Where to take a ‘micro-break’ in 2019

By Carolynne Dear for Hong Kong Living

Rosewood Hotel, Hong Kong
Rosewood Hong Kong is set to open in March

Rosewood Hong Kong

Slated for a March 17 opening, the eagerly anticipated Rosewood Hong Kong is now open for bookings. It promises “an ultra-luxury property” on the harbourfront in the new Victoria Dockside district of Tsim Sha Tsui.

The 65-storey tower has been designed by American architects Kohn Pedersen Fox and 43 of the floors will be dedicated to the hotel. Views over Victoria Harbour will be “prominently showcased” from 80% of guest rooms; these include 322 rooms and 91 suites. The hotel will also be  home to 18 signature suites, including the 1,000 square metre Harbour House and The Garden House with wraparound harbour views and from their private sky terraces (which come with private lap pools) on the 57th floor.

The property will eventually have eight food and beverage outlets, including Chinese tea house Holt’s Cafe, Cantonese speciality restaurant The Legacy House and cocktail bar DarkSide, all three of which will be open from the March launch day.

Rosewood Hong Kong will also the first urban outpost of Asaya, its signature wellness centre and spa. Asaya will be set over two floors and will include alternative therapies, fitness and lifestyle activities, nutrition advice, social spaces and a membership programme open to local residents.

Rosewood opening events will dovetail with the launch of Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Xiqu Centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District, both of which are due to open early this year. rosewoodhotels.com

 

Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel
Eco-credentials abound at Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott

Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott

Following a delayed soft opening in the summer, the hotel sees it’s full-launch early in the new year. Something of a game-changer for the local area, the much-anticipated Southside hotel is Hong Kong’s first true ‘resort’ hotel and boasts no less than four pools. Surrounded by mountains and described by management as “a green, urban retreat”, it is nevertheless well-connected with the rest of Hong Kong via the Ocean Park MTR stop, which is directly connected to the hotel via a footbridge.

The three hotel ‘towers’ offer 471 guest rooms, including 130 club rooms. This is the only hotel in Hong Kong, possibly in Asia, with an entire tower designated to ‘club’ facilities. The hotel has been built around a central, resort pool area, which boasts a fun-looking aqua playground for younger guests. The four restaurants all have al fresco dining areas overlooking the pool deck and include the American-style grill house and cocktail bar Prohibition, Canton Bistro, the Pier Lounge and bar, and the all-day, buffet-style dining Marina Kitchen, with an adjacent fully-staffed tots play area. 

As you would expect, the hotel is very much family-oriented – panda-themed twin-bed rooms include Ocean Park children’s gifts, junior robes and slippers and views over the park. The hotel will also be running various resort activities such as seashell art, scavenger hunts and special dining. But whether the ‘Meet the Animal’ hotel packages – including encounters with captive dolphins and sea-lions – meld or jar with the overall conservation message is something for guests to decide for themselves.

Other eco-credentials that Marriott has taken into consideration with the build are commendable. The building uses sustainable timber, non-ozone depleting insulation materials, rainwater collection and water recycling. The hotel has a recycling and waste reduction programme, an organic rooftop farm and has implemented energy saving initiatives. Vertical planting systems have been installed and the restaurant outlets all serve Wild Wildlife Fund-certified sustainable seafood from approved suppliers.

The hotel says it is targeting the local, staycation market as well as chasing the international market. The new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will no doubt play its role in upping tourist numbers. After a sluggish couple of the years, 41-year-old Ocean Park is certainly committed to raising its profile globally, with a $2.9 billion water park scheduled to open next year and a Fullerton hotel on track for a 2021 opening. It’s hoped that the Tai Shue Wan Water World, as it is to be known, will attract up to 1.5 million visitors in its first year of opening.

Bookings are now being taken for the Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel, with guests taking up occupancy from last November. The pool area is still awaiting licensing and is due to open in Spring 2019.  Marriott.com

Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, China

This Beijing-located addition to Mandarin Oriental’s portfolio is poised to open its doors early this year. With roof-terrace views over the Forbidden City, the hotel is located in central Beijing, just minutes from Tiananmen Square and in an area dotted with the city’s historic hutongs. Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing is positioning itself as the city’s most luxurious boutique hotel, with ample dining facilities and a Spa at Mandarin Oriental. The 73-room hotel is located on the upper two floors of WF Central. The remainder of the building will house over 130 retail outlets, including 20 brands debuting in Beijing or China.

Three food and beverage outlets include two restaurants and a rooftop MO Bar with a garden terrace. Cafe Zi will offer all-day Asian-inspired dining with a signature lunchtime dim sum selection by Michelin-starred Hong Kong chef Wong Wing-Keung, while Mandarin Grill + Bar features grill-style dishes.

The spa will offer a menu of wellness experiences, a fitness centre and a 25m indoor lap pool with a sky roof. mandarinoriental.com

 

St Regis Hong Kong
A Wan Chai welcome for St Regis

St Regis, Hong Kong

Another dramatic addition to Hong Kong’s skyline this spring is the 129-room St Regis. This is the first time Marriott International has introduced the St Regis brand to Hong Kong. The hotel is located in Wan Chai and within walking distance of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. The interiors have been designed by renowned Hong Kong architect Andre Fu (his Hong Kong credits include The Upper House and Kerry Hotel) and many of the rooms will enjoy views over Victoria Harbour and out to Kowloon Bay. Further amenities include the St Regis Butler Service, Chinese and French restaurants and a heated pool.

St Regis Hotels & Resorts has more than doubled its footprint in recent years with more than 40 hotels worldwide and nine in the Greater China region. This is Marriott International’s second hotel launch in Hong Kong this year, with Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott on southside expected to complete its full opening next month. marriott.com

Raffles Shenzhen

On schedule for a March opening, the new flagship hotel for the Raffles group in China is set to wow. The hotel will occupy the top floors of the new 72-storey One Shenzhen Bay Building with views over Shenzhen Bay (still known to many as the Pearl River Delta, Shenzhen Bay is now part of the Chinese government’s re-branded ‘Greater Bay’ area bordering Hong Kong, Macau and southern China). The hotel promises 168 guest rooms with Raffles’ trademark butler service plus six restaurants and a Raffles spa. Situated opposite the Hong Kong bridge border control, it’s claimed Central is a mere 30 minutes drive away. raffles.com

 

Hyatt Regency Bangkok
Movers and shakers in the Thai capital

Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit

The Thai capital’s fourth Hyatt-branded property is now open for bookings ahead of its early 2019 opening. The 273-room and 21-suite property has been designed as a traditional Thai house and is located in the Nana district of the city. The area was originally founded by Indian merchants who were granted the space to set up a marketplace, attracting traders from India, the Middle East and China. Remnants of that heritage can still be seen in areas such as Soi Arab, Little Korea and Little India. Dining options include the Market Cafe – a Thai-inspired all day dining restaurant, the two-level rooftop Spectrum Lounge & Bar and a Lobby Lounge Bar for cocktails and coffee. An open-air pool and a 24-hour gym completes the picture. The hotel will be directly connected with Nana BTS station by a skybridge. hyatt.com

 

Fusion Original, Vietnam
Fusions Originals is channelling a Darwin-vibe in Ho Chi Minh this summer

Fusion Originals, Vietnam

Fusion will be opening its first Fusion Originals hotel in Ho Chi Minh this summer. Darwin – a Fusion Original is currently under construction and is the first of a new collection of hotels  that will be named after pioneering artists, inventors, scientists and social leaders. This 88-room, inaugural property has been named after Charles Darwin, the British botanist, scientist and naturalist. The property is located in the city’s District 1 and nearby to the famous Saigon Opera House. It is also minutes from the area’s shops, restaurants and bars.

Darwin’s botanical studies have been integrated into the design of the rooms, with plant motifs and excerpts from Darwin’s studies. Each room will include a copy of Darwin’s ground-breaking publication, The Origin of Species. The Beagle Bar (named after HMS Beagle, the vessel used on Darwin’s second survey expedition) will host live music and spoken-word events, while the Origins Restaurant will be serving dishes inspired by Darwin’s travels across the globe. fusionresorts.com

 

Azerai, Hue, Vietnam
Explore Vietnam’s former imperial capital at Azerai La Residence

Azerai La Residence, Hue, Vietnam

Hue is just north of Da Nang and is Vietnam’s former imperial capital. La Residence hotel and spa will be Azerai’s second property in the country, following the opening of the 60-room Azerai Can Tho on the Mekong Delta and in the waterside city of Can Tho early last year. Flagged for a February opening, Azerai La Residence will be located inside a 1930s mansion which has undergone the most extensive renovation in over a decade.

The 122-room hotel’s aesthetic is firmly rooted in Azerai’s calling card of simplicity and elegance, and promises “affordable luxury”. The hotel boasts 200 metres of frontage along the fabled Perfume River – in autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Hue fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma. It enjoys views of Flagtower Bastion and the 1804-built Citadel on the river’s north bank.

The name Azerai comes from the initials of hospitality group founder Adrian Zecha and the Persian word caravanserai, which means resting place. Further Vietnam openings are planned by the group, watch this space. azerai.com

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