It’s the season to be jetting off to various beach destinations… yep, everyone’s off on their summer jollies. But what about those of us who can’t get that much time off work (I’m looking at you, workaholics), but are in desperate need of a break (again, looking at the workaholics!)? We’ve found an alternative – and trust us, this definitely matches up to all those holiday pics you’ve been enviously eyeing up on Facebook.
Some people might not be sold by the idea of a ‘staycation’, but after my stay at the Island Shangri-La in HK I’m completely convinced. If you’ve got the cash and you really want an escape that’s not too far, then this is ideal. The Island Shangri-La sits just above Pacific Place and is renowned for being one of Hong Kong’s best hotels. As soon as you pull up to the hotel (or walk up as we did…) the utter elegance and sophistication of the place hits you. Everything from the stunning paintings on the wall and the gilded furnishings, to the massive floral centrepiece and even the smart uniforms of the bellboys makes this place ooze glamour.
Checking in was a breeze, especially as they use those handy tablet computers too. We were given our key and escorted to the elevator, all the while marvelling at the exquisite chandeliers and decadence of the place. We had a Harbour View room on the 55/F, the highest one possible, that was part of the exclusive Horizon Club (lucky us!). We were already impressed by the decor, but when we opened the door to our room we were blown away. The view is truly spectacular, and we were so lucky to be there on such a clear, sunny Hong Kong day. It really made me proud to see the city and harbour gleaming in the sunshine, and I won’t forget that view for a while!
Apart from the view, the room had that classic, five-star hotel vibe about it, with our very own chandelier, complimentary chocolates and fruit baskets, a gorgeous king-sized bed, an LCD HD television and a host of other amenities.
We didn’t want for anything and we were overwhelmed by the incredible view. The only thing I noticed was some of the furniture (mainly just the desk) looked a little bit scratched and rundown, but I actually liked this as it added to the timeless and classic feel of the hotel.
The bathroom was decked out in marble and even had a mini TV above the bath, as well as a rain-shower too.
I was more than pleased to discover numerous small bottles of L’occitane toiletries around, including lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, soap and shower gel – perfect!
After we’d gotten over the view, we decided to check out the exclusive Horizon Club facilities and privileges on the 56/F. Members of the Horizon Club can enjoy the Club Lounge, which was a lot fancier than we had expected. Again, the little details were what made this area five-star worthy, with lush materials and elegant furnishings.
The view was also fantastic from here, and all Horizon Club members are able to enjoy unlimited drinks (tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks… and beers) as well as a continental breakfast selection, afternoon tea goodies and pre-dinner canapés that start at 6pm.
The drinks were great – especially the champagne – and the canapés were filling. It was lovely to have this place stocked up with food and beverage for you to enjoy at your pleasure. There’s also a relaxing outdoor terrace area that you can wine and dine at for a change of scenery. You really are catered for and I have to say how lovely the staff were. Peggy and Charlie in particular were so kind and helpful, making us feel very welcome and always being on-hand without being too all over us. They truly made every guest feel welcome and I think they really made the Club Lounge the luxury it was!
I was keen to try out the spa facilities, ideal for a staycation. I was booked in for a massage at 4.30pm and went down to the Health Club (see treatment menu here). My therapist was lovely and gentle, and started with a soothing foot wash. For the massage, you can choose between energising lemon essential oil or lavender essential oil, and as I was in need of an unwind, I went for the lavender. Safe to say, I was so relaxed I nearly fell asleep! My therapist let me know that I was very tight in my shoulders (not a surprise!) and even though she asked me to say if she was hurting me, when it did hurt a little bit I was sure that she knew what she was doing and let her continue.
Apart from the spa, the Health Club also has full gym facilities, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. And, of course, there is the pool outside. We manage to enjoy the pool while it was sunny, and it felt truly extravagant swimming up and down, especially with the Bank of China rising up in the background.
The next morning we were treated to a complimentary Horizon Club breakfast at the restaurant, Petrus. The stunning, grand décor was really special, and the breakfast buffet spread of pastries, bread, muesli, yoghurt, fruit, hams and cheese was spectacular.
You also get to order up to two main hot dishes from the menu, and I straight away knew I wanted the signature crumpet with poached egg and smoked salmon. This fancy version of Eggs Benedict tasted fantastic and I loved the crumpet addition, whilst my partner enjoyed the indulgent scrambled eggs with lobster (the best scrambled eggs he’s ever had!) and two eggs with sausage, bacon, hash brown and tomatoes. It’s no surprise that we were bursting by the end of a truly incredible breakfast… what a way to start the day!
We manage to tuck in another stint at the gorgeous pool before we had to head upstairs and check out. Conveniently, if you are part of the Horizon Club you can also check out at the Club Lounge, which takes no time at all. We were truly sad to leave this haven of luxury behind, and I have to say that I felt genuinely rested and like I’d been on holiday! Despite only staying for one night, it really did feel like a break from everyday life and I would highly recommend staying for a special occasion or a well-earned ‘staycation’.
Rooms a the Island Shangri-La start cost $4,600 to $6,300 and suite rates start from $8,700 to $39,600.
Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong , 2877 3838, www.shangri-la.com/hongkong/islandshangrila