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Sanctuary in the City

Harilela Hotels Ltd. has plans to open The Hari Hong Kong this winter. Poised to be the newest addition to Hong Kong’s legacy of heritage hotel brands, The Hari Hong Kong seeks to inject modern luxury and social dynamism into the district, bridging the commercial pulse of Causeway Bay and the creative design scene of Wan Chai.

An independent hospitality brand, The Hari is the inspiration of Dr. Aron Harilela, chairman/CEO of Harilela Hotels. After more than four decades of owning and managing hotel properties, he has distilled the group’s collective experience into an individual brand.

The new hotel comprises 210 guestrooms including three signature rooftop suites showcasing a layered approach to the design created by Tara Bernerd, the founder/CEO of Tara Bernerd & Partners, an international interior architecture and design practice based in London.

“The Hari Hong Kong is the new HQ for The Hari brand, building on the success of The Hari London, which originated the brand,” Bernard explained. “Taking its cue from its owner, The Hari is a handsome hotel brand, like a tailored suit it brings a London attitude to Hong Kong. It is personal. As with all our designs, locale is everything, and we have sought to contrast the commercial heritage of the neighborhood with a modern, forward-looking attitude. We aimed to create a hotel that felt as though you were walking into the chicest of Hong Kong homes when you arrived. There is a moody, handsome palette with mid-century furniture and striking art.”

Having worked with Harilela for many years starting with The Hari London in 2009, Bernerd created a design narrative where Harilela’s layered tailoring inspired Bernerd’s material palettes—The Hari’s stylistic inclinations are, in essence, a design manifestation of Harilela as seen through Bernerd’s eyes.

“Our approach to design is always a layered process, and we try to ensure that each project we undertake is indigenous to the surrounding environment, and we, therefore, find each one has its own unique identity,” Bernard said. “Drawing upon the local culture, the history, the climate and the atmosphere of a place, we seek to create a design DNA that completely embraces the character and identity of the place it is set.”

More than just a place to stay, The Hari Hong Kong will serve as the community’s living room with a variety of social spaces including a lobby lounge, Zoku, a Japanese restaurant and terrace bar and Lucciola, an Italian restaurant.

Zoku, which means clan in Japanese, takes diners on a culinary journey highlighting fresh ingredients translated into popular Japanese favorites from robata grilled dishes, tempura to sushi. Split into a formal dining area with angled booth seating, bar lounge seating and a terrace bar, the restaurant’s palette of pink shades counter khaki velvet banquettes, leathers, patterned fabrics and sculptural furniture.

Relaxed yet refined, Lucciola embodies the comfort of Italian dining. A gathering spot for friends and family alike, the restaurant will pay tribute to beloved regional classics. Lucciola is defined by a bold palette of ambers and green where timber-lined walls are contrasted by one long gallery wall finished in Tadelakt polished plaster.

“We place an enormous emphasis on the layout of all our projects, before moving on to the fixed finishes and furniture. For The Hari Hong Kong, we sought to maximize the feeling of space within the guestrooms, by leaving the wardrobes open and also opening up the bathrooms themselves. An ingenious system of antique-brass Crittal doors enables the bathroom to be closed off when necessary. This allowed us to incorporate a sofa seating area into each of the guestrooms. The lobby spaces are an elegant home-from-home, with the choice of two restaurants Italian or Japanese, each with its own distinct feel and character. The terrace bar is set in front of a triple-height living wall, which emphasizes the feeling of being in an urban oasis,” Bernard noted.

She added, “A green wall on the left-hand side of the entrance brings nature into the space to enhance the feeling of arriving at an oasis in the heart of Wan Chai. And the wall of patterned book-matched marble in the terrace bar sets brings an oasis-in-the-city feel to the space.”