01 of 05
The Romance of the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong Hotel
Can a hotel seduce you? Yes — if it's the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong. The moment you enter, your senses will inform you that you're in a different and far better place. The air is cool, unlike steamy Hong Kong outside, and an intoxicating scent wafts through the elegant lobby as liveried bellmen scurry past, transporting luggage from curb to guest quarters.
As you ascend to your private room in the 56-story hotel, you can't fail to notice the "Great Motherland of China" silk mural across from the elevator bank. This magnificent textile, the largest landscape painting in the world, extends for 16 floors and portrays treasures of Old China including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
Guest Rooms at the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong Hotel
The moment the door to your room is opened, you will see what makes this 25-year-old hotel so romantic. The large picture window frames a magnificent view of Victoria Harbor from on high, a scene of boats and ferries plying the water with the high rises of Kowloon peninsula their backdrop. If you're not seduced during the day, just wait until the city lights up after sunset.
To make you comfortable in your temporary home and sweeten your arrival, a tea set with just-brewed jasmine tea awaits, along with some tempting chocolates. And since U.S. stomachs may not quickly adjust to Chinese tap water, bottled water is also provided free of charge. Internet access is also complimentary.
The room itself is decorated with a crystal chandelier and dark woods that evoke an elegant Edwardian ambiance. And the marble bathroom is particularly alluring, with a small TV screen at the foot of the bathtub. You'll have a choice of robes, both lightweight yukatas and fluffy white ones. Slippers are of course provided, and the toiletries in the pink-marble bathroom bear L'Occitane's intoxicating jasmine-bergamot fragrance, unavailable in the United States.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
Dining at the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong Hotel
Overlooking Victoria Harbor from the 56th floor of the hotel, if the Michelin-worthy Restaurant Petrus (it was awaiting news of star status when we dined) doesn't seduce you with the view, surely the wine, the service, and the delightful, delicious imaginative modern French cuisine will.
Decorated like the living room of a very wealthy international grandmama (you do have one, don't you?), you’ll be seated in a gilt-edged chair and provided with a tiny satin table for your purse. Book a 7 pm reservation to enjoy the sunset. At 8 pm, the city lights up as if providing you with a private show. A pianist plays Broadway show tunes and has a special fondness for The Carpenters' catalog.
Choose from the a la carte menu, or let the chef surprise you with six or eight small, perfect courses. Just let the waitperson know if there's anything you don't eat, and you'll be rewarded with a series of delicate plates (you'll be served on good china and with genuine silver cutlery, polished to a high shine).
Expect an amuse bouche to arrive to whet your appetite (if you're a friend to animals, tell the waitperson no foie gras). Then you'll be offered a choice of 6 different types of warm bread and receive both regular and seaweed butter.
Each course can be accompanied by a complimentary wine; allow the knowledgeable sommelier to do the pairings. A few of our favorite courses:
- Norwegian salmon tartare with trout roe, avocado, chervil sour cream and chrysanthemum petals
- John Dory with celeriac and black fermented garlic purée with sautéed black trumpet mushroom
- Miyazaki A4 wagyu beef with roasted artichokes and puréed black truffles and sesame sauce
We finished with an artisanal cheese selection and a perfectly round chocolate ball filled with strawberry juice.
The hotel also features Nadaman, a Japanese kaiseki restaurant; a two-Michelin-star Chinese restaurant, a more casual cafe and the club like Lobster Bar and Grill, where a chanteuse entertains nightly and a selection of quality cigars is available.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
Destination Weddings & Honeymoons at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
The hotel is a nexus for elegant, sophisticated weddings — both Western- and Chinese-style — and the attention to detail and cuisine are both noteworthy.
A variety of wedding packages are offered by the hotel. In addition to indoor venues, couples may also marry on the lawn beside the outdoor pool.
Before the event, the hotel's butler service may prove invaluable — tending to shoe shines, laundry and dry cleaning, pressing, and other last-minute necessities. There is also an on-site hairdresser.
Couples who marry at the hotel may receive special offers for honeymoons at other Shangri-la properties. During your stay, treat yourselves to Horizon Club Lounge access on the 56th floor. Not only does this private aerie offer the best views of the waterfront, but also it opens for continental breakfast from 6:30 am to 10:30 am. It's also the place to go for evening cocktails. Champagne and canapés are served from 6 to 8 pm along with coffee, tea, beer, house wine, and snacks.
In the Swim
The outdoor swimming pool is open year-round (it's heated in winter) and has a Jacuzzi. Located beside it, the Waterside Terrace serves food and drinks including some Thai specialties. There is also a health club on the same level, and massage treatments, including Thai and Chinese acupressure, are available.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Find Out More About the Island Shangri-la, Hong Kong Hotel
The hotel is located in Pacific Place, a multi-story shopping center that houses a multitude of "status" brands popular with people who have more money than confidence in their own taste. To name a few tenants: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Burberry, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Jimmy Choo. The shopping mall is also connected to the Conrad Hong Kong, a modern upmarket hotel that opens up new restaurant and bar choices.
Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong
Pacific Place, Supreme Ct Rd
Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2877 3838
Note: The author received a complimentary overnight stay and dinner at the hotel.