When the places you stay at are pivotal to your travel experience–be it by virtue of a uniquely artistic design, a special location, in-house events or unusual services that offer extra insight into the city or town you’re visiting
An Oasis in the Heart of Hong Kong Action
By Shana Ting Lipton
Hong Kong is a riveting mile-a-minute kind of city, replete with high octane sights, sounds and smells (from exotic perfumes to not so pleasant scents). It could almost be called the South Chinese Manhattan–minus the notoriously quirky, eccentric residents that characterize the American city.
All frenetic pacing aside, the Chinese believe strongly in the simple principle of balance. So it stands to reason that my most prized hotel experience in Hong Kong would be a poised mesh of different elements: the Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
Part of a traditional illustrious hotel brand, the Landmark’s is a decidedly hipper take on the usual luxury stay.
Located on Queen’s Road in Central, the hotel at once pulsates with the heartbeat of HK, while also acting as an oasis from its maddening tempo. Shopaholics be warned: the Landmark is right next door to the famous Landmark shopping center–so it’s a bit like sending a gambling addict to the Bellagio Las Vegas.
The hotel is also a nice short walk from the ’antique street’ Hollywood Road, and the gallery-dotted neighborhood of SoHo. I loved taking a jaunt over to this favorite quarter and discovering funky little eateries with experimental prix fixe lunch specials. And if you can’t resist checking out the black market knock-off luxury goods at the infamous Ladies Market, the spotless metro is also right next door to the hotel (beneath The Landmark shopping center).
Usually, when I’m in Hong Kong, I sojourn at my family home in Repulse Bay. There’s nothing like a beach adjacent locale, and staying with locals–in this case my faraway relatives. I did once stay at the opulent Grand Hyatt–which certainly lives up to its name. But the Landmark is more my speed–hip and swank but not so hip that it puts you on edge, and not so swank that it’s stuffy.
The nice-sized rooms are Zen chic–airy and modern punctuated by minimal, exotic flora and fauna. Your sleeping quarters and bathrooms feel like a spa-away-from-spa. Pop in their provided relaxation CD–which wafts through speakers in the bathroom as well as the main room–light a candle, draw yourself a bath and lose yourself in jacuzzi jets. Their amenities, from their hotel spa, are amazing as well. If baths are not your thing–the standard doubles have twin walk-in showers with rainfall shower heads.
If you think the rooms are relaxing, wait until you experience the spa. And a bonus: it houses one of the cleanest most pristine hotel gyms I’ve ever worked out in.
The only non-relaxing part of the hotel (which they may have changed since I was there last–as I did mention it in their guest survey) are the harsh CFL bulbs in the lobby. The lobby interior is nicely decorated and laid out so it’s a shame to ruin it with bleak–albeit eco-friendly–lighting.
The most memorable moments of my stay at the Landmark were the teas and breakfasts I enjoyed with my mother. The hotel has a small but post-modern hip restaurant/lounge (with a diamond ‘rock candy’ buffet bar) called MO Bar. It is next to the lobby and hosts wonderful brekkies and high teas. In HK, the latter is a hold-over tradition from the British colonial days. It gets a refreshing renewal at the Landmark–and the hotel is in fact known for this service (‘tea with a twist’ as they call it).
Be sure to buddy up to the staff so they keep you posted on live invite-only music events. Of course, the hotel’s resident DJs are also on-hand (or hands-on-decks) to deliver chill grooves Wednesdays through Saturdays at Mo Bar. Or you can just order a couple of their signature cocktails (like the MO-tox), retire with your date to your chambre, and relax with their MO music CD mix.
Lanmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel
15 Queen’s Road Central
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