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Chi Wing Lo is the all-round designer tasked with re-creating the luxury Regent Hong Kong hotel

InterContinental Hong Kong looks right across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island – see the current hotel, and the view, above. Now this significant luxury hotel is ready for its biggest renovation in 30 years.  The closure will be April 20, 2020, with the reopening as the Regent Hong Kong in 2022.

The hotel has been planning a spectacular transformation that will position it as one of the top hotels not only in Asia, but also as one of the world’s most iconic hotels. The total transformation will span all guest rooms and suites including bathrooms, all public areas, restaurants and event venues, as well as a refresh of the building façade with a contemporary new look.

Yan Toh Heen, the hotel’s 1-Michelin star Cantonese restaurant, will remain open throughout the renovation, with access via the adjoining K11 Musea.

Chi Wing Lo will be both architect and designer. Goodwin Gaw, Chairman and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners, which led the hotel’s 2015 acquisition on behalf of a consortium of investors, explains that Chi’s designs combine superb craftsmanship and ingenuity with an innovative use of materials and a unique and timeless aesthetic.  Chi Wing Lo was actually born in Hong Kong, eldest son and third child of a family of six kids. “The eldest son in society here is important. But there was not so much pressure in my family — just don’t steal, don’t do drugs and it was alright.  It was a laissez-faire policy, like the British and Hong Kong. What I have been interested in, since I was a child, was always the creative aspects of study. The other subjects — I failed all of them practically, not exaggerating. And I guess the creative parts were perhaps the only thing remaining that I had passion for”.

Chi has been based both in Greece and the USA, and for his furniture design and production he works in Italy.  What will he do in Hong Kong now? It would be fairly safe to expect something subtle in colouring, with wow factors in shapes.  He has said “I think quietude is important. I don’t tend to ask my architectural spaces or products to scream out.  I think to find a peacefulness inside yourself, the things around you are important — more horizontal than vertical”.

What will be a 503-key hotel has Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating. Once intended to be a Peninsula, or Orient-Express – James Sherwood apparently wanted the land – it opened 40 years ago (1980) as the 604-key Regent Hong Kong. GM was Rudy Greiner and the opening team also included Jürg Blaser, Bruno Dedual and Mike Matthews. In June 2001 it changed, literally overnight, to InterContinental, under GM Jennifer Fox, helped by Tom Meyer.  Today’s GM is Claus Pedersen, and he is making sure his 800-strong team, who will be given priority when hiring begins for the 2022 re-opening, have priority.  During the closure, the hotel’s Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen remains open.