Monday, March 1, 2021

Suite Staycation

With no end of travel restriction in sight, we decided to continue our “staycation series” with a weekend spent at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong after the busy Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day weekends. 

We were lucky to come in the first week after the COVID rules were slightly relaxed, so that means restaurants can open til 10pm instead of 6, and a number of facilities are back in business including spas and gyms. It’s a pity that swimming pool is not part of that list so we were unable to check out the heated pool this time. We made the reservation for the Mandarin Club room, which means we could access the brand new Mandarin Club lounge located on the 24th Floor throughout our stay (only opened a few weeks ago – more on that on a separate post), and upon check-in, we got a pleasant surprise of an upgrade to one of their corner suites, with a great view of the Statue Square and the Central skyline through the floor-to-ceiling window in the living area. 

Other than the huge room (almost 800 sq feet), state-of-the-art entertainment and room control systems, free drinks at the mini-bar and the huge walk-in wardrobe, the thing that wowed us the most was the huge bathroom with separate wash basins, walk-in shower booth with dual shower heads, and the best of all, a free-standing oval bath tub right in the middle. That’s where we ended up staying hours in, just chill and relax.

We also appreciate the many nice gestures the team did throughout our stay to make us felt well looked after – we came back to our room after lunch and saw the whole tray of goodies delivered and laid out nicely in the room. That included the whole box of freshly baked madeleines and the nostalgic dragon’s beard candies. They made perfect snacks when I sat down to catch the soccer games on TV in the late night. The tiny little bottles of shower gel and shampoo were gone, and in its place, large bottles of Diptyque toiletries which were just as good and more environment friendly; plus everything they did to make guests felt safe in the times of pandemic. We also took advantage of the new instant messaging concierge option available by sending the team WhatsApp messages before and during our stay for requests such as confirming our lunch reservation or the in-room dining delivery time - they have been responsive and helpful.  

The room package came with a 3-course dinner for two to be served either in our room or at Café Causette downstairs. With the spacious room and the nice city view at night (and being a super lazy ass), we opted to stay in and asked for the food be delivered to our room. Not haute cuisine but right on par at their usual high level that we experienced at the café. Steaks are always the tricky dish for in-room dining as they tend to be overcooked, but the one I had was decent with a nice charred crust and pinkish center, and it worked well with the bottle of Burgundy red we brought over. (2014 Benjamin Leroux Nuit-St-Georges Premier Cru "Aux Thorey", just for the record) Probably still a few years before it could reach its prime but I love its bright palate dominated by red fruits and some earthy and oaky characters finished with mild tannins. Desserts from their pastry kitchen are always pleasing and the lemon tart was right on the money with a nice balance of sweet and tanginess. 

We hit the gym for the first time in over 3 months the next morning after breakfast. The room is of good size and got everything I need for a quick work-out with a pleasant city view from the treadmill. I don’t miss gym that much but it did feel good to be back – I guess that’s an indication that things are slowly returning to normal. 

We didn’t do much outside of the hotel during our weekend stay this time, but we did walk up to the PMQ for a mini shopping spree at our favorite ceramics shop and ended up at Penicillin Bar, with Roman, one of their founders, served us some seasonal cocktails and snacks in the quiet and cozy lounge behind the non-descript entrance a few steps off Caine Road. The Planktons was the drink Roman fixed up for us, with Miyazaki Tama Tama kumquat zest fermented with local N.I.P. gin, mixed with kumquat yoghurt and salted coconut and stirred with fermented apple-plankton sherbet, giving it a nice green tint and refreshing flavor with a touch of savory-sweet after-taste

Overall, it’s a satisfying break - a time to sit back and relax - and in retrospect I did regret not staying any longer, especially with the suite upgrade and the opening up of more facilities that we managed to enjoy during our short stay. 

More in pictures:

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong:

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