How Asaya At Rosewood Hong Kong Is Adopting A Holistic Approach To Wellbeing
There’s a joke among locals that one of the best things about living in Hong Kong is how easy it is to leave. With travel being so accessible, we’ve become a city of professional escape artists, addicted to disappearing whenever the mood strikes. But as deafening silence fills airports (and airspace) around the world, we find ourselves stagnant—all stressed out with nowhere to go.
Without the aid of a Balinese retreat hidden deep in the jungle or a five-star hideaway cradled by Thai coastline, the past few months have been a humbling exercise in looking inwards rather than outwards for respite. And while remote wellness retreats are, indeed, a treat, does getting there serve as more of a distraction from the end goal of discovering long-term lifestyle solutions?
That is the question that Asaya, the integrated wellness destination at Rosewood Hong Kong, aims to answer. “We don’t want people to see wellness as something you can only attain in a faraway place,” says Erin MacNeil, Rosewood Hong Kong’s director of wellness. “We want to bring to the forefront that improving your wellbeing can happen in your backyard.”
See also: 7 Luxury Wellness Retreats In Hong Kong
Designed by award-winning New York designer Tony Chi, Asaya is an oasis of lush greenery and calming spaces that incorporate light, water and stone. Hidden in this 40,000 sq ft haven are the Asaya Lodges—two standalone villas that are detached from the main area of the hotel and accessed by a private elevator. The lodges (one is named Gardenia and the other Camelia) serve as a kind of cocoon, a place where one disappears in order to transform and emerge as a better version of oneself.
“Asaya Lodges is not a place to go to distract yourself or escape; it’s a place you go to understand yourself better,” MacNeil explains. “It’s a quiet space where you have the opportunity to start evaluating your life and discover rituals that allow you to have a more balanced and meaningful existence.”
Each villa opens to a spacious lounge decorated in soothing, earthy tones with hints of Rosewood luxury in the form of gold and marble accents. The mini bar isn’t your typical mélange of pre-packaged snack foods and mini liquor bottles. Instead, the fridge is filled with wholesome and nourishing options; hand-bottled organic juices and cold-brew coffee, beautiful tea blends and an assortment of healthy snacks handmade by the chefs at Asaya Kitchen.
In the bedroom, a glass cabinet houses Asaya-branded equipment including a mat, yoga blocks and straps. To make use of these, the television has access to a series of programmes created exclusively for Asaya’s guests including yoga, simple exercise circuits and meditation.
A large bathroom is soaked in sunlight. A deep stone tub sits next to a table where salts and oils have been prepared by Asaya’s in-house apothecary-style atelier, and an enormous shower doubles as a steam room at the push of a button. Through the bathroom is a spa room with two massage beds for private treatments.
If you do choose to leave the lodge, Asaya’s heated marble bathhouse, which includes a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and ice-misting shower, is a good way to spend a few hours. As is the infinity pool, which fades into a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour.
Body And Soul
Programming at Asaya is built around five pillars: emotional balance, fitness and nutrition, physical therapies, skin health and community. Its offerings serve to connect guests with the areas of their lives that are out of alignment, encouraging the evaluation of fundamental relationships, whether with food, technology, sleep, physical activity and other people.
“Even though you’re away from your usual routines and stresses, we’re not trying to make you forget [about them]. The aim of a stay at Asaya Lodges is to help put things back into focus, and finding ways to manage them better to give you more balance and more peace,” says MacNeil.
Asaya also offers programmes designed to help foster healthy habits with technology and to build trust and better communication in couples and families.
“I think people are looking for deeper connection,” says MacNeil. “They’re really looking for something to feel connected to. That’s why it’s important to have programmes about how we grow as individuals, and how we nurture and communicate to allow the people in our lives to grow into who they want to be.”
Self-work and self-improvement can be exhausting, though. So don’t feel guilty if you feel the need to break things up with a luxurious massage or facial, including Asaya’s 3D Facial Skin Analysis, which scans the deep layers of skin to assess everything from sun damage to moisture levels and elasticity to determine the best treatments. It’s a confronting process—who likes a mirror held up to their flaws?—but one that is in line with Asaya’s philosophy that real healing can only happen by getting to the root of the problem.
The Rosewood Hotel Group's Rosewood Raise Initiative
When ultra-luxury hotels start bandying around words like “community”, eyebrows might be raised. But the Rosewood Hotel Group is proving that even the most exclusive of businesses can play its part in times of crisis. Rosewood Raise is a new initiative to support both workers affected by the pandemic within the hotel chain’s ecosystem as well as wider local communities in each of the brand’s regions.
In Hong Kong, the Raise initiative has taken the form of providing a place to stay for hospital workers in the company’s Pentahotel in Kowloon, as well as sending lunch boxes to Impact HK, the charity that works to lift some of the city’s poorest people out of poverty by getting them into permanent accommodation and providing employment options. Elsewhere in the region, the Rosewood Bangkok launched a Rosewood on the Move food truck to deliver meals to medical workers and hospitals.
For the company’s CEO Sonia Cheng, Rosewood Raise is an opportunity to give back to her home city during troubling times. “This is really dear to my heart. It’s a calling to support our city and do whatever we can to help the Hong Kong community,” she says. “I believe that as a hospitality company, we’re here to build relationships and nurture communities, not just with our guests, but with our associates with our community. So it’s part of our DNA in hospitality.”
Even after the pandemic has subsided, Rosewood will continue to support some of the city’s most vulnerable by setting up task force groups of Rosewood staff members in each territory. “Our ultimate goal is to build a company that has a strong sense of purpose by doing things that are meaningful and enrich people’s lives,” Cheng says. Even after the hospitality industry has recovered, Rosewood Raise is here to stay.
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