What’s it like designing hotels?
For me, good design and hospitality are not just about the aesthetics of the project. The big thing in hospitality currently is humanity and bringing human interaction back into hotels and engaging the local community. I often say what we create in hotels is theatre, and we create theatre stage sets where there are actors and audiences. The actors are the hotel staff and the audience, the guests.
Do you have any preference for hotels when you are travelling?
I consider location, design and F&B when I pick a place to stay. And you know it’s a good place to stay when locals dine there. There is no better way of getting a sense of place and culture than dining with the local community.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
Work-life balance is very difficult. My wife and kids would prefer that I didn’t work (as much). I’ve actually turned my smartphone into a dumb phone. I turned off all the notifications, sound and vibrations, so I don’t look at it all the time. I have rules I adhere to in Hong Kong, and one of them is to make the most out of the 70 percent of Hong Kong that’s parks and the outdoors. I sail a lot, and that’s always a good way to balance my life. Everyone thinks of Hong Kong as just one big concrete jungle with vertical buildings, but from where I live, five minutes up the road I’m up in a country park.
Check out the PEOPLE column on The Mag to hear more from the leaders in Taikoo Place.