To be honest, the hotel building
doesn't make much of an impression, at least not from the outside. Back in
1963, it was the city's tallest building and represented the pinnacle of
luxury. But when you stand in front of it today, it just seems outdated and rather
uninviting. But all your preconceptions disappear the moment you walk in.
Before you can really absorb the slightly archaic interior, the gracious staff is
greeting you and suddenly the warm welcome sweeps all your criticism away.
This is not the usual all-mod-con hotel. No, it is like entering a completely new world, full of luxury. The lobby is a throwback to the "Swinging Sixties", with a funky decor that is very unusual today. During the big renovation of 2005, the interior designers left the original lobby mostly untouched and so managed to retain its authenticity look. Though fascinating, it lacks charm and makes it hard to get a feeling for the hotel immediately. The building is like a labyrinth, with its many corridors leading to the hotel's various bars, restaurants, and special facilities, such as the Cohiba Cigar Divan, an interesting shoebox operation hidden away near the back of the lobby. The cosy size of this room it is easy to chat with fellow cigar-smokers, nice these days when cigar-smokers are banned from most public places. The only point of criticism is the fact that the cigars are too dry (stale?), which makes them draw a bit. It is a pleasure to be in this place, for men anyway, as there is also an old fashioned barbers parlour that will take care of all your tonsorial needs.
The hotel has all
a foodie could want. Somehow, the Man Wah restaurant has slipped under the
radar of both Bibendum and M. Pierre Gagnaire. Whilst a Bibendum-rated restaurant
is certainly worth a visit, the latter offers a kind of cuisine that is similar
to what Gagnaire cooks in Paris. However, unrated or not, Man Wah is still one
of Hong Kong's best Chinese restaurants.
There's no way that you will be bored in the Mandarin Oriental, especially as it is linked to one of Hong Kong's huge malls, where you can spend a lifetime or shop until your drop. Finally, what makes this hotel spectacular is the perfect service. Your stay will be unforgettable due to the politeness, efficiency and warm way the staff deal with any request. The Mandarin Oriental has it all: 501 guest rooms, and it still feels intimate. It has outstanding service, great food, has a spa that makes you forget all your troubles, and a direct connection to all of the shops you could ever want. Staying here is as relaxing -- or exciting -- as you can get in one of the world's busiest cities.