TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Thursday, March 28, 2019
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Melisa Kaya
Hong Kong, one of the world's economic capitals, does not give visitors the opportunity to get bored, with the cultural diversity it hosts, Hong Kong offers to visitors an unlimited number of different options that they can experience. TUVE is representing two sides of this diversity at the same place. TUVE, which welcomes its guests with its contemporary design and different service approach, attracts attention with the contrast it creates in its region and the design awards it receives. Since its establishment in 2015, TUVE has been awarded by many notable publishers and organizations. Today, the minimalist design approach is the basis for the most acclaimed design elements. In this context, TUVE resembles a modern art museum with its interiors, rooms, and furniture designed with a minimalist approach. I talked with Marina Tsang, Communications Manager at TUVE, about TUVE and Hong Kong.
Marina, before talking about the TUVE, could you tell us about yourself?
I'm the communications manager for TUVE. I have studied and worked in London before coming back to Hong Kong permanently. The biggest reason to work for TUVE is that I have the utmost and profound respect for the company’s vision. It is definitely more than just a hotel, as its beautiful emotions really elevate my soul. I take part in the house guest relationships, customer experience through hotel tours and maintain my relationships with the media. My role is to share and educate through the use of a convincing story to craft a vision that attracts like-minded people with whom the brand can share its vision.
Who is Pauline, Managing Director of TUVE?
From near and far, life has brought Pauline to different corners of the world to experience versatile cultures and collect stories of people from all walks of life. Being received and mentored by some of the most heart-warming hoteliers, Pauline was inspired to provide a distinctively captivating hospitality experience in her birthplace, Hong Kong, to nurture our hearts for discoveries and explorations.
Her memories of all sorts of true humanity, extensive traveling experiences to the most exotic and unique places, and her passion in everything beautiful led her to the unspoilt spot in Tin Hau, where the familiar serenity of Sweden Lake TUVE is in the air. She fueled her team with her devotion in contemporary art and design with a touch of her own charm - simple, modest, yet supremely soigné.
The result is a space of sophisticated art and design and minimalist sensibilities of which she named TUVE. TUVE stands proud as the perfect reflection of Lake TUVE, space where one could find the tranquility blessed by Mother Nature, and spontaneous surprises that caress one’s senses, as intense as hail or as gentle as snowflakes.
Born in Hong Kong, Pauline started her career in the accounting and finance industries and later moved on to managing a multinational jewelry company. She is also a qualified member of CPA Australia and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master of Commerce Degree.
TUVE - Premier Room
I would like to learn more about your location. Where is TUVE located in? What are the advantages of being there?
Our hotel is situated in Tin Hau, an area that is very close to the centre of Hong Kong Island, the names derive from Tin Hau Temple and it means 'Queen of Heaven' and the area is very rich in ancient Hong Kong culture and history. The hood embraces a taste of the old fishing village of Hong Kong. Together with the contemporary concept of the hotel situated in an authentic area, it creates a drastic contrast in style.
We chose this area because we wanted our guests to experience an absolute authentic side of Hong Kong. What makes this area authentic is the local restaurants, shops, and the local old residential areas that have been kept intact.
Could you tell us about the TUVE and the overall concept?
The inspiration of TUVE derives from a hidden lake in Sweden. The lake is very mysterious, and it is yearning for calmness and simplicity. Our concept resembles the hidden lake, and we adopt this concept into our hotel philosophy. It turns out this philosophy has set a path for Tuve to become the first successful Art Boutique Hotel in Hong Kong.
TUVE has won design and hospitality awards. Could you tell us about the design concept of TUVE?
We try to induce emotional resonance in the travellers with lighting, by enhancing materials' special qualities, revealing textures, letting them shine or cast shadows. The majority of lighting in this hotel is done by uplight from the skirting to create unusual, unexpected directions of shadows and illumination on the surfaces. In places where supplementary lighting is necessary, ceiling lights or task lights are installed with an unobtrusive orientation.
We have custom-designed a whole range of exposed details as the embodiment of refinement, our approach to "rarity". In each detail there are traces of craftsmanship, quietly telling a story about their attributes, their creation and their relations with users and other materials, as in the brass surfaces for the reception counter and the washroom. Regularly used parts shine like a mirror, while the less touched parts are left to oxidize, forming a pattern that records a human touch. By exclusively formulating and crafting all details - even as tiny as a hook - we intend to convey the hotel's attentiveness and refinement.
What are the advantages of being an award-winning hotel in Hong Kong? Please tell us about the awards that you won.
We are absolutely pleased to have been well received within the Design and Architectural Industry. The awards provide TUVE a solid foundation to establish itself as being the first successful Art Boutique Hotel in Hong Kong.
The awards that we have won are as follows:
Hong Kong Design Awards 2016 - This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation, and functionality. Consideration also is given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
The Hong Kong Design Association Global Design Awards - Established in 1972, the Hong Kong Designers Association (HKDA) is the first of its kind in Hong Kong for practising designers and design administrators, with aims to uphold the status of design practitioners and to encourage the use and the appreciation of quality design in the community.
TUVE - Comfort Room
The HKDA Awards has been one of the most established cross-disciplinary design competitions in the Asia-Pacific region organised by HKDA since 1975. To embrace the development of the design industry and the best designs worldwide, HKDA Awards was revamped to become HKDA Global Design Awards (HKDA GDA) in 2011 and welcome entries from all over the world. It is not simply a design competition to honour global design excellence but also acts as an engine to energise a series of events as a yearlong campaign that aims to promote Hong Kong designs internationally and to enhance Hong Kong as one of the major creative hubs in Asia-Pacific.
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards ( APIDA) - APIDA is organised by the Hong Kong Interior Design Association (HKIDA) since 1992. It is the 26th year of APIDA to promote professional standards and ethics among interior design and also give high recognition to outstanding interior design projects and designers.
Good Design Award - The Good Design Award, as one of the four greatest design awards in the world, also makes efforts to make a contribution to the international promotion of design.
This is the evaluation of Good Design Award on TUVE:
“Located in a neighbourhood of garbage collection point, uninviting and dirty side lanes, and blocked? at the front totally by a highway...it's hard to believe a high-style boutique hotel could find its place here. The project successfully demonstrates with sensitivity in the dialogue with this harsh context, a place full of serenity and surprise could co-exist in this alarmingly difficult site. The interiors of the hotel totally breaks all traditions and preconceptions of a hotel in its most conventional sense, with very individualistic and unique details littering throughout the place: from the reinterpretation of copper mirror to the very smart treasure box in the compact guestrooms concealing the desk and chair, gold leaf highlights on concrete walls...the list goes on. A truly creative and poetic piece of art which hints the positive synergy and mutual respect between the designer and the client!”
DFA Design for Asia Awards - The DFA Design for Asia Awards is one of the flagship programmes of the Hong Kong Design Centre, celebrating design excellence and acknowledging outstanding designs with Asian perspectives. Since its launch in 2003, the DFA Design for Asia Awards has been a stage upon which design talents and corporations can showcase their design projects internationally.
FX International Interior Design Awards - It celebrates world-class design excellence with a glamorous black tie ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The judges said about :
‘There is a real beauty in the juxtaposition of raw materials and light, enabling some key elements to stand alone as pieces of art; it represents a real desire to do something brave and different.’
Could you tell us about your rooms and suites? What are their features?
TUVE has 3 types of rooms: Comfort, Deluxe and Premium Room.
TUVE - Comfort Room
Comfort Room offers a queen- size bed and floor-to-ceiling natural wood wall paneling that creates warmth in the space. The room is approximately 17 square meters.
TUVE - Deluxe Twin
Deluxe rooms have an option of twin beds or a king-size bed. The subtle floor lighting combined with the concrete wall and flooring, creates a soft, calm atmosphere. The room is approximately 21 square meters.
TUVE - Premier Room
Premier rooms feature a king-size bed, minimalist décor, and a spacious walk-in shower. The translucent glass panels invite the natural light to seamlessly merge with the space in harmony with the materials and interior elements. The room is approximately 30 square meters.
What kind of special services do you offer to your guests? How do you ensure that each of your guests from different cultures happily leaves TUVE?
Our special services are driven through the experimental design, the storytelling atmosphere which was specially designed for our guests to explore with their feelings. From the moment they walk into the gateway entrance to the lobby, the guests would be in awe of every single detail of the designer pieces, that contributes to the experimental services we offer to our guests. Hence we believe this is truly unique in the hotel industry!
First of all, from the perspective of the design, minimalistic design is a universal language that many of our guests from different cultures appreciate and would happily leave TUVE. Second of all, we could not stress more about the importance of communicating with our guests. We enjoy welcoming our guests and treat them like they are part of our family. We love chatting to them to understand their stay better and how we could improve our services at different levels.
What would you want to say about the gastronomic diversity of Hong Kong? How could your guest experience this?
Growing up in Hong Kong, I’m very proud of Hong Kong’s gastronomic diversity. You could name any cuisines, and we would have it here. Hong Kongers are very privileged to be able to try out new restaurants and new cuisines all the time!
Whenever our guests are looking for restaurants, we would try our best to tailor to their preferences. Sometimes, when the guests do not have any preferences, I would always recommend the best local Cantonese restaurants in our neighbourhood in Tin Hau.
Please tell us about your services and amenities. How could your guests spend time at TUVE?
We are certainly very proud of our staff and their efficient customer services. All of our staff are very warm and welcoming, most importantly they take the initiative to help the guests with any requests. They make all the guests feel at ease and we make friends with our guests!
Our guests would be able to enjoy very comfortable beds with which we provide 400 threat count sheet sets and Simmons Mattress with extra feather padding.
Our guests would never get lost in Hong Kong as we provide all of our guests with 'handy' smartphones. They allow our guests to enjoy free wifi and unlimited locals and international calls*, in Hong Kong.
*Australia/ China/ Singapore/ United Kingdom/ United States
Our amenities brand partnership is Le Labo, which is a luxury premium brand based in New York City. Developed for Le Labo by perfumer Frank Voelkl, the addictive unisex fragrance evokes the spirit of the American West in a sensual blend of 33 gradually revealed ingredients, including cardamom, iris, violet, ambrox, Australian sandalwood, and cedarwood. This vegan, paraben-free cleansing formula is enriched with vitamin E, moisturizing olive leaf extract, aloe vera, and flaxseed extract for a spicy, leathery, and musky shower experience.
What can your guests do when they step out of the TUVE and step into the streets of Hong Kong? What are the most famous attractions near you?
The tourist attractions in our neighbourhood are very diverse, and I would like to categorize into 3 big areas: restaurants, shops, and site seeing.
Where to dine: Tai Hang is full of cafes crowd spilling into an alleyway or an open-air dai pai dong (local outdoor cafe). For a taste of the area’s best culinary chops, try Second Draft restaurant. The contemporary gastropub is a collaboration between local craft brewer Young Master Ales and one of Asia’s top chefs, May Chow. There are dozens of craft beers on tap, as well as one of the city’s most delicious Negronis and a menu full of Asian-inspired pub food—think squid-ink croquettes and Sichuan-esque “mapo” burrata.
Offering a taste of Asian cuisine, Gu Ma Ma is always overflowing with diners. It might have something to do with the family-style dishes, including the likes of Shandong dumplings, spicy dandan noodles, and Taiwanese-style fried chicken. Around the corner, a string of Japanese ramen, teppanyaki, and sushi restaurants make for intimate date spots, especially I M Teppanyaki & Wine, which earned a star in the 2017 Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.
Tea lovers will appreciate Jrink, a contemporary gem with more than 120 house-made tea blends—some of which are prepared in a Steampunk brewing system. This colorful spot takes its style seriously, offering a lineup of gorgeous tea and phone accessories to take home with you.
Just a short walk to the border to Causeway Bay, an always-packed Din Tai Fung promises steamed baskets of its famous hand-folded xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Though originally from Taiwan, the restaurant has stolen many Hong Kong heart with its all-day dim sum menu.
Where to Shop: The neighborhood is situated on the edge of Hong Kong’s most famous shopping district, making it easy to access the city’s top fashion while staying a bit removed from the chaotic streets.
While on the doorstep of Causeway Bay, mega-mall Times Square (Hong Kong’s version is a tower of fashion and food) provides a glimpse into the city’s love affair with all things commercial. Nearby, travelers can load up on Gucci and Louis Vuitton at Lee Gardens, or explore Japanese and Korean labels at Hysan Place.
And for luxury streetwear, Indie shop Ink eschews mainstream names in favor of avant-garde brands, such as Paris-based label Aganovich and breakout Chinese fashion designer Uma Wang, who showed during London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks. Each handpicked designer has a street style vibe and contemporary tailoring—but don’t expect to find many shades other than monochrome in this artsy space.
While Causeway Bay might be the epicenter of style, the quiet streets of Tai Hang and Tin Hau have a few indie boutiques worth seeking out. Microwave, a buttonhole boutique in Tai Hang, is one of the city’s most beloved vintage shops. A stroll through this high-voltage shop will take you back to the ’80s with loud retro looks and even a few contemporary finds from independent designers. Among the racks, look for experimental art and fashion collective Andrea Crews, German designer Bernhard Willhelm, and Copenhagen-based Rene Gurskov.
Meanwhile, Incredible Shop promises a mix of menswear and gender-neutral options, much of which is exclusive to the store. The boutique stocks a shortlist of accessories and apparel, including backpacks from Bagjack that are handmade in Berlin, plus ID Dailywear chinos and supersoft Good On tees from Japan.
What to Do: A wander around the neighborhood will take you past the 19th-century Lin Fa Temple, sporting graceful eaves and a unique octagonal front hall. It’s here where the annual Fire Dragon Dance takes place during Mid-Autumn Festival, usually in September. A centuries-old ritual, the traditional dance features some 300 performers with incense sticks and firecrackers—believed to extinguish bad luck.
Behind the temple, Lin Fa Kung Garden provides a peaceful resting spot. Of course, the tiny square of green pales in comparison to nearby Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, which is just a few minutes’ walk northwest. The equivalent of Central Park in New York City, this green sprawl offers jogging paths, tennis courts, shady corners, and Tai Chi sessions every morning.
In the evening, a handful of wine bars open their doors and tipplers spill out into the alleyways. One of the most popular is La Brezza—a no-frills address with a charming courtyard and European vibe. Where the neighborhood lacks in trendy cocktail bars, it makes up for in desserts. There’s Lab Made, serving liquid nitrogen ice cream, as well as Le Goût and BlissHive Bakery Café—both brimming with cakes and pastries.
TUVE - Premier Room
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?
With business travelers that book directly through TUVE, we offer attractive packages such as flexible cancellation policy. Free Wi-Fi and high-speed internet access had been the province of the budget hotel chains that had consistently offered this service for free to their business clients. Additionally, while business travelers wish to minimize the hassle of organizing transportation, we would help arrange shuttle buses for the groups.
TUVE - Deluxe King
How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations? Do you have any advantage packs that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?
The best way to make business and group reservations would be to book directly on our hotel website or contact our friendly and helpful reservation teams to enjoy the best corporate rate! We offer LE LABO Discovery Perfume as a welcome gift, Complimentary 3 pieces Laundry per room per night, 10% discount on Laundry & Dry cleaning service, Late check out until 2 pm (Subject to hotel availability). We provide them with daily newspaper, Complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, Complimentary local call.
Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit Hong Kong? What is the reason?
Forming the perfect blend of traditional and modern culture, you get the best of both worlds in this city that never sleeps. Apart from the skyscrapers and the delicious food, there are many more reasons to visit Hong Kong.
1. The view of a city’s skyscrapers never looked this epic, let it be day or night time, and it never gets old: Forget the skylines of New York, and make way for Hong Kong, the best place to admire the beautiful skyscrapers, be it day or night. The feeling you get while looking at the 40 storey tall buildings is indescribable and you feel mesmerized by this city of giant buildings. From the Hong Kong Tower, you can get an entire bird's eye view of Hong Kong city and that makes for what Hong Kong is best known for. This makes Hong Kong one of the best cities to visit on your next vacation.
2. For the shopaholic: It’s no secret that Hong Kong is a mecca for shoppers, and the best place for all your shopping needs, whether it’s for yourself or for your loved ones back at home as souvenirs. From high-end shopping malls with the topmost brands in the market right now, or local Chinese markets selling authentic Chinese souvenirs, you’ll find an array of exquisite goodies in Hong Kong. It’s also very popular for electronics, and this is the best place to shop for all the latest electronic gadgets. If you’re visiting Hong Kong during Chinese new year, you’re in for a treat with some amazing deals and discounts.
3. World’s most beautiful Buddhist temples: Temples are an integral part of Chinese culture and there are available in abundance in Hong Kong. Some of the most important temples that you need to visit are the Mon Sho Temple located in Sheung Wan, which is dedicated to the Gods of Literature and martial arts. This temple is famous not only for being a sacred place, but also for the fact that it was a law court of the Chinese people during the colonial era. Another famous temple to visit is the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
4. For the mountain lovers: Hong Kong's most popular hike, Dragon's back gives incredible views of fancy mansions, amazing beaches, and weaves through quaint fishing villages.
Hiking Lantau Island is certainly the exception to the usual over-paved, cement paths that has become the feature of so many hikes in Hong Kong. Get away from creeping urbanisation and get out into the bush. This hike starts at Po Lin Monastery. Explore Lantau South Country Park and follow Shek Pik Country Trail to finish at Tong Fuk beach. This may be one of Hong Kong’s lesser-known hikes, but it’s certainly one of the most rewarding; it encompasses one of Hong Kong’s more pristine nature reserves and boasts some of Hong Kong’s most incredible views.
TUVE - Premier Room
If you have only one weekend in Hong Kong as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
A weekend in Hong Kong is surely one of the most popular city breaks or stopovers in Asia and this page is here to explain to you how to get the most out of the limited time you have available.
With only two days in Hong Kong, you should head straight for the iconic viewpoint which looms over downtown Hong Kong called The Peak. Take the tram up to the top or even hike it if you are feeling energetic. Once up there, you can visit the Madame Tussauds Museum, and just soak up the view looking down over Victoria Harbour. Back down from the mountain, head to the nearby Man Mo Temple for a touch of culture before heading to the harbour. Here, you can enjoy the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, Maritime Museum, and a host of other popular attractions. Head to Tim Ho Wan dim sum restaurant (the cheapest Michelin-star restaurant in the world) in Hong Kong MTR Station, below IFC Mall. Consider crossing the harbour to walk the promenade on the Kowloon side of the river so you can soak up the Hong Kong cityscape in all its glory. Even though the MTR underground is quicker, we advise you to take the Star Ferry crossing from Central Pier to Kowloon Pier as it allows you to experience Hong Kong from the water.
During the night time, head to Lan Kwai Fong to experience how the local and expat community really do burn the candle at both ends. This small block of bars, pubs, clubs, and parties is the centre of all nightlife escapades in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is well known as a tax-free shopping haven, where brands can be bought cheaper than almost anywhere else in Asia. There are so many malls in Hong Kong it makes it difficult to pick, but Harbour City has the greatest amount of choice, so that’s a good place to start. For high-end goods, consider The Landmark in Central. The famous street markets of Hong Kong open in the afternoon and run late into the night. They offer an incredible variety of goods and, even if you’re not intending to buy anything, you should come to experience the bustling scenes, the endless street snacks, and the cosmopolitan vibes. The largest night markets are located in Kowloon, such as Temple Street Market or Ladies Street Market. On the Hong Kong side of the harbour, you can find smaller pockets of street trading, such as Jardine’s Crescent in Causeway Bay.
How do you describe Hong Kong in one sentence?
Hong Kong welcomes with an iconic skyline, a legendary kitchen, a kaleidoscope of life, a sophisticated fusion of East and West, a city of diversity where new and old meet at every turn.
Thank you Marina for your time.