Signature checks in to… Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Traveller: Rheanne Scott
Room: City View Room
Address: 5 Connaught Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong
Date: June 2016
Best for: An old-world luxurious oasis from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong life to relax in plush comfort and enjoy impeccable guest service.
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is synonymous with style, tradition, and luxury. As the flagship Mandarin Oriental property, it provides guests with world-class service and impressive attention to detail, making a stay here feel like a home away from home. Based centrally, it is perfectly situated to explore the city if you can manage to tear yourself away from its five-star spa, facilities, Michelin-starred restaurants and famous cake shop. Its iconic reputation exudes the highest quality in service and style, always welcoming you back warmly whether you’ve just arrived for your stay or returning after a day of exploring.
The Signature factor
The fantastic service from all of the hotel’s staff is a standout feature. You are never too far away from a member of staff to greet you or offer assistance with a friendly smile. The Signature Factor on top though is the nightly turndown service. There is something quite special about returning to your room in the evening with your bed perfectly turned down, slippers at the ready, and a different small, thoughtful gift waiting for you. During my stay, I enjoyed an incredible salt scrub, aromatherapy oils to calm and relax, and lavender spray to encourage restful sleep. This attention to detail and service sets this hotel apart, providing a luxurious experience that will remain etched in my memory.
The iconic, five-star hotel is the Mandarin Oriental Group’s flagship property. At the heart of Hong Kong’s Central District and overlooking vibrant Victoria Harbour, it combines the best of Asian and British traditions in its décor, service and style. Its more traditional style is a refreshing contrast from newer, more modern hotels, offering more character and unique elements that create a memorable experience.
The hotel has 501 rooms and suites, offering either city or harbour views (430 guest rooms and 71 suites), all tastefully decorated with Asian influences, luxurious toiletries and gadgets, and equipped with modern technology.
The hotel also features 10 restaurants and bars, including three Michelin-starred restaurants, a luxury spa, 24-hour fitness centre, indoor lap pool, conference and meeting facilities, and a 24-hour business centre. The focus on world-class guest service is a defining feature of the hotel, making all guests and visitors feel special and attended to throughout their stay.
Upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by doormen in crisp white uniforms who whisked my luggage up to reception. The impressive marble lobby and reception area gleamed in the light, and I was dazzled by the sparkling chandeliers. At the reception desk, staff are dressed in beautiful Oriental dresses and check you in with friendly professionalism, arranging for your luggage to be brought up to your room for you. Classic opulence greets you from the moment of arrival, making you feel like you are in a special place indeed.
During my visit, I stayed in a City View room that gave me a view up into the green, lush hills surrounding Hong Kong towards Victoria Peak. Decorated in dark, rich tones with touches of marble and wood, and furnished with leather furniture and plush silks and linens, it exudes classic luxury. Although more traditional in décor, its open-plan design features modern touches, including electronic Privacy and Valet request buttons, a Nespresso machine, complimentary Wi-Fi, high-quality televisions and range of channels in the both main living space and bathroom, and numerous electrical outlets which are a necessity in today’s wired world.
A sitting area gives you a place to relax after a long day, as well as a spacious desk if you are a business visitor and need to work. Complimentary bottles of water are provided, which are refreshed on nightly turndown service. Importantly, the room feels more like a home rather than anonymous hotel room.
The bathroom was one of my favourite parts. The sink and marble vanity are also in the open-style design, with a separate area featuring a walk-in shower and deep bathtub. One of the first things I do when I check into a hotel room is check out the type of products provided in the bathroom. The Mandarin Oriental excels here by providing a range of luxurious Hermès toiletries in its beautiful Un Jardin sur le Nil fragrance – just heavenly.
Luxury is more than providing expensive, big-ticket features inside the hotel and/or room. Luxury is about paying attention to the little details that delight and impress guests. In addition to the Hermès bath products, my bathroom featured all the little things that you may need or forgot to pack such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, cotton pads, comb, razor and shaving cream, loofah, and earbuds. The Nespresso machine features a large variety of coffee pods to select from, making your morning coffee a delight to enjoy.
The desk area features high-quality notecards and pens, adding a touch of sophistication. Housekeeping would also neatly tie up all of your power cords with a Velcro tie (Mandarin Oriental branded, of course) to keep it tidy. Plush slippers in two sizes are provided, which I couldn’t take off while relaxing in my room. Silk kimonos were also a lovely detail celebrating Asian design and culture while in Hong Kong, alongside the traditional white fluffy bathrobes.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong offers 71 suites to enjoy, but the height of luxury comes in the Mandarin Presidential Suite. This double-height suite features spectacular views of the Hong Kong skyline and harbour to enjoy from inside or outside on your own terrace. You can enjoy private butler service to take care of you in this beautifully designed suite, furnished with classic and modern antiques and artwork through the two bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. Invite guests over to dine at your 12-seat dining table. The master bedroom welcomes you in for rest with Josephine Home bedding and pillow menu.
On my plate
The hotel offers no less than 10 restaurants to choose from, including three Michelin-starred restaurants. Indulge in French cuisine at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Pierre, run by French chef Pierre Gagnaire. If you’re in the mood for fantastic Cantonese cuisine, try the Michelin-starred Man Wah restaurant or check out the likewise Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill and Bar for modern classic dishes. Stop by The Krug Room to try its tasting menus, topped off with champagne from its namesake partner.
Visit The Chinnery to venture back into Hong Kong’s British history with traditional British menu choices, or The Clipper Lounge for afternoon tea. Make a stop (or many) to The Mandarin Cake Shop for its famous pastries, cakes and coffee; perfect if you’re looking for a tasty breakfast on-the-go like I was on some mornings with its delicious selection of croissants, muffins and danishes. If you’re looking for something more casual, Café Causette provides modern menu options available all day.
Looking for a night cap? Head to the stylish M Bar at the top of the hotel for inventive cocktails and incredible view of the Hong Kong harbour, or enjoy the live music at the cosy Captain’s Bar just off the main lobby. If you’re hungry for a snack, or you’ve wanted to have a night in, there are delicious room service options at the touch of button.
I wish I could take home…
The absolutely beautiful deep purple silk kimono – I’m still missing it – and the softest, silkiest white bedding I’ve ever experienced! If only I could also bring the turndown service home with me too, as coming ‘home’ each evening to a perfectly turned-out bed with small gift was the height of comfort and luxury.
The Mandarin Spa is one of the hotel’s best features. Take yourself away from the chaos of the city outside by indulging in the various treatments available. From the 24th floor of the hotel, this luxurious spa stretches over two floors, providing a calm, tranquil environment for visitors with its dark, earthy tones inspired by Asian décor.
Treatments include a combination of Western and traditional Chinese Medicine treatments and therapies to enjoy in its nine treatment rooms, including massages, reflexology, facials and body treatments. The philosophy of the spa is a focus on physical and emotional wellness by providing spaces for contemplation and tailored therapies. Highly trained therapists are on staff, dedicated to providing each guest with a unique, memorable, and comfortable experience. In addition, the Mandarin Salon and Mandarin Barber Shop provide hair, beauty and nail services.
When you check in, you are greeted by an incredible view over the harbour from the spa reception. The friendly staff provide you with a pair of slippers and a cup of tea as you settle in. As you head downstairs to your treatment room, a beautiful and calming water feature guides you on your way.
I chose to have the Eve Lom facial, as I am a big fan of this luxurious skincare brand. After a detailed description from my aesthetician on what to expect, the treatment began in a soothing environment of calming music and light. Aside from the Eve Lom products, what drew me to choose this unique facial was the involvement of paraffin wax in the process. It was explained to me that after a deep cleanse, the wax would help to relax facial muscles even more due to the heat and open pores further.
My aesthetician was attentive throughout the whole process, expertly skilled with her soothing touch. The paraffin wax was great to experience – warm and unusual in sensation, but comforting. Apparently, the effects of the wax are so visible in providing radiance, that people come from this treatment every couple of weeks to enjoy the benefits! Once the treatment was finished, I could see why and would do the same if I lived in the city. I would highly recommend this treatment, as it had instant, but lasting, benefits and felt calm and deeply relaxed afterwards while I relaxed in the quiet, tranquil spa lounge.
The Mandarin Salon on the 24th floor provides additional beauty treatments in a light, airy space with views over the harbour. Come here to enjoy a classic treatment with the famous Shanghainese Medical Pedicure, developed by Samuel So, and provided at the hotel by his family since 1989. This pedicure has been said by many globally to be the world’s best pedicure due to the techniques utilised with specialised blades to provide new life to your tired feet. A must-do on your visit to Hong Kong!
The hotel offers anything to your heart’s content if you want to stay in to relax, work off jet lag, or escape the oppressive summer heat and humidity in the city. Try dining in one of the hotel’s 10 restaurants, including no less than three Michelin-starred establishments, order delicious room service, take a dip to cool off in the gorgeous indoor pool on the top floor of the hotel, catch up with the world on free Wi-Fi, or indulge in a calming massage or other treatment from menu from the talented and skill staff at the spa. If you do feel like venturing out without going too far, the hotel is conveniently connected to many of the business centres with shopping and restaurants via air-conditioned, elevated walkways (technically not going outdoors!).
The concierge is always on hand to help you with anything you need, including recommending dining options, organising excursions (such as our evening harbour cruise to see the lights and music show on the Aqua Luna), providing helpful advice and directions, language tips and transportation. The restaurant recommended to us when we were seeking something fun and authentic was a big hit and absolutely delicious (Ho Lee Fook, if you are interested, located in the Soho area; make a booking beforehand).
The hotel’s location is ideally situated to explore Hong Kong. Hop on the tram to head to Victoria Peak for breathtaking views. A tip for travellers: it can get very busy and take a long time to get to the Peak. If you arrive and there are lots of people ahead of you, I recommend buying the ‘Fast Track’ pass that staff are selling while you wait in the queue. It will save you a lot of time and the small increase in price is worth it to save waiting to both get up to the peak, as well as back down.
Hong Kong is a shopper’s paradise, and the hotel is surrounded by many designer shops and shopping centres to shop till you drop. The city also puts on a nightly light-and-music show, the Symphony of Lights. Admission is free and is best seen from a boat as part of a harbour cruise. I enjoyed the show and beautiful cityscape from the Aqua Luna, which is in walking distance from the hotel. Hop off when the boat docks on the Kowloon side and check out the famous Nathan Road and Temple Street Night Market.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is the recipient of numerous accolades. Recent awards have included being rated as the top choice for Best Business Hotels in Asia-Pacific by Business Traveller UK (2015); Best Hotel Brand by Condé Nast Traveler China’s Reader’s Choice (2015); Best Classic Hotel on Condé Nast Traveler China’s 2016 Gold List; Runner-up as Best Hotel in Asia/Australia by The Daily Telegraph Ultratravel (2015); and, Recipient of Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Hotel and Five Star Spa in Hong Kong (2016).
In addition, the Michelin Guide 2016 awards the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s restaurants with Michelin stars: Pierre (2 stars); Man Wah (1 star); Mandarin Grill and Bar (1 star).
The legendary glamour of this hotel has welcomed celebrity guests including Michelle Yeoh, Kevin Spacey and Sophie Marceau.
The Mandarin Oriental has a relationship with various affiliated airlines, such as British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa, where you can earn air miles from your stay. If you can, try and get a room with a coveted harbour view.
There is very little space in the mini-bar if you want to bring something back with you to keep cool. I picked up some delicious éclairs from one of my favourite places, L’Éclair de Génie, and it was difficult to fit in to keep chilled for later. However, I have no doubt that the hotel services would have assisted me with finding a place elsewhere to keep them if I needed.
Where to find it
In the heart of Hong Kong’s Central district, the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong overlooks Victoria Harbour and easily accessible by car and public transport. Major sites can be visited easily by foot (including by elevated air-conditioned walkways through the Central district), taxi/car, or public transit (subway, bus, or tram).
by Rheanne Scott
Rheanne is a spirited traveller, always dreaming of new places to visit. Based in London, she can either be found exploring the city, or a new city abroad. She loves to experience new cultures, meet new people along the way, and capture new places through photography and words. A trained criminologist, her passion when not working is in travel and learning new perspectives about the world, sharing these experiences via social media and her travel blog www.womanmeetsworld.com. Instagram: @womanmeetsworld