Designed for ‘those in the know’—the utra-stylish Hari Hotel, which first debuted in London in 2018, will open its doors in the up-and-coming district of Wan Chai, Hong Kong this year. Like the London location, the Hari Hong Kong embraces the brand’s signature elegance thanks to London designer Tara Bernerd of Tara Bernerd & Partners’ timeless style, which she has injected into both locations.
“The Hari Hong Kong brings the charm and elegance of the Hari London, while simultaneously delving into the energy and dynamism of bustling Hong Kong,” says Bernerd. “As with so many of our projects, we have drawn on the vibrant culture and history of the area as inspiration. It is a project that is very close to my heart. We worked closely with my client and dear friend [Harilela Hotels CEO] Dr. Aron Harilela and we are almost telepathic in our vision, which is a magical combination.”
As with all Tara Bernerd & Partners’ designs, locale is everything. Set within the creative design scene of Wan Chai, Hari Hong Kong introduces and beautiful crossover of the area’s commercial heritage and a contemporary forward-looking attitude.
“Wan Chai is an area I remember well from my early design years,” says Bernerd. “It has a lively and rich heritage and we are thrilled to be a part of its re-emergence.”
For the interiors, the design team took a layered approach to ensure the project is indigenous to the area, and therefore finds its own unique identity—a process the firm has come to develop a reputation for. People don’t visit Hari Hotels for just the glamorous, high-end hotel experience, but rather to be immersed in all that the neighborhood has to offer. Local culture, history, and flair are completely embraced by the practice to create a unique identity for the Hari Hong Kong.
“We aimed to create a hotel that feels as though you were walking into the most elegant of Hong Kong homes when you arrive,” says Bernerd. “Like an impeccably tailored suit, it brings a London attitude to Hong Kong.”
Upon entrance, the lobby’s living green wall immediately instills a moment of calm from the energy of the city outside. Cognac leather banquette seating and pale tweed cushions bring contrast to the walnut-toned timber paneled walls and honed gray marble floors.
“We paid particular attention to the design of the joinery wall that surrounds the entrance to the lift lobby,” says Bernerd. “It is an object of beauty, constructed with a mix of two different types of wood, and has been carefully curated with an eclectic mix of books and objet d’art.” Here, petrol blue lacquer paneling is also a nod to the Hari London.
The lobby offers plenty of lounge space, featuring a mixture of seating areas, from intimate booths finished in a fluted corduroy, to sets of two handsome chairs and a table, as well as inviting sofas. Designed to appeal to both hotel guests and locals alike, the furniture is a mix of midcentury and modern contemporary pieces, many of which are designed exclusively for the Hari Hong Kong.
The Hari London offers two dining options, both distinctly different experiences: Italian restaurant Lucciola and Japanese option Zoku.
“At Lucciola, we wished to encapsulate the spirit of Italy,” says Bernerd. “A fresh green-and-white patterned encaustic tile has been used throughout on the floor. One corner of the restaurant is bordered with a wraparound cognac leather and velvet banquette seat, with freestanding tables in the middle, and taller stool seating at the bar. Behind the banquette is a long art gallery wall, finished in Tadelakt polished plaster, which brings drama to the space.”
Japanese restaurant Zoku Restaurant & Terrace is located one floor above and features a playful, pink-fringed light, playing off velvet banquettes and leathers, and contrasting khaki dining chairs. Featuring a more traditional dining area with booth seating in one half and more relaxed lounge seating in the other, the kitchen is partially obscured behind a wall of Crittall with fluted glass.
A terrace bar is designed to easily transition from day-to-night and features a three-story green wall on the facade above the terrace, adding to the sense of being in an oasis in the heart of a bustling city. A palette of neutral linens paired with bold pops of patterned aqua fabrics and a marble statement wall add a playful vibe.
Guestrooms feature a masculine edginess with layouts that feel traditional, yet timeless. Suites offer five-piece bathrooms, a separate sitting room with a private terrace, and stunning views of Hong Kong, while king and twin rooms feature dramatic open-plan layouts, including open wardrobes and an open bathroom.
Given the current restrictions, the hotel has focused its efforts on the opening, however the Hari Hong Kong intends to develop collaborations to better engage the local community.
“Community activations are very much in the pipeline for the property, to show their support for the local art and design community through book launches, live art performances, and other collaborations” says Bernerd. “With Wan Chai being such a colorful neighborhood with a lot of history and heritage sites, the property intends to work with local groups to bring creative experiences and cultural/heritage tours, not just for international tourists, but also locals who want to learn more about Wan Chai.”
Photography courtesy of Tara Bernerd & Partners