Enter into the golden lacquer-walled lobby of Mandarin Oriental’s flagship Hong Kong property and you’ll feel as if you’ve been whisked back to the era of sixties glamour – the decade in which the hotel was born. In 1963, the year it opened, The Mandarin, a cube-like structure of 25 stories high, was the tallest building in Hong Kong. While British in character, the interiors conceived at the time by Hollywood set designer Don Ashton were a nod to the Swinging Sixties in London. Think The Beatles and James Bond, and now, even when you walk through the hotel’s $140m refurb completed in 2006, the décor still carries with it that alluring glow that hails from another time alongside injections of an idealized Chinese aesthetic – green-glazed pottery can be found throughout as can Ming statuary and architecture that reflects that of an old Chinese pavilion. The results equal a world-class storied hotel that is a vital part of Hong Kong’s bustling cosmopolitan scene. This is a hotel that has been at the heart of Hong Kong Island for over 50 years.
Mandarin Oriental Lobby
And you feel dressed in elegance as soon as you enter - like the most lavishly attired Hong Kong lady. One of the hotel’s most courteous staff members will take you up to your room – one of 501 rooms and suites that have been cleverly re-designed to maximize the space and add modern amenities, polishing the hotel’s previous design. Wooden detailings with plush fabric on sofas and chairs offers much comfort for the weary business traveler or the couple or family in search of an urban escape. Balconies have been converted into convenient work areas offering a desk with all the necessary IT features. Reminders of the hotel’s Asian location come in the form of charming pottery figurines perched throughout, even in the bathroom, which are handsomely endowed with large bathtubs and television screens incorporated into swiveling mirrors so that you can tune out while watching your favourite film or series or the news. A nice historical footnote is the fact that the Mandarin was the first hotel in Asia to have a bathtub in every guest room.
Mandarin Oriental Presidential Suite
Each morning, the newspaper is delivered directly to your room through a cupboard in the wall. Of course, one of the major highlights is the view. At night the lights inside each room become dim, exuding a cosy air, while outside the harbor gives off a magical glow.
Each morning venture down for an abundant buffet breakfast in the Clipper Lounge where you can indulge in international and Asian cuisine. There are also three Michelin-starred restaurants. These include Pierre, which has two stars, the Mandarin Grill and Man Wah, each with one star. If that’s not enough, there are seven other drinking and dining outlets to choose from. A favourite is none other than the M Bar on the 25th with its dreamy vista across the harbor. Enjoy a drink or dinner here – a most relaxing afternoon is several hours in the recently refurbished two-floor spa (also located up high) followed by a long, leisurely meal at M Bar. Make sure to sample ‘M bar delights’ created especially by Pierre Gagnaire. There’s also a Cake Shop, which boasts mostly international specialties (those looking for Asian sweets might be a bit disappointed).
Mandarin Oriental Restaurant
Many loyal Mandarin dwellers wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Hong Kong. A place where history has been made time and again and continues to be; the Mandarin Oriental is the sweet flagship of the now dominant luxury hotel chain, the one that gave instructions to all the rest. But here is where it all started and this Asian hotel couldn’t be worthier a stay – clearly, Henry Henry Kissinger, Muhammad Ali, and even Kate Moss couldn’t have agreed more.
City View Room, from Dhs1,753