Inspired by history and refined interiors, The Pottinger Hotel Hong Kong is upping the class factor on one of the oldest streets in Central. Martine Beale writes.
The recently opened Pottinger Hotel sits on Pottinger Street, one of the oldest streets in the Central district, and has been designed to reflect both heritage and modernity.
The Hotel comprises three restaurants and 68 luxury guestrooms that range from the Classic Room and Deluxe Room to the Pottinger Suite and Studio Suites, each varying from 23 to 68 square metres in size.
It has six studio suites that are named after streets in Central, such as the Wellington Suite named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, and the Li Yuen suite after Kam Li Yuen, who won a land auction bid in 1891 and gave his name to two streets, Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West.
Pottinger Street itself dates back to the 1850s and is named after Hong Kong’s first Governor, Sir Henry Eldred Curwen Pottinger. Today it holds a Grade I historic status given by the Antiquities Advisory Board of Hong Kong.
The inspiration for the luxury boutique hotel was to bring the area’s rich heritage and diverse culture to the fore in a classically styled property designed for modern-day guests.
This was achieved under the consultancy of Australian interior designer Suzy Annetta, founder of Studio Annetta, who is a specialist in hospitality projects and highly regarded for her use of colour and interiors characterised by refined surfaces and beautiful materials.
The property is run by the Sino Group of Hotels, who approached Annetta to create a concept for a new hotel brand.
“I came up with the idea to include elements of Hong Kong’s history, despite the fact that the building is not historically significant,” says the designer.
“The idea was to create something very different to any other hotel in Hong Kong: an oasis in the middle of the city that would be a respite for visitors but also a great location to base themselves during their stay.”
The design aesthetic is a tasteful fusion of east meets west as realised by Annetta’s highly developed artistic sense and holistic understanding of design.
“A lot of the colours were drawn from Chinese artwork, porcelain, cloisonné, and lacquer work,” Annetta explains. “We tried to include elements of both colonial European touches and some antique Chinese style pieces.”
The concept and base design for each of the six named studio suites are fairly similar. “We accessorised the rooms differently with pieces sourced in Central to make them feel more individual. The Pottinger Suite was designed differently to be a bit more special, although it still has a residential feel.
“Another element is the artwork throughout, which are original photographs from Hong Kong photographer Ho Fan. There is a different iconic photo in each room,” Annetta points out.
Fan is a well respected and awarded photographer and film director who spent decades capturing images of Hong Kong. Now in his early 80s, this is his first collaboration with a hotel.
“Fan’s photos are from the 50’s and 60’s but were very modern for their time in terms of light and composition. They capture a very special time in Hong Kong’s history, particularly of the Central area.”
The Hotel’s restaurants also give a nod to the past. The Envoy takes inspiration from Hong Kong as a major trading port in the mid 19th century when tea emerged as a major commodity and afternoon tea was enjoyed by Sir Henry Pottinger. The décor evokes a colonial east meets west vibe via oriental wallpaper and contemporary artwork.
The Holytan Grill is a more modern affair that pairs Japanese cuisine with French cooking techniques, while the just-opened Gradini offers classic, authentic Italian cuisine in an elegant, parlour-like setting.
Gradini restaurant is helmed by renowned Italian chef Giovanni Greggio who has been cooking in the city since 1990, and who came out of retirement to head this kitchen.
Everywhere you look, The Pottinger Hotel has myriad historic qualities, and these are respectfully presented within a thoroughly modern context with time-honoured class.