A Rejuvenating Birthday at Four Seasons Hong Kong

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As of March 10, 2021, Hong Kong’s borders are closed to all visitors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic except for Hong Kong citizens and residents. A negative COVID-19 test is required prior to arrival from high-risk countries and a 21-day hotel quarantine is mandatory for all arrivals. Please note that this blog post serves as a reference for travel later in the future. Nonessential travel is not recommended at this time.

Two weeks ago, I turned 31. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, but since I had spent my 30th birthday in quarantine after returning from London at the beginning of the pandemic, I wasn’t going to object to doing something special this year. As COVID-19 restrictions have eased in Hong Kong, as well as case numbers continuing to decrease (0 new cases were recorded during our visit), I was looking forward to a more “normal” birthday. So when the Four Seasons Hong Kong invited me for a rejuvenating staycation over my birthday weekend, which happens to coincide with the Four Seasons brand’s birthday, I packed my bags several days beforehand and couldn’t wait to finally visit one of the most renowned luxury hotels in the city.

The Four Seasons Hong Kong is conveniently located in Central, right next to the famous IFC Tower and IFC Mall as well as the Central ferry piers and MTR stations. Home to several Michelin-starred restaurants and boasting some of the most personal and enjoyably hospitality, it’s very easy to see why Four Seasons Hong Kong is one of the best hotels in Hong Kong. Overlooking Victoria Harbour and with some of the most beautiful views of the city, calling this spot home for a few days was something I would never forget. On top of celebrating my birthday, I’d be here to indulge in their Sleep Well program as well as their Taste of a Dragon staycation package.

Day 1

Our staycation was scheduled to begin in the afternoon on my birthday, so when I woke up in the morning my beau made me birthday waffles before we grabbed our bags and made our way to the Four Seasons Hong Kong. This was my third time staying at a Four Seasons property (I’ve previously stayed at their hotels in Whistler and in Hội An), but this was my first time staying at the iconic Four Seasons in Hong Kong. The Four Seasons hotel, along with the connecting IFC Tower and mall, looks like it’s made of glass. With the Hong Kong skyline reflecting off of it, it’s hard to miss it when admiring Hong Kong Island from Kowloon or onboard a ferry. If I take a ferry to Central from my neighborhood, the Four Seasons majestically awaits me as the ferry pulls into the pier below.

After checking in, we were escorted to our spacious one-bedroom harbour view suite overlooking Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. The first thing I saw upon entering the suite was the 100+ floor ICC tower across the harbour, with the sun reflecting off the building and bouncing into our room to light up our room. Awaiting us was a lovely birthday card handwritten by the hospitality staff, balloons, chocolate cake, champagne, and a bottle of one of my favorite wines from Napa Valley. The Four Seasons goes above and beyond for birthday celebrations (we celebrated my beau’s birthday at the Four Seasons The Nam Hai in January 2020), and I was feeling extremely grateful and at home on such a special day. On top of all this, if I ever needed anything, including just to order some late night hot chocolate, the Four Seasons app has a Whatsapp feature to simply text someone with my request any time of day.

In-room Afternoon Tea

For about half of the pandemic, Hong Kong put severe restrictions on restaurants and dining outlets to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some restrictions included not being allowed to eat at restaurants after 6 pm (delivery and takeaway were still allowed) and only 2 people were allowed at a table (yes, that meant with a family of five, one person would have to eat by themselves). A lot of hotels began to switch to private dining in your room, romanticizing the setting and making the experience feel ultra private and exclusive.

The Four Seasons Hong Kong offers in-room afternoon tea (as well as in their lobby Lounge). The benefit of having an in-room afternoon tea experience meant we had the room to ourselves and since we were on the 38th floor, we had a bird’s eye view of the city as we indulged in delicious delicacies and English breakfast tea. From egg salad sandwiches to fresh scones (some of the best in the city!) to mini red velvet cakes, this private romantic afternoon tea was the perfect way to kick off my birthday staycation.

Happy Hour at Caprice Bar

After our in-room afternoon tea, we slowly unpacked and watched a bit of TV before getting ready for some wine and cheese at Caprice Bar before our dinner reservation at Lung King Heen. Named one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, this exclusive, intimate bar is tucked in the corner of award-winning French restaurant Caprice. After walking down a hallway of vintage wine bottles (yes, I squealed), I suddenly found myself surrounded by plush seats, a fireplace, dim lights, and views overlooking Victoria Harbour that helped add to the coziness.

 

With an extensive wine list that made my tail wag, I selected a Burgundy red wine (it’s my latest obsession) while my beau decided to try something from their unique cocktail list, a special twist on the classic Old Fashioned. Since our dinner reservation was still at least an hour and a half away, we decided to enjoy some French cheese with our drinks and ordered a board of all their cheese selections. My standout favorites were the goat cheese and the Four Seasons’s signature cheese.

Birthday Dinner Outfit

Rotate Birger Christensen dress // Amina Muaddi heels (similar here and here) // Loeffler Randall bag

Dinner at Lung King Heen

Confession: I’ve been wanting to dine at the award-winning, Michelin-starred Lung King Heen, which means “view of the dragon”, for months. Lung King Heen was the first Chinese restaurant to be awarded 3 Michelin stars, and for 13 consecutive years they have retained that prestigious honor. I was beyond excited to finally get to experience this culinary wonder. As part of the Four Seasons’s Taste of a Dragon staycation package, part of the offer is an 8-course set menu curated by Chef Chan Yan Tak (he were kind enough to accommodate my many allergies and dietary restrictions). So what kind of food did we eat? Well I’m about to tell you, and as I type this sentence I am already drooling at the tasty memories of each course.

First things first, after serving us chilled glasses of sparkling tea, the sommelier helped us select a delicious bottle of wine that would pair well with our meal. Like I mentioned before, I’m currently on a Burgundy wine kick, particularly wine from St.-George-Nuits (thanks to my wine school for helping me discover this new favorite), so he helped us select a wine that’s pretty exclusive and isn’t easy to find (bottle of wine is not included in the set menu).

Now onto the food. Honestly I do not even know where to begin and I apologize if I use the same adjectives to describe the food. First of all, let me just say the whole dinner was out of this world. I’m pretty sure the only words spoken at our dinner table for the entire evening was, “Oh my gosh” and “Holy crap”. Otherwise we had no words because we were blown away by the food. Swipe through the images below to read descriptions about each dish in our 8-course set menu.

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Amuse Bouche

To start, the chef prepared for us an amuse bouche of fresh vegetables on a homemade rice cracker. It sounds simple, but simple it was not. The vegetables were seasoned and marinated, and the rice cracker added a nice crunch.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

First course

For the first course, we dined on deep fried crab shell stuffed with onions and fresh crab meat. From the first bite we already knew we were in for a treat with our meal. The fried crab shell was perfectly crispy and the crab meat inside was delicious and creamy.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Second course

For our second course, the chef served us superior pottage with shredded chicken, which is reminiscent of a thick, creamy chicken soup but without the cream. This was one of those dishes where all we kept saying to one another was “Oh my gosh.” I needed to save room for all the other courses but I couldn’t help myself and I finished every last drop of pottage.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Third course

For the third course, we were served steamed star garoupa fish with ginger and spring onions in a bamboo basket. Garoupa fish is a delicate white fish and is something quite commonly found at Hong Kong restaurants. Prior to coming to Hong Kong, I had never had it before. When served with ginger and soy sauce, it’s delicious and refreshing.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Fourth course

By the fourth course I’ll admit I was starting to feel a little full, but luckily the courses are spaced out giving me time to digest. We were also presented with a beautiful tea performance of a Taiwanese oolong tea before this course, enjoying little cups of hot tea to help with digestion. We were then presented with wok-fried Australian wagyu beef with morel mushrooms that melted in your mouth.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Fifth course

For course number 5, I had my very first experience enjoying a sweet and sour dish. Of course you may be wondering why that is. I’m allergic to pineapple, and most sweet and sour dishes are made with pineapple leaving me unable to enjoy it. But at Lung King Heen, their sweet and sour chicken is made with green apple, not pineapple. And oh my goodness it was sinfully good!

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Sixth course

For our sixth course, we indulged in one of my favorite dishes – fried rice. Since spending time in Asia, I’ve noticed that rice typically comes at the end of the meal (especially in Japan). For this dish, the chef prepared fried rice with minced beef and the perfect amount of soy sauce.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Seventh course

As we neared the end of our 8-course dinner, we were excited to dive into dessert. Every other course had been so incredibly perfect, and we couldn’t wait to try chilled mango and sago cream for our seventh course. I’m not usually a mango fan, but in this case I had to give it a try. It was a welcome treat to conclude a memorable meal.

Click the arrow under the picture for the next course.

Eighth course

For the grand finale, after 7 incredible courses, the chef prepared some petit fours with a candle to wish me a happy birthday. It was a very happy birthday indeed. I felt so lucky I got to spend it at Lung King Heen. We immediately began to consider to make it a tradition to eat at Lung King Heen for my birthday each year in the future.

Day 2

After a restful deep sleep, we woke up the next morning to a cool and cloudy Hong Kong. This day was going to be all about rest and relaxation, and despite wanting to take some cool photos for the hotel, we made a deal to keep everything slow paced and simple for the day. Our itinerary wasn’t overwhelming, so we slept in (something I don’t usually do especially with a puppy at home) and ordered room service for breakfast.

Along with local and western breakfast options, I was excited to see Japanese breakfast as an option because that’s usually my go-to breakfast choice for room service in Hong Kong. Along with marinated salmon, miso soup, and rice, I also ordered some dim sum because I will never say no to har gow (shrimp dumpling). I used to be all about sweet and carb-heavy breakfasts, but since spending time in Asia, I prefer savory dishes and seafood. Plus it’s all so beautifully presented and delicious!