In every season, life in Hong Kong is fast-paced and, dare I say it, stressful. Add on the pandemic and take away quarantine-free travel, isn’t it a blessing that we live in a city with various (and ever growing) avenues for some respite?
I love a good staycation. Even though it’s just a 24-hour break from the day to day, it feels like a solid escape. Recently I visited the Island Shangri-La to try the Island Staycation package they have on offer, which includes:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Hotel credit (HKD 1000 for Deluxe, Premier or Grand Premier Rooms, HKD, 1500 for Horizon Club Room, HKD 2000 for a Suite)
- A 24-hour stay from check-in time, with some restrictions (check with the hotel)
There’s no theme or flash to this staycation package, but it provides ample ways to enjoy the hotel and its restaurants. Rates start from $2400 per night. It’s available until the end of the year (31 December 2022).
We checked into a Horizon Harbour View room (from $4700 per night), which was renovated last year. There are currently a few floors being renovated right now, some below the 51st floor where our room was, but we didn’t hear a thing (while more rooms are being renovated, the plan is for a few floors to remain in the classic style). The peace and quiet allowed us to really soak in the gorgeous room — and the view!
While there are many rooms with a view in this city, not many have a plush wall-length day bed. These are wide and lush, perfect for reading, working, or taking photos/videos/reels with views of Victoria Harbour and the Kowloon peninsula.
Each Horizon Harbour View room offers: a big room size (44 square metres of luxury), toiletries from John Masters Organics and Marvis, a huge soaking tub, 55-inch flat screen with mirroring function, filtered hot and cold water taps, cocktail trolley, Nespresso coffee machine, and more…
My favourite part about staying at any Shangri-La is the style (well, that or the service). I love chinoiserie-chic and the new renovated rooms offer up a modern, neutral twist on it. The overall vibe is light and airy, yet undeniably luxe and chic.
Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out how to turn on hotel showers. The one here is an easy push button and guests have the option of a regular or rain shower. While the tub doesn’t have a few, it’s absolutely huge.
The Horizon rooms come with access to the Horizon Club, which is open from 1pm to 9pm daily. The Club offers a dedicated Club Concierge, able to help with bespoke holiday and business travel planning. But these days, most guests want to simply enjoy the private lounge and its complementary privileges, such as those included on our stay:
- Evening cocktails with refreshments and free-flow drinks
- Non-alcoholic beverages served all day long
- Credit for suit pressing, laundry, and shoeshine services
We joined for the evening cocktails, and enjoyed a glass of champagne while nibbling on canapés. Options included sweet corn puree on sliced baguette, roasted prawn tarts with cocktail sauce, lamb tacos, chicken portobello finger sandwiches, deep-fried crab claws, salad and sliced fruit, and various desserts. They are served buffet-style and there’s easily enough variety and quantity to fill-up here, and skip a separate dinner.
Dinner at Lobster Bar and Grill
However, we put the $1,500 hotel credit towards the four course Signature Set Menu ($1,088 per person) at the Lobster Bar and Grill.
Some say that the restaurant’s decor is a bit dated. I think it’s classic chic, and it’s clearly a beloved restaurant. We dined there on a Monday night and the restaurant was 80% full with families, business dinners, double dates, and couples celebrating birthdays.
Poached seasonal oyster with beurre blanc and caviar
Marinated raw scallop, dashi jelly, green apple, chili and garlic cucumber, shiso and lime
Prior to this experience, I’d been to the bar and also visited the restaurant for steak. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the main menu, though I’d seen photos on Instagram six months ago showcasing really fresh and creative dishes. While that chef has now moved on, the kitchen is still doing a great job. Both of our starters were prepared excellently — the oyster dish was fresh with a decadent comfort-food twist, and the scallop tartare hit so many different flavour profiles. We would have happily had seconds of both.
Lobster vol au vent with poached lobster, roasted sweetbreads, morel mushrooms, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, pickled shallots in a puff pastry and a sauce Nantua (a Béchamel-based creamy seafood sauce)
But good thing we saved room for the lobster vol au vent because this was one of the best dishes I’ve had in some time — I’m still thinking about it weeks later. Before going to this dinner, I’d looked up reviews of the restaurants ‘Signature Set Menu’ because $1,088 seemed a bit high for four courses. After trying it though, I’d happily save up to have it again — I’ve never had anything like it (and it’s not on the a la carte menu). It’s so indulgent yet well-balanced, premium ingredients knit together in such creative ways.
Baked Alaska with lemon, honey, smoked almonds and meringue — served with flourish!
The Baked Alaska was served with a flambe flourish. It was good, though not particularly memorable, but perhaps we were just too full from the main.
In the morning, after an early breakfast of chocolates from Island Gourmet and coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine, I ordered the Japanese Breakfast Set with cod from the in-room menu, rather than join the buffet breakfast at Cafe Too. This was hearty, satisfying and perfectly prepared.
What were the best things about these 24 hours at the Island Shangri-La? While spendy, the Horizon Harbour View room was lush and access to the Horizon Club meant food and drinks were largely covered. If you did want to use the $1,500 credit towards a meal at one of the hotel restaurants, I’ve tried them all at different times over the years, and they are all very good — the dinner at Restaurant Petrus just about knocked me over then, and this meal at the Lobster Bar & Grill did the same.
A staycation should be relaxing most of all, and no matter what options you choose at this hotel, I think it’ll turn out well. In my opinion, of all the hotels I’ve tried in Hong Kong (including most of the five-star ones) the Shangri-La offers the loveliest, most respectful service. They’ll treat you well and if anything goes awry, will be there to help resolve things. Also this staycation was a lovely way to reflect over 6+ years in Hong Kong, writing one final piece for Foodie before relocating. Thankful for the many memories made.
Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2877 3838
This write-up is based on a complimentary media stay provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.