Friday, May 23, 2014





Global hospitality design leader HBA (Hirsch Bedner Associates) has transformed Hong Kong’s dated Royal Plaza Hotel into a contemporary ‘retreat destination’ evoking a British-retro inspired design in a multi-million dollar makeover.

Following a two year refurbishment, it has now re-opened paying nostalgic homage to the colonial era – inspired by its proximity to a railway built by the former British governors and the ‘old world’ ambience of charming traditional markets nearby.

A retreat-style ambience is additionally conceived to reflect the hotel’s distinctive rural outlook overlooking a green valley beside the Lion Rock Tunnel in Mong Kok – rare among Hong Kong’s city centre hotels – which “invited an illusion of escaping from a buzzing city to a serene, rural area”.

HBA refurbished the Royal Plaza in its entirety, from 700 guest rooms to the hotel drop-off, lobby, bar, restaurant, Club Lounge, recreational facilities, public areas, function rooms and ballrooms, which were extended to better cater for MICE business.
Mathew Lui, Partner at HBA, comments: “Guests are greeted by classical elements of English retro from the moment of arrival in the Lobby. The ceiling is a modern version of the round curvy forms of colonial British style, contrasting with stylish modern furnishing for a contemporary design twist to the era”.

Metal and wood twisted slats, round-corner finishes and dark metal screens with patterns reminiscent of English retro accentuate the design concept, while chic leather chairs and sofas beneath exaggerated lamps and a blend of dark and light stone flooring provide a compelling, cool contrast. Completing the edgy ambience, sculptured ‘botanical garden’ art on a wall beside reception mimics the natural scenery of the neighbouring valley.

Newly-renovated guest rooms in elegantly muted caramel palette are minimalistic, designed to attract the younger generation of travellers. Purple carpeting with copper-coloured organic patterning symbolises the hotel’s ‘retreat’ concept, providing a vibrant contrast to a large black glass mirror and textured walls with selected wood panel finishes, timber work desk, chair, and night tables. Never boring, no two fittings inside a room are the same, with HBA-designed   bedside tables and lamps throughout. Glass separates the bathroom, used to subtly extend the space. Here, high-grade black marble and custom metalwork, including a ceiling-suspended towel rack, evokes a luxurious feel, while the typical rounded corners of the English retro detailing continue through the design of the vanity mirror, counter, and ceiling design.

Royal Club Floor guests can bask in the glow of an earthier palette in a world of contemporary comfort from designed ergonomic chairs. Mini bar cabinets inspired by vintage travel trunks add a whimsical touch of nostalgia, while light beige marble floors and grey stone walls add spaciousness to glass partitioned bathrooms with bathtub TVs.

On the top floor of the hotel, the Executive Lounge for Royal Club Floor guests is bathed in natural light through skylight metal screens, with floral carpeting and curved ceiling design again echoing the overall English retro theme.


At the end of a red-carpeted “catwalk”, an “English gentlemen’s bar” named Lion Rock after the dramatic view of its legendary scenic namesake through floor-to-ceiling windows is cool and moody in dark palette, with club-style leather sofas, dimmed lighting, and dark timber walls. Ice column-shaped tables where guests mingle at the entrance are designed to resemble “liquor on rock”. A long marble-topped bar with custom-made wooden cabinetry pays tribute to English clubs of old.

In contrast, the new 550sqm, pillar-less Grand Ballroom is themed after famous flower markets in the neighbourhood, highlighted by giant flower-shaped crystal chandeliers. Purple and blue add a romance touch for wedding banquets, while high-gloss light wood veneer walls with bronze metal trim bring warmth to the luxury space. Walls are adorned with luxurious purple and gold fabric, as well as onyx and blue marble selected for their earthy qualities. Brown tinges in the stone and beautiful veins in the marble draw attention toward a floral carpet. New LED technology means the room lighting can be adjusted to create different mood effects, while a stepped ceiling design elongates the room and gives rise to the feeling of three distinct areas, which can be separated by floor-to-ceiling screen doors.
Grand Ballroom_04

Signature Chinese restaurant Di King Heen adopts the auspicious colour red as its theme, representing joy and celebrations in Chinese culture. With design inspired by the Chinese myth of the red string of fate tied by Goddess Yue Lo (月佬), the venue is styled with red checkers and red/gold stripes along the wall panels. As a wedding venue as well as fine Cantonese dining room, these nuances allude to the red string of fate symbolising couples tied in matrimony. Organic gold leaves and warm- coloured floral patterns flow through the carpet and wall paneling, and in the centre is a bird-nest patterned lattice screen, evoking the famous Chinese delicacy.

As a sanctuary of tranquility, the Health Club & Spa was inspired by surrounding natural greenery, as well as contemporary interpretation of English retro, with organic motifs, dark timber, grey colour and textured fabrics. Developer Sung Hung Kai’s landscape architects designed an outdoor swimming pool that stretches the length of the building; a separate Jacuzzi pool is located at one end, separated by a cushioned sofa area that HBA furnished to draw guests maximize use of the space.

Swimming Pool_04

About HBA
World-renowned as the “Number 1 Hospitality Design Firm” (Interior Design) and honored in 2013 at the Hospitality Design Awards, Perspective Awards, Boutique Design Awards, and the European Hotel Design Awards, HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates unveils the world’s most anticipated hotels, resorts, and spas.  Leading the hospitality interior design industry since 1965, HBA remains keenly attuned to the pulse of changing industry trends governed by today's sophisticated traveler. The company’s international presence, depth of experience, and detailed industry knowledge enables them to identify interior design trends at their source, make definitive predictions about new directions and innovations, and influence design standards at a global level.  HBA’s ultimate objective is to add value, raise standards and enhance the brand of a project's owner and operator.

HBA creates the signature look of traditional luxury brands, independent contemporary boutiques, urban resort spas, world-class residences, restaurants, casinos, and cruise ships. From continent to continent, each HBA interior is the result of a unique and sensitive response to location, architecture, and client vision. With over 1,000 designers around the globe in 16 offices and a recent expansion in Asia, HBA is a true global company with more than 75% of its employees now outside the United States. HBA’s international presence, combined with its extensive knowledge of the interior design industry, has facilitated the ability to rewrite the language of design with each new project.

For HBA in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Thailand, Manila, Melbourne, Dubai, New Delhi, Moscow, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Londonvisit

HBA’s expert designers are available for interviews and comments on hospitality and residential projects as well as industry trends in markets worldwide (with emphasis on China, Singapore, the UAE, USA, and Europe).

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