Until five years ago, the Swire Group was internationally known for their luxury malls in Hong Kong and China—beautiful, modern shopping destinations with stores like Hermes, Givenchy and local brands that made the world’s retailers stand up and take notice of the Chinese hunger for luxury and western goods. Then, the group decided to develop five unique luxury hotels located across China and Hong Kong, each smartly attached or in close proximity to their retail destinations. Each of the five hotels embodying a unique aesthetic to their respective locations with the help of sophisticated design and first rate art.
Even though Swire’s properties are on the larger side, they give the feel of a boutique hotel with their attention to detail, art and design. Each one has its own personality too, dictated by different designers. Designed by Andre Fu, the Upper House in Hong Kong has a decidedly zen Japanese feel, while Beijing’s Opposite House by Kengo Kuma defines modern Oriental with clean lines and minimalist proportions and a touch of romance. Swire’s EAST Hotels in Beijing and Hong Kong are airy, contemporary and light. Art is throughout all the properties with whimsical installations such as the Bamboo City birdcagesque sculpture by Kum Chi Keung and The Butterfly Effect by Jayne Dryer, which sees orange butterflies migrating through the lobby.
Swire’s newest property is in Chengdu and it might be their most exciting one yet. It’s called The Temple House and it was built around an old temple. The building keeps the temple’s spirit alive and creates a small village with a cluster of small, temple-like buildings which house shops of all sorts. Nestled among the shops is the amazing Daci Monastery. Legend has it that the monastery was built during the East Han period, which stretch from 25 – 220AD.
One thing that is consistent among the properties is the open floor plans, which makes all the rooms feel spacious and comfortable. Inviting bathrooms feature wood Japanese style bathtubs with amazing city views that tempt travelers to stay in and soak away the aches of a long journey while surveying the city that awaits.
The hotel restaurants and bars are a mix of cultures with designs (and cuisine) on par with anything found in Paris or London. At the Opposite House, the Chinese restaurant Jing Yaa Tang, offers authentic regional dishes, including a superlative Peking duck cooked in an oven fired with date wood. The hotel Tea House only serves delicious unique vegetarian dishes that make animal products seem totally unnecessary.
Swire’s hotels cater to both local and international, business and leisure travelers that demand a flawless, effortless and hassle-free experience. Starting with the little things that really do make a travelers life easier like the paperless check-in, to the staff’s willingness to help—and learn their guests by name. Starting September 1st a smartphone named “The Handy” will be provided in the rooms in EAST Hong Kong, allowing for easy calls to five countries, US included, and lists of the best places curated by locals, plus the use of the GPS map to make sure visitors don’t get lost.
Swire Group is getting ready to venture outside of the Far East with a property in downtown Miami. Pursuant to their philosophy, they will have an EAST hotel attached to their exciting new Brickell City Center, a multi-story luxury mall. The property will open in 2016, and will embody in both its design and service, the spirit of all five East hotels and Houses with a dash of Florida flare. Stay tuned.