Tuve: an artistic haven in a volatile city
“In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” I’m reminded of Orson Welles’ epochal speech performed in The Third Man as I sit in my room at the infinitely-chic design hotel Tuve, looking out towards Hong Kong Bay from my sky-high window, while a seven month-long protest rages on in other parts of the city.
What started out as public opposition to China’s controversial extradition bill has since spiralled into an amalgamation of gripes held by Hongkongers that have been developing since the city’s nascency. The financial metropolis feels tired but electric. The adopted phrase “Be like water”, borrowed from Bruce Lee’s famous metaphor for resilience, is an apt and rather poetic motto. Times of change often spark creativity and if you’re curious enough to want to experience the city in this time of civic volatility, where better to view it than from one of Hong Kong’s most prominent art spaces?
Speaking of the space, Tuve is a beautiful albeit peculiar one. Located on a quiet street in Hong Kong’s less-traversed Tin Hau neighbourhood, its entrance is marked by giant blackened copper and corrugated iron doors. The darkly lit lobby feels like the set of a Mission Impossible bank heist, complete with cold marble, concrete panelling, a gold roof and a reception desk backlit by a grated wall glowing with white light. To counterbalance the drama, the staff are delightfully amicable, from the chatty doorman who helped us with our bags and gave us a rundown of his week, to the knowledgeable receptionist’s recommendations of her favourite authentic bites in the area (think artisanal coffee, lighter-than-air egg waffles, crispy pan-fried soup dumplings and unctuous Michelin-starred curried brisket). To ensure your visit remains blissfully tear gas-free, the hotel offers a handy protest update service, in which they inform you of the go and no-go areas each day.
An inviting honey-coloured wooden lift plays overtures of orchestral violin as it transports us to our desired floor. A change in colour tone sees the corridors painted bright white as we transition from Mission Impossible to something more akin to A Clockwork Orange.
Our room is a calming concrete cube, the elemental nature of which makes one feel as if they’re existing somewhere between something and nothing. The wall of windows overlooking Hong Kong Bay flood the room with light and bring a large degree of warmth into what could otherwise be considered a cold space. The king-sized bed is enormous and adorned with thick silk-soft sheets and pillows, beckoning you to a deep, sprawling sleep.
While the room is stark and minimalist, it’s not without a degree of friendly humour. The rough concrete walls are beautified with fillers of gold paint in a nod to the ever-popular wabi-sabi aesthetic. A floor-length mirror hides behind a wrought iron wall hanging daring your ego to check the state of your outfit and the mini-bar is housed in a playful puzzle pine box, filled with all things gourmet and a bottle of my personal favourite, Martin Millers gin. The cream and brown marbled bathroom includes a comically large rain shower – should you wish to bathe with the entirety of Hong Kong’s national football team, it is a genuine possibility in this palatial powder room.
If you need an early check-out (either to ensure you get to the airport with plenty of contingency time or if the lads have footy training) then the friendly reception staff will gladly call a taxi to collect you outside the door. What you use an alarm for is up to you, but I doubt Hong Kong will have many cuckoo clocks on hand – the city’s citizens are all very much awake.
Tuve, 16 Tsing Fung Street, Tin Hau, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852 3995 8899
The hotel is just a short, 4-minute walk from chilled-out Tin Hau’s namesake station and a mere hop from the hustle and bustle of busy Causeway Bay. Hong Kong Hom Station is a 15-minute drive.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Luxury Hotel
Number of Rooms: 66-rooms, including complimentary Wi-Fi.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Ask reception for directions to visit the nearby egg waffle shop for breakfast or a lunchtime snack, washed down with a coffee from local roastery NOC Coffee Co. For lunch or dinner, visit the wallet-friendly Michelin-starred joints of Sister Wah for curried brisket or Cheung Hing Kee for crispy pan-fried soup dumplings.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Melanie Chenoweth has spent the last decade scouring the globe for the best in food, travel and adventure. She loves writing about bold flavours, beautiful views and new experiences.
Photographs courtesy of Tuve