Concierge Chat

Christopher Liu, Executive Director of the newly opened One- Eight-One Hotel and Serviced Residences, shared with us his thoughts on his career and his new hotel.

My family wanted me to be a lawyer. I literally had my legal career mapped out at six months old when they signed me up to enrol at Eton, then Oxford. I didn’t attend Eton, but I did read law at Oxford.
I joined Deacons in the corporate finance practice and was a partner at 31. I felt burned out, So I was looking to do something else. I chose to go back into the family business and look after the real estate side. I was influenced by my mother's family, with a long pedigree in real estate development. But I had to learn everything from scratch.
And that's how I got involved in this hotel. It was a commercial building that the family had owned for decades. Originally a rice storage facility, it was converted into office premises in the 1990s. When we decided to redevelop it again, we thought a hotel made the most sense given our location; and a good hotel is something we could leave as a legacy.
We operate the hotel as a 4-star luxury boutique hotel. To stand out among the other hotels in the area, we chose to make our rooms extra large, and all the rooms enjoy harbour views. We also focused on the bathrooms – having a comfortable bathroom makes a huge difference to the visitor experience; we strive for a homely hotel: our design draws in the mountain and harbour and we use a lot of wood and earthy materials to create a warm, easy feel. Our motto is 'a home away from home'.
As a single property hotel, we need to stabilise our occupancy, so we are operating it as hybrid, with a balance of long-stay guests and free independent travellers. To keep it convenient for long-stay customers we have expansive F&B options – the Tea Room, with a neighbourhood Bing Sutt café concept, is our all-day- dining outlet; the Common Room serves Italian cuisine complemented by French and English selections; and there is a jazz bar on the top floor.
I dived into the F&B business with a passion: a few years ago, in my first move, I brought over Trattoria del Pescatore from Italy, which is now the Common Room. Today, I take care of the company's overseas investments, the hotel business and the F&B business – it keeps me plenty busy.
I love karaoke and playing mahjong, but don't have time for them anymore. I still love to cook and eat – I'm a sucker for carbs. You can say my hobby now is work – I enjoy the little projects that I can complete and get satisfaction from.
I love Hong Kong because it’s so dynamic, so convenient and so efficient. And of course it is home for me, where my family is.
My recommendations for visitors:
1. Explore Victoria Harbour – unique in the world.
2. Check out the Peak and Stanley; and explore the little streets here in Western District with these last remaining shops that still make stuff like bamboo steamers and handicraft items.
3. Come and stay at our hotel. We aim to be different.


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