Launches and Cel­e­bra­tions

Pinnacle (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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