The view from the top of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
o keep reminding myself of why I love Hong Kong, I have compiled a personal list of things that I love about Hong Kong. I initially arrived in China, in 2003, because I grew up watching pictures and movies about Kai Tak Airport, and because of my love for aviation I wanted to go and see the site of that old airport. Hong Kong is a lovely stopover city, and one of the best places to travel.
So here are my top ten things I love about this beautiful city (in no particular order):
1. A hike to the top of Lion Rock Hill
Hong Kong is a city that is all about absorbing the beautiful views. Climbing to 495 meters above sea level rewards you with breathtaking views across to the harbour and the centre of Hong Kong. The views are best at sunset when the sun shimmers across the harbour with the little fishing boats seen dotting in the horizon. I love this place because I sit on the rocks all day if I want to and write stories, poems, or just mesmerize at the breath-taking views across to the horizon.
2. A drink at the Ozone Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
Nothing beats the feeling of whiling away your evening at the highest watering hole in the world, and admiring the view of the whole of Hong Kong below you. Pilots in yesteryear would have enjoyed the same view when they came into land at the former Kai Tak Airport, and today you can enjoy it too. A must try is the signature cocktail called Aria 118 (orange vodka, sake, coconut rum, passion fruit, and lychee). Best to arrive early in the evening or after dinner as the place can understandably get busy. I love this place because I enjoy a lovely drink, such as the Aria 118, and feel as if I am sitting in the clouds.
3. Eating fresh seafood at Mui Wo on Lantau Island
Around a 40-minute ferry ride from Central, Mui Wo is situated in tranquil surroundings and presents some of the finest fresh seafood around. Take a nice bottle of wine or Champagne, and indulge yourself with a fanfare of fresh lobster, prawns, and other seafood. Best to go when the sun sets, and even better if you can stay overnight (the Mui Wo Sunshine Hotel is close by). I love this place because I can indulge in FRESH seafood, and just listen to the waves swashing back and forth against the shores of Mui Wo in the magic of the evening. Equally well the priceless red sunsets are worth mesmerizing at.
4. Taking the Star Ferry
It only costs around HKD 2, but it provides some of the priceless views in the world. Hong Kong harbour's skyline is such that only Manhattan in New York can probably beat it to its beauty. The 8 minute ride from Kowloon to Central is equally worth riding no matter it's day or night, and whatever the weather may be. Much better than the over crowded MTR metro! I love taking the Star Ferry because it reminds me of what Hong Kong is all about- sight-seeing, fun, elegance, views, and people watching. You can do all of that while you on the Star Ferry.
5. Going to the Peak (by the bus or the Peak Tram)
From the peak you can get spectacular panoramic views across to the whole of the city (OK, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong also provides equally spectacular views but from a different angle). Allow at least around 3 to 4 hours from your schedule to fully experience and enjoy the sights of the Peak (includes the time to get to the top). The Peak Tram was first introduced in 1888. It was built for the daily commuters rather than a tourist attraction though nowadays majority of the passengers are tourists. The ride is quite steep and it climbs up to 396 meters above sea level. You can either the Peak Tram to the Peak (Bus 15C runs from the Central Ferry piers to the Peak Tram terminus), or you can bus number 15 from Pier 5 to the peak, or a taxi (expensive!). If you take the number 15 bus from Pier 5 in Central then you'll be treated to some lovely views across from the hills (that's where all the A-list celebs reside). I love the Peak, because it reminds me of the sheer wealth that Hong Kong has.
6. Afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel
Back in the days the Canton to Kowloon railway used to stop right outside the Peninsula Hotel, and that used to the star attraction of the city. Nowadays while the KCR train stops a bit further away (at Mong Kok!), the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tusi is nevertheless still a huge attraction for the city. It's one of the key colonial legacies that the city is proud of. If you can, then it is advisable that you book for the Afternoon Tea experience well in advance, as there can be long queues. You can find more at the review I did a few years ago: Peninsula Hong Kong.
l love the Peninsula Hong Kong because it showcases the British history that Hong Kong has connected with it. It also is one of the best places to have a lovely cup of tea and some delicious cakes.
7. Going to the beach on Lamma Island
The 3rd largest island in Hong Kong, Lamma Island is not too far away from the Central pier (it takes less than an hour by ferry). It is recommended that a full day, or at least half a day is spent to enjoy the sights and smells of this island. There are some nice clean sandy beaches on the island, and plenty of fresh food (both Western and local Cantonese). If you want to stay for the night, then it’s very easy to find a small hut by the beach to rent (cheap as chips). I love Lamma Island because you can get good, healthy food, have a good swim, and even go sailing if you want on a small boat- and it does not cost much. It’s a perfect place for a short day’s trip.
8. Yung Kee Restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong
Located within the narrow lanes of the over-crowded Lan Kwai Fong (expat area that is dotted with many watering holes and small food joints), Yung Kee Restaurant is a popular haunt for me. I have attended a lot of school reunion dinners there, and the Beijing Duck is always a delight to tuck into. Price per head can be on the heavy side, but you get what you pay for. The quality of the food will blow your mind away.
9. The MEGABOX
The MEGABOX is a 6-storey shopping & entertainment complex located in Kowloon overlooking the old Kai Tak Airport’s runway. You can go ice-skating, go to watch a movie or even experience a real simulator and try to land a plane at the old Kai Tak Airport. It’s perfect for couples, children and families. My favourite part of the MEGABOX is the food & beverage area. I love the Studio City Bar & Café which presents some of the finest steak in this part of Hong Kong, and a lovely pint of German or Australian beer to go with it! I love it because the MEGABOX is away from all the touristy areas, and because it is located just next door to the old airport, so there is bit of nostalgic feel to the place.
10. The food and drinks in the Seven 11
Hey, come on, I know it's only a 7/11 store BUT I must say that the variety of colorful drinks at the 7/11 and the K Shops cannot be found in the mainland or in the U.K.- and that's why I love it. There are at least 3 or 4 types of Lucozade, and those mouth-watering iced-tea drinks are just awesome and perfect for cooling down your heels in the hot and humid summers.
Above all else, I also love the people of this beautiful city. For the majority of the time I have been to Hong Kong has been from Guangzhou, however when I do fly from the U.K. I tend to take Cathay Pacific Airways, the proud carrier of the city. Cathay Pacific Airways is one of the six world's airlines that have been classed as a five star airline by the official SKYTRAX world airline rankings.
Here is an article on www.fly.com
about Hong Kong that I wrote.
Cathay Pacific is the airline of Hong Kong, and an official 5-star airline as voted by SKYTRAX: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
A view of Shenzhen looking towards the Shenzhen Bay, with Huaqiangbei in the near view: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The Shenzhen and Hong Kong border. That's Shenzhen on the bottom left hand corner, while Sheng Shui in Hong Kong is visible in the far distance: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Being back in the cosy warmer surroundings of Guangdong Province presents a sense of relief. Though the weather is cooler, it is no way as punishing and cold as Beijing or Shanghai at this time of the year. After arriving in Guangzhou from Beijing, I headed straight to Shenzhen for a small project. I could have flown straight to Shenzhen, but I flew on the China Southern Airlines Airbus A380 to do a project for them so I had to fly to Guangzhou first (Shenzhen is around one hours train ride from Guangzhou).
The city of Shenzhen borders Hong Kong, and is a fine example of how rapidly the Chinese economy has grown over the past 30 odd years (and even more so since 2004). Newcomers to the city will probably think that they are still in Hong Kong, considering all the high rise glass and luxurious hotels that have spurted out of the ground.
Ever since the early 1980s when the late Deng Xiao Ping established Shenzhen as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the city has continuously attracted a vast amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)- far more than any other city in this country. Before the 1980s, Shenzhen was a hamlet filled with hundreds upon hundreds of rice farms, and fish farms. Those fish and rice farms have been replaced by the Shennan East Expressway which is choked with Ferraris' and Maseratis'. Then there are the grand hotel such as The Ritz-Carlton, The Grand Hyatt, and recently the St Regis Shenzhen (the tallest hotel in Shenzhen), and so on so forth etc.
The only evidence of any kind of rice and fish farms are those that are situated across the border in Hong Kong's Northern Territories. At least that part of this area still looks no different to what Shenzhen looked like before the 1980s, and its a stark reminder of how times have changed here. The sons and daughters of those farmers become overnight millionaires (some even billionaires , and are now enjoying the benefit of shopping at the likes of the Coastal City Mall, or in Shekou. They have lavish properties in places such as the Overseas Chinese Town (OCT), or near Shenzhen Bay. I used to live in Lian Tang in Luohu District in 2004-2005, and today I can hardly recognise the place. Just like the rest of the largest cities of China, the place has become westernised.
The city houses the headquarters of China's many electronic and telecoms companies such as ZTE, Huawei, Haier, Konka, Mizuda, Mindray, and many others. Many of these companies are hiring foreign executives, some of whom worked on the board of many fortune 500 corporations. Shenzhen Airlines, the locally based airline, is in the process of recruiting foreign pilots too. Back in the hectic Huaqiangbei and Dongmen areas (two major shopping streets in Shenzhen), it is common to come across foreign business persons trying to make deals on bulk orders on Chinese made products (mostly electronic parts), that they can take back to their home countries and sell at a higher price. Many of these entrepreneurs come from the African Continent, Middle East, and South America. There are pockets of South-East Asians too.
The thing that continues to amaze me is that Shenzhen is so close to Hong Kong, and yet the differences are so varied. I am sure there are people on each side of the border who don't have any experience of what is life on the other side (that's probably the sad part of the Shenzhen story). While people on the fish and rice farms on the Hong Kong side must be wondering what on earth has happened to the fish farms on the Chinese side, and all they could see is building upon building growing out of the ground every other day. Indeed, the skyline of Shenzhen is changing at a dizzying pace, and probably will continue to do so for many years to come.
Fast paced in Shenzhen: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The Kingkey building houses the St Regis Hotel, the tallest in Shenzhen at 430 meters: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The unmistakable view of the IFC tower and the ferry piers at Central on Hong Kong Island: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The unmistakable view of the IFC tower and the ferry piers at Central on Hong Kong Island: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
am sure that those of you who have been to Hong Kong will agree that if you are here for a vacation, then it’s a great city to be in. One cannot resist but to make the most of themselves in the hustle & bustle of Hong Kong. You can wander around the crowded food markets, indulge in treating yourself to delicious Cantonese food, and burn those calories by walking up and down the endless and hectic streets of Central and Kowloon. It’s a massive playground for everyone. There is so much to see and absorb. I love Hong Kong for its tourist purposes.
If you were a tourist then the local Cantonese people would love you because, of course, you are bringing in money to their economy by any means of tourism. Indeed, it can be expensive (the city’s infrastructure eats your money faster than you can slam down a Starbucks coffee). Enjoy shopping in one of the many malls in Central, Kowloon, or the ICC building, go to the flower markets in Mongkok, and while away the evenings by having a drink at the Ozone bar at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and admire the beauty of this fast paced city.
However, lets the peel the skin a bit and see if that feeling would be same if you were actually living and working here. The answer is bluntly, no. Why? Because living and working in Hong Kong is a bit like being in a pressure cooker. It’s ridiculously over-crowded for such a tiny city, prices for housing and transportation are over the roof (perhaps the most expensive in the whole world), and the language & culture can present HUGE barriers if you are looking for a job here as an expat (from my experience, Cantonese people generally favour recruiting their own people when it comes to white-collar corporate jobs).
Plus, when you are working and living here all you end up doing in your spare time is hiking or sunbathing on the remote islands because there is not much else to do after you have seen everything (and you won’t have time to because you are busy working). There is a great potential for networking opportunities here, though the overcrowded atmosphere can present issues on that part too.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all that bad here. Hong Kong does have a lot of things to do and see all throughout the year, and plenty of festivals to immerse yourself in. There are foreign people with good white-collar jobs in Hong Kong. However, the average foreigner in Hong Kong with a good job tends to be invited by their company from their own country rather than being recruited locally (you can be employed locally too, but the salary would be localised too). It doesn't need a major survey to be done, or someone to ask Einstein for this fact to be proved. It’s plain & simple, and obvious to the eye. The majority of the expats are white, and male (sorry to be stereotypical, but it's true, especially in the banking and legal industry).
Among some of the expats there is that stiff upper lip mentality too where all they know is their local expat pubs and expat ghettos, and they seldom mingle with the local folks. My guess is that this is perhaps a legacy from the colonial British days, and some people have not got over the fact that Hong Kong is not British anymore (it's true, just go and see for yourself in places like Lan Kwai Fong). Some of the professions held by expats in Hong Kong include Bankers, Airline Pilots, professional Teachers, Lawyers, Journalists, or working in the hospitality industry.
One of the key areas in which the city has had a negative image in recent years is that Hong Kong still lags years behind the rest of the world when it comes to preventing its citizens from racial discrimination. Hong Kong may be branded as ‘Asia’s World City’ to push it’s image of a multi-cultural centre for Asia. However, in my personal opinion that title should actually go to Singapore because Singapore is a country that promotes active racial harmony among it’s people.
If you are in Singapore, you will come across white-collar workers from all backgrounds under the sun, however that’s not the case in Hong Kong. Some people have commented that it’s perhaps because in Hong Kong it’s important to be fluent in Cantonese at the workplace.
During the early colonial period when racial segregation was de rigeur, white Europeans, especially the British, enjoyed a prestigious social status while the native Chinese served as their subordinates.
It's been 40 years since Hong Kong signed one of the first United Nations human rights treaties: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Though in July 2009 Hong Kong did bring into effect an anti-racial law, the Racial Discrimination Ordinance. It's not sure if this law has had any positive effect. From my own personal experience, I can disclose that in Hong Kong it is very difficult to get hired for a job if your name is not English sounding or Cantonese.
The question here is, how much longer will it take to make Hong Kong live up to its anti-racism slogan of an "inclusive society in harmony"? Even their national airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, claims the following statement 'Cathay Pacific is an equal opportunities employer and has a policy of full compliance with all anti-discrimination legislation
'. The question posed again would be, how can an international airline claim to be an equal opportunities employer when hardly any of it's pilots or engineers, or cabin crew are black or from South Asia?
During the Colonial years, Cathay Pacific Airways was known to have an open canteen culture of racism. Quite a lot of people in the public limelight have mentioned that they only gave preference to Chinese or white people. However, most recently the airline came into a case of racial discrimination. In 2011, a British man claimed he was refused work by the airline because he was a Muslim (Daily Mail Article is here
). Some may even say that Hong Kong is a city that is still littered with bigotry (see these articles here
, and here
If you happen to be here as a tourist on a Sunday then you’ll be wondering why are there so many Filipino, Thai, and Vietnamese ladies sitting on every possible pavement, park, and even by the roadside? These young (mostly are young) ladies are housemaids, and Sunday is their official day off given by the government, and that’s why they linger and rest all day on the pavements. It clearly looks a bit odd to see so many people sitting on the pavements, and under flyovers, but that’s all the Hong Kong government provides them with. Indeed, most of the labour jobs in Hong Kong are carried out by people from South-East Asia or South Asia. Without being too negatively stereotypical, I would like to point that in contrast, the majority of the white collar jobs are carried out by people who are male, and white (or Cantonese). Some people claim that they cannot get good jobs because of the colour of their skin, while others argue, as pointed out above, that it is because they cannot speak Cantonese. So if language is the question, then you just wonder why those expat Bankers, Lawyers, etc. got jobs when most of them cannot communicate in Cantonese.
In China people often ask me whether I am white or yellow (somehow they cannot tell), and I get called all sorts of things under the sun (Mexican, Malaysian, Arabic, Italian, Spanish...you name it)...everything except being called British! Many Chinese people (Cantonese and others) remain unaware that certain forms of behaviours, gestures, and language are unacceptable in multicultural societies elsewhere. I totally sympathize with these people. In the past in Hong Kong one of the biggest-selling toothpaste brands was called Darkie, its trademark being a caricature of an Al Jolson-type smiling black man with gleaming white teeth. In time, protests from certain human right's groups eventually led to the name being changed to Darlie.
Before I came to Hong Kong and mainland China, I would not have associated the term racism with this part of the world because, of course, I knew what it was from my childhood in the 1980s and 1990s London. I knew that Chinese people have suffered racism themselves in the UK in times in memorial, so I was not expecting some Chinese people to be racist towards others. Of course, I am not saying everyone is racist (institutionally or otherwise- you don't have to be a member of any far right party in order to project racist views in form or another)..
I have never been exposed to any aggressive kind of racism, and I have not let this issue to have a bearing in my life. I never let it hinder onto my work or my career focus ever. I had friends from different cultures, and treated everyone the same.
Hong Kong is indeed a place of many faiths. There is the Sikh Gurdwara (Khalsa Diwan), Hindu Mandir, Muslim Mosque, Christian Churches, Jewish Synagogue, and even Buddhist temples. The funny thing is that most Cantonese people are not even aware of the existence in Hong Kong of these places of worships. I recall once mentioning to a highly educated Hong Kong-born friend of mine that I am going to the Sikh Temple for Sunday Service, and his response was: ‘Sikh temple? Are you not talking about the Church in Kowloon?’.
What could possibly be the root cause for this? Why don’t the local people understand different cultures, yet they proudly live in a city that is known as ‘Asia’s World City’? I was highly surprised as Hong Kong’s education system is also one of the best in the world.
Now, I am not sure if the infamous Chungking Mansion in Hong Kong’s Nathan road might be the root cause of this whole racial problem (or if race was the problem that led to the Chungking Mansions). The latter area is a prime example because it is full of South Asian touts selling all kinds of things from fake Rolax watches to homemade Armani suits. They have been there for years going back to times in memorial since the British colonial days, and most probably, they will be there forever. One wonders how they initially ended up there in the first place? I must say that their presence does give a bad impression for the whole community, and it could be that they are the ones who let the rest of the decent Asians down badly.
Read ‘Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong’ by Gordon Mathews to get an idea. It’s very common to be approached by a Hong Kong tout and be asked: ‘’Hello Sir, would you like a Rolax watch, Indian food, Indian/Chinese/Thai/Russian massage girl, a new tailor made suit?’. Could it be that perhaps because of these touts that some Cantonese people refrain to sit next to a South Asian person on the MTR, even if that seat is the only free seat in the whole carriage? (I have seen this with my own eyes many times- but I was not the victim!).
Therefore, my personal conclusion is that Hong Kong is ‘Asia’s World City’ when it comes to welcoming tourists, but not when it comes to living and working in. In direct contrast to Hong Kong is Singapore, which is a truly multicultural country, and does provide a fair way for everyone irrespective of colour, cast, race etc.
I wish I could say better words for the latter part, but if I did not feel this way, then I would not have written it like this. You have good people and bad people everywhere in the world and in every nation. However, it’s the sad collective thought of the people that can let the whole country down. It only takes one chance to make a lasting impression.
A version of this article was published on Huffington Post..here
Located in a sophisticated location on the 2nd floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong, Grissini, the award-winning Italian restaurant awaits the discerning dinar. Grissini is widely acclaimed as one of Hong Kong’s finest Italian restaurants. Why? There are a few reasons for this lavish title that the restaurant enjoys, including the fact that it’s one of the few Italian restaurants in Greater China where 95% of the ingredients are freshly imported from Northern Italy. Then there are the magical views across to the Hong Kong harbour overlooking to the beautiful Kowloon side in the horizon. Prices are indeed a bit on the high side, but then again you do get what you pay for. This is where Chef Andrea Fraire, a native of North Italy, gets to show off his culinary delights. It’s especially true when you ask him to surprise you that he does not fail in that department either.
As you enter Grissini, the one thing that strikes the eye is the open, airy environment, which is difficult to find in most parts of a hectic city as Hong Kong. It is the tall ceiling, and the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views across to the harbour that give the restaurant its classy reputation among many dinars from all walks of high life. The restaurant seems to be popular with city yuppies and your average who’s who in Hong Kong during the lunchtime period, while the evening may be welcomed by romantic dinars looking for that slight cupid touch to their special moment. The restaurant is equally respected for its aroma, its taste of luxury, and it’s passion for style as it is with the dishes that are presented by Chef Fraire.
All dinars are greeted with the trademark homemade Grissini breadsticks accompanied with some fine authentic Italian Olive Oil. It readily prepares your tongue to try out some of the signature appetizers such as ‘Braised Pink Veal Slices with Tuna and Capers Sauce, Garden Leaves’, or the ‘Deep-fried Anchovies and Squid with Red Onion Compote and Salad’. The former dish presents succulent slices of Pink Veal generously surrounded with chunks of tuna fish, while the latter is best known for its priceless anchovies that dance alongside the colourful red onion and green salad.
If you love risotto, then try the ‘Carnaroli Risotto with Leeks, Pumpkin Cream, and Goat Cheese’ as it will simply blow your mind away. It looks simple to the eye, yet the texture and the smoothness of the goat cheese and the pumpkin cream blends in nicely into the risotto- in fact it’s so well hidden that you hardly notice it. Now, that’s the wizardry of Chef Fraire. With good food like this, you need a good wine to go with it. As one may expect, the 1,000-bottle wine cellar is exclusively Italian.
For pasta lovers, like moi, Grissini offers such delights as the ‘Tagliatelli with Tuscan Pork Sausage and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes’. Richly thick Tuscan pork sausages go well with vitamin-enriched cherry tomatoes- both ingredients are freshly imported from Italy exclusively for Grissini. It’s so authentic that for a minute or two you may be forgiven for thinking that you are actually in Italy, and not in Hong Kong (it can happen...!). Yet the whole experience is meant to be just like that. There are so many Italian restaurants around Greater China that offer the best f the best, but for sure, Grissini has done everything they can to provide a truly best authentic Italian dining experience. All in all, yes, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when dining at the fine Grissini. Just go and have a try if you are in Hong Kong! Yes, it's expensive but you get what you pay for. So don't wait but go and add a bit of good food into your life!:-)
I am in London as I upload this article. I have been busy travelling (went from Suzhou to Hong Kong, then Guangzhou, then Shenzhen, then back to Suzhou...then Beijing and now in London). And all that time I did not have time to update my website. So now I have the chance. Enjoy reading the following articles!
The Peninsula Hotel is the only building in Hong Kong with helipads on the roof. The helipads are used only by the guests of the Peninsula Hotel who want to do sightseeing Hong Kong or those who want to be ferried by helicopter from the airport: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
A Peninsula Pageboy: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Located on the junction of Nathan Road and Salisbury Road, The Peninsula Hong Kong is comfortably the most recognised hotel in Hong Kong. Its trademark 32-storey glorious cream-coloured building is visible from all elevated parts of the city (including from the Peak, and from the new ICC building), and if you are bit higher then you get a clear glimpse of the two signature helipads on the top of the hotel as well.
The Peninsula Hong Kong is the glamorous flagship property of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. It presents the ultimate in luxury, and apart from being the only historically luxurious five-star quality hotel in Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hong Kong is very much seen as a reminiscent of the British colonial days of Hong Kong. Though it looks smaller from the outside, the interior, however, does reveal a rather grandular ambiance where lavish space dominates all throughout. One thing is for sure, when it comes to having that perfection of customer service, comfortable rooms, and exceedingly good food; there is no comparison to this nostalgic property.
Usually when one mentions the words, The Peninsula Hong Kong, most people just have one thing in mind- ‘The Peninsula Afternoon Tea’, which has its roots cemented from Hong Kong’s old colonial days. In fact, the lavish hotel is much more than that, and effectively gives more to its guests in return.
Yes, The Peninsula Hong Kong is renowned for its delicious food, its high quality of comfort, and its excellent customer service. However, there is one thing that people tend to brush off without even realising it- The Peninsula Hotel has one of the oldest fashion arcades in Hong Kong. Throughout the years, the hotel has hosted world-renowned brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and many others. There’s also a branch of the famous Graff Jewellers.
All 300 richly decorated rooms and suites have a lovely blend of the colonial past, and the ultra modern touch with state-of-the-art facilities throughout. This includes luxuries such as electronic curtains and blinds, DVD players, complimentary internet (wired and wireless), complimentary local calls, and, sophisticated touch button technology that allows you to control all the room lights from your bedside (so you don’t have to get up from your bed). Oversized marble bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs (Jacuzzi in the Peninsula Suites), built-in LCD TVs, hands-free phones, and complimentary toiletries by provided exclusively by Davi. Guests residing at The Peninsula Hong Kong are also presented with a lovely red Chinese soap box in which there is a complimentary round Davi soap bar with the signature of the Peninsula crest stamped on it. The whole ambiance of the hotel projects a strong sense of the old British colonial era. Some parts of the premises, such as the corridors, the lobby, and the Verandah really does give you a feeling that you are back in the 1930s colonial Hong Kong. Except, of course, the only difference being that you don’t see guests wearing period clothing.
As everyone who works in the hospitality business knows that it only takes one chance to make a lasting impression, and the reason why the vast majority of the guests keep coming back to The Peninsula Hong Kong is because every single member of the hotel makes a very good lasting impression. It’s the ethos that has been built and maintained by Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited.
The true heydays of The Peninsula Hong Kong were when the Kadoorie family initially opened it in 1928. In those days, passengers from the luxury cruise ships used to disembark at the Kowloon quay, and, the famous trans-Siberian rail link from mainland China would stop right in front of the hotel, which enabled people to go straight to the Peninsula to have the signature Afternoon Tea. Though, with the change of the times, the train is not there anymore, nevertheless, the traditional ceremony of having Afternoon Tea is still very much part of the culture and ethos of The Peninsula Hong Kong.
The luxurious Rolls-Royce cars, and the helicopter rides are two of the other key ingredients that have distinguished The Peninsula Hong Kong for many years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Since December 2006, the hotel has had a fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms painted in the hotel's signature ‘Peninsula green’. This was the largest order placed for Rolls-Royce in the history of the company, and still stands as of today. The Peninsula Hong Kong is the only hotel in Hong Kong where the helicopter can land. The two helipads are used primarily for sigh-seeing rides over Hong Kong, or to transport the hotel's VIP clients to Hong Kong International Airport, with flight duration being around 10 minutes. The China Clipper aviation lounge is located on the 30th floor, and allows passengers to freshen up before or after their helicopter flight. The toilets in the lounge are originals from an actual aircraft. The lounge has parts of the ‘China Clipper’ aircraft, a four-engine seaplane belonging to Pan American Airways that was used on the inaugural flight from San Francisco to Manila in November 1935 (it stopped en-route and landed at the former Kai Tak airport).
The Peninsula brand in Hong Kong is so strong and powerful that there really is no room for failure. From the moment you step into the hotel premises to the moment you check-out, everything is done to the absolute perfection with the minute detail in mind, everything. That smoothness with which the Rolls-Royce is driven at, that signature smile from the crisply attired Peninsula Pageboy when he opens the door to welcome you, and that sheer effectiveness of the housekeeping maids to make sure that you have the luxurious experience of a lifetime. During my brief stay I got the feeling that the entire staff have a sense of strong attachment to the history of the hotel, and they are not just there because they have a job to do. Indeed, some of the staff are so closely part of the Peninsula family that have been at the hotel for almost their entire life.
A beautiful illustration of this is provided in a new book called ‘Our Hong Kong’, which is a collection of personal stories from the staff at the Peninsula. The limited edition hardback is given as a complimentary gift to all guests who stay at this hotel. As Ms. Rainy Chan, the Area Vice President - Hong Kong and Thailand General Manager, The Peninsula Hong Kong puts it: ‘Our Hong Kong offers a highly privileged view- like a city guide created by 50 of your local friends, with antidotes and insights that are rich and varied’.
The Peninsula Hong Kong provides six dining venues (eleven including the Lobby, Room service, The Verandah, The Pool Terrace, and The Bar), which means you have no excuse to miss your friend’s invitation. There are many highlights, and it would probably take a book to write about them all. If time is your enemy then it may be worthwhile to check out the Philippe Starck-designed Felix restaurant and bar, the Verandha (which still has the old colonial Raj style fans), and the Salon de Ning which is located in the basement floor (just like at The Peninsula Shanghai). The latter features live band with dancing and cocktails.
There is no other better way to polish off your nostalgic experience at The Peninsula Hong Kong than to pamper yourself with one of the signature massage treatments at The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, or relax at the swimming pool overlooking the Victoria Harbour. Equally beautiful are the roman bath style sauna and Jacuzzi facilities that are offered in the separate men’s and ladies changing rooms. As you swim you can either admire the beautiful views of the Hong Kong Island’s unmistakable skyline, or just while away your time in the vicinity of the thought that you have been part of a bit of Hong Kong’s proud, and prosperous history. Try it yourself, and see what the Grande Dame of the Far East has in store for you.
Who doesn't love Hong Kong? This tiny city is full of magic, noise, sights, and plenty of fan-fare 24 hours a day. In the past 3 months, I have had the pleasure of visiting Hong Kong a number of times. The great thing about Hong Kong is that no matter how many times you go, it’s very difficult to resist the temptation to take some photos. Here are a few shots of Hong Kong I have taken from various places. I hope that you can enjoy these photos no matter where you are in the world. One thing I’ll say is that no matter how much of an experienced hiker you may be, Hong Kong (and its unpredictable weather) will most certainly challenge you. After a long day of walking around on a hot and humid day, it feels exceedingly exhausting. Who needs to go to the desert or to a sauna when you are in Hong Kong?! For a number of times I actually felt as if I had been to the gym in my suit! (You know that feeling of wearing a suit and tie in extreme hot and humid weather?!). Anyways, enjoy feasting your eyes with these photos!
A view of OZONE, the highest bar in the world located at the 118th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong (Around 1,500 feet above sea level): Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
When one stands at the Ozone Bar at the 118th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which (if you don’t already know by now), is officially the highest watering hole in the world, at the highest hotel in the world, you get a true feeling of how tiny yet vibrant Hong Kong really is. During the day, everything looks like as if you are standing on top of a matchstick city, while during the night it looks like you are standing in the middle of a garden full of a billion Christmas trees twinkling in the far distance.
Opened on the 29th of March 2011, and occupying the top 17 floors of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre (ICC), The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong is your castle in the sky. The elevator that propels the guests to the arrival lobby at the 103rd floor takes exactly 53 seconds- that’s 9 metres per second to be precise. It’s not as fast as an aircraft taking off on rotation; nevertheless, it may still require you to swallow or even chew a candy to stop your ears popping. On a windy or rainy day, you can hear the wind whistling in the background as the lift goes up (or down).
If you ever wanted to experience what life is like above the clouds, and what it feels like to sleep in the clouds, then you have come to the right place. In fact, it’s more than that. Call me mad, but during my brief stay, I could not resist just sitting in my room and watching how quickly the weather went past me and it’s so good that you can see the weather coming towards you from a distance of over 15-20 miles in the horizon. What I am trying to say is that if you were on the ground, you would probably think that it’s a clear day, and you would have no warning or idea that in, say, half an hour it will start raining. Whereas if you are at 1,500 feet above the ground in your cosy room at The Ritz-Carlton you can easily see that it’s raining 20 miles away, and that rain is heading right towards you. A beautiful experience that makes you feel as if you are floating gently on the cloud tops.
All the 312 rooms and suites are designed to give you the ultimate in luxury and to make you feel special for whatever reason you are staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Whether it is for business or pleasure. Unlike other hotels, the distinguished service at The Ritz-Carlton comes with the best customer experience, and effectively everything that has to be superlative- there is no room for failure when guests are paying around 5000HKD (approx. 450GBP) per night for the privilege. At that point, it comes to the important part, which is the experience received rather than the height of the hotel.
The best part of the stay has to be the sleep. Lovely slumber and cosy 400-thread count bed linen with down feather pillows and throws (600-thread in the Club rooms and Suites). You just can’t beat the experience, and it’s so good that it makes you feel like you don’t want to get out of the bed.
Exceeding expectations, the rooms all are fitted with state-of-the-art facilities such as electronic blinds and curtains, 42-inch LCD television (17-inch LCD television in the marble bathroom), Blu-ray DVD player, i-pod docking station, both wired and wireless high-speed internet service, and the all important- Nespresso coffee making machine. Oh, and then there is the useful bedside clock which has an automatic light that comes on only when you pick it up- so you don’t have to get out of your bed to switch on the lights. Sometimes, the latest high-tech gadgets used at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong can even confuse the housekeeping staff. Like for example, the tiny ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND) and ‘Please clean’ LED lights outside the doors that are neatly camouflaged inside a black glass panel. It’s a lovely invention that covers the minor but important details of what an experience should be like at a fine accommodation.
All the Suites have a telescope that overlooks to the Victoria Harbour and beyond. The views are just fascinating. On a clear day you can get spectacular views with the naked eye for as far places as Lantau Island, Lamma Island, the shores beyond Stanley on the far side of Hong Kong Island, Sha Tin and, even Clear Water Bay.
The old airport, Kai Tak, which closed down in 1997 after the British handover, is clearly visible with its runway (runway 31-13) and taxiway all intact even after all these years. In fact, airline pilots would who used to fly into Kai Tak would love The Ritz-Carlton. Standing at the Club Lounge and admiring the views is a treat because the view from the Club Lounge is the same (and from the same height of around 1,500 feet), at which planes would have started their final approach into Kai Tak. The old checkerboard in Kowloon is still very much visible along with Mongkok hill. I highly doubt that the guests residing at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong would have any requirement to take a helicopter tour of the city, as the views are perhaps better because sigh-seeing helicopters in Hong Kong normally fly at around 1000 feet (lower than the IFC!), whereas The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong is as mentioned, higher than that.
As you may imagine that for a hotel of this height, security and safety are two of the most important features that are looked at very closely by the staff. Even if, say, the fire alarm sensors pick up the slightest of smoke signals then it can set off the alarms fairly effortlessly (as it did when I was there). I was there during a moderate tropical typhoon (which is a common occurrence in Hong Kong), and interestingly enough it felt as if one is floating in the sky with the rain clouds. That whistling wind is so catchy to the ear.
Despite the enormous height of the hotel, kudos has to be given to the designers and the architects to make sure that all the facilities are within easy reach by the guests. The Ritz-Carlton Spa and the Club Lounge are on the 116th floor, while the futuristic swimming pool, Gym and the Ozone bar are all on the 118th floor, and all the restaurants are located on either the 103rd or the 102nd floor. The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA features 860 sq m/9,257 sq ft with nine deluxe treatment rooms and two couples’ suites, plus floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. The facility redefines the Hong Kong spa experience with a personalised and caring service. Guests are welcomed by the sight of a massive crystal chandelier in the Spa reception that costs over USD$0.5 million.
Equally well, when it comes to presenting gastronomic delights, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong certainly gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘dining with a view’ like no other. All of the three enormous restaurants on the 102nd floor are gifted with two-story windows that provide a flood of natural light. Acclaimed Japanese firm, Spin Design Studio, designed the restaraurants. The views become more romantic and dramatic at night time- no wonder why all the dining tables are always fully booked. All the restaurants also have private dining rooms to rent that come with sweeping views of Hong Kong, and into the horizon. The three restaurants are: Tosca, which presents authentic southern Italian cuisine as managed by Neapolitan Chef de Cuisine Vittorio Lucariello; Tin Lung Heen, which is Cantonese for Dragon in the Sky, costs HK$888 (£71), an auspicious number in Chinese culture for a prix-fixe dinner; and the Lounge & Bar where one can have their breakfast and admire the stunning views (weather permitting). The most interesting design feature of all has to be the highly illuminated walkways connecting the three main dining venues on the 102nd floor. The walkway panels are either gold, red, green, or blue- depending on the time of the day.
With its honeycomb theme interior, the Ozone bar is purely a chic bar that is designed for three things in mind: the views, the elegance (and there is plenty of that here), and the menu on offer. It has it all- the glamour, the looks, the food, the flamboyant architecture, and the jazzy staff to go with it. If you want to just down a few drinks and absorb the atmosphere that is designed to attract Hong Kong’s cashed-in crowed then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to tuck into the tasteful carte du jour. The interestingly hologram covered menu contains a wonderful selection of Western, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine (Oysters and Sushi dominate the front few pages), and an equally special selection of wines, cognacs and some exceedingly mind-blowing martinis. However, I would not mind drowning myself into a trademark moijito either. There are endless options from the wine list; well, that should not be a surprise when you have over 10,000 bottles of wine in store at any given time of the day...right?
Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, the fact that The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, is the highest hotel in the world, is of course, not the real guest experience. For sure, the height at which it’s placed is unquestionably a lure for the masses. However, the real experience and the notion that sets this hotel apart from the rest is The Ritz-Carlton personalised guest provision. One would anticipate nothing short of an exceptional customer service experience from a hotel that has over 30 percent of the 525 staff members having come from the old Ritz-Carlton that stood in Hong Kong Island’s Central district. Glimpses of the old Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong are still somewhat present in this new Ritz-Carlton, however with a twist. For example, the old Ritz-Carlton’s Italian restaurant was named Toscana; while here, they have renamed it ‘Tosca’. Then there are the minor but important details such as the traditional period English furniture, gilt-framed mirrors and the snug-like ambiance of a true five star quality product such as The Ritz-Carlton. The phrase ‘quality and quantity’ certainly fits the bill correctly at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong as it blends in both values with precision.
On that note-, interestingly enough there seems to have begun a ‘highest hotel in the world’ race between Shanghai and Hong Kong. Until March 2011, the Park Hyatt Shanghai was officially the highest hotel in the world. Now that title can be enjoyed for a few years by The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong before it goes back to Shanghai again in late 2014 when the J-Hotel (Jin Jiang Group), will be opened on top of the 623-meter Shanghai Tower. But for now, it’s about taking all the chances that you can and be as far removed away from life at street level as possible. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong doesn’t disappointment in that category for the time being. Give it a go, and see if it exceeds your expectations by being pampered in sheer luxury and engage yourself in life at the castle above the clouds.
Immersed in perfect tranquillity on the top two floors of the Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong, the classy Felix restaurant is much more sophisticated than your average chic eatery located elsewhere in Hong Kong. The most amazing thing about Felix is that it continues to be hideously virgin to the eye to this day. The moment I walked in, I actually had the feeling that this was a new restaurant. Designed by the high-flying Philippe Starck, who has a way of creating timeless design that's almost never conventional or secure, yet cutting edge and challenging. Lovely creamy white and vanilla colours adorn the walls that are designed such that represent the waves of the waters in the Victoria Harbour. The slight breeze feeling comes from the effect that dinars are enjoying a meal while situated in the middle of Hong Kong’s picturesque surroundings.
Evenings are meant to be for a sophisticated purpose to indulge in luxurious surroundings with good company, food, and wine. In a restaurant where style and quality of a person’s life are watched by others when they dine, there is little room for failure when minor but important things such as the ambiance, the background music and the customer service all have to be first class. You’ll be pleased to know that Felix fails to fail you in those respects.
Apart from the main restaurant area, which also includes a private VIP dining table in the corner providing jaw-dropping views of the Victoria Harbour, there is a balcony, a wine bar, an American bar and, as a stunning centrepiece, a green coloured illusion box that’s a dance floor known as the ‘Crazy Box’. However, it’s not so cold inside, but the floor is designed to give the illusion that your footprints are embedded on frozen ice. So what sets the restaurant apart from the other? One of the most beautiful things about Felix is the atmosphere. The ambiance (and the food), is the key to its success. The trendy bar at the corner of the restaurant is a chic placement raised above the main restaurant floor. It gives way for those who want to see and those who want to be seen. It’s quite the place where you’ll most probably meet business moguls and city yuppies from downtown Hong Kong catching up on the city’s latest riffraff. Without a doubt the late afternoons are the best time when the crowd descends for the restaurant’s extensive wine list and comfort food, inspired by different kinds of world-wide contemporary cuisine, and divided into ‘East’ and ‘West’.
The restaurant itself has plenty of choice from a varied menu. The buzz word among the regulars is to tuck into one of the specially designed set menus where each dish comes complete with a matching wine. Who wouldn’t mind fancy tucking into a seven course set meal for dinner? Felix impresses when it comes to exceedingly good exotic food such as ‘deep fried octopus beignet decorated with a summer vegetable salad, yogurt, and truffle lemon dressing’, or ‘pan-seared sea bass, mint and green pea puree with milk poached white celery’. The latter dish portrays a perfect example of how sea bass should be served. It’s the lovely garnish of micro basil leaves that adds the super arse-kicking effect into the meal. Delicious. Other tantalising dishes include ‘grilled quail with almond-curry cream, seared fresh tomato, and baby zucchini’. Now, when it comes to eating bird, not many people are adventurous to try something exotic such as quail. However, credit has to be given to the chef, Yoshiharu Kaji, who has newly arrived from the renowned Peter restaurant at the Peninsula Tokyo, for creating a dish where the meat stays juicy and tender, while the outer rind of the quail’s skin offers a slight crunchy feeling to it.
But hey, it’s no good for me to sit here and ask my dancing fingers to mention all these good words about Felix. Why don’t you just go and give it a go and see for yourself. But whatever you do, just make sure that you don’t burst out into uncontrollable laughter while attending for a technical stop at those urinals in the gents room. They actually give a completely new meaning to relieving yourself on top of the world- what a great view it provides too. Whatever you do, just make sure you do mind your manners!
P.S. At the time of writing, though dinner is served upto 10:30pm, the bar is, however, open until 01:30am (Daily).
Laid out with generous space and a beautiful aroma on the 102nd floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, Tosca provides the finest authentic southern Italian cuisine on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Beautifully designed and crafted by Japan’s Spin Design Studios, Tosca is actually a re-carnation of the old Toscana Restaurant that used to be situated at the old Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong. In actual fact, this is one hot restaurant to dine at as proved by the month-long-waiting list that has been long standing since the hotel opened! That includes practically the whole of Hong Kong’s who’s who.
As the restaurant comes alive in the evenings, the magnificent open kitchen leaves little space for errors as Neapolitan chef Vittorio Lucariello can be seen performing various types of culinary magical tricks with his team to present surprises. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I let the chef show off and ask them to put forward some of their latest creations. ‘What would you like to order, Mr. Singh?’ asked chef Lucarirllo, who loves Yoga on his days off and prefers to keeps his mind dancing in culinary thoughts. ‘Just surprise me, please’. I replied as I handed back the menu to Mr. Lucarirllo. indeed, that’s exactly what he did. The set of dishes that followed through were a sheer work of culinary art. Before I get to that I think its best that you know what the atmosphere is like on a typical evening at the Tosca. The ambiance is nice enough so that you can have a relaxing chat with your fellow dinars without having to shout, especially when the restaurant is at its full capacity. The point I am trying to get to is that even when the eatery is fully packed it is designed such that the huge two-floor high walls and double-glazed windows absorb the sound. If you are on a dinner date with your special one then it’s highly recommended that you take one of the window seats which offer breath-taking views across the whole of the city. Hong Kong sparkles at night, and dining at Tosca gives you the feeling that you are dining on a floating cloud. Either that, or the unusual feeling that you are dining inside a posh spacecraft! It’s an experience like no other restaurant can offer anywhere else in the whole of this city- and that is equally important as the presentation of the dish you are about to tuck into.
Each dish has a matching wine that goes with it- not that they tried to get a journalist drunk on the night, but because this is the trend that the vast majority of the high end market restaurants are operating on.
I commenced with a lovely presented dish of Alaska king crab accompanied with a healthy portion of avocado and cous cous salad with Sorrento citrus. The perfect thing about these three dishes was that you could hardly taste the oil or the spices in them. The strong flavours of the real ingredients such as the sea bass and the avocado. When food gets to this level of sophistication, its all about presentation, looks, and the architecture of the layout. Nothing short of sheer perfection should touch your tongue. You just gotta love the way the avocado jazzes up the taste buds on your tongue as you take each bite. The most important thing to remember is that the combination of every flavour within a dish, as well as the combination of the dish with the wine (in this case was Franciacorta Brut, Majolini) has to be exceptional to the minute perfection.
If health was a key question to the heart of each dish, then the answers would be beautiful provided by the taste of all the flavours of the next dish. A lovely brash of eggplant surrounded with an arse-kicking decoration of homemade ravioli with a dash of shellfish sauce. Bright yellow colours of the ravioli dominates the presence. Excuse the pun, but you know when Lucarirllo is on fire in his kitchen. Native Neapolitans would feel exceedingly homesick, and while tucking into their dish may (for a moment), even have an illusion that they are on the shores of Sorrento rather than at the highest Italian eatery in the world in Hong Kong. The accompanying wine was Pinot Grigio, Sot Lis Rivislsonzo Rive Alte Ronco del Gelso.
Those who are familiar with the Hong Kong culinary scene would be aware of the passion and delight with which Lucariello put his heart and mind into all his meals. Lucariello personally loves the toasted Frisella bread with preserved high quality tuna with capers, olives, tomato, and Mediterranean oregano.
Lucariello had one final surprise for me. Just as I made my way towards the open kitchen to take photos after finishing my grilled Mediterranean Sea bass, I managed to have a small chat about his work at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Understandably, it’s difficult to get hold of the great man during rush hour as he is running the action-packed show for his dinars. ‘Did you enjoy your surprise meal, Sir?’ he asked while pointing his highly prized hand at one of the sample dishes. ‘I did, thank you, Sir’. I replied. To which the chef responded with the words, ‘OK, watch this, now!’ Then amazingly out of nowhere, suddenly he got hold of an empty plate, and then quickly whisked some chocolate ice-cream mixture right in front of my eyes. He then blended it with some rum, and another secret ingredient. The result was a ridiculously delicious chocolate ice cream generously sprinkled with rich chocolate flakes. It was nothing short of being a gorgeous delight for the tongue. The ability to quickly think on your feet and be able to create something healthy, appetizing, and attractive to both the stomach and the the eye is a skill which not many chefs possess. I would say that the award-winning Lucariello even surpasses this. But then again, what else would I have expected from one of the best chefs around in Asia’s World city?
Located in between clustered buildings in the heavily crowded yet exceedingly popular Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong is the 40-storey award-winning Hotel Panorama by Rhombus. It is the one & only one tallest triangular deluxe business hotel in the heart of a high-rise metropolis such as Hong Kong. Hotel Panorama is proud to announce that they have won the Best Business Hotel in China for three consecutive years (awarded at the China Hotel Forum), and The Best Business Hotel in Guangdong Hong Kong and Macau’ by Let’s Go Magazine in 2009 and 2010.
Hotel Panorama is within easy reach of many modes of transport including the nearest one being East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR (Exit N1 only a minute away by walking) and also exceedingly close to the hustle & bustle of Nathan Road (Hong Kong’s equivalent of London’s Oxford Street). Fear not to hide away your purse as the trendiest shopping malls are also facing the hotel, such as the exclusive K11 Art Mall, iSQUARE, The ONE and IMAX theatre complex.
Out of the four hotels that are managed in Hong Kong by the Rhombus group, Hotel Panorama is the largest hotel in terms of both size and the number of rooms it offers. Indeed, the initial reaction that one gets from observing the hotel is how grandular it is, and how lavishly decorated it is too.
If there are features that make this 324-guestroom hotel stand out from the rest then you can be rest assured that one of the key things on the list would be the stunning views that the hotel provides of Victoria Harbour or the city. Those that are fortunate to stay in a room with the harbour view then because of the unique triangular architectural design of the building you’ll be treated to splendid views across from Kowloon City on the left hand side to the Central business district across to the right on Hong Kong Island. Every room is neatly designed to have a contemporary feel and look to it bringing along comfort, convenience and an attentive personalized service.
Altogether, there are five different types of categories available: silver guestrooms are fitted with comfort and style that matches the ambiance of the east blended in with the west. All the toiletries in the Silver rooms are provided complimentary by Hotel Panorama’s own unique brand. While the gold guestrooms and platinum guestrooms (also known as ‘executive club harborview’ and ‘executive club Harborview suites’) offer the following: a luxury setting with extra space, breathtaking views across the Victoria Harbour, complimentary evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, complimentary usage of the Rhombus executive lounge on the 39th floor, designer toiletries by Crabtree & Evelyn and much more. The ethos is to provide an experience that is as close to being ‘home away from home’ as can be. Those guests residing in the executive club Harborview suites can also benefit from a complimentary airport express train ticket as well as the complimentary usage of the Rhombus club boardroom for 1 hour daily. The latter is an exclusive retreat for conducting business.
To keep your culinary delights happy there are three areas where you can keep yourself busy throughout the day and night. The first two eateries are cafe express and sweet corner. Both are located on the first floor. The former serves up international all-day dining delights with buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, or a la carte menu; while the latter offers a tempting array of scrumptious cakes and pastries that are freshly made on site. The third eatery, Santa Lucia Restaurant & Sky Bar, is perhaps more posh and classier than the former two ones located on the first floor; and you’ll probably need a lovely drink to cool down those heels after all that walking around town. Located on the 38th floor Santa Lucia Restaurant & Sky Bar provides unmatchable views right across the Victoria Harbour while offering modern cuisine and ultra creative beverages.
The highlight of the hotel has to be the sky garden and putting green located at the 40th floor, where guests can sip a few drinks, relax while chatting with company and marvel at the glorious views right across the Victoria Harbour, which become alive with energy and neon at night-time.