Rosewood Hongkong, Marvels and Milestones


March begins with unprecedented hectic errands, the outburst of workloads diverts my spinning thought to another weekend getaway for the soma and soul. The late night whim to sojourn in the famed Rosewood Hong Kong and dive in the gleaming marble vanity heaven is absolutely beyond a fancy. My travel agent services affluent clients for long and reads my craving, she settles the booking in a click. If I had lost the sense of balance, it could only be regained through the sense of place.

When Rosewood Hong Kong opened in 2019, the vertical 65-storey estate at the Dockside of the Victoria Harbour was a sensational game changer. It is a flagship, marks the ambitions and vision of Ms. Sonia Cheng, the CEO of the Rosewood Hotel Group, to sail into the glittering world of ultra luxury hospitality. Eighty percent of the 413 rooms and suites share the unhindered harbour vista. The accoladed designer Tony Chi epitomises his aesthetics in this peerless institute set in historic Kowloon, and juxtaposes all the Chi’s icons: gleaming Carrara marble, hammered copper decor, check fabrics in neutral hue, and geometric motifs on lacquered panels and divided mirrors.

@Joseph Wan

As the chauffeur pools the limo on the cobbled driveway adorned by enormous lamps, the valets swiftly handle my belongings and usher me through the shimmering hallway to the check-in parlour. The harbour view room is ready and I am whisked into the neat and sizeable lodge. Yet the caprice to treat myself further for a suite cannot be accommodated plainly, an upgrade is beyond questions. I am chaperoned by the duty manager into the corner suite, the cordial chitchat almost assures an uplifting stay as I marvel at the delightful details and gleaming glamour in all the corners.


The greeting amenities are delivered in style at sunset by the housekeeper, who also picks the garments for the scheduled styling and shooting later. The twilights on the Peak Mountain twinkle in the endless mirrors and bedazzle against the supreme kaleidoscopic aesthetic of the suite decor. I marvel at such a spectacle, Hong Kong from the dockside, and wonder whether I should set my own bath and indulge in the luxuriating monochromic vanity nirvana. What a dilemma. It is perfect but for an oddity that the butlers are rather invisible and less proactive. Nevertheless, it is a prelude to episodes of service faux pas.

I wake up to a bright morning, and text the butler team to coordinate the schedule at the stylized elevator landing. Breakfast served at the Manor Club is sumptuous and delectable, yet the varied appellations I am addressed to and long waiting for my quotidian beverage, a chilled Americano, affect the appetite for either the dim sum classics and white asparagus delicacies. Fellow guests begin to queue at the hot station for another fresh fish ball pho and jam up the glittering buffet room in droves for the very last replenishment at 11 am. I just lose all the cravings.

The Club feels like a Tsarina’s midnight party as even more guests pour in and audible chatters start to echo from the remote end. I retain the composure and gaze into the vintage mirror across the rococo minimalist-style coffee table where the opulence and the chaos entwine. My photographers have dispatched already, and to my bewilderment, I am then informed by the butlers that the housekeepers are only about to tidy the suite and the scheduled shooting could be conducted at the Club without a chaperone as a prerequisite in the afore correspondence. Hmmm…

The butler manager, Mr. Ishwan Randawe, discerns the subtle austerity in my tone and tries to accommodate my unease with grace and keenness. Still, serial communication mayhem and discordant butlership since arrival exhaust my spirit. Tight manning precipitates disruption of service delivery. Neither the tarnished mood nor the suboptimal impression can be easily ameliorated despite attentive maneuvers afterward. As the very last radiance of the sunlight dims, I begin to draft a letter of candor and concerns, then double click to send it to the relevant managers.

Before check-out, the Rosewood excellence eventually beacons as the chef de cuisine assists me with the fruit plating with an adequate addressment. An icy Americano is immediately ready and brought to me with a warm, effortless gesture. Butlers wait on other fellow guests without trace signs of weariness. At the very last quiet moment, I gulp the coffee and speak gently about my leaving. The shadow of the vertical estate looms on the complex recollection of a bruised leisure stay. I bid the Tesla driver speeding up and leaving the exhaustion and doubts behind in the dust of the dockside.


A week afterward, on the 5th anniversary day of Rosewood Hong Kong, I alight the uber from Central and walk into the familiar hallway, where the managing director Mr. Hugo Montanari awaits after the charity lunch to mark the serial festive celebrations, or the Rosewood Front Row. Charismatic and earnest, he welcomes me back and leads me to the Holt’s Cafe. “Your feedback is constructive; my team and I truly value your opinions and advice.” says Hugo as he listens to me about the eclipsed sojourn and concerns for the upcoming Art Basel craze. “May we invite you back to experience the daily efforts we have put in as the services should have been exceptional?”

“I might have been too much accustomed to a certain style of services, and I am aware of my own opinions are not unbiased but deeply genuine.” My positive response earns approval from the seasoned hotelier. And his openness impresses me and leads to discussion in depth about the Rosewood philosophy and the hardship Hong Kong hospitality industry shall never be succumbed to. “We try to make our guests feel happy and special, that is the challenge and the reward. And I look forward to truly showing you our full capacity. And as an institute erected by this most beautiful harbor, we wish to message the world that Hong Kong is now open.”, says Hugo with pride and passion.

A second stay is settled in early April, a long weekend escapade. Aboard the same Cathay Pacific flight, I flip through the films before taking off. An Almodovar film coproduced by Saint Laurent is the delicious and stylish choice: Strange way of life. An unconventional cowboy romance on a ranch about choice and destiny for a second opportunity. The synopsis sounds simply irresistible, far more enticing than either of the bland onboard meal options: grill chicken and scallops.

The film ends in silence, and the aircraft starts to descend. I adjust my shawl from the Saint Laurent special collection dedicating to the film. The mobile buzzes as I hop on a buggy heading to the immigration. “Good evening Dr. Wan, welcome back to Hong Kong and we are expecting you.”, the text message reads.

As my chauffeur decelerates and stops at the discreet but ornate entrance of the vertical estate, a familiar smile greets me with immaculate civility. It is Ishwan, together with a senior valet, waiting for my arrival. The same sumptuous suite is ready, and so are the greeting amenities and the eternal harbor view. Without much hustle, the in-room check-in completes in bliss, then I am bestowed with the pleasure of chitchatting with the butler manager as a lovely friend.

At the Manor Club, it is reassuring to see all the butlers attending guests with such a mastery of service excellence and elegance. Also, the skillful coordination of tasks and scheduled activities impresses me. I am particularly enthralled when the Butler team buzz to deliver an en libre tray of ice buckets and Coke Zero at turndown. Nothing can surpass some trivial yet personal preferences being observed and remembered.


Stepping out from the Rossano Ferreti hair salon, which is too recent and therefore an undiscovered sanctuary nestled in the Asaya cosmos, I am greeted by two butlers who call upon me to double check the preferred time for housekeeping. They even offer to send my acquisitions from the Ferreti grooming collection upstairs with an air of solemnity, I can only oblige.Services are always about details and communications.



Author:Joseph Wan

Photo:Joseph Wan/

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