Staycations are about as close as most of us are going to get to traveling this summer. Luckily, many of the city’s hotels are offering enticing packages designed to give residents just a little taste of escapism. Among them is the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, which is leaping into the fray with several carefully crafted staycation packages. We check in one weekend to rediscover one of the city’s most iconic hotels.
Stepping into the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, guests are almost immediately cocooned in a sense of discreet luxury. There’s also a sense of throwback happening – you can tell this hotel has been around for awhile, but has been carefully maintained so that guests can still enjoy all the modern luxuries they’d expect from a five-star hotel.
The check-in process was quick and painless – it even included a few extra treats for members of the brand’s “Fans of MO” scheme. It was nice to see that on a Saturday afternoon the lobby was, while not bustling, still hosting a few people checking in (or out) or heading to the restaurants for a good feed.
Within a few minutes, we’re comfortably ensconced in a Harbour View Suite that continues the hotel’s sublime marrying of tradition and modernity. The room is rendered in light wood, burgundy silk, and splashes of black and grey. On the walls, there are beautiful sketches of old Hong Kong; through the postcard windows in the suite’s living room, there are truly unique views over the Court of Final Appeal and Hong Kong Club which you won’t get from anywhere else.
The living room features plenty of comfortable seating, a spacious work-desk with all the stationery and technology a businessperson would need, and a massive swivel flatscreen. The bedroom is designed for a good night’s rest, with nothing but a oversized king bed dressed in crisp white linens, a nightstand with plenty of charging points, a master control panel, and a rather charmingly nostalgic analog alarm clock.
The star of the show, though, is undoubtedly the massive marble bathroom which can be accessed through both the bathroom and the living room. At the center stands what just might be the biggest rolltop bath you’ll ever see, and on either side, there are separate his-and-her vanity counters; of course, there’s also a standalone shower with a tricked-out showerhead, and a spacious closet and separate luggage area. Special mention must be made of the Jo Malone amenities (bliss!) and two different types of robes – a black silk dressing gown to wear in the suite and a cuddly white one to wear to the spa or pool.
We’re here on the “Staycation by M.O” package, which includes one unique experience with some of the hotel’s experts. There’s a full range available, including a chocolate masterclass on Saturdays, a mixology class on Sunday, and several fun activities for kids, including a chocolate hunt. We’re signed up for the Wine Masterclass with the sommelier at the Mandarin Bar + Grill, so around 4pm on the Saturday afternoon, we make our way down to the first floor.
Over the next hour, we taste six exquisite wines – three whites, three reds – and venture on a world tour of the globe’s best wine regions, from France and Spain to Austria and the USA. For each, we’re giving a few minutes to try the wines and make a few notes before the sommelier gives us a more professional overview of the wines. We’re also given a platter of smoked salmon, cheese, and chocolate so we can see how the wines change when paired with food. Overall, the experience was a great introduction to wine; it was fun and informative without inundating us with niche details.
The package also includes $1,288 dining or spa credit (for suites; rooms get $888), so it only seems appropriate to use this to experience the hotel’s legendary Sunday Roast. Although the staycation also includes breakfast for two (normally served at Café Causette), we skip this to save our appetites for the Sunday Roast.
So, at 12pm on Sunday, we settle into a table amidst the pristine surrounds of the Mandarin Bar + Grill to tuck into the five-course Sunday Roast experience. To kick things off, we have a glass of Ruinart Champagne (part of the free-flow package!) and a snack platter of beef tartare, oysters, and scallops (all fresh and exquisite) while we ponder our selections for later in the meal. What follows is a veritable feast.
The first course is a Japanese onsen egg dish – I choose to have mine as an eggs Benedict, and the potato blini it’s served on ruins all other eggs Benedicts for me. Next comes my chosen appetizer of lobster bisque, which is rich and creamy, but perhaps a little ambitious given what comes next. The main event is, of course, the roast, and it seems only appropriate to go for the tableside prime rib service – spoiler, it’s a hefty hunk of meat, ably seconded by gravy, Yorkshire pudding, and your selection of sides (I would go back for the creamed spinach!).
Normally, the lavish meal would finish with a decadent dessert trolly, from which you’d make your selection of sweet treats. But, given the current pandemic, desserts are served afternoon tea-style, to the table on a tiered service. There’s a little bit of everything, from an oh-so-English trifle and Victoria sponge to a crème brûlée and cheesecake.
Some Final Thoughts
I’ve been to the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong several times over the years, most usually for their legendary afternoon tea service. But, this staycation was a wonderful way to experience other elements of one of Hong Kong’s most iconic hotels. Underpinning the property’s timeless offerings is an equally traditional white-glove service that harkens back to the golden age of travel.
The Staycation by M.O. package is a brilliant treat if you’re here for the summer, and it’s also a fantastic way to discover what makes this property a perennial favorite among the city’s residents and visitors.
The Staycation by M.O. Package at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong – from $2,980 +10%
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Written by The Loop HK for the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
The author was a guest of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.