It was the party of the century for THE REGENT HONG KONG – okay, it was the first, and so far, only party of the century but let’s be honest, the hotel is not open as such (its restaurants and marvellous lobby are mostly operating, and running to capacity night after night, but the gorgeous bedrooms are not expected to begin soft-opening for at least six weeks, with no date yet announced).
No worry, last night, Saturday 11th February, 2023, was the première of the ballroom, a heavenly blue and metallic confection with swirling ceiling, all designed by P49 from Bangkok. Last night was the launch, too, of Robb Report Hong Kong, the ultimate lifestyle publication published by Nexus Media Asia. Ebullient Tak Man, CEO of that company, has brokered and made the magazine happen, and what a great party he threw.
Approach the hotel up its drive from Salisbury Road to be greeted by a fleet of 12 priceless modern cars, one offs and all with personal security at the ready (Man was taking no chances even here in Hong Kong). Go through the hotel’s doors, now pale wood slats, and process up the much-loved white marble staircase. The Moët reception was liberally freeflowing. The publishers of Robb Report Singapore and the one planned for Japan exchanged notes.
The variety of black-tie styles was only bettered by females’ fashions, from white boater hat to Christmas-tree white tulle missing several sections held up by a circumferential black ribbon (from Milan, apparently). The company was enticed, slowly but surely, through to the ballroom. Tables looked gorgeous, circulars for ten, midnight blue cloths, matching napkins in silver rings, central green and white displays, noticeable but not too high.
Everyone had a gold- or black-wrapped parcel as favour. This was the personal copy of Robb Report Hong Kong’s Inaugural Best of the Best, 300 pages, Van Cleef & Arpels back cover, introductory letters from Publisher Tak Man and Guest Editor in Chief Philip Annetta, 1.5kgs of fascinating content. There was also a personal invitation to be a founder member of RR1, the magazine’s invitation-only Private Club (get your acceptance in by midnight, was the insistence). Tak Man explained his RR1 philosophy philosophy, wind, water, wheels, and he applauded sponsors Ferretti Yachts, McLaren, and VistaJet.
After several speeches, one too long and one inexcusably from notes, the meal started, and gold-shimmering Red Hot Momma, Jenia, and her support On Point belted out. They deliciously filled the gaps, so to speak, between specific acts. One of these was a talk-show – see above, with, from left, Tak Man, Top Gear racer Chris Harris, and Richemont’s CEO Asia Pacific Alain Li.
Then the servers came on to the stage, first performance but rehearsed as if for Broadway – a complete dummy run of the state and timing of the show had been done, working with only five tables. This meant that there were no hiccups, even when someone changed their pre-ordered main dish from fish to meat – a server stylishly pulled a supply of coloured stickers from his pocket and exactly stuck a red sticker over the blue one. This proved to a sensible switch. Chef Ronan Cadorel, who came from Park Hyatt Tokyo, somehow produced nearly two hundred plates of perfectly-cooked wagyu fillets from Logan and Alice Korpershoek’s Mayura Landing Farm in South Australia. Simplicity, beef, one green asparagus, two wafer-thin carrot cross-cuts, a teaspoon of jus, unlimited Ch de Grand Mouex Reserve 2018 Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux.
But the finale had not yet come. First Tak Man took to the stage to announce Robb Report Hong Kong‘s significant partnership with MGM, whose big boss Pansy Ho personally led a significant MGM presence at the dinner. Next, Chris Harris, 48. took to the track. He gamely got into the middle of three F1 simulators and to roars and ovations, from the three giant wall screens recording the race as well as from the 377 diners who were now noisy spectators, showed his track skills. Just at the end he was pipped to the post, by Chinese-Dutch superstar Ho-Pin Tung , 40, who races, in reality, for Jackie Chan DC. The noise subsided and it was time for just dessert.