It’s no joke when entering the first urban resort in Hong Kong. The vibe immediately changes from a bustling cosmopolitan to a tranquil bay-facing space, intricately curated to create a unique experience akin to swanky resorts around the world. Silenced by the brouhaha of the fast-paced city, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong welcomes with a celebration of space in true reflection of the Shangri-La’s design ethos.
The fourth hotel from Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Hong Kong brings an inclusive and modern approach to luxury hospitality. Designed and curated by internationally renowned interior designer André Fu and award winning architect Rocco Design, the new build 16-storey hotel is the first to open on the Kowloon waterfront since 1995. Providing guests with uninterrupted views over Victoria Harbour, the hotel’s multi-level podium design with extensive outdoor landscaped gardens connects the hotel seamlessly to public areas.
“The sixteen storey hotel has been designed as an ‘urban resort’, seeking to evoke an experience of relaxed luxury in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. In order to create a hotel that will serve the needs of both business and leisure traveller, I believe my key vision is to bring together the outdoor landscape with the fluid architecture of the interior,” shares André, whose role is pivotal in the curation of the hotel’s overall look and feel.
In the lobby, the mood is therapeutic. And in between the spacious lounge area and the curved glass window that soars eight meters high and spans a width of 80 metres, is a panoramic vista of the culture-laden waterfront. Surrounding the outdoor landscape, a beautifully crafted garden peppered with manicured trees lends a magical touch; adding to a relaxing experience.
Inspired by Water
The design takes full advantage of its waterfront setting with a multi-level podium space with extensive elevated outdoor landscaped gardens that connect seamlessly to the hotel’s public leisure areas. Two large Ju Ming statues overlook the communal area majestically, serving as guardians to the hotel.
Leading to the Grand Staircase and Grand Ballroom, a 50-metre Turkish onyx marble wall dresses the transitional space in elegant fashion. Walking around the public areas, a generous offering of art pieces piques the interests of art enthusiasts. There are over 1,000 pieces of art that can be found in the property, many of which are specially commissioned for the hotel from leading Asian contemporary artists.
Upon entering the events mansion entrance, bronze sculptures by Jinggoy Buensuceso greet with a fascinating aura. Throughout the space, an alternate of neutral tones in rippling effects takes precedence. A favourite corner of the designer, he describes that The Gallery ‘possesses a very artisanal yet modernist atmosphere’.
Kerry Hotel Hong Kong is also home to the city’s largest pillar-less hotel ballroom. Measuring at an impressive 1,756 sqm2, the Grand Ballroom is ornately decorated with nearly 20,000 overhanging rock crystals.
“The movement of the water serves as a key inspiration for the hotel’s design vocabulary – a palette of mineral blue and ivory prevails the selection of materials,” illustrates André. “An array of major ceiling pendants – some at 8m in diameter – has been crafted in hammered bronze and rock glass, as a tribute to the silhouette of the water movement.”
Standing inside the ballroom, it is like standing on water. The swirls on the carpet draw inspiration from the pulsating waters with colour tones that constantly remind visitors of the bay. Filipino artist, Sacha Cotture has also been commissioned to create three special acrylic-on-canvas artworks titled Thermocline. The larger than life pieces echo the movement of water in the Grand Ballroom, as if one with the textures on the floor.
“The hotel is well positioned as one of the rare prime sites that is set on the city’s most desirable harbour-front location. I believe the hotel experience seeks to celebrate the life of the harbour – from the water silhouette that has been adopted as a key motif, to the vast al fresco experiences that are created at multiple levels throughout the hotel journey,” narrates André.
From the idea and concept of the guestrooms, a reflection of the sea is evident. The natural harsh and gentle contrast of the waters is captured in a rather tasteful manner. There is a quiet conviction that is immediately felt upon entering the guestroom with a palette of pale blue-green and neutral nuances.
Over 60% of the rooms also feature uninterrupted scenery of the Victoria Harbour and the city’s skyline. Each guestroom is configured with contemporary comforts in mind with a dash of subtle Asian references.
“The Victoria Harbour is the heart of life for Hong Kong and the hotel’s physical proximity to the water creates a very distinct proposition – the shape of the architecture and the floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to embrace the harbour as a genuine experience of Hong Kong,” the Hong-Kong based designer reveals more.
Visiting Presidential Suite, the experience is even more astonishing. Augmented in lavish purplish blue tones, the suite boasts its massive layout and an extra large balcony space – large enough to even cater for a large party. Perched on the top floor, the outdoor area provides a remarkable ambient for celebrations and special events. Interior wise, the space revels in lavish finishes in the form of wood and marble that deck the bespoke fittings.
Sense of Place
Kerry Hotel Hong Kong brings a dynamic approach to hospitality to the shores of Victoria Harbour. It is nevertheless the first new build hotel to open on the Kowloon waterfront in over two decades.
The sense of place is strong when it comes to the formulation of the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong. The amalgamation of its surrounding neighbourhood into the hotel is carried out flawlessly with future plans to integrate the public amenities and transportation to the hotel. As the current bus station soon moves below the hotel property, there are plans to turn the plotted site into a community park that overlooks the Hung Hom Pier.
As the brand grows and matures, the name ‘Kerry Hotel’ will soon be instinctive to the people around the Hung Hom and Whampoa area. Kerry Hotel Hong Kong will not only be a renowned hotel but an iconic landmark and a communal point for the community.
And that starts by creating the right mood and vibe to give the hotel a positive head start. The promising beginning of course goes hand in hand with the overall design story of the hotel that has been put together by the best designers and architects in Hong Kong. To say that André’s work is wonderful is an understatement as what he has done is beyond just designing a hotel; he has created a place.
“I have always believed in creating hotel experiences that expresses a sense of ‘relaxed luxury’ – this belief has served to be core to many of my works,” André continues to explain. “However, I also consider that storytelling is a key aspect in each of my project and it is critical that we are expressing a strong experience that is unique to each project’s sense of place. In the context of Kerry, the life of the harbour formulates the soul of the inspirations.”
A print version of this article was originally published in d+a issue 99.