Carlyle & Co., a beaconing social landmark in Hong Kong

As always, I leave at about 6 pm from my permanent address in Hong Kong, the Mandarin, and ride on an Uber to meet my company for a Carlyle & Co. soiree. Ushered by the dedicating club staffer, the elevator speeds up and my glam Honkie set and I know a lively evening awaits.

In the spacious reception level, interconnecting rooms are decorated in bold color palettes matching exuberant mid-century furniture. The relaxing ambience remanences 60s sassiness and self-assurance. The open terrace is undoubtedly my favorite for the unhindered vista of the pearl of the orient. Carlyle & Co., perched above the sumptuous Rosewood Hong Kong below, whispers intimacy and exclusivity. Named after and inspired by its iconic The Carlyle in New York, it is a club destined to be a young elite heaven and the urban tale for the sophisticated affluent Generation Y from the primordial phase.

After the sensational opening of the Rosewood Hong Kong in 2019, the Rosewood Hotel Group CEO, Sonia Cheng, continues her bold move and stuns the world by curating a member club in the very heart of Hong Kong and fostering a vivacious and art-centric community the Carlyle has been known for. “The Carlyle in New York has a vibrant vibe. It brings together people from every background, from musicians to artists like Woody Allen.”, commented by Sonia in a Vogue Hong Kong interview back in 2021.

Café Carlyle

Ascending the luxurious burgundy marble staircase, members arrive at the star attraction of the club, Café Carlyle. It’s a tribute to, though little resemblance of, the revered New York supper club. Crimson velvet drapes and chairs are indicative in the dimmed music room, but it’s the murals by French painter Jean-Philippe Delhomme and Christina Zimpel deliver the clubby scene. Inspired by the Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, the playful travaux by Delhomme transports the invincible New Yorker esprits and wits to the far east.

At Cafe Carlyle, vocalists follow the Ella Fitzgerald tradition, the full spectrum of live performances entertains and inspires. Members enjoy delectable treats from the Brasserie kitchen downstairs, and my set and I decide to go for a bottle of bubbly. “You should stay in the Caryle & Co. next time, this is the group mindset. Let’s arrange the accommodation for you.” suggested by one of my closest friends as we toast to the band and the swinging singer. A few weeks afterward, I am whisked into a limo and on the drive heading to Kowloon.


Buzz the carriage down, below the spectacular reception and club floor, residents are welcomed by the Milanese mansion feel foyer stretching to eight private, unique suites for members and guests to sleep over after a night of excess or extend into a nirvana retreat away from all the hustles.

Each suite has its own soul, mine is Dorothy Draper, the first female interior decorator in the US history. The deep azure color panels in the bedroom are a pleasant backdrop for a liquid breakfast in bed. The joie de vivre vibe once so inspired and was so rejoiced by Draper continues to beacon above the Victoria harbor.

Draper’s old claim that “the drab age is over – colour is coming into its own again” also inspires the decorator Ilse Crawford, which goes some way towards explaining the effortless ease of design than the Tony Chi’s gentry, haughty tropes of luxury exuded in every corner of the Rosewood.The Caryle & Co. guests are offered courtesy membership during the stay, and thus advised to follow the norm to moderate photography in common areas. Such a mandate relaxes the ubiquitous, millennial instagenic anxiety, and encourages members and guests to enjoy the club even more.

The lofty layout of the suite fits in every New Yorker’s day dream for a Allenist style dialogue. I love the Italian marble-lined bathroom, it is absolutely the feature. Some bar animals may consider the open mini-bar with all the glittering mixologist tools and fine glassware in display the true attraction of the Carlyle & Co. accommodation.

The climax of my stay is marked by the audacious cocktail self-service tray at turn down. A dry weekend sanctuary must be conceptual and probably should be an illusion cast by the monastery ambience at the elevator landing. The genuine and effortless Carlyle & Co. experience is simply addictive, unlike the overwhelming Rosewood Hong Kong with a RP pretentiousness that makes me dizzy.


Before my departure, I have this great pleasure to meet the soul behind the scenes, the managing director Jonathan Frolich, for more insights and acumens about the effortless and epxensive charm of the Carlyle & Co. This seasoned Australian hotelier has such a zeal for brands, operations, and networking.

Jonathan Frolich@elle

“Carlyle & Co. was always intended to be a contemporary interpretation of The Carlyle, transporting the magic of the iconic New York City landmark to a new home in Hong Kong. It is this legacy of connection and community that is at the heart of The Carlyle, and now Carlyle & Co. Together with Ilse Crawford, we’ve created a sequence of interconnecting rooms that can adapt with the changing needs, desires and whims of our members throughout the day and into the night.” says Jonathan.

Carlyle & Co. @Rosewood

About the immediate success and the continuous craze led by the club since 2021, Jonathan explains, “The beauty of Carlyle & Co. is that it cultivates a culture of connection and spontaneous, chance encounters that enables members of our community to meet other likeminded individuals. Nothing makes us more content then being witness to a new friendship, whether it’s a conversation struck up in the bar, adjacent tables commenting on the mural at Café Carlyle or two very different types of people bonding over a mutual interest at an event.”And about the future plans for the Carlyle & Co., Jonathan Frolich reckons and shares the prospect, “Carlyle & Co. was always conceptualized as a new breed of landmark private members clubs and our intention has always been to start in Hong Kong with plans of growing internationally. Therefore, we’re thrilled to share that we’ve signed a new location, the first of many to follow, and whilst I’m not able to disclose exactly where yet, we look forward to sharing Carlyle & Co.’s expansion plans this year, so stay tuned.”

Author:Joseph Wan

Photo:Joseph Wan/elle/Rosewood

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