Quantcast
Latest Stories

BEST OF CLASS

Why Hong Kong’s Grande Dame remains in a class by herself

By

MANDARIN Oriental Hong Kong

The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is the embodiment of Oriental heritage, but with an eye on the future. And heritage it has, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013.

It lays claim to being the oldest established hotel on Hong Kong Island. (Peninsula Hong Kong is 85 years old, but is in the Kowloon Peninsula.)

Located in the heart of Central Hong Kong, overlooking glittering Victoria Harbor and the city skyline, it is not just a stone’s throw from the finest shopping, entertainment and business areas; it is also connected to these areas via the bridge linking the hotel’s second floor to Prince’s Building.

Much to my surprise, this soon-to-be 50-year-old low-key, low-rise building actually has 501 guest rooms and suites.

Since its opening in 1963, the hotel has had a series of facelifts up until its major renovation in 2009.  What remains unchanged, however, is the Old World charm and service of its staff, from the doorman to the restaurant managers.

Suite Bedroom

There are 430 spacious rooms and 71 elegant suites that offer city and harbor views. Each standard room is between 38 and 43 square meters. You have a choice between two distinct styles: the Taipan and the Verandah.  The Taipan has gentle brown and tangerine tones with spacious seating and a work desk beside floor-to-ceiling windows.  The Verandah was designed in light blue and cream with a daybed and a work desk that can be curtained off from the bedroom area—perfect when traveling with someone who needs to continue working while you snooze. The amenities are the same for both standard bedrooms.

The deluxe suites range from 47 to 77 sq m.  The suites are all perfectly well-appointed with cotton linen sheets (it felt like 800 thread count), Hermes and Aqua di Parma bathroom products, and a pillow menu that includes goose down versions.

Dumbwaiter

A valet box, otherwise known as a dumbwaiter, is provided so as not to disturb you when a message or package is delivered.  I found this feature so useful, especially when traveling alone and you are in the shower when packages are delivered.

Binoculars, multilingual butlers, and even 24-hour technology butlers are available—so perfect for non-techies like myself.  You come in, lay out your iPhone, Blackberry, MacBook Air and whatnot, and they connect it all for you on WiFi.

None of the six Signature Suites (approximately 80 sq m) are alike.  The Deluxe Oriental Suite is an expansion and a further upgrade on the Oriental (i.e. Mandarin Oriental) vocabulary.  It is very special.

The Lichfield Suite is in memory of Patrick Lichfield, the renowned photographer who was a regular guest of the hotel and the man behind the lens of Mandarin’s award-winning “He’s/She’s a Fan” advertising campaign.

MANDARIN Lobby today

The Howarth Suite is classic in the traditional English influence. The Meiji Suite, as the name suggests, has Japanese overtones.  The Tamar Suite has nautical influences, while the Macau Suite is a spin-off from the Oriental idiom. The Tamar and Macau Suites have the most commanding views of Hong Kong Harbour.

The Mandarin Suite, which is the Presidential Suite, is the hotel’s most prestigious, and reflects the true opulence of the old Chinese Court combined with the latest comforts of the West. It boasts seven rooms, priceless objets d’art and double-story height windows in the living room with wraparound balconies. The suite even has its own personal spa room.
In terms of dining, the hotel has 10 food outlets, with three of the outlets awarded Michelin Stars. The Clipper Lounge at the Main Lobby is fondly referred to as “Hong Kong’s sitting room.”  The breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, and legendary afternoon teas, are known for their classically elegantly styled presentation. It has long been the place tai-tais (ladies who lunch) patronize.

Café Causette offers all-day dining and serves “comfort food”—Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Goreng, The Mandarin Burger, and a congee so huge you can almost swim in it.

Cake sculptures

The Mandarin Cake Shop is known for its jewelry-style displays and beautiful cake sculptures.  I was just mesmerized by the artistry.  Captains Bar is a 50-year institution famous for its silver tankards (mugs). The Chinnery, tucked away on the first floor, underwent major renovation a few years back.  It has a nice updated old gentleman’s club atmosphere, and only admitted women in 1990.  The Chinnery also boasts 120 varieties of single malt whiskeys and counting.

M Bar prides itself in the stunning views over the harbor on Hong Kong’s skyline.  Classic cocktails, champagnes and signature drinks make this place a favorite watering hole.

UWE Opocensky

Mandarin Grille and Bar is where the boldest business deals have been made.  The interiors designed by Terrence Conran are elegant but modern. It is where the ever-creative El Bulli-trained executive chef Uwe Opocensky serves updated classic grilled specialties with progressive gastronomy.  It has retained its Michelin Star for three years.

Man Wah is where you dine in a place of Imperial splendor. Chef Man-Sing received his first Michelin Star this year for his authentic Cantonese cuisine.

The Pierre boasts stunning views, handsome interiors, impeccable intuitive refined service, and elaborate modern French cuisine deeply rooted in the French cooking tradition thereby producing extremely well-thought-through degustation dinner menus.

The grilled defatted rib-eye and misfits condiments finished in hazelnut butter truly melts in your mouth. The beef carpaccio stuffed with squid and oyster beef broth was heavenly, followed by Royale-style cepes mushroom with garlic cream and bone marrow on toast.  I barely had room for the thin slices of apple cooked like a “tatin,” frangipani biscuit, red wine juice with black currant, frozen grapes and omiza gel.

My husband and I discovered a wonderful well-priced Blanc de Blanc that was crisp with a perfect balance of Pinot and Chardonnay: Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux NV Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut.  For the Red, we had a relatively young Bordeaux, but very smooth, no tannin and a clean finish: Chateaux Pedesclaux 2006 Pauillac. You don’t need to break the bank to complement the cuisine with good wine.

PIERRE Gagnaire

My only regret is I couldn’t go back this October for the white truffle festival with Monsieur Pierre Gagnaire himself in the kitchen.

The Krug Room has no Michelin Star, but is by all means equally spectacular. This very special room that seats only 12 has no menu.  Instead, the super-creative genius Chef Uwe creates a menu just for the evening.  A menu titled “Picnic” serves meals on a tablecloth of grass with lollipops of foie gras, sandwiches served as croque monsieur but with truffles inside. So beautiful! Then it’s all washed down with the largest collection of Krug champagne outside of France. One must book now for Valentine’s, since the wait list runs two to three months.

Art and spas

The Clipper Lounge is home to three annual art exhibitions in support of local artists, in partnership with top HK galleries like Amelia Johnson Contemporary.  This program was started two years ago by the dynamic and energetic Nina Colls, Mandarin Oriental’s director of communications.

Last May 2012, the one-man show “I Call You Nancy” of Tang Kwok Hin, was based on the life of the artist’s fictitious sister. China is fast becoming the largest art market in the world, and HK remains at the heart of this.  Rumor has it the Mandarin Oriental may be appointed as the official hotel for Art Basel Hong Kong. What a coup.

If you are unable to catch any of these exhibitions, an art tour endorsed by Art HK12 can be booked in advance.  Other bespoke cultural, food and shopping tours can be arranged as well.

The all-time classic Shanghainese Pedicure, which I wrote about last July 27, 2012, (http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/59223/why-i-can-swear-by-shanghainese-pedicure), is a must. But there are also special seasonal pedicures like “Christmas PUD’icure,” wherein you enjoy mulled wine or cranberry juice while enjoying a foot bath filled with cinnamon and cranberry body wash.  Once the feet have been buffed and nails shaped, your leg and foot are exfoliated using a blend of cranberry, apples, oranges, raisins, etc.  All that’s missing is the eggnog!

A baby’s first haircut is a precious milestone. To immortalize this event, you’ll be given a souvenir frame containing a certificate and the very first lock of baby’s hair tied in pink or blue ribbon if you get the haircut at the Mandarin’s Barber Shop.  This assures the Mandarin of their third-generation customer.

In case of emergencies, like your suitcase not arriving with you, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong can help. Three versions of the emergency kit are available—one for men, one for women and even one for children.  They include undergarments, a shirt or blouse, a polo shirt, socks and even a pair of pyjamas. While guests freshen up, the concierge will call on a series of Hong Kong’s most famous tailors to come and visit them.

It has been said that it takes three generations to make a lady.  At 50, the Mandarin Oriental is not only a lady, but the Grand Dame of Hong Kong.

For more information, please contact Nina Colls, director of communications, tel. (+852) 2825 4060, fax (+852) 2903 1685, e-mail ncolls@mohg.com; Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, tel.  (+852) 2522 0111, fax (+852) 2810 6190, e-mail mohkg-reservations@mohg.com; or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Best of Class , Lifestyle , Maja Olivares-Co , Mandarin Hotel , Paskong pinoy , Travel



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
    Marketplace