lime, lemongrass, and Nutrient Rich, which provides my following grilled octopus, parsley bulgar, gem lettuce, lemon, almonds, paprika. There are also sharing dishes, plus a six-course tasting, offering in turn Raw, Garden, Organic, Nutrient-rich, Cleansing, and Sweet. The wines are all biodynamic: from Marlborough, I have a Sauvignon Blanc Churton and a Pinot Noir Mahi.
After hours of refreshing sleep, I am breakfasting in Holt’s Café, an Art Deco boudoir off the main lobby. After imported Bordier yoghurt with Driscoll’s blueberries, I have homemade mango-Lapsang jam with my crusts-on toasts – coffee is stylishly in a small silver pot. My transport awaits. Six butlers see me off and in the car I find a handwritten farewell note, thanking me for visiting. The vehicle’s WiFi is not only password-free but instant. Oh so many minutiae lead to satisfaction.
Lead image: Kowloon Peak View Room, Rosewood Hong Kong