Renewed aesthetics, humanised technology, and meticulous details with a local reference, usher the 16-year-old Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong into a new era.
Sixteen years on, the gleaming Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong in Central has undergone a modern transformation across its 399 guest rooms and suites, led by acclaimed architectural and interior design firm Remedios Studio. There have been changes, too, in the light-filled lobby area, conceived by AB Concept, as the iconic hotel sets new standards in terms of its décor, but also in terms of technology and service that aims to enrich and engage.
We caught up with Bill Taylor, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, to chat about the inspiration and highlights of the glamorous revamp.
Could you walk us through the key new features of the recent revamp?
Enhancing the arrival experience was a key focus in the transformation. The previous design of the lobby had a lot of juxtapositions of sharp corners and shapes, which have now been removed to make room for curvatures that flow together, creating a more inviting vibe where guests will feel welcomed the moment they arrive.
At the centre of the lobby is a new elevated seating area defined by gentle curves and wavy lines intended to infuse the arrival space with a sense of soothing serenity. Adjoining the staged area is the refined lobby café Gallery, where visitors can enjoy a carefully curated selection of coffee and tea while taking in the vibrant energy the lobby has to offer.
A contemporary crystal screen is used to divide the two areas while adding a better sense of scale to the space. Together, they turned the lobby into a cosy gathering spot for Hongkongers and travellers alike to congregate in style.
A key highlight of the renovation was the transformation of the Blue Bar, now renamed the ARGO. What’s so special about the new bar?
We got the name of ARGO from Greek mythology, which was a ship built for the guests of the Golden Fleece. It serves as a symbol of discovery and exploration, which echoes ARGO’s concept of connecting to the world and changing the way we drink.
Beverage Manager Lorenzo Antinori has a very innovative concept about exploring the origin and looking at the future of some of the ingredients for his cocktails. Our debut cocktail menu is themed “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, which features ingredients of honey and monoculture crops such as cacao, vanilla, coffee, rice and apple.
In a departure from traditional cocktail making, we will also introduce modern spirits created in the laboratory such as gins with compounds of lab-grown botanical products that defy classic drinks.
At ARGO, we are looking into the future and exploring drinking in a different way to offer connoisseurs spirits they haven’t found elsewhere. Of the 54 spirits on ARGO’s menu, 27 of them are unique to the hotel. You won’t be able to get them anywhere else in Hong Kong. We are looking to have some fun. It’s going to be a great adventure for us.
What is the inspiration and intent behind the transformation? How has Hong Kong as a city and its history inspired the interiors?
Each Four Seasons property around the world has its own character. It’s truly important that the design for each Four Seasons makes sense for the location in which it is in.
The new design for Four Seasons Hong Kong captures the essence of this iconic location in the bustling Central district. There’s a wonderful marriage between traditional and contemporary that doesn’t feel overly modernistic, but nor does it feel rich in tradition.
For instance, the headboard that speaks to traditional Hong Kong architecture, or the artwork on the closet doors printed with traditional Chinese landscapes that not only provide relevance to the location, but also exude a sense of relaxed calm.
How would you describe the definition of a holistic design approach?
From a guest perspective, everything needs to make sense and work in harmony, nothing should cause an unwanted surprise. That goes from the design element in the transitional pieces from one area in the hotel to another.
For example, the patterns and choice of materials in the revamped elevator cabinet are reflected in the displays and décor in the lobby. So is the soothing vibe that is brought about from the wood flooring, colour tones and artwork in the guest room corridor, which also extends into the guest rooms with furniture and finishes in similar tones.
On top of that, we’ve also incorporated smart in-room technologies that are state-of-the-art and intuitive, but not too overwhelming and confusing for the guests. For instance, each renovated room is equipped with an integrated control system to allow air-conditioning to automatically turn on, and the drapery automatically opens as you enter the room. A mood lighting system and electrostatic air-filters are also in place to promote restful sleep.
How does Four Seasons’ new offerings contribute to guests’ wellness?
A few years back we had already kick-started the “Full Moon Meditation” experience to provide guests with guided meditations on a monthly basis.
In light of the pandemic, we’ve introduced a selection of wellness staycation plans with offerings that help promote guests’ wellbeing and restore balance, such as reawakening rituals, mediation programmes and dining options made of organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. A team of certified in-house wellness practitioners are also in place under the new “Sleep Well” programme to guide our guests to a good night’s sleep.