A hotel that doesn't feel like a hotel

A hotel that doesn't feel like a hotel

Escape from the real world at the Rosewood Hong Kong

TRAVEL
A hotel that doesn't feel like a hotel

I have always loved going to Hong Kong and in the pre-Covid era, went at least once a year, if merely to feed my face.

I always also stay in the Kowloon area, because the hustle and bustle of this side can’t beat the island. But a lot has changed since Covid and the area has become more gentrified, though I ain’t complaining. Simply because it has given rise to hotels like Rosewood Hong Kong, which makes a great place to stay if for the views out of each room alone.

The 413-room vertical estate on the Kowloon waterfront offers 11 restaurants and lounges complemented by facilities like Asaya integrative wellness, a fitness centre and swimming pool. It’s almost like you never have to leave and for a weekend retreat out of Thailand, I barely did. 

The 91 suites are among the most spacious in Hong Kong, the best ones soaring over Victoria Harbour and come with a butler service and Manor Club access. I stayed in The Club Grand Harbour View Room, which, the moment you enter gives you a breath-taking harbour views and the Avenue Of The Stars below. The marble bathroom was generously spaced with a freestanding bath (famous on IG for reasons known only when you sink in), twin sinks, twin showers (yay!) and a walk-in closet. 

Once settled in for my stay, it was time to check out the afternoon tea service at Manor Club. I was a tad shocked and surprised at the spread. It was a mini lunch buffet and offered Hong Kong favourites, like wonton soup and turnip cake. The Xia long bao was one of the best I’ve had! Though there were dainty sandwiches and pastries since it was afternoon tea! Once the face was fed, it was time for more pampering. 

There is nothing like heading to Asaya integrative wellness, otherwise known as the spa, after a flight… even if it’s just a 2.5 hour one from Bangkok. A retreat into Asaya is nothing short of indulgent. Before choosing a treatment, head to the vitality pool area where you can enjoy the facilities of a steam, sauna, cold showers and energising pools before being pampered. I had an Aroma Atelier Massage for an hour and my therapist was magical. I even caught myself snoring at one point, I was that relaxed! Though, if you get a sunny day, the 25-metre outdoor infinity pool is a good place to chillax.

Breakfast is all about choices at the Rosewood Hong Kong. If you have club access, you can beat the crowds and get breakfast there. Though it is normally served at Holt’s Cafe, which is the hotel’s contemporary take on the Cha Chaan Teng culture. The all-day diner, which serves local and international cuisine and traditional afternoon tea in the Tea Conservatory, stays true to it’s menu even at breakfast. Fill up on local favourites, which in my case includes the famed Hong Kong milk tea. 

Despite Hong Kong been known for its food, there is no need to leave the hotel for culinary delights. Rosewood Hong Kong is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant and it happens to be one of my favourite cuisines — Indian. 

Chaat

Known for its bold renditions of India’s street snack culture and classics, Chaat serves dishes from all over the sub-continent. The menu is as vibrant as India is full of colour and spice. Flavour-bursting highlights include Raj kachori from the north of India, Prawn balchao, a Goan-Portuguese dish, Lobster Champagne makhani, a fun take on the classic butter chicken, Hyderabadi lamb shank and Morel mushroom pulao. The chocolate naan is perfect for rounding up a meal here or on a hot day, a seasonal kulfi. Chaat lives up to its name, finger-licking good!

The Legacy House

The Legacy House pays homage to the founder of New World Development and owning company of Rosewood Hotel Group, the Cheng family patriarch, Dr Cheng Yu-Tung. Stunning views from the Chinese restaurant overlook Victoria Dockside and the seven private dining rooms are named for milestones of Dr Yu-Tung’s life. Under the helm of chef Li Chi Wai, The Legacy House is  where refined Cantonese cuisine comes to life. If you know anything of Cantonese cuisine, you’ll know that tangerine peel is the essence and while pricey, it is one of the most cherished ingredients of the cuisine so much so that the restaurant has an entire tasting menu around it — the Dried Tangerine Peel Gastronomy Set. Highlights of the menu here include Marinated pomelo pith; Minced fish soup, fungi, dried tangerine peel, ham and olive seed; Braised Wagyu beef cheek, Matsutake mushroom and pomelo pith; Braised tofu, lily bulb, fish curd and Noble Bottle tree nut; and Braised fish maw soup, lamb head, lamb hoof and 50-year dried tangerine peel.

The Dining Room by BluHouse 

A premier Italian food and beverage destination in Hong Kong, the restaurant serves a tasting menu paired with wines from the hotel’s dedicated cellar, which houses more than 500 labels, exploring the viticultural diversity of Italy’s varietals and appellation, including exclusive vintages. The St Valentine’s Day menu includes dishes like Scampi e Melograno with New Zealand langoustine, wild fennel panna cotta and pomegranate; Branzino arrosto or oven-baked Atlantic seabass with charcoal artichoke in a  salmoriglio sauce; and Faraona in “Camicia”, which is poached organic guinea fowl with morel mushrooms, green asparagus and Périgord black truffles. Order the Mesca Francesca fagioli e frutti di mare or a traditional mixed-shapes pasta with white beans and “fruits of the sea” from the a la carte menu for a cooking demonstration tableside. Doesn’t get fresher than this!

DarkSide

DarkSide is the Rosewood Hong Kong’s sophisticated sultry jazz and cocktail parlour, ranked No.9 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023. It is busy every night so reservations are a must. The balcony is the best spot for the views while sipping on a nightcap, though if you’re here for the live band, then the space is beautiful. Do look up at the hour glasses that dot the ceiling. The “YinYang” menu is where the “yin” symbolises Kowloon, nicknamed the dark side locally, while “yang” represents Hong Kong Island. The Yin Yang menu features eight crafted drinks, four yin and four yang. Each pair is named after opposing forces like =Sun and Moon, Heaven and Earth, River and Mountain and the ever-evocative Brightside and Darkside. 

XX

For a more intimate setting (perfect for romance) is the XX bar. Antique mirrored tables, plush velvet couches, adult artwork and a balcony with a view form the perfect romantic ambiance. XX offers complex whiskies, fine wines and seasonal cocktails. No password required… not any more!

Should you choose to leave the hotel, do visit the M+ museum, where in collaboration with the hotel, the “Madame Song: Pioneering Art And Fashion In China” exhibition is on display until April 14. The exhibition features the icon who transformed the landscape of arts, fashion and popular culture in China from the 80s to 2000s. If you’re in Hong Kong to shop, then the K11 Musea lifestyle mall is next door and the hotel’s has two connecting walkways to it. MTR Tsim Sha Tsui is a six-minute walk via underground tunnels, lined with shops. 

The Best Hotel in Asia 2023 is as luxurious as it gets in Hong Kong. From the elegant interiors to the understated opulence throughout the hotel, which also pays homage to the auspicious significance of the number eight in Chinese tradition with its octagonal designs woven into the core of its philosophy, the Rosewood Hong Kong delivers in every aspect. Insider’s tip: Don’t leave without one of the Parisian bites from the Butterfly Patisserie counter adjacent to the lobby. Visit the hotel's website for offers.

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