Its first city hotel at 83 Duxton Road brings history and conservation together for a new kind of sustainability.
When the owner of the former Duxton Hotel asked Six Senses to take over its property, it sparked the idea of heritage as sustainability: a chance to turn a row of restored buildings (trading houses from the 1860s, and an opium and gambling hub in the 19th and 20th centuries) into something rich in history that would also be green – without building from scratch.
“Often, heritage gets too modern and stripped down,” says Murray Aitken, the establishment’s general manager. “Our focus: maintain whatever it is from the building that it was originally intended for.”
First, this meant working closely with the Urban Redevelopment Authority to preserve the structure’s integrity (no walls were knocked down, resulting in different configurations for all 49 rooms and suites).
Second, it meant celebrating the hotel’s heritage through design (overseen by designer Anouska Hempel) that would be a visual homage to the past, as well as offering complimentary-for-guests walking tours of Chinatown, and consultations with an in-house traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
The third thing: Six Senses Duxton’s bigger vision of sustainability. “As much as possible, everything purchased is local,” says Aitken. They visit farms to ensure the produce they buy is legitimately organic, and only sustainable fish species are purchased. The hotel is also looking into solar power, and chicken and urban bee farming. It refuses plastic products (even straws), and sends styrofoam boxes back to suppliers for reuse. Also, cardboard and cans are proffered to the rag-andbone aunties and uncles who recycle for a livelihood. Aitken is confident that the hotel “will be leading in the industry when it comes to sustainability”.
Alongside these quotidian practices, Aitken and his staff (called hosts, given the hotel’s hospitality ethos) inform guests about its conservation efforts, sharing tips in the hope of inculcating a mindset of sustainability.
“If a guest leaves us after a three-day stay and starts looking at plastic in a different way, that to us is success,” says Aitken. - CH
Rates start from $390++ a night. Enjoy 15 per cent savings until end June when you book through www.sixsenses.com on the hotel’s Best Available Rate. Six Senses Duxton’s second heritage hotel, Six Senses Maxwell, will open this year end. Guests of both establishments will be able to share amenities, which will include restaurants, bars, a pool, spa and treatment rooms, and a rooftop garden.
PHOTOGRAPHY TAN WEI TE STYLING SHAN
Each of the rooms has its own distinct character: The naturally lit Pearl Suite has antique dressers, the Opium Room and Opium Suite have an enclosed opulence, and the monochromatic Duxton Duplex has a bathroom and bed on the upper level.
A black and gold palette at the reception and lounge area.
Also located on the ground floor and adjacent to Chinese restaurant Yellow Pot is the lobby bar. Its signature tipple: Tanqueray gin and chrysanthemum cordial.