The Mandarin Oriental has been a fixture of Hong Kong social life since 1963. The lobby’s always filled with the contented murmurs of a world-class meeting spot. The shoreline may have shifted but this flagship’s status as the place to see, and be seen, has not changed.
It’s in the heart of the Central Business District on Hong Kong island. Because of land reclamation it’s not quite as close to the harbour and the Star Ferry as it used to be but it’s still highly convenient for tourists, business people and locals alike. The Airport Express station is about five minutes’ walk across a footbridge and Central MTR has an exit next to the hotel.
Address: 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong.
Style & character
People who love the Mandarin really love it. When it closed for renovation in late 2005, there was much concern that its unique character would be lost, but it’s as cosily luxurious as it ever was and a lot brighter. It still manages to maintain certain sedate standards: it’s one of the few hotels in Hong Kong that deliberately doesn’t have a “Close door” button in the lifts, so there’s no frantic jabbing, and you adjust your pace accordingly.
Service & facilities
Those who work at the Mandarin tend to stay a long time. Frequent guests speak fondly of Giovanni and Danny, on the concierge desk, but throughout the hotel – from the Cake Shop to the two-floor spa, the indoor lap pool, the fitness centre and the lavatories – there’s a sense of well-trained staff. Even if you’ve only gone in for a cup of tea, it can be a shock stepping out of this cosseted environment into Central’s maelstrom.
The 501 rooms and suites have been cleverly re-designed to maximise space. Former balconies have been converted into work areas – desk with discreet IT features on one side, small sofa on the other – which can be curtained off from the bedroom. Television screens are incorporated into swivelling mirrors in the bathroom; modern and traditional images of Hong Kong hang on the walls. In a nice touch, your morning newspaper is quietly posted into a cupboard so you don’t have to open the door; and should you prefer linen to cotton sheets, or a pillow developed by NASA, that can be arranged.
Food & drink
The hotel has three Michelin-starred restaurants – Pierre, which has two stars, and the Mandarin Grill and Man Wah, each of which is one-starred. There are seven other drinking and dining outlets, all very popular with Hong Kong residents as well as visitors. M Bar on the 25th floor has sensational views across the harbour. It’s open from 11am but night-time is when it really sparkles into life. You can sample little ‘M bar delights’ created by Pierre Gagnaire whilst being dazzled.
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