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By Gayatri Bhaumik | April 12th, 2021

The Island Shangri-La Hong Kong has been a stalwart of Hong Kong’s accommodation and dining scene for decades. For years, residents and visitors alike have been flocking there for drinks at the elegant Lobster Bar & Grill, celebrating occasions at Petrus—and checking in for comfortable stays. But, with so many new design-forward hotels popping up in the city, this long-standing hotel has started to look a little staid in recent years. So, the property decided to revamp its coveted Horizon Club rooms to create an exciting new option for Hongkongers looking for a great city staycation—and for the visitors who will no doubt return to Hong Kong once its pandemic border restrictions are lifted. Just before the Easter holidays, we checked in to discover these sumptuous new suites.

First Impressions

Although the Horizon Club rooms have been thoroughly refreshed, the rest of the Island Shangrila Hong Kong looks the same. That is to say, brimming with sophistication, though one touched with the patina of age. The sweeping lobby is still grand and luxurious, but feels decidedly old-world—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. On one side, locals still enjoy afternoon tea in the lounge with a live band playing soothing classical tunes; on the other, a spacious and well-appointed area offers efficient check-in and checkout procedures—though when it gets busy, as it did on the Thursday before the Easter holidays, you will inevitably have to wait a few minutes.

Minibar area in Horizon Club Harbour View Room

The Room

With 565 rooms and suites across 10 categories, guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. All rooms are well-sized (especially for Hong Kong), comfortably appointed, and carefully maintained, but as with much of the rest of the hotel, there’s a slightly dated air about them. Not so the Horizon Club Harbour View Room we check into. These revamped boltholes, created by French interior designer Tristan Auer, are a real breath of fresh air for the hotel – light, airy, fitted with all the mod-cons—and yet, still staying true to the Shangri-La DNA. A palette of light greys and duck egg blue dominates, as do subtle Asian and Parisian aesthetics.

The entry—lined with “Latte Onyx” marble—features a massive open wardrobe that has plenty of space to store luggage and hang clothes for a long stay; opposite, there’s a little vanity spot with a mirror and ledge for a quick look before you head out the door. In a nod to practicality for guests sharing a room, the bathroom is separate from the toilet. Although they feel somewhat small, they’re efficiently designed. The former features two vanity areas, full-sized John Masters Organics amenities, a walk-in shower that operates at the touch of a button, and a surprisingly huge bathtub; the latter has a Japanese-style smart toilet and sink.

The star of the show, though, is the grand, sweeping views across Victoria Harbour through postcard windows. Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, it’s worth exploring all the other thoughtful touches in the room. There’s a bed, of course, dressed in crisp white linens and available as a king or twin setup. Opposite, there’s a truly gargantuan custom daybed with a round dining table and armchair. In one corner, there’s a minibar setup, but one that’s fit for discerning 21st century guests—think a Nespresso Machine, extensive tea and snack selection, bottled cocktails from the Lobster Bar, a built-in tap for automatic hot or cold filtered water (because sustainability), and even a standalone bar-cart stocked with everything a guest might need for sundowners.

The daybed and dining table setup does feel a little big for the room, though—something a little smaller might have done wonders to add a feeling of spaciousness. Nevertheless, the Horizon Club room is elegant and luxurious without being over the top—it’s very much about refinement, comfort, and practicality, not trying to blow your mind with unfettered (and unnecessary) opulence. Surprisingly, the room doesn’t feature a work-desk. It’s a bold choice, especially since one would expect business travelers to book out these rooms, though perhaps with the day bed and table, it doesn’t matter so much.

Island Shangri-La horizon club
The Horizon Club

The Staycation

Of course, the new Horizon Club rooms come with unfettered access to the hotel’s Horizon Club. This bastion of old-world charm offers all-day service, from breakfast through to evening cocktails, along with business facilities and services. We pop in several times during our stay, including for an afternoon coffee, and happy hour, where we sip on Veuve Cliquot Champagne and snack on a canapé buffet while enjoying exquisite harbor views.

For dinner, we head to Lobster Bar & Grill on the hotel’s ground floor. The upscale restaurant is something of an icon in Hong Kong. Pre-pandemic, locals flocked here for evening drinks, business lunches, and lavish dinners—this is very much the kind of place that has regulars—and has had for years. Recently, the restaurant has undergone a bit of a revamp with the arrival of chef Cary Docherty, spicing up the menu with more modern dishes and offering a wider selection of drinks. I’d recently been in for drinks on a Friday night and was saddened to see the restaurant and bar area almost completely empty; this time, on a Wednesday night, it was packed.

You get a truly solid meal at Lobster Bar & Grill. Our starters—cured salmon with potato, croutons, and a mint sauce; and grilled asparagus in sauce—were delicious, as were our mains of a whole grilled lobster (with garlic butter, fries, and salad) and lobster rigatoni. The meal was perfectly set off with an Italian Barolo—the restaurant uses the Coravin wine preservation system, which means they have a positively huge selection of wines by the glass. There was a little mix-up with my starter—I’d ordered the cured salmon but was given an artichoke salad—but once I’d pointed out the mistake, Chef Docherty quickly came over to personally apologize for the bungle and, within minutes, sent out the right dish.

Island Shangri-La lobster bar

The Horizon Club also offers breakfast, and guests staying in Horizon Club Rooms are able to take their morning meal either at the tranquil Club, in the bustling Café Too (where the hotel’s regular breakfast buffet is served), or in the luxurious surrounds of Petrus. So, we begin the next day with breakfast at Petrus, where a full (but not wasteful) buffet of fruits, cold cuts, and pastries is offered alongside made-to-order hot dishes (I can confirm the pancakes are delicious) and, of course, engrossing harbor views.

After months of being closed, pools were finally allowed to open on our last morning at the hotel. At check-in I’d been asked if I wanted to reserve a lounger—because they’re mandated to cap capacity at 30%, the hotel was only allowing guests to book two-hour sessions. When I’d stayed at the hotel last summer, this process wasn’t in place, and I’d been turned away from the pool until a lounger became available, so it was great to see the property implement a fair system that will give anyone who wants it a chance of some pool time.

Some Final Thoughts

As mentioned, I’d staycationed at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong last summer, and my experience was…well…not great. This time though, the experience was far more in line with what I’d expect at a Shangri-La property. The new Horizon Club room offers a much-needed breath of fresh air to the hotel, the food was always on point, and the service was generally good—attentive but not intrusive, and procedures were in place to really make stays as soon as possible. The hotel has always been popular, but I think guests now will be pleasantly surprised by the improved experience.

A Scent of Spring Staycation by Island Shangri-La Hong Kong x Salvatore Ferragamo

  • One night accommodation in a new Horizon Club room
  • Exclusive Salvatore Ferragamo fragrance gift set for him and her, and Ferragamo gift coucher
  • Breakfast for two
  • Classic takeaway afternoon tea for two
  • Three-course in-room set dinner from Restaurant Petrus
  • 30-hour stay on Mondays-Thursdays; 24-hour stay on Fridays-Sundays
  • Complimentary upgrade to next room type (subject to availability)

From $2,800; available through 30 April 2021.

 

Looking for more in-depth stories about Hong Kong? Check out our city living section.

Written by The Loop HK for the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong.
The author was a guest of the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong.

  • By Gayatri Bhaumik | April 12th, 2021

    The Island Shangri-La Hong Kong has been a stalwart of Hong Kong’s accommodation and dining scene for decades. For years, residents and visitors alike have been flocking there for drinks at the elegant Lobster Bar & Grill, celebrating occasions at Petrus—and checking in for comfortable stays. But, with so many new design-forward hotels popping up in the city, this long-standing hotel has started to look a little staid in recent years. So, the property decided to revamp its coveted Horizon Club rooms to create an exciting new option for Hongkongers looking for a great city staycation—and for the visitors who will no doubt return to Hong Kong once its pandemic border restrictions are lifted. Just before the Easter holidays, we checked in to discover these sumptuous new suites.

    First Impressions

    Although the Horizon Club rooms have been thoroughly refreshed, the rest of the Island Shangrila Hong Kong looks the same. That is to say, brimming with sophistication, though one touched with the patina of age. The sweeping lobby is still grand and luxurious, but feels decidedly old-world—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. On one side, locals still enjoy afternoon tea in the lounge with a live band playing soothing classical tunes; on the other, a spacious and well-appointed area offers efficient check-in and checkout procedures—though when it gets busy, as it did on the Thursday before the Easter holidays, you will inevitably have to wait a few minutes.

    Minibar area in Horizon Club Harbour View Room

    The Room

    With 565 rooms and suites across 10 categories, guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. All rooms are well-sized (especially for Hong Kong), comfortably appointed, and carefully maintained, but as with much of the rest of the hotel, there’s a slightly dated air about them. Not so the Horizon Club Harbour View Room we check into. These revamped boltholes, created by French interior designer Tristan Auer, are a real breath of fresh air for the hotel – light, airy, fitted with all the mod-cons—and yet, still staying true to the Shangri-La DNA. A palette of light greys and duck egg blue dominates, as do subtle Asian and Parisian aesthetics.

    The entry—lined with “Latte Onyx” marble—features a massive open wardrobe that has plenty of space to store luggage and hang clothes for a long stay; opposite, there’s a little vanity spot with a mirror and ledge for a quick look before you head out the door. In a nod to practicality for guests sharing a room, the bathroom is separate from the toilet. Although they feel somewhat small, they’re efficiently designed. The former features two vanity areas, full-sized John Masters Organics amenities, a walk-in shower that operates at the touch of a button, and a surprisingly huge bathtub; the latter has a Japanese-style smart toilet and sink.

    The star of the show, though, is the grand, sweeping views across Victoria Harbour through postcard windows. Once you pick your jaw up off the floor, it’s worth exploring all the other thoughtful touches in the room. There’s a bed, of course, dressed in crisp white linens and available as a king or twin setup. Opposite, there’s a truly gargantuan custom daybed with a round dining table and armchair. In one corner, there’s a minibar setup, but one that’s fit for discerning 21st century guests—think a Nespresso Machine, extensive tea and snack selection, bottled cocktails from the Lobster Bar, a built-in tap for automatic hot or cold filtered water (because sustainability), and even a standalone bar-cart stocked with everything a guest might need for sundowners.

    The daybed and dining table setup does feel a little big for the room, though—something a little smaller might have done wonders to add a feeling of spaciousness. Nevertheless, the Horizon Club room is elegant and luxurious without being over the top—it’s very much about refinement, comfort, and practicality, not trying to blow your mind with unfettered (and unnecessary) opulence. Surprisingly, the room doesn’t feature a work-desk. It’s a bold choice, especially since one would expect business travelers to book out these rooms, though perhaps with the day bed and table, it doesn’t matter so much.

    Island Shangri-La horizon club
    The Horizon Club

    The Staycation

    Of course, the new Horizon Club rooms come with unfettered access to the hotel’s Horizon Club. This bastion of old-world charm offers all-day service, from breakfast through to evening cocktails, along with business facilities and services. We pop in several times during our stay, including for an afternoon coffee, and happy hour, where we sip on Veuve Cliquot Champagne and snack on a canapé buffet while enjoying exquisite harbor views.

    For dinner, we head to Lobster Bar & Grill on the hotel’s ground floor. The upscale restaurant is something of an icon in Hong Kong. Pre-pandemic, locals flocked here for evening drinks, business lunches, and lavish dinners—this is very much the kind of place that has regulars—and has had for years. Recently, the restaurant has undergone a bit of a revamp with the arrival of chef Cary Docherty, spicing up the menu with more modern dishes and offering a wider selection of drinks. I’d recently been in for drinks on a Friday night and was saddened to see the restaurant and bar area almost completely empty; this time, on a Wednesday night, it was packed.

    You get a truly solid meal at Lobster Bar & Grill. Our starters—cured salmon with potato, croutons, and a mint sauce; and grilled asparagus in sauce—were delicious, as were our mains of a whole grilled lobster (with garlic butter, fries, and salad) and lobster rigatoni. The meal was perfectly set off with an Italian Barolo—the restaurant uses the Coravin wine preservation system, which means they have a positively huge selection of wines by the glass. There was a little mix-up with my starter—I’d ordered the cured salmon but was given an artichoke salad—but once I’d pointed out the mistake, Chef Docherty quickly came over to personally apologize for the bungle and, within minutes, sent out the right dish.

    Island Shangri-La lobster bar

    The Horizon Club also offers breakfast, and guests staying in Horizon Club Rooms are able to take their morning meal either at the tranquil Club, in the bustling Café Too (where the hotel’s regular breakfast buffet is served), or in the luxurious surrounds of Petrus. So, we begin the next day with breakfast at Petrus, where a full (but not wasteful) buffet of fruits, cold cuts, and pastries is offered alongside made-to-order hot dishes (I can confirm the pancakes are delicious) and, of course, engrossing harbor views.

    After months of being closed, pools were finally allowed to open on our last morning at the hotel. At check-in I’d been asked if I wanted to reserve a lounger—because they’re mandated to cap capacity at 30%, the hotel was only allowing guests to book two-hour sessions. When I’d stayed at the hotel last summer, this process wasn’t in place, and I’d been turned away from the pool until a lounger became available, so it was great to see the property implement a fair system that will give anyone who wants it a chance of some pool time.

    Some Final Thoughts

    As mentioned, I’d staycationed at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong last summer, and my experience was…well…not great. This time though, the experience was far more in line with what I’d expect at a Shangri-La property. The new Horizon Club room offers a much-needed breath of fresh air to the hotel, the food was always on point, and the service was generally good—attentive but not intrusive, and procedures were in place to really make stays as soon as possible. The hotel has always been popular, but I think guests now will be pleasantly surprised by the improved experience.

    A Scent of Spring Staycation by Island Shangri-La Hong Kong x Salvatore Ferragamo

    • One night accommodation in a new Horizon Club room
    • Exclusive Salvatore Ferragamo fragrance gift set for him and her, and Ferragamo gift coucher
    • Breakfast for two
    • Classic takeaway afternoon tea for two
    • Three-course in-room set dinner from Restaurant Petrus
    • 30-hour stay on Mondays-Thursdays; 24-hour stay on Fridays-Sundays
    • Complimentary upgrade to next room type (subject to availability)

    From $2,800; available through 30 April 2021.

     

    Looking for more in-depth stories about Hong Kong? Check out our city living section.

    Written by The Loop HK for the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong.
    The author was a guest of the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong.