The Bethanie was completed in 1875 by the French Society of Foreign Missions as their first sanatorium in East Asia where sick missionaries could recover from tropical diseases before returning to their work. From 1875 onwards, the Bethanie received some 6,000 missionaries and served as an important base for the missionary work of the French Catholic church in East Asia until it closed in 1974 .
The premises were later taken over by the Hong Kong Government and leased to The University of Hong Kong from 1978 to 1997. In 2002, the Government decided to lease the Bethanie to The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to house its School of Film and Television. The restoration and conversion works were completed in 2006, and the Bethanie has served as the second campus of the Academy since then.
Built in the Neo-gothic style, the Bethanie consists of three parts – the chapel, the sanatorium and the service wing – in a symmetrical design and with verandahs on all four sides. Rubble and ashlar plinth walls at the basement level, ornamental balustrades and arched colonnades leading to the verandahs form the elevations of the building. The beautiful chapel is the most impressive part of the building.