When it comes to luxury hotels in destinations around the world, two familiar words that may cross your mind are: Mandarin Oriental. One hotel that came highly regarded once I mentioned I would be traveling to Hong Kong for the first time was Mandarin Oriental’s flagship hotel in the heart of the bustling city. Surrounded by tall skyscrapers, a piercing blue sky, a scenic harbor, and tall mountains in the backdrop, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is no doubt one of the top choices for guests first visiting Hong Kong to check in for a few luxurious nights.
The Hotel & Suite
Class, elegance, and a bit of old world charm awaited us as we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental brand’s first hotel. Doormen swung open our taxi doors and immediately whooshed our luggage into the hotel before we could blink. They then opened their grand glass doors that they have been opening for guests since October 1963 to welcome us for our stay. After being greeted with warm towels and fresh tea, we were given a short tour of the flagship hotel which included two grand staircases. The grand staircase that leads up to the Clipper Lounge is decorated in red and gold as well as dominated by a magnificent painting. After a short tour, we were escorted up to our Japanese inspired one-bedroom suite – the Meiji suite – which overlooked Kowloon, the IFC, and Victoria Harbour.
The Mandarin Oriental team was kind enough to leave such a welcome presentation in our living room, which included egg tarts from their restaurant Man Wah (where we had a reservation for dinner the following night) and their signature Mandarin Oriental fan. Another welcome treat was two glasses filled with jasmine beside a kettle of hot water. Jasmine tea is a very nice change from champagne, especially since at the time of our visit I was just getting over a nasty cold. The Mandarin Oriental’s attention to detail for their guests continued in the bedroom, where a tray of pillow samples awaited me for me to decide which pillow would be best for my head and neck when I slept. Ranging from down pillows, cotton pillows, and memory foam pillows, I ended up selecting memory foam since that is what my own pillow is back home. Why not have the comforts of home when traveling?
One thing that is important to me when it comes to choosing a hotel is the dining. While for short trips I typically like to venture beyond the hotel for dinner, in this case I was eager to try some of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned restaurants. Man Wah came highly recommended, and it was no surprise that it ranks among the top 10 best restaurants out of thousands in the city. Located right next door to the award-winning M Bar (the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail overlooking Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour) on the 25th floor, large windows overlook the impressively lit up city at night, giving an unobstructed view of the famous Bank of China tower. While enjoying a full-bodied bottle of Barolo, we dined on crispy chicken, lobster, and rice before feeling completely stuffed. Next time we will have to try Mandarin Orientel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Pierre, which blends Parisian and Hong Kong cuisine into one.
The next morning, we took advantage of Mandarin Oriental’s room service by ordering breakfast in bed. What is quite common for western travelers to find at hotels in Asia, especially Hong Kong, is the combination of western and Chinese breakfasts. The American girl in me was excited to dive into waffles with chocolate sauce and poached eggs on toast, but the adventurer in me was curious about the shrimp dumplings and chicken congee as breakfast choices as well. Whether you eat at the Clipper Lounge or in your room for breakfast, having the best of both worlds is easy and possible.
Amenities & Spa
Before I even arrived in Hong Kong, I was told that the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong’s spa is among the best in the world. As someone who needs a bit more relaxation in their life, I treated myself to a 2-hour treatment at the world-famous spa. My treatment began with a foot wash as my therapist and I discussed how I was feeling and what I was looking to get out of my experience. “De-stressed and relaxed” was how I answered. My therapist managed to conquer both. After a relaxing full body scrub, I took a warm shower before I was brought back into the treatment room for full body massage with Mandarin Oriental’s signature oil which smelled heavenly.
Speaking of heavenly smells, I fell madly in love with the aroma throughout the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Every time I would walk in and out of my room or in and out of the front door, I’d make everyone laugh as I would enthusiastically take a deep breath and sigh a deep, happy sigh. When I was informed I could buy the scent from the hotel shop in the form of a room spray, I’ve never bolted faster to a store in my life. I currently have the bottle beside me, and every time I spray its fresh scent of freesia and osmanthus flowers, I’m reminded of my visit to the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
The Mandarin Oriental’s prime location in Central makes it the perfect place to put your feet up or rest after a day of exploring Hong Kong Island (or depleting your bank account with all the magnificent shopping that’s a stone’s throw away from the front steps). The famous Star Ferry is only a 5-10 minute walk away if you’re looking to journey across the harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui. The IFC, which is home to hundreds of shopping stores including Lane Crawford, Zara, Chanel, and Diptyque (and Shake Shack on the roof!), is also just steps away. Hong Kong is a great city for walking, especially if you’re a city girl like me, so I would take advantage of that when it comes to exploring the city.
The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong was a perfect introduction to luxury hotels in Hong Kong. It’s reputation preceded my visit, and I am so looking forward to returning again to explore more of what this grand flagship and iconic hotel has to offer especially through the holiday and spring seasons.