We recently had an incredible lunch experience at Corner 18 at Nina Hotel Causeway Bay, so when the opportunity arose to do a Stay & Dine Experience staycation (from $1,088/night in Harbour View Room) at Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West, we jumped at the chance. My testing team consisted of me and my two mini foodies, both 12 years old.
This staycation offer at the former L’hotel includes an eight-course set dinner at Cantonese restaurant Ru, and we also took the opportunity to try the chocolate-heavy afternoon tea set at Nina Patisserie.
Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West
A literal towering hotel, you enter on the ground floor but are whisked up to the 41st floor to check in, in what must be the fastest lift in Hong Kong. There’s a great view from the sky bridge!
There weren’t many people checking in at nearly 2pm on a weekday, so we quickly got our room key. This was a midweek stay, but we are told it can get quite busy at the weekend. When we checked out at 3pm the next day (late checkout, yay!), the queue to check in was much longer. Joining the Vivva membership programme does promise “priority check-in”.
Our room was a Premium Harbour View Room in Tower 2, and it was spacious and comfortable, with high ceilings and a lovely, open view. The room was quiet, the beds were firm and the in-room Wi-Fi was good. The air conditioner kept a constant temperature all night, and the curtains were of the overlapping, blackout type.
In hindsight, we should have played with the TV to see what options there were, but we were content to channel-hop the local TV stations and watch the Olympics.
The bathroom was huge (I do love a free-standing bath). The bathroom is well insulated from the sleeping area, so midnight trips aren’t likely to wake your roommates. The standout was the excellent water pressure – the shower was an exfoliation experience!
They say there are silver linings to every cloud... We managed to stay over two days with thunderstorm warnings, so we weren’t allowed to swim in the magnificent 50m infinity pool on the ninth floor overlooking Tsing Yi and the channel. However, the indoor pool was open for business!
We needed to pre-book a one-hour time slot and register before entering, but the pool wasn’t busy, peaking at about 12 of us.
Afternoon tea at Nina Patisserie
We were most eager to try the newly opened Nina Patisserie located on the ground floor, and we booked in for the Valrhona chocolate afternoon tea set ($428 for 2), which we shared amongst the three of us.
It was described by my team as a “mini three-course meal”, with scones with jam and cream to start, four different savoury options and four sweet options. We opted for the hot and iced chocolates as drink upgrades to the set. The hot chocolate was uber-creamy and very pretty. Curiously, the iced chocolate came in a disposable cup, but the hotel is using compostable plastics.
Being a chocolate collaboration with Valrhona, the set was on the sweet side for us, but we did have some favourites. The braised chocolate beef cheek burger was excellent, featuring fall-apart beef in a mini bao. We all also enjoyed the shichimi crispy rice cakes topped with tuna, and we ordered extra scones and extra cream. For the sweets, on the next visit we will be sure to save space for the mixed berries napoleon ($45) and a Mak’s Coffee Stout ($68).
Dinner at Ru
Included in our stay was the family set menu ($598/2 or $1,196/4) at Cantonese restaurant Ru. The three of us shared the set menu for two, with two additional items ordered, and there was more than enough food.
We started with char siu, served with a delicious, sesame-dressed fungus that I was able to commandeer unopposed. The soup was not overly seafood flavoured. It was mild and glutinous like a jelly drink, with lots of fish, prawns and dried scallop.
The highlight for us was the abalone with its umami flavour and tender, mushroom-like texture. We particularly enjoyed the medallion of sticky rice on which it is served, and the flower-shaped veg was a hit.
The sweet-and-sour pork was great, with a thin layer of batter and plenty of pork, and it was finished quickly. The fried rice was delicious, each kernel chewy and with plenty of pieces of roasted duck, but we packed most of it to go as we were too full.
Being weak-willed any time there is Sichuan nearby, we ordered the Sichuan “saliva” chicken 口水雞 ($88) and the hot-and-sour soup ($128) as additions to the set menu. The chicken was very spicy, but it was also the sleeper hit of the dinner for one member of my tasting team. It is extremely good value at this price.
The hot-and-sour soup had a perfect level of sour, but not so much hot. We’re happy we tried it, but perhaps slightly disappointed only because at this price we expected something very special.
We all had room for the double-boiled fresh milk for dessert, full as we were.
There was also a special for Peking duck for an incredible $168 (instead of $488). We saw so many ducks coming out! But we missed the promotion. For August and September, Ru is offering a special on double-boiled winter melon and seafood soup for $198 for two (from $398).
We did not partake in breakfast at the hotel, but we could have. Café Circles on the ninth floor (next to the pool) offers a breakfast buffet every Tuesday–Friday until 10am ($128/person; $98/person as a Vivva member), with an à-la-carte menu available otherwise. As always though, check the latest times with the hotel before going.
I love a hotel breakfast. But the wonderful thing about not having it included in your stay is that there is absolutely no rush in the morning to go anywhere. I did get myself out first thing to get a double espresso from the self-service machine on the 41st floor, paying by Octopus card and avoiding the need to speak to anyone pre-coffee.
Mid-morning, we explored the nearby Tsuen Wan Park and waterfront and briefly visited the largest DON DON DONKI in Hong Kong (what is the reason for that song? It’s as bad as yuu). The hotel is well connected by walkways, and there is a lot of shopping nearby that you can reach even if it’s raining. There are many malls to visit, so many malls.
Sometimes a hotel room can be a bit like camping – you get away and you have an experience, but you don’t want to do it too often. This staycation was not like that.
We were comfortable both in the room and getting out, and we slept really well. There are plenty of options for food and shopping nearby that are a bit different to what most of us are used to, and that’s what holidays are all about. The value at this price is excellent.
Next time, we will stay two nights so that we can explore more during the day, and we would love try the buffet dinner at Café Circles ($1,288/2 included with the room or $588/adult separately).
If you’re looking to “escape”, you should be aware that this is a HK experience. Luckily, my team members (children) could converse with the pool attendant, who was friendly but did not speak English. Most of those staying at the hotel were Cantonese families, and we did not see any other Westerners.
We loved our stay at Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West. In our work/school/everyday life, I had forgotten what it’s like to really experience Hong Kong for the first time, and this opportunity to feel like that again (but with a much bigger room) and reminisce on a simpler time provided a staycation to remember.
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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