Lifestyle

A new look into boutique hotel, The Fleming

The Fleming
Since urban boutique hotel The Fleming opened in 2006, it has attracted a steady flow of business travellers either on work trips or attending the various conferences and trade shows at the nearby Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. There was no real reason for owner John Hui and his consultant Jason Cohen to change things up, but neither did they wish to sit back and watch the city’s hospitality scene evolve without them. 


The Fleming

That’s why, 10 years after the hotel’s launch, the two decided to renovate. The new and improved The Fleming re-opened in October with a fresh identity that’s both stylish and quintessentially Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong, boutique hotel offerings are all pretty generic,” explains Max Dautresme, founding partner at multidisciplinary Hong Kong design studio A Work of Substance, who spearheaded the hotel’s design. “There isn’t really anything that makes you feel like you’ve been to Hong Kong. [Hui and Cohen realised that] the property had potential to be an interesting offering.” As the brief was relatively open-ended, with the only specification that the design remains on the contemporary side rather than veer too luxurious, Dautresme decided to take inspiration from the hotel’s location: a 1970s building in Wan Chai, close to the harbour. “We looked to the Cross-Harbour ferry and built from there. Since there aren’t very high ceilings in the rooms, we aimed to capture the cosiness you find in boat cabins.” 
 
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The Fleming


The Fleming

Wood features strongly in the 66 rooms, both for its softer quality and for how it was the go-to material for maritime spaces in the ‘70s. A colour palette of bottle green and brass also calls to mind Hong Kong’s maritime heritage. The colour palette continues into the bathrooms, where the walls are bottle green tiles and the floors are herringbone-patterned marble. “[The bathrooms] are a good continuity of all the hardware in the bedrooms,” Dautresme says. The Fleming also marks A Work of Substance’s first foray into the world of hospitality, a venture that Dautresme has long been prepared for. “I’ve travelled all my life, and I’ve always had a passion for hotels,” he says, having grown up across continents, in countries such as Brazil, Korea, and France. “I’ve always wanted to curate these kinds of experiences.” The design studio’s holistic approach to design made it an excellent fit for the project, which required the establishment of a brand identity as well as the creation of other details, such as the graphics and typography on the restaurant menus, and even a signature scent and bathroom amenity line (the products reference Chinese apothecaries, with their hints of amber and sandalwood).


The Fleming


The Fleming

The studio’s background in F&B came in handy too as Hui and Cohen were looking to elevate the presence of hotel restaurant, the coastal Italian-inspired Osteria Marzia. “We moved the reception to the first floor, which allowed us to get a lot more seats in the restaurant on the ground floor,” says Dautresme. “The restaurant also becomes the ambassador to the hotel.” Now, to book a room, guests are gradually introduced into the hotel by venturing through a series of corridors and the brilliant red-and-gold elevator. Aside from this, the rest of the hotel’s rooms and layout remained unchanged. “We were trying to capture nostalgic things in Hong Kong that have been disappearing,” Dautresme says. With such attention to detail, The Fleming is truly a space that transports you to Hong Kong’s past while allowing you to keep your feet firmly rooted in the present.
 
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