Oh, Baby!

Gor­don and Joey Hui first be­came part­ners in love, then in busi­ness. They tell Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon of the very per­sonal in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Lev­i­tate, their fam­ily-ori­ented spa

Hong Kong Tatler - - Faces -

hen gor­don and joey Hui wel­comed Vic­to­ria into their lives in 2013, they soon dis­cov­ered their in­fant daugh­ter suf­fered from colic. “She would eat, then throw up—some­thing was wrong with her di­ges­tive sys­tem,” re­calls Gor­don. “We went to see a spe­cial­ist and she didn’t rec­om­mend any medicine, but sug­gested that Vic­to­ria go to an in­fant masseur.”

Joey was scep­ti­cal at first, but af­ter a few months they saw a dra­matic im­prove­ment in Vic­to­ria’s con­di­tion. “It really made a big dif­fer­ence. We re­alised how help­ful mas­sages are not only for adults, but also for in­fants,” says Joey. And the ben­e­fits are not lim­ited to di­ges­tive health; mas­sage promotes reg­u­lar sleep cy­cles and stim­u­lates brain de­vel­op­ment.

The couple went in search of a fam­i­lyfriendly spa where they could enjoy mas­sages to­gether and take their daugh­ter, but to no avail—so they de­cided to do some­thing about it. En­ter Lev­i­tate, the fam­ily-ori­ented spa they have just opened in Aberdeen where chil­dren are wel­come and a cer­ti­fied masseuse from the UK teaches par­ents the tech­niques of in­fant mas­sage.

Joey and Gor­don first met in early 2012 at the Ro­tary Club, where Joey was pres­i­den­t­elect and Gor­don, who comes from a fam­ily of doc­tors, was a new mem­ber. “My fam­ily are all Ro­tary Club mem­bers, but I didn’t get an in­vite for 50 years,” jokes Gor­don, who is chair­man of lux­ury yacht com­pany Sun­seeker Asia. “When they fi­nally in­vited me, I grabbed the op­por­tu­nity. Then I re­alised I liked Joey and started turn­ing up early for the meet­ings, saving a seat for her next to me.”

Joey is the en­tre­pre­neur be­hind sta­tionery brand Hand­script, which has a “note­book cafe” in Re­pulse Bay where peo­ple can chat over a cup of cof­fee while shop­ping for pretty jour­nals and notepads. She be­lieves suc­cess in busi­ness stems from hav­ing a real, per­sonal in­ter­est in the prod­uct. “Sell what you love, be­cause peo­ple can see from your eyes if you’re sin­cere,” she says, ex­press­ing a sen­ti­ment that cer­tainly ap­plies to Lev­i­tate.

“Be­fore Joey and I met, I liked to get mas­sages be­cause I played for the school rugby team and rowed when I was younger. Both really fin­ished my back,” says Gor­don. “I think mas­sage and ther­apy was the only way I could sur­vive. Some­times the pain would be so bad, I got headaches.”

For the busy couple, en­joy­ing a mas­sage to­gether is qual­ity time with­out par­al­lel. Gor­don has a packed sched­ule man­ag­ing Sun­seeker Asia’s fran­chises in 11 coun­tries, en­ter­tain­ing clients and at­tend­ing boat shows. Joey’s fam­ily print­ing busi­ness keeps her on the run as well, with fre­quent trips to the US, Ger­many and the UK.

To in­dulge their shared pas­sion for mas­sage while jug­gling their manic sched­ules, the couple ini­tially blocked Satur­days off and in­vited ther­a­pists to their home. “It was a way for us to have qual­ity time while be­ing around Vic­to­ria,” says Joey. “This is how we got the idea of a place where the whole fam­ily can go to­gether—a place where mum and dad can get their mas­sages while the chil­dren spend time do­ing dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Chil­dren’s vis­its to Lev­i­tate don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be for mas­sages, says Joey. The spa’s fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a ded­i­cated play­room, a su­per­vised play area where arts and crafts classes are of­fered in the af­ter­noons. The couple em­pha­sise the need for fam­i­lies to spend time re­lax­ing and en­joy­ing a few hours of pam­per­ing to­gether. Gor­don adds, “There aren’t a lot of spas on the south side of Hong Kong—and I know this be­cause we’ve been to all of them. Lev­i­tate is unique in its fam­ily-fo­cused menu.”

The couple are con­fi­dent in the con­cept be­hind the new ven­ture and their mo­ti­va­tion, which Gor­don com­pares to the love of boats that led him to be­come in­volved with Sun­seeker. “My par­ents had boats when I was young and my brother and I were al­ways out sail­ing with them.” It’s all about chal­leng­ing your­self and fol­low­ing your pas­sions, he says. “When you are sell­ing some­thing that you like and the prod­uct is great, then suc­cess should be guar­an­teed.”

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