After four years and US$90 million, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong has unveiled a facelift, designed by Melbourne’s BAR Studio, that pays homage to the hotel’s history while looking toward the future. Rik Glauert writes.
Located on a stretch of prime land at Victoria Harbour, the Grand Hyatt is somewhat of a Hong Kong institution and has played host to some of the world’s greatest celebrities, tycoons, and heads of state. The numbers of the expansive hotel are dizzying: 545 rooms, 10 restaurants and bars, and 21 event venues, including the Grand Ballroom which is the largest on Hong Kong island.
BAR Studio were tasked with finding a design that continued the hotel’s appeal to loyal visitors but also attracted a new clientele.
“The design plays with, and against, the existing hotel and threads of the existing hotel: the contemporary geometry of John Morford, the black and gold palette of the original hotel, are woven into the design,” says Stewart Robinson of BAR Studio.
In 2015, the updated rooms were revealed. These feature a unique ‘living zone’ – an adaptable solid timber table adjacent to the windows to take advantage of the hotel’s stunning harbour views. To keep the rooms light and open the bathtub straddles the bedroom and bathroom.
Revealed this year are the hotel’s newly renovated top suites which take inspiration from some of the hotel’s previous guests and are accordingly themed: ‘classic traditional’, ‘contemporary eclectic’, ‘aristocratic adventurer’, ‘bohemian chic’, and ‘oriental chic.’
Attention to detail begins before you open the door with the floor of the suites’ corridors in timber to alert of approaching guests for the security conscious.
The ‘classic traditional’ presidential suite has all the trappings of splendour you expect from high tier guests – there’s ornate bronze, gold, crystal and classical lines. Fine European and Chinese art adorn the walls.
The ‘contemporary eclectic’ suite boasts clean-lined furniture and a softer palette. The most striking feature is a pendant lamp from tastemaker Lindsey Adelmen.
Both presidential suites have all you would expect of some of the finest rooms in the city – dining room, private kitchen, bar, two reception rooms, and, of course, a grand piano.
Grand Hyatt and BAR Studio have done their research and found that the vastness of presidential suites can actually make some occupants feel a little isolated, so the bedrooms have been carefully designed as an intimate hideaway.
The best wrap-around harbour views are preserved for the bedrooms. The spa-like bathrooms have intricate tiled flooring, a freestanding oval-shaped bathtub overlooking the harbour, a hand-painted verre eglomisé feature wall and floor-to-ceiling antique mirrors.
For the slightly smaller ambassador’s suites, the bohemian chic suite is furnished with rich textiles and ethnic art while the aristocratic adventurer suite boasts an eclectic range of books, artwork and objets d’art as if collected from numerous oversees journeys. The oriental chic diplomat suite is perfect for those with an interest in Asian art.
BAR Studio also worked on the 30th floor club lounge. Taking up two floors, the lounge boasts 4.6 metre floor-to-ceiling windows, affording more stunning views of the city.
Heavier colours and textures of dark wood and burnished gold are offset with light timber and white marble. Subtle references to chinoisserie add to the hotel’s East-meets-West feel.
One of BAR Studio’s favourite spaces is the Grand Café downstairs. “It blends with the colour palette of the existing lobby – the black, white and gold. But it doesn’t feel in any way like a continuation of the lobby; it sits comfortably against it,” says Robinson.
The team were keen to split up the space to provide a number of different experiences for guests. The bar area has a youthful energy, the private rooms are serene, and the Asian kitchen area has a distinct hawker-market feel.