Launches and Celebrations
Rolls-Royce guests were out in force at these exclusive events.
Euan McKirdy speaks to Stephen Hung and learns that when uberluxury is part of the Macau tycoon’s brief, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke programme offers a limitless palette.
For most people starting out on the corporate ladder, an entry-level saloon car would be the most obvious mode of transport. But for Stephen Hung, who started his working life as an intern at Citibank in Hong Kong in the 1980s, there was only one realistic option – a Rolls-Royce.
“My first Rolls was a Silver Shadow back in the early 80s. It was a graduation present from my father,” he says. With a fleet of nine cars and his wife’s eye-catching bright pink Phantom Series II Extended Wheelbase becoming the latest Goodwood addition to this property magnate’s garage, Hung says he has the utmost respect for the marque and its values.
“The style and tradition are what attract me most to Rolls-Royce,” he says. “We already have a Phantom in Macau and a Ghost in Hong Kong.The Phantom Series II offers aesthetic and functional updates, which we like.”
Hung cuts a colourful figure with his fashion sensibilities and trademark shock of red hair. His automotive choices similarly reflect his sar torial sensibilities – plenty of personalisation jobs, including his distinctive orange-and-carbon black Ghost.
He is now 55 years old – an age where, he says, he can afford to do anything he likes. That philosophy has led him to build what could potentially be the most grandiose casino-resort in the world. Hung, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Louis XIII Holdings Ltd, describes his role as “developing the world’s most luxurious hotel and entertainment destination”.
Indeed, the proposed Louis XIII in Macau deals only in superlatives. Alongside his own ambitious description of the project, the 200-room hotel will feature what he describes as the world’s most extravagant suite.The cost? Almost US$130,000 (S$164,000) a night.
In a nod to neighbouring Hong Kong’s own famed Peninsula Hotel and its legendary fleet of Phantoms, Hung’s visionary project is to own the largest Phantom fleet in the world.
As plans for the construction of this grand vision continues apace, Hung and his wife – the impossibly glamorous Deborah Valdez-Hung – turn their attention to her birthday.
Hung describes his other half and himself as “one of the most interesting couples you can find in the world”.The hugely romantic duo find themselves flitting across the planet frequently, from Macau and Hong Kong to Paris, Milan, New York City, Los Angeles and Valdez-Hung’s native Mexico. Hung says that they love each other passionately. “What drives me? Love! Love of my family, love of my work,” he says matter-of-factly. When Valdez-Hung is not in party-planning mode, she heads up Dreamodels, one of the largest modelling agencies in Hong Kong. She is also involved in the establishment of a charity foundation.
For his wife’s birthday this year, alongside a no-holds-barred bash held in the presidential suite of Hong Kong’s Intercontinental Hotel, Hung presented her with a bright pink Phantom.
“The Bespoke programme is comprehensive,” Hung says. “The colour is Deborah’s favourite – pink, inside out, and we’re happy to hear that Rolls-Royce named it ‘Deborah Pink’ after her!”
After the car was delivered in Hong Kong, the Hungs added another stunning commission with help from other partners – encrusting all the Spirit of Ecstasy statues on their Rolls-Royces with over 100 carats of diamonds.
His wife is understandably overjoyed with her new wheels, and says that she particularly enjoyed the colour-selection process. “It is the perfect shade of pink. Not too strong, but very soft and girlie,” she quips.
Hung adds that the constant search for perfection is reflected in their lives, and in their support of similarly refined brands of clothes, watches, jewellery and ar t.
“Personally, we always aim for perfection in whatever we do. We are regular couture customers of several major fashion houses,” he says.
“What defines luxury? For us, it is (the combination of) exceptional design, ultimate materials, master craftsmen, doing things the way we want and having them delivered whenever we want.”
It is a demanding definition, but one that goes some way to explaining the enduring respect that Hung holds for Rolls-Royce.