Clubs look to cash in on Asia's lust for luxury

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The Independent Online

It's being championed as a new era in luxury. And even in a country where the relentless pursuit of high-end brands could rate as the national pastime, the Home of Alfred Dunhill has been making a lot of noise.

Situated in the historic Princes Building in the middle of Hong Kong's bustling Central business district, the latest addition to the Home franchise (http://www.dunhill.com) features a signature Alfred Dunhill shop on the ground floor, an 'English gentleman club' style restaurant and luxury wine shop on the next level and bespoke tailoring, among other client services, on the third level. In total it spreads over 6,300 square feet (585 square meters) in a districts that charges among the most in the world for rent.

The premises officially opened its doors this week, following a VIP party last Friday, and is the latest Asian club to be run by a high-end brand, and to opt for the ultimate in high-end luxury to lure people through its doors.

Hong Kong also boasts the nearby Armani Bar (Tel: +852 2805 0028), while Alfred Dunhill has, over the past three years, opened similar establishments in both Shanghai and Tokyo, to go with their original venture in London.

Much international media coverage has focussed on modern-day China's passion for all things expensive - from homes, to cars, from watches, to clothes - while even at home eyebrows have been raised at the staggering amounts the country's new wealthy citizens are prepared to pay for luxury additions to their lives. The latest of these, it seems, is members of the Tibetan mastiff dog breed, one of which fetched a staggering four million yuan (442,000 euros) last year.

Hence, management of clubs like Home say no effort has been spared in their establishment, from the soft leather couches to the on-call tailors - and the partnership with Berry Bros & Rudd, England's oldest wine merchants.

"Both companies truly understand the importance of tradition and integrity, whilst being constantly - and sometimes radically - innovative, at not just meeting customers' expectations but exceeding them," was how the wine trader's spokesperson summed up the deal.

MS

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