Anna-Mae Koo, part of the Tatler 500 list, is a force to be reckoned with. An award-winning intellectual rights lawyer, an advisor for tech entrepreneur startups, and a property developer, trillingual Koo is also the director of V Group, the developer behind the new Castle One by V luxury apartments in Central.
Among the 112 units is a stunning three-storey property with a rooftop terrace, as well as two or three-bedroom duplex apartments, while facilities include a gym and 23-metre swimming pool.
Taking five minutes out of her day to chat with us, Koo shares her sources of inspiration, from Gaudi’s architecture to Bhutanese resorts.
Favourite area at home?
It may sound cliché but it’s true, my bed. I have a hectic schedule so it’s always rejuvenating to come home to the comfort of my own bed at the end of a long day or business trip.
I could have the beef brisket from On Lee noodle shop every day—they have the best in town. Their beef is perfectly tender and bursting with flavour, complemented by a rich broth. Whenever I travel to Tokyo, I always make a reservation at Sushi Sawada; it’s as much of a visual spectacle as a gastronomic treat when you watch Sawada-san work behind the counter.
I’m fascinated by Alice Neel’s portraits. Her honesty is evident in her works. I also love Rembrandt for similar reasons, his art is empathetic and observational.
I loved my stay at the Amankora in Bumthang, Bhutan. All five lodges are crafted with Dzong-inspired architecture, matched by world-class service. It’s a showcase for how architectural brilliance and hospitality marry to create a quality experience—something I believe we have achieved at our properties.
Each city I’ve been to stands out, but Istanbul remains at the top of the list. It’s a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, and I’m inspired by the stunning historic quarters—plus the food is amazing. I also love Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan. A morning trek to the National Memorial Chorten has to be on any traveller’s itinerary.
Casa Milà was the highlight of my Barcelona trip. It’s one of seven Gaudi creations on the Unesco World Heritage list. Every detail brims with artistry, from the spectacular roof terrace with chimneys imagined as works of art, to the curved balcony railings and mosaic tiles. To me, Gaudi was not just an architect; he was a brilliant artist, pioneer and innovator.
I love the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Small and charming, it’s a well-curated space that houses a wealth of couture pieces, contemporary crafts and jewellery. Another must-visit is the British Museum in London; you could easily spend a few days there.
Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, really struck me. It’s a chronicle of the 36-year-old neurosurgeon’s confrontation with terminal lung cancer, just as he’s on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training. It leaves you feeling like you’ve lost a friend by the end of it. And who doesn’t love the Game of Thrones series—I’m still waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish The Winds of Winter.
This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of Hong Kong Tatler Homes.