Is it possible to find sanctuary in a city as packed and chaotic as Hong Kong?
I would invariably have answered no to that question until I discovered The Tuve, a hotel in Causeway Bay, one of the most popular and impossibly crowded shopping destinations on the island.
I came across The Tuve by chance while indulging in a favourite pastime, browsing hotels online hoping to find somewhere interesting and unusual. I was delighted by the enigmatic photographs and poetic descriptive passages, which conjure up the essence of the place with the bare minimum of physical information or visual cues. This was intriguing, going against the normal trend of hotels, which is to try to sell the product using very direct imagery.
The Tuve is anything but direct, it is the most discreet of hotels. The entrance is subtly placed and signage reduced to being barely there, a tiny piece of engraved metal in the middle of a drainage grating on the pavement. This makes the place feel like a secret society and only makes it all the more desirable. You have to be in the know in order to gain access.
Once through the portal you find yourself in a cool, dark corridor and are greeted by a concierge who escorts the guests to the 1st floor reception area, a wonderful place where the textures of pale, veined marble, slatted timber and carefully placed benches are well orchestrated, with low lighting creating the impression that the entire room is hovering. It’s futuristic with an edge of minimal opulence, but without being too self-conscious.
I was taken to my room on the 27th Floor (a Premier Room) and immediately had a sense of having a symbiotic connection to the space, which I have rarely felt . A monastic minimalism was at play but within that general principle was the richness of the palette of materials, luxe and utilitarian co-existing and complimenting each other. Polished concrete floor and bedhead, crisp smooth white bed linen, rough, shuttered concrete accent wall and structural elements, steel framed shower room screening with frosted wired glass panels all composed in a simple but supremely elegant way. The shower room itself was marble marble everywhere, with an enormous shower enclosure, pure indulgence in a city where apartments tend to be on the minuscule side.
My bedroom at the Tuve was the perfect sanctuary. I felt so elevated emotionally and spiritually that I didn’t leave it for the rest of the day, until my friend turned up to collect me for dinner. It seemed to me that I had found my home.
All photographs taken by Ju Underwood at the Tuve Hotel, Hong Kong