Staycations provide a wonderful escape from the predictable cadences of daily life, giving us a change in scenery while escaping the hassles of travel-related quarantine. This appeal rings even truer for families with young children. If the idea of a 21-day hotel quarantine with rambunctious kids isn’t your idea of heaven, a staycation is probably the next best thing to travelling.
Over the summer holidays, plenty of hotels orchestrated flashy staycation packages geared towards the travel starved, but the Staycation for Good initiative at Rosewood Hong Kong is in a league of its own. This staycation, designed to highlight sustainability and social responsibility, not only allows guests to revel in the luxurious surroundings of the five-star hotel, but it also offers a glimpse into some of the challenges of the real world.
We recently experienced the three-day, two-night Staycation for Good with our two children during its premier launch. The launch programme focused on sustainability and food wastage, two very important topics for Foodie. The specially curated itinerary included a visit to the Food Angel charity in Sham Shui Po and as an excursion to Produce Green Foundation’s organic farm in Pat Sin Leng Country Park.
Upon check-in at Manor Club on the 40th floor of the hotel, we were offered a selection of drinks and pastries while waiting for our bags to be whisked away to our room on the Club floor. Manor Club offers an intimate atmosphere for breakfast and all-day snacking, in addition to a lounge, pool table and bar. Guests can book a stay on the Club floor for an additional $1,800 per night, with the perks of breakfast, afternoon tea, aperitifs and snacks available throughout the day.
Our Club-floor room offered panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and a marbled bathroom worthy of any design magazine. The oversised tub made the kids look forward to bath time, and they loved watching the various ships sailing by while sat on the big sofa by the window. A cute backpack and colouring kit for each child kept them from turning on the TV.
The Staycation for Good package is geared for two adults and one child, but a rollaway bed can be set up for an additional $900.
Food Angel excursion
After a bit of unpacking, we headed downstairs to a pre-arranged shuttle that ferried us to Food Angel, a NGO in the heart of Sham Shui Po. The organisation is dedicated to repurposing surplus food into nutritious meals for those in need. We learned about the ways we can reduce food wastage and some interesting statistics on Hong Kong’s consumer impact on food distribution.
We put on VR goggles to experience life as a thrown-away mango at a local wet market, and the kids got to sit in a cubicle replica of a cage home to experience how difficult life can be for many of the overlooked in our city. There was also a fun scavenger hunt to make the little ones (and adults alike) realise how difficult it is to survive by collecting scrape metal and cardboard.
This was an eye-opening, humbling experience and definitely put things into perspective the next time our kids refused to eat a meal.
We were back at the Rosewood by 6pm, just in time to tuck into some huevos rotos, or Spanish “broken eggs”, and hand-pulled Chinese noodles at Bayfare Social before calling it a night. The restaurant’s large open kitchen provides plenty of choices to cater to all tastes, even our finicky little eaters.
Breakfast at Manor Club is a rather calming affair compared to the busy buffets that are typical for hotel breakfasts. We loved the assortment of dim sum and scrumptious pastries, as well as the on-site egg station.
Rice planting at Produce Green Foundation’s farm
After our hearty breakfast, we headed off to Produce Green Foundation’s organic farm via a shuttle bus organised by the hotel. The commute took us to Pat Sin Leng Country Park in Fanling, where the farm is located. The farm is dedicated to regenerative farming, only using natural fertilisers and herbal pesticides. We learned about composting, the various ways in which we can add minerals to the soil using animal by-products and how planting certain vegetation around crops can deter pest infestation.
The kids had fun wading in the rice paddies to plant rice (luckily, they didn’t tumble in!). On our journey through the rice paddies, we spotted loads of giant snails (some as big as our hands) and a tiny snake. Our rice plantings weren’t straight or spaced evenly, but the planting experience demonstrated how much work goes into producing the food we eat.
We also made horses out of straw and tried to haul stacks of hay on poles to see who could balance the most pails at one time. These were fun, interactive ways to engage little ones, making them appreciate the work behind food production and teaching them that every kernel of rice is precious.
Since there was no lunch provided at the farm, we were all starving by the time we returned to the hotel in the early afternoon. Thankfully, there were plenty of goodies to tuck into courtesy of Manor Club’s afternoon tea spread.
The pool + dinner
A dip in the impressive infinity pool overlooking Victoria Harbour and a laid-back Chinese dinner at Holt’s Café wrapped up our day. Pool slots are scheduled on a first come, first served basis owing to COVID restrictions, so it’s worthwhile to first call the pool manager to check on availability.
Breakfast + Matchali worksop
After breakfast (shout-out to the delicious lean pork and century egg congee!), we headed off to a matcha workshop hosted by Matchali. The popular HK brand works with local farms to compost their waste and uses pasta straws and cups that are fully biodegradable.
We learned the secrets behind making the perfect matcha and hojicha lattes, and the kids had a lot of fun whipping up all the foam. Now, we have both little rice farmers and mini baristas on our hands!
Rosewood Hong Kong has a host of themed children’s playrooms available for booking, but our staycation was so busy that we didn’t have the time (or energy) to experience them.
This is a great staycation for those with kids, with the packed itinerary keeping little ones busy while also taking out the planning for parents. The sustainability angle of the staycation makes it an educational experience, going beyond an indulgent hotel stay. The whole family can enjoy the luxuries of a five-star hotel whilst being reminded that there’s a real world out there too.
We liked the thoughtful, attentive service and the high quality of amenities on offer; small details like bundling the laptop cable with a leather strap to keep things neat and tidy and the delicious complimentary pastries in our room are some of the personal touches that make Rosewood Hong Kong truly memorable.
The Staycation for Good package is priced at $5,300 for two adults and one child, and it will next be offered on 18–20 December 2021, with a focus on Christmas and community outreach programmes for those in need. There will also be half-term and Christmas camps at the hotel, so stay tuned!
Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 3891 8888
This write-up is based on a complimentary media staycation provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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