In Depth

Four Seasons Pop Down Hong Kong: what exactly is a pop down?

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As the Hong Kong offshoot of Art Basel wound down this weekend, another star-studded event took centre stage: the Four Seasons Pop Down.

The largely invite-only affair was the fourth in a series of opulent events that began in 2017 as a showcase for the global hotel group.

Now operating 112 hotels and resorts and 41 residential properties across 48 countries, Four Seasons devised the “pop down” as a means of both showing off its wares and sharing its team’s food, drinks, music and design with a broader audience.

So what exactly is a pop down?

When it began two years ago, Four Seasons described it as “a new global series that will bring brand to unexpected settings all over the world, transforming unusual spaces and creating one-of-a-kind events and experiences.”

In Hong Kong, this meant several days of events hosted by Four Seasons people flown in from around the world, culminating in a special appearance from none other than Mark Ronson, who played a 90-minute DJ set for the grateful throngs on the final night.

In its feature on the very first Pop Down event in Toronto, GQ said the mere existence of the event prompts the question: “why do all this?”

The publication put that very question to the group’s CEO, Allen Smith, who replied: “give our people a blank canvas, and they will create something truly extraordinary. The Four Seasons Pop Down is a microcosm of the creativity and passion that is infused into everything we do at our hotels and resorts around the world.”

Certainly this passion was on display in Hong Kong, where the world’s first three Michelin-starred Chinese chef Chan Yan Tak was giving away his pork buns to passing punters on the street, while another of the group's chefs Marshall Allen Roth had created a Willy Wonka inspired dish, which was a complete meal contained in a single bite. 

Elsewhere, the hotel sent a select group of invitees for an eight Michelin-starred meal, which began with sushi at the two Michelin-starred Sushi Saito, the only offshoot of the original Sushi Saito located in Tokyo – regarded by many as the best sushi restaurant in the world. Next up, mains were served at the hotel’s three Michelin-starred French restaurant Caprice, followed by a final stop at Chef Tak’s Lung King Heen

At the end of the whirlwind event, The Week Portfolio sat down with Simone Zanoni, the head chef of Le George, the restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, the George V, to hear his take on what the Pop Down was all about. 

“For us it is a way to show who we are,” Zanoni said. “It is about showing the quality of the specialisation that we have. The attention to detail, through the decoration through the sound system, through everything that we do. And then obviously it is a party.” 

With guided tours of Art Basel, sunset cruises on an old Chinese junk boat, mixology sessions, walking tours and more, the Hong Kong Pop Down was certainly a party. The next one will be in London this autumn – keep an ear to the ground and you may be able to score yourself an invitation.

For more, visit fourseasons.com

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