Luxury loos are 'British, not bling'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 January, 2009, 12:00am

Just moved into the Ruttonjee Centre's gallery of fine home-design shops is Czech & Speake's bathroom range. If you've ever relieved yourself in the China Club's lavatory, then you've seen their posh English fixtures and taps.

Actually, toilets aren't even Czech & Speake's thing, as founder Frank Sawkins explained. 'It's all about bathing, not just baths,' the Jermyn Street shop owner said, citing the mahogany panel cabinets with white porcelain sinks and marble tops as examples of their classic and luxury loos. 'We're British. We're not bling.' The Hong Kong shop is actually the first stand-alone store outside England.

Sawkins has been visiting Hong Kong for 25 years, so he's well aware of the local market's willingness to pay premium prices. 'We have a few dedicated customers here, so it was a matter of finding the right partner and the right location. We waited a year for this shop.' Joining Sawkins at the official opening on Friday was Denise Lau Sze-wai, executive director of Sawkins' local partner BSC Group. She likes Czech & Speake because it reminds her of her school days in London. 'I lived in England for 10 years and it reminds me of it.'