Every Hongkonger knows life in our crazy, fast-paced city wouldn’t be bearable without the occasional getaway. That’s why we’re bringing you ‘Suite Staycation,’ where we review some of the finest hotel suites in Hong Kong and Macau. Rated upon quality of accommodation, F&B and the perks which we experience — not to mention the pure ‘wow’ factor — our column brings you in-depth advice on where to spend your dollars when it comes to taking some well-deserved R&R.
As close as one can come to the serenity of the Andaman ocean — all without first having to brave the pandemic-era perils of commercial air travel.
When it comes to options, Rosewood’s palatial waterfront property in Hong Kong boasts nothing short of an embarrassment of riches. Aside from the 400 or so lavishly appointed rooms in the main hotel, the opening of Carlyle & Co earlier this June (the nec plus ultra of private social clubs, sequestered away on the uppermost floors of the property) serves as yet more enticement for repeat stays: giving members, and a handful of their lucky guests, access to 8 New York-inspired suites on the 54th floor. But wait — there’s more.
Concomitant with the launch of Carlyle & Co, the team at Asaya Hong Kong — Rosewood’s resident ‘urban wellness concept’ — has unveiled its own program of themed, weekend-friendly stays. Dubbed the ‘Asaya Wellcation series’, guests are given the “space and support” needed to break from the relentless pace of metropolitan living. In English? This may well be the most extravagant wellness-themed staycation in Hong Kong money can buy. At any rate, certainly one of the most exclusive.
Figuratively and physically secluded from the remainder of the Rosewood premises, the bulk of your ‘Wellcation’ takes place on the 7th floor — in one of two ‘lodges’ that are the Asaya universe’s riposte to the traditional corner suite. A winding staircase, adjacent to the private treatment rooms on the 6th floor — where you’ll initially arrive and be greeted by your Wellcation ‘coordinator’ — signals your approach; taking you up onto a terrace flanked by keening trees, pebble-strewn channels and row upon row of candelabra-esque lights. Lodgings are located at the end of this area, directly atop the 6th-floor bathhouse facilities.
Even before decamping to your private quarters, there’s an atmosphere of calm and remoteness that most Hong Kong hotels will be hard-pressed to replicate — never mind those operating in the midst of Tsim Sha Tsui. In spite of glittering nocturnal views overlooking Salisbury Road, your immediate surroundings on the 7th floor give the uncanny impression, much of the time, of a resort in Phuket; complete with birdsong, dense canopies of greenery, and very little in the way of noise pollution.
As in the surrounding hotel, the grounds at Asaya have been designed with the aid of New York-based Tony Chi Studio. For Chi, texture and colour are the primary channels of creative expression: both the private and public spaces share in a similarly dulcet palette of sand, ecru and other neutrals; whilst providing a striking backdrop against which to bask in Asaya’s truly varied array of greenery. Indoors, mineral rock and stone account for many of the built surfaces; and (to nobody’s surprise) there is an emphasis on crafting wide airy rooms that possess a distinctly ‘domestic’ edge — in spite of all their grandeur.
Overnight guests at Asaya always reside in one of two ‘lodges’ — vast, freestanding signature suites that are not replicated anywhere else on Rosewood’s premises. At just south of 1,000 sq. ft. there’s abundant space (and more importantly, privacy) to entertain — even if each lodge has been designed with an optimal occupancy of two in mind. Aside from a self-contained bedroom and sitting area (both using similar design accents to what you’ll find throughout the rest of Asaya) each lodge’s killer feature is a powder room that has been tailormade for private treatments. Just as well, since the 24 and 48-hour Wellcation packages include a choice of facial/body treatments, performed in the comfort of your own lodgings.
In the suite’s wet areas, the scale is equally spa-like and impressive. A narrow strip of window (frosted for privacy, of course) runs across the triple-height ceiling; with an oversized soaking tub/bath salt trolley combo — usually the centrepiece of smaller, Hong Kong-side hotel rooms — tucked away in one corner. It is, to borrow a phrase from every fictional media mogul’s favourite cousin, an “abundance of footage” — let down, ever so slightly, by the absence of a few in-room amenities (e.g. a safety deposit box).
Service & Facilities: 9/10
For the duration of your stay, guests’ needs are exclusively attended to by the Asaya urban wellness team. To that end, service is pitched at a calibre commensurate with what you’ll have experienced on your last spa appointment or poolside sojourn — notwithstanding one or two lapses which tend to occur when staff from the main hotel insert themselves into the picture. (Pro tip: Should you choose to take your breakfast in the courtyard adjoining the shared ‘Glass House’ leisure space, please note that this meal is prepared by the same kitchen responsible for Rosewood’s in-room dining.)
Fortunately, Asaya’s resident wellness practitioners — who you’ll inevitably end up spending significant time with, as part of each Wellcation’s therapeutic/sports science inclusions — are uniformly effective. Whether you’re looking to address concerns of the mind, body, or something in-between; each session is individualised enough that you can transmute discoveries made during your time at Asaya back into daily life.
Food & Drink: 8/10
With the exception of breakfast — a light repast with the option of being set-up on Asaya’s grounds or inside your own lodge — all of the sipping and supping you’ll be doing occurs within the confines of the eponymous Asaya Kitchen. A partially al fresco space adjacent to the hotel’s 25-metre infinity pool, the menu here has benefited from something of an overhaul since the restaurant’s early days as a wellness-centric destination. Now, the cuisine of Executive Chef Renaud Marin (formerly of Upper Modern Bistro) has evolved into something more ‘health-adjacent’ — and is all the better for it.
Using many of the principal ingredients of the Mediterranean diet — olive oil, legumes, unprocessed cereals, seafood — dishes are brimming with the sort of energetic, seasonal flavour you’d hope to eat when surrounded by so much water and greenery. But that isn’t to say you’ll leave half-full — not by a long shot. For Wellcation guests, take the headache out of your itinerary and spring for a bit of everything with the 4-course set lunch menu.
A plateful of lobster cooked in its own bisque and served over cavatelli; or a king crab tartlet topped with dill and roasted beets: this is all satisfying cooking, prepared with tip-top ingredients that just so happens to possess as much sustenance for the body as it does for the soul.
FINAL RATING: 8.5/10
PERFECT FOR: Couples and families who enjoy taking their R&R together, without skimping on any of the 5-star trimmings.
Asaya Hong Kong, 6/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 3891 8588