Lion dances and a piggyback as The Upper House opens its doors

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 October, 2009, 12:00am

Piggybacking on the National Day fireworks show, Swire Hotels hosted a soiree on Thursday night to unveil The Upper House, 117 rooms of refined accommodation at Pacific Place (it's located on the floors above the JW Marriott but with its own entrance and lobby adjacent). The idea, of course, was to show off the drop-dead harbour view, particularly from its 49th floor Cafe Gray Deluxe restaurant. What better showcase than half an hour of pyrotechnics.

'It's a significant day not just for us but the country too,' general manager Dean Winter told the swanky crowd. 'Sixty years ago, this was a barracks for the British.' Now, the on-site bunks are a tad more comfortable, catering to the same tasteful affluent clientele who also check in at Park Hyatts.

Some of the principals, though, appeared to be too busy to take in the light show. Chef Gray Kunz was orchestrating his army of cooks to keep a steady stream of canap?s coming, while designer Andre Fu was compelled to offer personal tours and explanations of his rooms and suites. He was particularly enthusiastic about all the eco-material he used. When asked how many of these tours he'd given, Fu said he'd lost count. Another guest had another question but the design visionary shot back: 'Let me guess: you want to know how old am I? I am 34.' Actually, that wasn't what she wanted to ask, but it seems the stylist is ever self-conscious about his baby face.

The Upper House opened officially on Friday, with all the Swire executives in attendance and the inevitable lion dance to invite good fung shui. Chef Kunz was game for the tradition and offered some lettuce (and probably a red packet) to the auspicious lion.