André Fu is designer of the moment, especially in Hong Kong, and the latest luxury hotel he has done is St Regis, next to the headquarters of its owner, China Resources Company. Its Chairman, Fu Yuning, wanted something that showed old Hong Kong as well as globalism-2020, and apparently André Fu travelled extensively around the city making notes. As soon as you rise to the second floor lobby, indeed, there is a sense of elegance and tradition, especially if you happen to arrive at 5.30 p.m., the moment of the daily sabrage. The young sommelier did a superb job in slicing off the bottle tops, and then the gal was shown some of the unique drinking vessels, as seen on the left, from a bar that, true to brand form, has a unique painting, a collage of Hong Kong, covering the entire back wall.
The main part of the hotel’s second floor soars to double height, just as André Fu’s own home does – he lives on-island. Dinner at L’Envol showed this place’s style to perfection. Alsatian Chef Olivier Elzer came from Robuchon, and from the start of the meal it was quality. The white card menu cover is deliberately torn (=art) while the stiffly starched linen cloth was ironed without even a hint of a wrinkle (=science). There are various set menus, offering five or eight courses (one has Petrossian caviar followed by seared Kagoshima A3 tenderloin wagyu with pressed Kaviari gnocchi). No-one minded that I went à la carte, starting with a tiny tin holding prawns and crunchy fennel, topped by Hokkaido sea-urchin.
A L’Envol meal’s prelude includes an addictive home-blended caviar and seaweed butter to go with breads cut from the three whole loaves we were presented.: china is Bernardaud, cutlery is Ercuis, complemented by steak knives that are Le Thiers par Claude Dolorne. (The right names are important not only to Olivier Elzer but also to designer André Fu, who typically dresses casually but his gear is predominantly Armani, Ferragamo and Loro Piana), I was dining with hotel GM Derek Flint, a psychology graduate who starts every morning with a pre-sunrise 5km run. We tasted, naturally in Riedel glasses, a Loire wine, Dme de la Taille aux Loup 2015 Montlouis, and then a Bordeaux, Ch d’Armailhac 2005 Pauillac GCC.
Then I hot-footed it back up to the St Regis Suite, #1509. André Fu has put colour into rooms here – I loved the orange lacquer floor-to-ceiling panel in my salon, which balanced the overall soft greys of a colour scheme that was ideally suited to looking out through big windows at typical buildings of the Wanchai district of Hong Kong Island. I also appreciated the soft lavender cashmere throw on the bed, and it was good to have an oval freestanding tub that was thankfully free of jacuzzi jets. In the morning, the soft greys of Run restaurant at breakfast seemed soothingly just right: I looked out at the terrace’s vivid greenery and the buffet had lots of colour. This restaurant transforms brilliantly into Chinese for main meals, as I discovered at a dimsum lunch with Craig Smith, Marriott’s President for the whole of Asia-Pacific. If luxury is hairy crab in such an ambience, this is Hong Kong’s newest luxury hotel for you. Obviously discerning travellers think so too:: St Regis Hong Kong has soared from Tripadvisor’s #753 to seventh, in six months.