Hong Kong Highs
If a sense of impending gloom descends at the thought of a 24hr flight, what better way to get through torture than with a luxe stopover? With a menu of cities to choose from, Mr LML and I decide on Hong Kong with the aim of shameless R&R as opposed to excessive sightseeing.
Stepping bleary eyed from our overnight Sydney flight, we’re greeted by a red suited man beaming from ear to ear holding the sign “Island Shangri-la”. In a handover swifter than a Hawks player we are ensconced in the cream leather seats of an S class Mercedes.
One press of a button reclines the seat and turns it into a personal masseuse as our driver Jimmy connects us to the Wi-Fi. This is the life!
The natural beauty that surrounds Hong Kong provides constant entertainment as verdant mountains and mirrored skyscrapers compete for attention. Sweeping into the hotel driveway, we’re guided past reception as the magic number 52 is punched into the lift and check in commences in our room.
Now there are some decisions in life where in hindsight, you pat yourself on the back and bask in the glory of what a smart cookie you are. Treating yourself to a Horizon Room (because you’re worth it) is one of those moments.
We’re greeted with the best screen saver money can buy – a window on the soul of Hong Kong taking over the entire length of the room with views across the island, waterways and the mainland. No prizes for guessing why their best rooms are called “Horizon” but they deliver much more than just their name. Unlike many luxury hotels where grandeur can be a bit OTT, our luxe pad has a quiet homeliness about it. Sure there’s a chandelier or two but it’s elegantly toned in creams and dark woods. King size bed, 1000 count bed linen, L’Occitaine toiletries, double sink, a shower you can stretch out in and TV over the bath; yep all the right boxes are ticked.
Like a ‘friend with benefits’ our room unlocks a new world of happiness, kicking off with the Horizon Club which is the gift which keeps on giving. By now it’s 9am and we’re starving. With the main breakfast restaurant downstairs, the Horizon Cub provides a refined refuge from the temptation of buffet blowout leaving you looking like a stuffed-cheeked hamster.
We are warmly greeted by name (something that only happens if I forgetfully leave a conference badge on) as the beautiful dining room wraps around the side of the hotel with gob-smacking views. Gilt chairs are pulled out for us, napkins laid with flourish on our laps and we sink into our seats with a latte and respective cappuccino.
We ponder whether to have eggs with lobster bisque or dim sum from the à la carte menu. We back it up with a few goodies from an elegant selection spanning cured meats, salmon, cereals and pastries.
Even when living the high life, there are benefits to descending towards sea level and that means the spa and pool! After a couple of laps and some time on very agreeable sun loungers we head inside for a couples massage. With a men’s and women’s changing areas it’s a minor miracle we are not distracted by the Jacuzzi, sauna or steam room and make it to our treatment room.
Within moments feet are soothed, muscles softly needed (Mr LML is pummeled to death at his request) and it feels like Sydney and the plane journey happened a lifetime ago. We know at this point we should leave the hotel and explore but hey, its Mooncake time and we’ve heard great things about their two Michelin starred Summer Palace.
The dining room is an explosion of colour, murals and more chandeliers (seriously feeling sorry for the cleaners now). It’s buzzing with activity as waiters dart around. Soon the table is bejeweled with dim sum.
Barbeque pork buns are unrecognizable in their golden-tanned, oven-baked skin revealing a smoky, rich filling. Steamed shrimp dumplings topped with roe are followed by handsome Peking duck carved with samurai precision at our table. If there was a duck equivalent of a Twix this is it; a rectangle of six perfect portions of crispy skin, layered over a pancake with a slab of duck breast has to be the ultimate finger food.
We waddle out to explore the mall which is simply an elevator ride down a few levels. With a quick trip up to the Peak and back we are soon well rested and back in our room.
We make a pact to get our act together and head out for dinner in Hong Kong…but stop…Horizon Lounge beckons again. From 6pm till 8pm guests are invited to enjoy the sunset over the mountains while enjoying a few drinks and canapés.
Just as Germans are famed for sunbed supremacy owing to their commitment to early ownership we strategically bag a window table with one of the best views in the house. “Tattinger Karen?” I just have to get used to this name calling thing!! Oh don’t mind if I do, though it’s a difficult choice with a superb Spanish Pere Ventura Rose sparkling calling me. The chef’s delight us with an array of canapés ranging from prawn shumai to mushroom voulevants and wagyu sliders.
Not sure where to head next, we ask one of our servers for their favourite spots. Within minutes a full itinerary, with map directions and reviews appear – even Mary Poppins couldn’t magic up service like this.
I would love to say that we had a wild night out on the town, but sometimes life at the top is just so good, with a loving touch and attention to detail so gracious that, well it’s so rare and so incredibly wonderful you don’t need to search outside for the trip of your life – it’s all at your feet.
What’s the most luxe hotel you’ve ever stayed at? Tell us in the comments.