Lizhiwan in GUANGZHOU (CHINA)
Located in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, the area called Lizhiwan looks rather like Guangzhou’s equivalent of Amsterdam with boats navigating through the 743 meter-long waterway from Shamian Island to Liwan Lake. With lush greenery, numerous shops selling all kinds of traditional Cantonese food and period style buildings there is no better way to spend your day off. The one thing that does catch ones eye is the sensational ancient buildings with colonial style architecture that lie right next to rather traditional Cantonese architectural styled buildings. There is the amazing Wen Tower, a hexagonal designed pagoda style tower that gives a glimpse of the old style buildings. While in contrast there is the Chen Lianbo Residence, a typical Canton building from the 1920s colonial era.
Jinkeng Dazhai Longji Rice Terraces (Longji Rice Terraces), near Guilin (Guangxi Province)
Located in one of the most beautiful parts of China, the Longji Rice Terraces near Guilin (Guangxi Province) are famous for their stunning rice fields that descend on the slopes of the Jinkeng Dazhi area. The best way to get to the rice terraces is by bus (or private transportation) from Guilin city. If you opt to go with a tour group, then just be cautious because: 1. You may get ripped off, 2. The tour group may not converse in English, so you’ll end up being frustrated, and, 3. The driver will not stop on the way for you to take a few photographs (you’ll pass some stunning scenes, but the driver will not stop).
On the other hand, if you can speak Chinese, or if you have someone who speaks Chinese to accompany you than its all the better. Luckily, I can speak Chinese so I managed to go by myself, and even ended up bargaining on a good price to get a private taxi for myself. From the Sheraton Hotel in Guilin, I took the short 10 minute taxi ride to Guilin bus station (cost was cheap as chips). Many small minibuses go all the way from Guilin bus station to the entrance of the Jinkeng Dazhi. The cost is RMB 40 for one-way ticket and it takes around 3 hours in total because it occasionally stops for fuel (but not for more than 5 minutes at a time). If you prefer then you can take a private taxi as well, and that should not cost more than 200RMB (approx. 35USD) at the maximum. The driver will probably start at 500RMB (approx 65USD), and then you have to haggle your way down to 200RMB.
Bear in mind that 200RMB is reasonable price to pay for a private driver for this distance and route. With a private driver, it should only take you 2 hours, and the beautiful thing is that the driver will stop as and when you want to stop. So if you want to suddenly stop and take a few photos, then that should not be a problem.
The other (longer) way to go to the LongJi Rice terraces is by first catching a Longsheng bound bus from Guilin bus station, but get off at Heping (和平鄉), after around 2 hours. Then change to the bus that heads from Longsheng heading to the rice terraces. All the drivers know the routes, and you won’t find anyone that will cheat or scam you (in a communist country like China it is rare for any local person to cheat or trick a foreign tourist- they dare not to do that). The worst thing that can happen is that your driver may keep asking you if you want to go and see other rice terraces around the area-, which of course they will charge more for (but reasonable prices- nothing extraordinary). The Jinkeng Terraced Rice Fields and the Jinkeng Yao villages consist of 18 small Yao villages.
Longji terraced fields scenic area has an area of around 70.1 square kilometres. Being part of it, the ‘Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields Village’ is located in the Dazhi village, which has a population of 1190 people, and 294 families. The residents all belong to the native Red Yao ethnic minority. It’s a small community and everyone knows all the gossips that happen in the hills. In 2007, the area was officially classed as one of the first batch of typical rural landscapes in China (meaning they are available for tourism). The terraces in Jinkeng are rigged with mountains, which look like a natural hole when seen from a distance. It’s said that hundreds of years ago, a golden bull from heaven lived here and left lots of cow dung which was buried underground. The dung eventually turned into gold. Jinkeng is the geographic name for the region. It consists of Dazhi villages such as Tiantou, Zhuangjie village, Xinzhai village, and Damaojie village. The peaks that are worthwhile to climb at include ‘thousand layers to the heaven’, ‘seven stars chase the moon’, ‘music from paradise’, and the ‘golden Buddha peak’.
The best and most stunning part is the Jinkeng Dazhi (金坑大寨) to Ping'an trek. The hike takes about 4 hours, and is less touristy. When you get to Jinkeng Dazhi, you’ll be met by a group of traditional women who wear their long hair into a round plat (it looks a bit like a turban!). Expect to pay around 10RMB if you take a photo of them (that’s 10RMB for each lady for each photo- which comes to about 1$USD each). It’s a local tradition to wear long hair into a turban type structure. All the women belong to the Hongyao ethnic minority group. The women are only allowed to cut their long hair once in their lives, when they are 18 years old (it used to be 16 in years gone by), which signifies that they have become adults and are officially ready to get married. As per the local tradition, the hair that has been cut off should not be thrown away but is usually kept by the grandparents or the mother. The grandparents (or the mother) keeps the hair until the woman gets married, after which the treasured hair are given to her husband as a souvenir (ahhh...romantic, hey?).
During the early mornings, the Hong Yao women normally go down to the river to wash their hair with their women friends. The water from the river is blended in with the smell and the ‘flavour’ of the rice, and this natural blend of rice water is meant to be very good for keeping their hair healthy, jet black, shiny and strong. Again, you may have to pay a few RMB to take photos, but it’s quite a scene to watch. The women sing traditional local folk songs while laughing, and washing their long hair on the riverside against the beautiful backdrop of the lush green hills and mountains.
Located just below the 2nd scenic spot in Dazhi is the village of Tiantouzhai (田頭寨) where there are several small guesthouses and places to eat, some with English menus and English speaking staff. The terraces look like great chains or ribbons as they wind from the foot to the top of the hill. This resourceful construction of the buildings makes best use of the scare arable land and water (the water is exceedingly FRESH here, and the locals make full use of it).
The ‘Fragrant Rice Field Inn’ is located on the way to the No. 2 viewing area. To get from the entrance of the area at Jinkeng Dazhi to the village of Tiantouzhai takes around 45 minutes. There are three viewing points at the Jinkeng Dazhi, ideally numbered 1, 2, and 3. Both viewing points 1 and 3 take around two hours to climb to from the entrance of the Jinkeng Dazhai, while viewing area 1 takes just over an hour and a half. The latter provides sensational views across to the whole area early in the morning at sunrise- magical.
Some people believe that the best time to visit is during the spring just as the rice is about to be planted- which is when I had the chance to go. It may be low season but it provides some stunning photos of everyday life as the locals go about their daily routines. The terraces are filled with water to aid the planting and this creates a series of mirror like reflecting surfaces; a stunning spectacle often captured by photographers. Occasionally you may hear the sound of an instrument being played by the local farmers to pass their spare time as they relax on the rice fields. The sound is similar to that of a soft flute or a conch shell. Very beautiful and goes well with the romantic scenery of the hills.
Longsheng translates from Mandarin Chinese as ‘Dragon's Backbone’ and is an apt title for a ridge that has been carved over generations so that rice terraces cascade down its side for thousands of feet. The villagers still maintain the traditional way of life of the Yao people.
Their ethnic garments, buildings (Diaojiaolou), and festivals are the precious references to researching Yao people's history and culture. Do not be shocked to see a live chicken, lamb or, rabbit being slaughtered for dinner at your guesthouse (I experienced this first hand as the ‘chicken with rice’ I had ordered was produced fresh using the chicken I saw a few minutes earlier just strolling along the guesthouse floor!). The chicken eggs are laid fresh, the milk is also fresh sometimes (provided by the local cows or goat), and you may even come across some other creatures that are neatly kept in the cages for lunch or dinner (pheasant, pigeons, snakes etc.). The vegetables, fruit and other produce is also from the local farms, and most locals have their own farms.
If you are going in the spring, summer and autumn then its worth taking plenty of water, a pair of good quality sunglasses (with UV protection), and a hat to cover your head from the intense heat and humidity. These two things can make the climbing and hiking very uncomfortable. In addition, it is worth out pointing that climbing is easier than coming down because the steps put huge pressure onto your tired knees when descending the slopes. So make sure that you take regular breaks.
A member of the ‘Leading hotels of the world’, the Banyan Tree Sanya resort is tucked away on the beautiful shores of Luhuitou Bay in the city of Sanya, the southernmost tip of tropical Hainan island in China. Located on the edge of one of the most amorous, tranquil, spotless and scenic beaches in Hainan island, the Banyan Tree Sanya with its 49 villas is the ideal blend of eastern and western tastes of luxury. The location of the resort could not be more than perfect as it is only around a half-an-hour’s drive from Sanya’s Phoenix International Airport. Effectively if you want to treat yourself to a long and relaxing weekend’s luxury break away from one of the cities on mainland China, than the Banyan Tree Sanya would be the perfect place to come to. It is within the brand profile of the Banyan Tree to provide an experience for guests in locations that are set in stunning, un-crowded, and tranquil surroundings. The Banyan Tree brand provides guests with an experience that is equal to that of how one would define to be as paradise, irrespective if that’s near the beach or not.
The first thing that strikes you is the remarkable calm ambience of the resort. All that can be heard of is either the sound of the waves on the beach or the gentle breeze of the wind that whistles past the tree leaves. In line with the tradition of the brand’s name, you will find plenty of natural Banyan trees dotted around the resort, including in some of the villas. Lush tropical greenery with fresh coconuts dropping off trees onto the resort’s private white sandy beach surround the resort; and if you are passionate about fell walking, then why not give it a try to walk up to the nearby Luhuitou park from where you can get some of the most stunning views of the beach area and the resort.
The sun rises on the west of the resort and sets on the east of the resort; both of which provide spectacular views. You will easily be fooled for thinking that this really was Hawaii or the Maldives. However, it is a hard fact to swallow, but very much true that such an astonishing place with clear blue skies and hardly any pollution whatsoever lies only around an hour’s flight from some of the polluted, nosiest, and crowded cities in China, such as Guangzhou for example. The Banyan Tree Sanya has become such a popular resort that some of the resort’s loyal guests even stay for up to six months or even longer.
Despite the Banyan Tree Sanya resort only having 49 villas, nevertheless, because the size of each villa is quite large and that each villa is quite spaced out from each other, so therefore the most convenient way for concierge to usher guests around the resort is by using one of the electrically operated buggies. It adds a cute little technological touch to the otherwise traditional resort set in Sanya’s natural beauty.
The Banyan Tree Sanya caters well for families and those on a romantic getaway. However, in the past the resort has also been enjoyed by those on business trips, like for example when the Microsoft founder and CEO, Mr. Bill Gates stayed here for a small relaxing break from his business trip to China. The flexibilities and opportunities to really pamper yourself on your break are boundless. Should you wish to enjoy luxury five star meals in the privacy of your villa with your family or loved one, then all you need to do is order it. Equally well, you have the option of having dinner at Saffron, a fine eatery offering luxurious Thai cuisine against the backdrop of stunning views of the hotel and the surrounding scenery.
The key idea behind the existence of each of the villas at the Banyan tree Sanya is to project a romantic setting, where you can perhaps light a little candle next to the poolside and enjoy a scrumptious meal or enjoy a dip in your own pool and gaze at the night sky, or perhaps at each other. In fact, the Banyan Tree Sanya would be the perfect place to get married. Yes, I did say ‘get married’! Let’s face it- what venue could be more romantic? You have the sea and spectacular sunsets as a stunning backdrop, the fabulous weather, the exotic-factor of being on an island wedding. Just don’t forget to pop the question of course!
Fine mahogany furniture adorns the exceedingly spacious villas with their high ceiling, as well as an open-air bathtub in a lotus pond. You can feel and smell the natural furniture and materials in your earth-toned room but at the same time, there is an air of modern touches such as internet connection, cable TV, power shower, and plasma TV. This fine space blends seamlessly from the naturally ventilated living pavilion to the al-fresco timber veranda. If you want to enjoy the feeling of having your spirits lifted as you indulge yourself in your mouth-watering barbeque dinner amidst the sights and smells of rustling palm trees and a clear night sky, then yes, you can do this here at the Banyan Tree Sanya. It’s the concept of giving people the chance to enjoy a dream getaway somewhere special where you can just focus on enjoying life at a slow pace, enjoy a massage or have a five-course meal in a very slow and stress-free manner.
The Banyan Tree Sanya prides itself in the highlighting of the award-winning spa that features eight treatment-pavilions, which offer an extensive range of luxurious spa massages, beauty and body treatments. The pearl of the Banyan Tree Spa is the technologically advanced hydrothermal centre where you can indulge yourself in various hydrothermal treatments including a walk-in shower belt where you take small steps along a stoned path while being showered with various speeds of water. If that’s not enough to tickle your fancy then you can always use the resort’s various recreational facilities including a stunning swimming pool overlooking the beach area, the ultra-modern gymnasium and the tennis courts. Pedal bicycles are provided complimentary to all guests for the first 3 hours.
Classed as the ‘futuristic Feng-Shui hotel’, the Gran Meliá Shanghai is the first Gran Meliá property in China; rising majestically above the Pudong district and overlooking the Huangpu river. The Gran Meliá Shanghai, which is part of the renowned Spanish Sol Meliá hotel company with the greatest number of properties in the exclusive club of “The Leading Hotels of the World,” is a breathtaking testament to architectural ingenuity; crowned by the majestic Skyline Lounge with its cinematic views of the city. Gran Meliá Shanghai is located at a convenient distance from both Shanghai airports. It is just 30 minutes from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and 40 minutes from Pudong International Airport, with taxi and shuttle services to the city centre. The high-speed Maglev train from Pudong International Airport takes you to a metro station on the same line (Line 2 and station’s name is Longyang), from where the hotel in only eight minutes by taxi.
Upon being told that there is a Spanish five-star property in the Pudong area of Shanghai, you may think that it would look like a typical white or sand coloured Mediterranean villa standing right in the middle of a buzzing modern city such as Shanghai. In actual fact, you may end up getting disappointed because this fine looking property is perhaps the most modern looking and architecturally stunning hotel building in this part of the city.
Known as the hotel located closest to the Huang Pu river because there are no other buildings or roads blocking the path in between the hotel’s residence and the river itself, Gran Meliá Shanghai Hotel dwells as a breathtaking testament to architectural ingenuity. The sleek and streamlined exterior climbs the sky—broadcasting elegance, commanding admiration, inspiring a world of new luxury.
An invigorating presence blankets every surface. The hotel’s rich and illuminating passion that derives from its Spanish roots radiates throughout every corner, every smell, and every other part of this accommodation. The city's eloquence is in the expertly planned décor, a loyal staff, and the cinematic view from the Red Passion; revealing a living, breathtaking Shanghai cityscape.
All 686 guestrooms include panoramic views of the city and strike the perfect balance between spacious living and relaxation that elevates comfort beyond a sensation to a standard of living. All room are fully equipped with iPod connections, marble bathrooms with walk-in showers and separate bathtubs and flat-screen TVs with satellite programming. The key thing to notice here is the strong Spanish and Latin American ambiance that is projected throughout the accommodation. Though not all the staff are fluent in Spanish (except those from Cuba and Spain, of course), however, there are lovely Spanish elements such as having Spanish Omelette, Spanish and Iberian wine, Cuban Cigar shop, a Spanish restaurant that does look and feel like a nostalgic Spanish villa and a dazzling Cuban cabaret. Unlike most other hotels in China where there is a Chairman suite, the Gran Meliá Shanghai has another Iberian touch as they have the Imperial Suite (in line with the Spanish throne), which is higher than the Presidential suite.
All the main rooms are furnished with standard Gran Meliá branded toiletries, while toiletries at the red level rooms and suites are provided by Chopard. The spa and health experience commences with an introduction to the high-altitude swimming pool that includes two Jacuzzis at the swimming pool itself, and another Jacuzzi in both the male and female changing rooms. Immerse yourself in a truly sensual experience with a long relaxing massage at the YHI spa and purify your senses in this tranquil haven of wellness. The YHI spa at the Gran Meliá is clean with state-of-the-art facilities, the staff speak excellent English and are friendly, and most important of all every treatment room has their own changing room with shower and toilet which gives you maximum privacy should you need it. If some guests prefer to smoke a Cuban Cigar while relaxing at the swimming pool or in the Jacuzzi, then they can also do this as well.
And what about food? Well, as mentioned earlier that there is a ridiculously good Spanish eatery, he Albero Spanish restaurant. Its a fine blend between Spain and China with dashing furnishings that behold the perfect Chinese Feng Shui along with a smooth yellow coloured sedimentary rock that occupies the walls- similar to what you may find in many Spanish bullrings. Traditional cuisine is tastefully rejuvenated, to provoke your sense. Though feel bad if you end up making more trips to the hors d’oeuvres than you’d wished. It’s almost to say that you’ll become nothing short of admiringly blasted with the food and the service with am Iberian smile.
Gran Meliá Shanghai has become a firm favourite when it comes to the MICE industry in Shanghai. With its perfect location, The grand ballroom can accommodate upto 828 people if put in a conference style layout and if in a banquet style layout it can hold up to 40 tables that can hold around 450 people. There are 15 meeting rooms including a purpose built conference area that can seat 129 people in the theatre style configuration complete with interpretation facilities.
As part of the Grand Hyatt portfolio in China, Hyatt on the Bund is the third Hyatt property in Shanghai and proudly stands tall in the most historical part of the city overlooking the notable Bund. Opened in 2007, the hotel has started to draw VIPs and the well-known like moths to a flame - during the Expo the hotel hosted 18 foreign heads of states including leaders from Singapore, France (Sarkozy, Chirac), Denmark, Lady Ashton (3 times), EU President (3 times), Lichtenstein, Austria and Italy. It has, in time, become a firm favourite among many well-known celebs and VIPs (as well as VVIPs). One of the key reasons for this is because the Diplomat Suites, Presidential Suite, and the Chairman Suite are all in the East Tower facing the river so there is no danger of any nearby high-rise buildings from where anyone can get where near enough to photograph or target anyone residing at the hotel. The hotel was recently voted the ‘friendliest expo hotel in Shanghai’. You’ll also save cash on excursions around Shanghai: it costs next to nothing to hire a taxi from here and head off to eat, shop, sightsee or find a perfect place to do people watching.
A place where everyone knows your name is all very well if it’s your local pub down the road, but when you’re on holiday or an official VIP trip, being forced to converse with the next room guest every time you have to dine can put a real downer on your dinner. So therefore for those staying in one of the Club rooms or the Suites there is a luxury of having breakfast in your own space and privacy at the Club Lounge on the 3rd floor.
There are many stories about VIPs that have also made the Hyatt on the Bund a firm favourite. For example, when Mr. Arnold Swaznegger, the Hollywood film star and former Governor of California, dined at the Vue Restaurant he desired to have his favourite traditional Austrian dish. Therefore, the General Manager, Mr. Gottfried Bogensperger, who is an Austrian native himself and a qualified Chef de Cuisine went straight away into the kitchen and cooked the Austrian dish for Mr. Swazznagger. Even though at that time he was addressed as ‘Governor’ by the staff, but of course to many people he will always be the much loved ‘Arnie’ from his Terminator movie days. The kind gesture of Mr. Bogensperger somewhat touched the great actor’s heart who wrote his signature words in the guest book: ‘great service, great staff and... I’ll be back!’.
The hotel has the trademarks of being 40 years old building and yet still maintains the strong ambiance of being a hotel in the 21st century. A company wanted to have a carpet laid out and they got that done at the last minute. The property is split into two towers; East Tower has 299 guestrooms, while the West Tower has 332 guestrooms. All of the 631 spacious guestrooms including 52 purpose built suites are lavishly set between 42 square meters to 300 square meters. The vast majority of the guests are mainland Chinese, followed on by the Americans, Germans, and the French. The hotel itself is perhaps the multi-cultural standby residence in Shanghai, if not in China, with most of the staff fluent in more than one language or from a multi-ethnic background. Don’t be surprised if you come across staff that have various blood in their genes or those that have travelled endlessly to get to Hyatt on the Bund including Chinese-Vietnamese, Anglo-Chinese, American-Chinese-Filipino, Japanese-Chinese and so on.
Because this hotel is located slap bang in the middle of both Pudong and Puxi on either side of the Huang Pu river and provides breathtaking views, so finding a last minute seat at any one of the eateries, especially the ‘Vue restaurant’ and at ‘Xindalu- China Kitchen’ is going to exceptionally challenging- book early to avoid disappointment. Friday nights draws a classy and chic crowd to the Vue Bar located on the hotels top four floors with an alfresco hangout hooded with cool four-poster lounging beds surrounding a centerpiece marble Jacuzzi outdoor- just don’t forget your swimwear and a camera.
With a gorgeous location, outstanding security facilities, state-of-the-art conference facilities that are fit enough for Presidents and Royalty, as well as incredible dining venues, it is no wonder that the Hyatt on the Bund is also exceedingly popular with the MICE industry. Corporations can make full use of the 20,064 square feet of meetings and function facilities all with natural daylight, accommodating upto 1,092 guests in a banquet style configuration, including two ballrooms (one which can be split into two) and one glasshouse all with outdoor terraces, 9 function rooms and a custom-made coffee bar. A fine example of this was displayed during the 2011 Shanghai Formula 1 event when the hotel hosted various world-premiers for the world’s automotive industry to display their latest car models, including the new Infiniti Formula 1 racing car.
Spread over 3,000 square metres at the lower lobby area, the Yuan spa is so good that you could wonder here for days trying out all different kinds of treatments to pamper yourself with. If that’s not enough than try out what you can at the indoor 25-metre swimming pool or at the fully equipped fitness centre. In fact, why not bowl your other half over with a candlelit aromatherapy massage a deux at the Yuan Spa, than stagger back to your room in a happy daze. All the 12 treatment rooms feature wood lining, some with double-glass walls with water running between the panes, so that guests can both see and hear running water while indulging in water-based Oriental treatments. Round of the spa experience with a refreshing homemade fruit drink at the Juice Bar located just outside of the Yuan Spa. That’ll bring a smile to your face.
Opened in June 2010 during the Shanghai Expo 2010, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong with 285 guestrooms including 58 suites and 49 Ritz-Carlton clubrooms is the second Ritz-Carlton property in Shanghai, and the seventh in China. As a natural ingredient of being a top brand such as The Ritz-Carlton, the luxurious package also contains a luxurious location, and the company could not have chosen a better position than Pudong’s new social and commercial hub and is beautifully positioned on the uppermost 18 floors of the Shanghai IFC South Tower. The beauty of this award-winning hotel is that it’s well placed at the centre of Shanghai’s most modern and most happening place for business and leisure. Luijiazui metro station on line 2 is around a 5 minute walk from the hotel and easily connects both Hongqiao international airport to the west of the city (about 25 km) and Pudong international airport to the east (around about 40 km). The best way to get from Pudong airport is to take the ultra fast Maglev train to Longyang station and then change to Line 2 on the metro and get off at Lujiazui station, or take a taxi from Longyang station (only 12 km away).
The hotel’s interior design is by Hong Kong’s Richard Farnell, and in line with Shanghai’s rich colonial heritage the concept of blending in the contemporary features along with those that would hint at new interpretations of the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai art deco. The heavily luxurious rooms themselves have amazing views across to the Bund and the Huangpu river- the most intact collection of Art Deco architecture anywhere in the world. You can see the futuristic pearl TV tower right in front of you from your bed and you feel like touching it with your hands. The buildings on the Bund themselves look like little pearls dotted around the banks of the Huang Pu. From the vast majority of the rooms one can have stunning views of the city across the Bund when you wake up in the morning. It will leave you mesmerized, especially on a hazy Shanghai morning when the mist slowly rises from below the roof tops. The view is almost dreamlike.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong has three dedicated floors at the Club level, and all the guests residing here and in the suites have complimentary usage of the Club Lounge on the 49th floor 24 hours a day. The best part of the Club Lounge is the five separate food presentations that are delivered every day. Its also the essential things in life that make a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Shanhai, Pudong extra special, such as toiletries in the Club floor and suites by Italian brand Parma De Acqua, still and mineral water by Ty Nant, coffee making machines by Rossi, luxurious bathrobes, hideously spacious bathrooms and a large selection of mini-bar items. Also, take note that the standard toiletries have a gold packaging rather than the usual silver packaging that most other Ritz-Carlton properties have.
Exceptional detail to attention is put into practice to make sure that no stone is left unturned. The experienced for the guest is meant to be first-class, and Mr. Rainer Burkle, Area Vice President and General Manager, and his team of brilliant staff have made sure that this is achieved. Indeed they did achieve the highest accolade possibly given when in April 2011, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong won the ‘best luxury hotel brand in China 2011’ at the prestigious TTG Asia media awards held in Shanghai.
The highlight of the hotel’s culinary department is the award-winning Flair rooftop restaurant located at the 58th floor. Designed by the globally renowned Japanese company Super Potato, the Flair is Shanghai’s highest al-fresco dining venue and certainly provides the best views in town and has become one of the trendiest places to be in the evenings where you can meet like-minded individuals. The restaurant is always hosting popular chefs to display their exciting and popular dishes. In April 2011, the restaurant played host to the well-celebrated Thai chef and founder of the famous Blue Elephant cooking school and restaurant, Madame Nooror Somany-Steppe. Chef of the Flair, Mr. Tang Wan Thim has done an amazing job in producing one of the most vibrant menus around. With all the glitz and glamour around Shanghai these days, the 232-seat Flair is most certainly the place to see and be seen at.
Other culinary delights around the hotel managed by executive chef Mr. Dietmar Spitzer include Aura lounge and Jazz bar, Jin Xuan the fine Chinese cuisine eatery designed by Steve Leung and Scena Italian restaurant designed by world acclaimed ‘Super Potato’.
If, however, you fancy an evening tucked away in the comfort of your cosy room watching the never-dull Chinese TV then I’m sure chef Spitzer and his team would be more than delighted to conjure up whatever tickles your taste buds. Oh, and of course, who could forget the signature Ritz afternoon-tea that you can get at the Lobby Lounge?
The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA featuring 10 state-of-the-art treatment rooms is one of the crème de la crème in the city. Private lockers for all the guests, plus changing rooms that provide privacy and exceptionally clean changing facilities complete with a shower and ice-bath. The sauna and the steam room have fascinating views across to the indoor pool (of course, no one in the swimming pools can see the people in the sauna). And its not just the sauna that has the views, but also each of the treatment rooms have a floor-to-ceiling window that allows guests to enjoy unparalleled views across of Shanghai- a view that can also be enjoyed from the VIP Bath in the harmony suite. The ESPA at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong is headed by Madame Yoshiko Ichimiya who has many years of excellent experience in making sure the spa treatments provides one of the best experiences for everyone. Most men are not blessed with the velvety skin found on their fairer sex, but that does not mean that it cannot be achieved. The ESPA at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong offers a few magical treatments that are designed to rid the roughness, including the 60-minute men’s purifying facial. Then there is the Jade QiYuan, which is a total body experience that restores the ‘Qi’ and ‘Yun’, rebalancing both the mind and body by targeting the typical areas of stress and also soothing the skin to melt away any tension.
Meetings are more of an art form at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, and the facilities are more than enough to be fit for a president or a captain of industry. Spacious conference rooms, high-end cuisine, superb IT facilities that can put you in touch with anyone and anywhere around the world at the touch of a single button and welcoming recreational facilities. The demand for world-class conference facilities in China is considerable, and so therefore The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong is fortunate to be heavily popular within the M.I.C.E industry. With more than 2,500 square metres of meetings and conference space including a 1,135 square metre grand ballroom, you’ll be left spoilt for choice as there is enough space for upto 1,200 guests at a time. It’s all well placed and planned to make sure that your luxury stay is an comfortable as possible. Effectively The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong can be your one-stop for eating, shopping, relaxing, sightseeing, or finding a perfect place to do people watching.
Downstairs with David Laris- a real and honest dining experience (URBN Boutique hotel, Shanghai)
Occupying the fine Mediterranean style veranda and the ground floor of the URBN Boutique hotel in Shanghai’s chic Jiaozhou road just north of Nanjing road and close to the former French Concession, is the award-winning restaurant, ‘Downstairs with David Laris’. The restaurant offers sensational cuisine consisting of organic, sustainable, and farm-fresh ingredients at affordable prices. The ethos of the restaurant is to provide high-quality fresh food delivered in luxury style while maintaining the values of carbon-neutrality and sustainability. If you love to look after your body and would love to treat your body to good, healthy, and delicious food, then you must not leave Shanghai without visiting ‘Downstairs with David Laris’. You just cannot get any better than this.
You’ll be glad to know that ‘Downstairs with David Laris’, and the other 2 food & beverage outlets at the URBN hotel in Shanghai all have access to 100% fresh water. This means that all the food is washed and cooked using 100% pure water, free of heavy metals and bacteria. URBN claims that their drinking water will be more pure and better tasting than standard bottled water in Shanghai.
The food at the Downstairs restaurant changes seasonally and can be classed as country-house posh, but none of the pretentious nonsense to hike up the prices. The big URBN breakfast is the mother of all cooked breakfasts- tempting red roasted tomatoes topped with sea-salt, two rashes of bacon, house made baked beans, hideously delicious chorizo sausages and thick farmhouse bread. Right, that should fill you up then! The ‘Downstairs’ menu features products that are traceable back to the farm where they are sometimes handpicked personally by the chef.
Try the mouth-watering ‘Moules marinies with French fries’. Huge platter of lovely mussels, one of the best selections in town. It is so good that it somewhat reminded me of the infamous Mussel Inn in Edinburgh back in the U.K. Sheer sensation for the tongue. Equally tempting is the cured salmon and golden trout pate with soda bread. The perfection, design, and freshness of the food is of upmost quality.
The chef, Ms. Siobhan Gough, is from Kilkenny in Ireland, and has been resident in Shanghai for over 6 years has put her heart and mind into making sure that the creativity of the food is kept as authentically fresh, green, healthy, and organic as possible. The food philosophy is rooted heavily on the concept of presenting a simple and honest bistro fare that manages to excite and surprise the taste buds. The URBN offers many special packages that allow you to combine the dining experience with your stay. Breakfast is a la carte; lunch is separated into smaller or larger portions, while the desserts are to die for.
During the weekdays, the restaurant also runs a 2-for-1 happy hour deals on all beers, house wines, house spirits, and cocktails of the day.
Located on the 58th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, the award-winning Flair Rooftop Restaurant and Bar provides arguably the best views across the whole of Shanghai’s stunning skyline. The well renowned Japanese company Super Potato proudly designed China’s highest al fresco dining and wining point with its warm blend of rustic and contemporary designs creating a loft-like lounge ambiance.
The culinary adventure commences the moment you step into the rapid lift at the 50th floor that whisks you straight to the restaurant. The lift itself is a piece of art. As a guest enters the lift they are faced with a wall full of black wine bottles showing their backsides, while in the middle of the lift’s wall there is a square (approx. 1 foot in size) containing three different sized wine glasses made from crystals. As you stand in the lift for that 15-second journey to the 58th floor, a myriad of thoughts go through your head about your expectations of the food, the ambiance of the venue, and the type of wine that you will be presented with. More importantly you cannot resist but keep admiring the wall of wine bottles again because it’s just mesmerizing, when suddenly the door opens and voila! You have arrived at the 232-seat Flair.
As the doors of the lift open, the remarkable silence of the interior of the lift gives way to the clinking of wine glasses and rather pleasant sound of chitchat, along with the sound of some thumping grooves being played by the resident DJ. Around two waitresses dressed in traditional Chinese Qi Piao who will lead you to your table. Unless they have already been taken, it is highly recommended to pick one of the cosy lounge sofas next to the window, or you can always dine outdoor on any one of the 132 elegant seats to admire the Pearl TV Tower that stands right next door (weather permitting).
Flair is known to host many globally renowned chefs and in April 2011, the restaurant was honoured to have Ms. Noorer Somany Steppe of world famous Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant. Ms. Somany Steppe presented some of her passionate and exciting Thai culinary creations, combining the full dining Thai experience with the presence of a native Thai resident DJ, and the hospitality provided by Thailand’s national flag carrier, Thai Airways International.
Some of the mouth-watering treats offered by Ms. Somany Steppe and her team of experts included ‘Blue Elephant Phad Thai’- a spicy and tangy flavoured rice dish containing traditional Thai spices blended in with small cubic chunks of chicken meat, and the ‘Free Range Chicken Curry’, a slightly spicy dish that will wake up your culinary delights.
Flair is one of those places where you’ll be left mesmerizing the views, the people and the exceptionally sensational food. There are staples from Japan, China, India, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. The beverage menu is more than extensive offering signature cocktails and spirit selection. Vodka lovers would not be disappointed either as you can dunk yourself into 40 different varieties of the stuff- that’ll keep you busy all night!
You just cannot argue when it comes to luxurious food at a luxurious venue at good prices.
Book early to avoid disappointment.
Xindalu- China Kitchen at the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai is known for its world-famous ‘barbequed Peking duck’, and ‘beggar’s chicken’- with its clay-breaking ritual. Diners can marvel at the chef’s expertise in slicing the Peking duck during demonstrations. With the original idea deriving from the ‘Beijing Kitchen’ at the Grand Hyatt in Beijing and backed up a team of knowledgeable and experienced kitchen staff, Xindalu is consistently on the lookout for the finest speciality products from around the world. Using a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary cooking styles, all the food is cooked in a healthy and refreshing style to showcase the most original of authentic Chinese flavours.
It's surprisingly easy to get lost in the crowd as a Chinese restaurant operating in Shanghai- the city certainly has more to offer than its fair share of Shanghainese or other Chinese eateries- but Xindalu at the Hyatt on the Bund has done as admirable job of separating itself from the masses with exceptionally sensational food and an elegant decor that comes alive even more so at night time. Hats go off to Xindalu’s executive chef David Du for making sure that every part of the restaurant and its contents has a serious attention to detail. The ethos on the culinary design and architecture is to make sure that the dinars not just enjoy the food but actually fall in love with it- and normally they do.
When dining at the Xindalu, you gotta make sure that you are exceedingly ravenous and your stomach is urging to take nothing but the best of the best. When you are presented with mouth-watering dishes such as the ‘deep-fried cod, pepper, and salt’ or the ‘tossed bean curd, Chinese toon’ then food is not food anymore, it becomes a piece of art that you have a fear of destroying the presentation. The fried pepper in the former dish is just to die-for. It literally melts as you take each bite. Incredible stuff- good food like this is not easy to find in Shanghai let along China. The ‘tossed bean curd’ has a generous sprinkling of the spinach on the top. This adds a delight to the somewhat boring bean curd (locally known as ‘tofu’), because as you take a mouthful the slightly salty spinach and the sauce dance on the back of your tongue making their way slowly down your throat. All this time the flavours are so well absorbed by the bean curd that you hardly taste it at all.
No dinar should dare leave their table without tucking into one of the signature desserts. Try the exceptionally tempting ‘jasmine tiramisu, vanilla, osmanthus ice cream’ or the colourful yet lip-smacking ‘sweetened mango, coconut cream with sago, coconut sherbet’. If you find luxury food irresistible then the first thing that will most probably come out from your mouth when you are presented with these desserts is ‘Oh, wow, what is this?’ because they all have the ‘Wow!’ factor attached to them. As a final salute to your meal, it would not be a bad idea to give the ‘sweet scented traditional rice cake’ a go as well. Thick and chewy as it may be, but it is just overwhelming. With good food like this you just got to be careful not to get carried away.
Decorated in bright orange with a massive floor-to-ceiling fish tank located in the middle is Acqua, the Italian restaurant located at the Gran Melia hotel in Shanghai. Now, if you were in a place such as Genoa, Italy for example, then you would expect that almost every restaurant that you come across serve good homemade ravioli. Though Tuscans and Venetians may strongly disagree, the dish is thought to have originated here among the less wealthy of the city, which created it to eke out the last scrapes of cheese, vegetables, and pasta. The point I am trying to make, however, is that here in China it is, rather understandably, extremely challenging to find good Italian cuisine no matter how native the chef may be. Some of the key reasons for this include the lack of fresh ingredients and the challenge of having to train local chefs on how to make a perfect authentic Italian meal. Nevertheless, the chef at Acqua has done a tremendous job in making sure that the kitchen staff embodies a rich Italian culinary heritage that dates back almost 190 years.
Acqua’s timeless cucina all’Italiana creations, operatic ambiance and exceedingly hospitable service are a firm favourite with gourmets the length and breadth of Shanghai. Every dish expresses their passion; sharing and revealing to you the art of Italian gastronomy right in the heart of Shanghai.
With its huge glass walls, floor to ceiling windows, lovely detail to attention in the Feng Shui of the table and chairs, and earthy tones Acqua creates a spacious and relaxing environment for executives working in the Pudong area who are looking for a satisfying, quality meal with a wide array of choice.
If you love seafood then tuck into the ‘baccala fritto con sugo nero di seppia al limone’, - a generous portion of cod fish furnished with black cuttle fish ink sauce and lemon reduction. Otherwise, there are treats such as the ‘insalata con rughetta, pesca, parmigiano, acciuhge bianche e balsamico’, a rocket salad with sweet chunks of peach, shaved parmasen, sicilion cherry tomato, and white anchovies.
Located within the charming grounds of The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya resort on Hainan Island in China, the Sand is a 128-seat intimate, yet sensational venue that is delightfully framed by a pleasant beachfront setting. This fine outdoor dining venue features fresh seafood and barbeque, complemented by an immense variety of signature sauces and side dishes. The bar at Sand offers an alternative venue to relax and enjoy Latin, Chinese or Filipino band performance in the evening. Exquisite cuisine that blends in fine Western and Eastern tastes. There is an unmistakeable sense of stage-management as one enters the Sand- a feeling that the architecture and decor have come to an agreement to induce a gently growing sense of anticipation from the moment one steps through the front door.
Though certainly magnificent in its richness and proportions, the design of the interior is anything but vulgar and overstated, with potentially gaudy features like its live cooking station that is counterpointed perfectly by a general aura of cool, simple elegance.
The menu is of a similarly high standard. As the executive chef Stefan Leitner explains, Sand uses only the finest ingredients to inspire our diners, such as Australian oyster and Japanese Abalone. Mr. Leitner, a native of Austria has numerous years of experience working all over the world, including at The Ritz-Carlton, Florida. His no-nonsense style of cooking is one that speaks for itself. In each dish, there is a strong sense of innovation that neatly blends in colour, aroma, flavour, and appearance. You only have to try fabulous dishes such as the ‘Pumpkin salad’ and the ‘Tenderloin Steak’ because it’s not just food that you’ll be presented with but it’s a true presentation of culinary art. You just cannot argue with good food.
To commence your gastronomic journey it would be a good idea to enjoy a colourful ‘Blue Yalong Bay’ cocktail. A lovely dash of Bacardi Superior is well accompanied by a generous amount of Cointreau. All is presented well with a few drops of fresh lemon juice to add to the flavour.
Desserts always present a pleasant surprise, and it must be said that the innovative dish of chocolate fondue with mango ice cream topped with coconut sauce was indeed an inspiration. With his culinary wand, Mr. Leitner managed to create a magical result in this dish that smoothly blends in the hot feeling of the chocolate fondue and the cold feeling of the mango ice cream. The result is a dish where you can practically lick the plate clean!
When it comes to providing ridiculously good food, the staff at the Sand take things very personally to make sure that your experience is beyond your expectations. Attention to detail and immaculate presentation for all the dishes comes as part of the standard provision. For a splendid 5-star resort such as The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya, the Sand provides a truly 5-star service with a 5-star dining experience.
A heaven for the senses, The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya will indulge you and immerse you into a world of discrete luxury, natural details to the interior and exterior, and sheer elegance, combined with the breath of contemporary Western and Chinese elegance blended in with architecture. Most important of all, you will be blown away by the charm of this fabulous resort located in the ‘Hawaii of China’, Sanya. Situated in the heart of Sanya’s Yalong bay natural district and surrounded by lush greenery, clean white beaches and clean and safe turquoise waters, The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya is a sheer oasis of tranquillity located around a 40-minute drive from Sanya airport.
If there was a paradise on earth located somewhere around an hour’s flight from a hectic and swarmed city such as Hong Kong or Guangzhou, then you’ll be glad to have found it in The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya. It goes without saying that the other Ritz-Carlton properties around the world are, of course, very good. However, the key difference that makes The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya a forefront attraction is that it is not only the biggest but also architecturally stunning from the outside as well as the inside. Had the late Chairman Mao come to Yalong bay today, he probably would have mistaken The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya to be an imperial palace. The resort boasts the best customer service in the whole of Sanya, and quite rightly so because of its powerful brand, experience and image. After all, what would you expect from a true crème de la crème luxury hotel in Sanya?
The first thing visitors experience is the traditional welcome in true Sanya style with a garland of fresh flowers being presented along with a drink of rose water upon your disembarkation from your vehicle. This is where you can forget about your luggage or any other worries and just focus on enjoying your vacation. The check-in procedure is simple, smooth, and swift with the aim of getting you straight to your room as efficiently as possible. The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya has become such a popular hot spot that even during non-national day holidays it is relatively busy with the vast majority of the tourists coming in from northern China, Europe, the Americas, and Russia.
The vast majority of the 450 guestrooms, including 334 oversized guestrooms at over 60 square meters and 67 rooms and suites on The Ritz-Carlton Club level, offer splendid views across to the beach or the resort. With tempting in-room luxuries such as toiletries by Italian designer brand Acqua Di Parma, platter of fresh exotic fruits, coffee by Davidoff Cafe, and English tea by Ronnefeldt, you will definitely be spoiled for choice. One of the things to try in the room is a provided sample of Shalan rice wine, which is known as “Hainan mao-tai.” The wine, which tastes sweet, is pure and rich in natural nutrition because of the core ingredients that it contains. It’s locally made by the Li minority group of people with steamed sticky rice and rice yeast from the nearby Hainan Wuzhi mountain area. These ingredients make the rice wine exceedingly good for your digestion as well as an active force against disease while empowering your inner senses with a healthy outlook.
An increasing number of people are choosing Sanya to be the place where they want to get married. A stunning and well-equipped wedding chapel that caters for all faiths and backgrounds is located facing the beach side and overlooking some of the finest views of the hotel’s surroundings. It is perhaps the most romantic place on this part of China. For honeymooners you could not have chosen a better location. Irrespective of what the weather has in store for you, it still is a paradise away from the sheer industrial pollution and hustle and bustle of Chinese cities such as Guangzhou for example. By this, I mean that on this resort it would still be considered romantic even if it were raining (really). Should you wish to tuck yourself into the fine art of culinary delights, then why not try any one of the eight restaurants and bars that contain a fine choice of various international flavours such as Italian, Western fusion and Chinese cuisine. Since this is a resort, it would not be a bad idea to dine at the fine beach restaurant, Sand, that hosts live music almost every evening. There is no better way to while away an evening after a long day than to take a sip of, say, a Blue Yalong Bay cocktail.
For families this is the ultimate resort to stay at during their vacation. One-of-a-kind nature program, enriching and educational offerings are provided for kids and teens known as ‘Ritz-Kids’ complete with its own swimming pool and a beautiful vegetable garden, which is manned by fully qualified nannies. While for teenagers (and perhaps some adults too), there is a fully interactive recreational hall that contains all the latest PC games consoles, complete sets of mah-jong, chess and table football. It is enough to keep one busy for more than a day. In fact, if there were a wedding event happening, then this would be the ideal place for parents to send their children to keep them full of activity and entertained. Situated right next to this adventurous quarter of the resort is a fully managed in-house garden. This is a garden with a difference because it is meant to resemble a typical English country farm, complete with lush green grass, small man-made bridges and canals so that the animals can play around in it. It is a neat idea of one of the construction managers, Mr. Martin under who this garden bears its name (Uncle Martin’s garden). Though it is still in the process of growing, the farm has become an amazing safe haven for animals such as chickens, rabbits, tortoise, various kinds of fish, parrots, ducks, and many more creatures that are beautiful. Oh, and don’t forget to say hello to the resort’s lovely resident dog, Mr. Carlton, who comes and occasionally greets guests and is available for children to play with at the recreational area.
The fun part of being in a resort such as The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya is the endless amount of water-based opportunities available such as diving (both day-time and night-time), snorkelling, speed boating and many others. For the adventurous, you could always try your hand at parasailing and windsurfing. The resort has a partnership with a local company that provide excellent products and facilities that you can enjoy during your stay.
The crème of The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya are the 16 suites and 33 private villas that come complete with their own swimming pool, splendid views across to the beachside, fully serviced kitchens, Jacuzzis, and an on-call butler service. If you want to experience the ultimate in a luxury vacation, it would be strongly advised to stay at one of these villas and just drown yourself in the thought of being spoiled for a few moments in your life. It’s an area of the hotel that has the ‘wow!’ factor attached to it with immense power.
The concluding gong has to go to the fabulous state-of-the-art spa-treatment villa located on the west side of the resort. An amazing 2,788-square-meter spa-treatment area with 24 treatment rooms and suites is located in tranquil surroundings that also include luxuries such as a well-equipped GYM, tennis courts, and a chi studio. The highlight of the experience has to be the jade steam room, which projects an ambiance of sheer peace, relaxation, and calmness. If you want to feel totally nourished, rehydrated, and pamper your body and face so that you have a lovely silky and soothed skin, then opt for the ‘Gong Xi’ signature treatment by ESPA. This two-hour relaxation ritual will take you on a journey that will revitalise your inner-senses and bring you to a complete meditative state and feeling refreshed. It is so good that if time prevails it then you could end up staying here all day if you wish.
Opened on the 16th of September 2010 at City of Dreams, Macau’s premier entertainment resort, The House of Dancing Water is the world’s largest and most spectacular water extravaganza. Costing over a staggering HKD2 BILLION (USD250 MILLION), this permanent world-class production represents the iconic entertainment centrepiece of City of Dreams leisure and entertainment offering. The show, which was personally created and directed by one of the world’s greatest show maker in the entertainment business Mr. Franco Dragone, offers a sophisticated, highly contemporary and aspiring show that keeps the visitors engaged with the show for approximately 85 minutes. It is officially the world’s first water-based show launched in Asia. As a member in the crowd, you can feel the energy that is being projected by the actors It’s almost as if you can smell the fear, feel the love, share the sadness, and savour the joy that the cast portrays in the show.
The story begins in the coast of Coloane with a Fisherman who is travelling on his boat. Suddenly, a mysterious energy from the water creates a terrible whirlpool grabbing and pulling the Fisherman to a place and time of legends...he cannot understand what is happening. He observes, lost and intrigued...when a storm brings a survivor from a shipwreck, a Stranger to this magical kingdom. The young brave Stranger encounters and falls in love with a beautiful Princess who was thrown into a cage by her evil stepmother, the Dark Queen. Without hesitation, the fisherman helps the Stranger fight against the Dark Queen and rescues the Princess. With his help the Stranger and the Princess defeats the Dark Queen and the Fisherman obtains an unexpected reward. Effectively, it’s a spectacular love story that transcends time and space
In a press conference on it’s opening day in September 2010, Mr. Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, said: “The House of Dancing Water puts together the best of the best in the entertainment world, which is truly a gift we tailor-made for Macau”. Indeed, he is right because this show definitely provides a reason for people to visit Macau, apart from the casinos and shopping. It took Mr. Dragone five years to plan and create the show, and 2 years to choose and train over 80 chosen artists to perform for the show. It truly is a multi-cultural production team with international performance artists and crew from over 25 countries.
It is the first water-based show in Asia set in a 270-degree 2,000-seat ‘Dancing Water Theater’ that has around 239 automated fountains providing water fountain effects up to approximately 18 meters in height. Then there are the 11 hydraulic lifts weighing over 15 tons making it possible to convert an aquatic stage that can hold over 3.7 million gallons of water (larger than FIVE Olympic-sized swimming pools), to a solid dry floor stage.
The House of Dancing Water provides the splendour of human performance with amazing scenes of beautiful romantic dance routines on and in water, a chandelier in the roof created by a set of actors (they make it look ever so easy), and the “Russian swings” sequence which involves high-performance diving and gymnastic artistry.
Now, with all this water in the theatre one is left wondering how the vast majority of performing artists can swim, dive, and act without wearing their swimming costumes because they are wearing heavy clothes. Well, the answer is that all the costumes worn by the cast in The House of Dancing Water are made with a special material known as neoprene, a fabric that withstands the effect of water (normally used in Hollywood movies) and makes the dress comfortable to wear while swimming or diving. The theater contains the world’s largest commercial pool measuring approximately 50 meters in diameter and approximately 7 meters deep. It’s the kind of stuff that would make Olympics swimmers dribble with envy.
Another incredible show of feat by Wabo, the Wiseman, is that he can bend his legs and arms, and walk while turning himself into a shape of a crab. His ability has effectively turned him into a sought after personality in the show business arena.
Towards the conclusion of the show seven ‘riders’, comprising of highly trained motorcycle stuntman ride from one part of the area to other side while ‘flying’ their motorbikes up to 15 metres in height and jump 20 metres in length. Hard to believe but some of them even do somersaults or ‘fly’ while waving to the crowd (without touching/steering the bike). Due to the special use of motorbikes in the show, the average lifetime of the motorbikes is about 6 months. The show really brings out the best of the world’s best artists. When a show like this is being presented live in front of millions of people there is no room for failure and for a perfect magical show to happen all systems of communication and moves have to be perfectly timed. It is very easy to sit here and applaud the efforts of everyone but the, of course, it’s the people who are performing this day in day out that really know how much hard work they have put into this show.
It’s the kind of show where you may end up thinking, “Hmmm, I wish I could do that” and it may even inspire you to go to the gym or your local swimming pool. However, at the same time it’s also the kind of show where you may end up having to politely remind your kids (or even adults in some cases) to ‘don’t try this at home’.
The show is a spectacle itself. The location is perfect and the facilities are first class. You can go to all the shows in the West End or the Broadway, and you will probably never come across something like this because the demographics of how the show is designed are completely different. I have never seen a show where the actors are performing acts while they are dining and swimming. Now, that is not easy to do and it is very dangerous. But the cast and crew, all well trained that they are, do a fantastic job and make the whole stuff look so damn easy. It really is sensational stuff.
Facing the famous Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center and opened only in 2009, the 282-room Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is located in a prime spot of Shenzhen’s CBD area in Futian district. Effectively this is where the future of Shenzhen is to be found, and the Ritz-Carlton group could not have chosen a better site. The only thing that one may find confusing is that from the outside it just looks like a normal tall building with very little exterior design or architectural element added to it. In a nutshell, from the outside it looks exceedingly boring and not quite the posh hotel one may be looking for. It’s a shame that such a lovely well known high quality brand has not capitalized on using the finest of designs or architectural elements to make this building stick out like a sore thumb. However, once one steps inside then it’s another story altogether. Inside you’ll truly feel that this is the authentic Ritz-Carlton experience. As the hotel’s motto goes, it’s a true “Oasis of Luxury”, slap bang in the middle of China’s newest city.
Shenzhen is perhaps China’s fastest growing city both economically and demographically. Effectively you can go away for a week and once you return there is bound to be some dramatic change in either the skyline or the infrastructure. Way back in 2003 when I first arrived in Shenzhen nobody would probably have heard about the Ritz-Carlton brand, and if someone had told me that there is going to be a Ritz-Carlton hotel situated in Shenzhen in 2009, I would not have believed them because even though it seems like a short time span, but at that time it would be hard to imagine if anybody from Shenzhen would have been able to afford to stay at a brand such as the Ritz-Carlton,. But change of the rapid times and look what we have placed slap bang in the middle of Shenzhen’s CBD, a fascinating luxury 5-star hotel that outshines in every department possible.
Another ideal mark about the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is that it’s located only around a 45-minute drive to Hong Kong airport, and around a 30-minute drive to Shenzhen airport. The first thing you notice is that this is a something special that has been bought to Shenzhen. All of the hotel’s 282 rooms and suites achieve new levels of luxury and sophistication. All the rooms are equipped with the latest technology, including a fully integrated TV and internet system, with video on demand, satellite television and high speed internet. For the most luxurious experience, why not pamper yourself in one of the suites where all the rooms offer a balcony that offers stunning views across Futian.
The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is also a one-stop shop for living, working and chasing the essential pleasures of life. The rooms are all strongly Chinese in design and Feng Shui but also very much international at the same time; with lush furniture and pampering bedrooms adding marvellous indulgence to every unit. Perhaps you would like to have a look at the TV menu, which looks rather like an Emperor’s scroll, and hence will make you feel like an Emperor too.
Luxury toiletries in the Club floor rooms and suites are provided by the well known Italian designer brand, Acqua Di Parma. There is a dedicated coffee machine as well that provides freshly brewed coffee by Nespresso. Now, that is sheer luxury to enjoy in a young and dynamic city such as Shenzhen.
Tribute has to be given to the Swiss-born General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen, Mr. Iwan Dietschi who has done a tremendous job in training and coaching his staff on how a perfect luxury customer service should be provided to people in China. It’s a challenge to find the right quality of staff that fit the criteria of The Ritz-Carlton brand anywhere in the world, but even more so in an emerging market such as China. In China you can have the most luxurious brand in the world, but if the quality of the service and the customer service from the staff is not matchable to that brand name then it is quiet essentially a waste of time and money for the corporation. Mr. Dietschi, a native from Lausanne and who has worked in Ritz-Carlton hotels world-wide, has fought that challenge well. Examples of this are evident everywhere in the hotel from the cleaning staff right the way through to the check-in staff. Every staff member greets the customer before the customer greets the staff member, everyone speaks excellent quality of English where there are no misunderstandings between customers and staff, every staff member understands western culture and etiquette well, and the staff never forgets what the customer ordered, and these are some of the true hallmarks of a high quality service.
Altogether there are seven dining options of which the Paletto (Italian cuisine) and the Xingli (Cantonese cuisine) restaurants are the jewels of The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen when it comes to spoiling yourself to luxury food and wine. Both have a different flavour when it comes to the authentic environment that reflects the cuisine that they are serving, though both venues are romantic, peaceful yet laid in a contemporary setting. The lobby lounge is the place in Shenzhen for business deals to be made over a drink or two. People in the city are starting to realise that The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is the place to be and be seen at.
The Xingli is a high quality restaurant located on the 4th level of The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen that provides a true authentic Cantonese cuisine. Ever since it’s opening in 2009, the Xingli has become somewhat of a preferred place where business deals are made during lunch, or for team-building, or even for those who want to see and want to be seen in Shenzhen. A key addition of the restaurant is its 19 individual private rooms that cater to all the guest’s needs but is rather reserved for personal meals and business functions. The ambiance is one of peace, tranquillity and class. Quality is something that would touch anyone’s lips once they take their first bite.
Exceedingly opulent in its surroundings, the restaurant combines contemporary facilities with an elaborate classical invention and design that would please anyone’s eye. For family gatherings this would be the ideal place to relax, unwind and catch up on some gossip either for Chinese breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The key of the Xingli is its beautiful presentation of around 100 items of dim sum, main courses, soups and desserts. If you want to divulge into the perfect Cantonese culinary experience at the Xingli, then try starting off with a chicken soup of assorted vegetables blended in two flavours. Even before you tuck your spoon into the soup; it’s the beautiful presentation of the dish that is more pleasing to the eye. You just wonder how the chef manages to get the two flavours separated in the bowl. Lovely colours of the green and white vegetables are neatly separated.
Continuing with the concept of eating a healthy yet scrumptious meal for lunch (or dinner), it would be a wise decison to go for the fried broccoli with crab meat. The well cooked broccoli has a lush green colour, which indicates that it’s strongly fresh, and is provided with a generous layer of melting cheese. The crab meat is not as big in portions as one may imagine it to be because it is shaped into minute brightly orange coloured cubes that are kindly sprinkled onto the mouth-watering broccoli cuts.
If that’s not enough to wake up your taste buds then tuck into the fabulously cooked pan-fried cod fish with honey sauce. It’s not easy to find cod fish in China, and so therefore The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is very fortunate enough to have imported this fish from overseas. The cod fish tastes fresh and the honey not only adds to the flavour but tends to give it a bit more of a glow to the skin of the fish. The Xingli can be described as an expert examination of a restaurant that strives to provide the upmost best quality in terms of authentic Cantonese cuisine. The Xingli has an almost obsessive reverence for its fabulous food and wine, lovingly presented for purposeful and practical use to share with like-minded individuals.
Irrespective if you are residing at The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen or not, it would be worthwhile to try out a few culinary delights at The Paletto, the hotel’s fine signature Italian restaurant. Located on the second floor of the hotel, The Paletto, with its 80-seats, focuses on providing a luxurious and attractive presentation and taste of authentic Italian food with a modern twist.
The Paletto is a restaurant that would make you go completely fanatical about Italian food. A wine cellar in a glass enclosure greets visitors upon arrival. While in the foyer there is a display of all things Italian food, such as cheese and wine. The overall lighting effect at the Paletto creates a romantic ambiance that would provide a wonderful evening for anyone wishing to stay away from the city’s sheer hustle and bustle but take life on the relaxed pace.
It’s so good that you would want to return back again and again and perhaps even more so that you may end up eating there every day of the week. I really don’t know who I would ask to join me when I return back- I just wanted some of that roasted wagyu beef carpaccio in a beautiful cylinder shape with bread salad filling.
The presentation is immaculate, especially when it’s joined with a caramelized red onion, garlic flavoured tuille and sweet bell pepper salad. This is work of genius by chef Massimo Miglietta who brings a wealth of over 20 years of international culinary experiences and an impressive portfolio as a celebrity chef (Miglietta has been a personal chef to Chelsea and England footballer Frank Lampard in the past). His culinary experiences extend to the finest of whos who in the gastromical circle as he is a protégé of the acclaimed 3 Michelin Stars Chef Marco Pierre White and worked in White’s prestigious establishments in London.
If I were you, I would commence by crunching into the traditional Italian bread sticks and buns that are presented. Then, for your appetiser, pick something that would hit your taste buds immediately; pan fried foie gras, port wine. It would be a good suggestion to inquire the wine recommendations from restaurant manager, Michele Cantini. His recommendations of the wine, and his suave style of wine tasting, will just knock your socks off. Cantini, a native of Tuscany, believes that a restaurant is a sanctuary where people should surrender themselves to the finest cuisine. He correctly stands by his words.
For the main course it is highly recommended to order the Papillote a le couteau fettuccine’s nest with a dash of white truffle flavour that is surrounded generously with a brilliant salmon roll. The whole sculpture is garnished beautifully with a display of king prawns & lobster filling. If fish tickles your fancy than this is the kind of dish where you’ll just lick the whole plate clean (I nearly did that).
If you love art, like I do, than you’ll love the parsley and garlic coated black cod fish presented with a lovely fennel salad that has a irresistible sun dried tomato lime custard. To be exact if you believe in love at first sight when it comes to food, then this dish will just make you eat your heart out. I suppose the touching part of it all is that the plate on which you are served is also shaped like a fish, complete with a hole that represents the wide eye.
Harmoniously set with its towering features among the newly built residential enclave in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen is the fabulous Kempinski hotel with 390-guestrooms and suites. All the rooms and suites are generously proportioned with an average size of around 40 sq m. In fact, it would be suitable to mention that the property is even more over the top ‘bohemian counterculture’ design that runs heavy on red, orange, gold, and bold patterns. OK, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but at least it creates a sense of nirvana for those that are looking for something special and want to be in the crème de la crème of Shenzhen’s booming economic market. Kempinski fans would love it, naturally.
Location is perfect because this area is going to grow in the near future especially with the Shenzhen Universaide in August 2011. There could be no better location and this is perhaps one of the best locations in the whole of the city. Only around 30 minutes away from the main Shenzhen airport, and a comfortable 45 minutes drive to the Hong Kong international airport as well. The mega Coastal City shopping complex is situated right in the doorstep of the hotel. Here you are bound to find every type of foreign and local store of fame under the sun.
All the rooms come standard with state-of-the-art facilities including: Satellite TV, wireless internet facilities, and the luxury of making complimentary calls throughout mainland China from your room are provided as part of the package. Those who may be wondering if the customer service is up to scratch with the global Kempinski brand for which they are famous for would be pleased to know that the staff converse in excellent levels of English, and that there are no misunderstandings. The local health, hospitality, and leisure industry has grown tremendously in recent years.
There is a separate floor allocated only for the women, where all the rooms are catered just for women. This is to provide the women with more privacy and somewhat is of a similar feature to that found in hotels across the Middle East including at the Kempinski Mall-of–the-Emirates in Dubai. The specially designed ‘lady room’ is generously furnished with an all-female settings including plush light colours and bedding.
One of the most beautiful parts of the hotel is the swimming pool- and even more so in the evening. You gotta love the ambiance that portrays a night sky with stars. Just imagine doing a backstroke and looking up towards the roof in the evening. The views are priceless. Because there is no open-air swimming pool, so this is one reason why the indoor swimming pool has this excellent night time touch added to it.
The lobby lounge bar is a remarkable piece of architectural genius where fresh cocktails are available till the wee hours of the morning. The lobby bar also hosts many live bands to whose tunes you can bop it away as well. It’s so grand that you end up feeling grandular yourself. Huge chandeliers hanging from the ceilings along with a massive lampshade in the shape of a signature symbol of the Kempinski. Lovely detail to attention that goes down to the micro-scale.
The hotel’s two main restaurants provide many opportunities for satisfaction. To treat your culinary taste buds it would be worthwhile to try and savour the tongue for either the Chinese restaurant, Hai Tao, or the Western buffet eatery, Seasons. The former has seven private dining suites that will make you feel as you are an emperor in Shenzhen. It is the place to go for a quality, good-value Cantonese food.
Those residing at the executive guestrooms and suites can enjoy the club lounge as they wish. From here stunning views right across the whole of the Shenzhen metropolis as well the northern territories of Hong Kong are visible on a clear day. Lovely comfortable sofas and pleasant pictures on the walls provide an array of luxury that is difficult to find elsewhere in this young city.
Occupying a key spot right in the heart of Shenzhen’s most happening place, Luohu, the 491-room Grand Hyatt, Shenzhen is also at the centre of the city’s modernist landscape that is changing at an ever-dizzying pace. The beauty of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is that you can easily get to downtown Hong Kong within 40 minutes either by driving or by taking the highly convenient metro. A vast majority of people from Hong Kong prefer to live and work in Shenzhen. This is especially true for those who are increasingly looking at Shenzhen as a destination for M.I.C.E. activities, and the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen would be a preferred choice any time of the year for that.
Like the majority of the newest Grand Hyatt properties in China, the first thing that strikes the visitors is the spacious and rather futuristic lobby on the 33rd floor. This is where your Grand Hyatt Shenzhen experience starts because guests check-in and then are ushered to their respective rooms in style. There are breath-taking views of Shenzhen on both sides of the lobby. On one side, you can see the lavish MixC, the city’s largest shopping mall, which houses the largest number of international luxury brand retailers in China, an Olympic-sized skating rink, and Park Lane Manor, the most exclusive residential property in Shenzhen. Further onwards is the current tallest building in Shenzhen, the Diwang that is soon to be overtaken by the Kingkey 100 finance centre, as it will be the tallest building in Shenzhen as well as one of the tallest buildings in southern China. While on the other side one can view the vast lands that go across into Hong Kong across the border.
The eight venues for dining are the true jewels of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen. They really do bring a feeling of true paradise to this restaurant and it is in these eateries that you can truly spoil yourself. Each one caters for different tastes and there is plenty of variety in terms of the ambiance, the feel, the look and most importantly, the taste and style of the food. For those who really pamper themselves with ridiculously good food and to enjoy the surroundings it will take at least a week I should say to absorb the true atmosphere of all the eight exciting and innovative dining venues. For those who have time as their enemy, it would be good idea to start at The Lounge located on the 33rd floor, adjacent to the Sky Lobby. This is the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen’s focal space where you can indulge yourself with various refreshments, light snacks, and evening cocktails throughout the day. It is also perhaps the best place to do people watching, if that is what you like doing while having a signature coffee. For the next culinary showcase, it would have to be the 226-seat (including a 10-seat private room), Show Kitchen, located on the 25th floor below. Here you can drown yourself in the thought of tucking into any of the delights on offer at four distinctive open kitchens: Asian, Japanese, Western, and Seafood. The beauty of it all is that this allows the guests to dine among the live culinary action creating an interactive restaurant experience.
Three places that would be notable interest for luxury foodies are Belle-Vue, China Lodge and 1881. Belle-Vue is a European restaurant where classic western cuisine is prepared à la minute on 10 tableside cooking stations; while China Lodge is situated on floors 35 and 36 and comprises of 14 premium private dining suites, which cater to parties between eight and 22 guests. 1881 offers an authentic Sichuan cuisine set on the ground floor of the hotel.
The fun part starts in the evening when most diners head off to the 109-seat Penthouse located on the 38th floor. An amazing fusion of Eastern and Western music tastes that blend in perfectly with some unique fashionable and innovative experiences. These experience-focused areas include a Living area with a resident DJ on most nights, a kitchen featuring a teppan hot plate; a balcony, a terrace, and an illuminated bar serving premium spirits, wines, champagne and cocktails as well as imported premier cheese and charcuterie.
One of the biggest things that may surprise you is that the vast majority of the classy and super-rich crowd are local mainland Chinese people who know how to enjoy a good wine and company in true style. This is where the future of China, and indeed Shenzhen, is and this is just the beginning. Would you believe it, wine tasting in China and especially in Shenzhen? It was almost unheard of just a few years ago. It just demonstrates the face pace at which this city (and country) is growing, and how rapidly the demographics of modern Chinese cities are changing. A final big atttraction for the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is the spectacular terrace-bar, which has become one of the hottest bars in town for an evening drink or informal dining after a good meal. Usually people first have a meal in one of the hotel’s other seven restaurants’ before making their way to the top to while away their evening. It is here that you will bump into perhaps the who’s who of Shenzhen (or Hong Kong).
Each of the 491 contemporary guestrooms (including 53 suites and 48 long-stay serviced apartments) provide panoramic views across this booming metropolis. What impressed me most was the remarkable way in which all the Canadian marble floor tiles lined up neatly next to each other. It really is amazing the way the construction and architecture have blended in perfectly to make sure that the pattern on any one-tile matches exactly in terms of micro-scale detail to the tile placed next to it (or the tiles that surround a tile). This also goes true for the imported mahogany that is used to construct the furniture and the doors of the rooms. How it all perfectly matches together is perhaps a secret that only the architects and interior designers would know. The best part of the guestroom is the airy, spa-style marble bathroom, housing an over-sized rain-shower and separate bathtub. Equally hi-tech is the main room, which is equipped with automatic time-controlled curtains, a self-contained workstation with wireless, high-speed Internet access, a multi-channel 40-inch LED television and DVD player, an iPod® docking station, and dual phone-lines with voicemail.
Another interesting aspect is the ‘magic sliding door’ that separates the bedroom with the bathroom. When the bath is not in use, the door acts like a see-through glass, however when someone takes a shower or bath then all they need to do get privacy is to close the sliding door, and instantly the doors frost over to block the view both ways.
If you are residing in any one of the Grand Club rooms from the 22nd to the 31st floor, then you have complimentary access to the massive Grand Club Lounge on the 25th floor. Not only does the Grand Club Lounge provide stunning panoramic views across the metropolis, but also it can be used to just relax with a lovely wine, or to catch up on any work in tranquil and private surroundings. There is ample Space for holding short corporate meetings as well, with a meeting room fully equipped with interactive technological facilities.
You cannot come all the way to the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen and not try one of the signature treatments at the Shui Xiang Spa (translates as “water village”). Highly recommended is the signature Shui Xiang 90-minute massage that will not only cleanse your body from the inside but also open up your five senses and will refresh the most important parts of your body including the brain, the kidneys, and your skin. The Shui Xiang therapists’ are well trained to not only give you the best relaxing experience ever but also vastly improve your blood circulation. The expansive 3,132 square meter Spa has been created in the style of a traditional open-air Beijing hutong (Chinese courtyard residences), with 13 individual Spa ‘houses’ circling a central water feature which is a very much important part of Chinese Feng Shui as it brings prosperity and fortune. The majority of the houses feature private outdoor terraces that offer somewhat eye-widening views of the Diwang building in the background. Each Spa suite contains a private lounge area, bathroom, shower room, and therapist’s pantry. Nine of the suites feature private steam rooms with a heated treatment bed and four have outdoor bathtubs. A visit to the Shui Xiang Spa will round off a perfect stay at the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen.
Everything that you’ve heard about Shenzhen’s manic energy and moneyed pace is mirrored in the city’s dining landscape. Venues open and shut in rapid succession, especially in the Lowu area, and towering hotels, malls, and developments provide yet more sleek dining options. Classical European restaurants may be a dime a dozen but the truly authentic are few and far between, especially those serving top notch Western classics that are prepared at your table. Opened in February 2010, Belle-Vue has been known as the top European restaurant within PRD region with his consistent efforts, and has been ranked as “The Best Business Restaurant 2010” by HOTELS China Magazine. Lavish settings bring along an equally extravagant set of menus. Forget your one day trips across to Hong Kong and Macau, because now real classical western cuisine can be found on mainland China, right here at the Belle-Vue in Shenzhen. Belle-Vue brings together both good tastes and legitimacy to the table, with the Austrian-born chef-de-cuisine Christoph Trocker in charge of the kitchen, having a myriad of international experience, most recently with the Jumeirah Group of hotels.
Apart from being able to provide impressive city views of Shenzhen while you indulge into your meal, the key to the success of Belle-Vue is the ability to present a truly five-star quality food during live cooking in front of the dinars- which indeed is a huge challenge for any chef and one that is accomplished well by chef Trocker and his team of experts. The menu is decidingley modest, filled with comfort foods that are touched with haute finishings, including French foie gras, pan-fried, rhubarb compote; the Boston lobster bisque, or the Sea bass, pan-fried, fava bean, truffle mash with demi-glace. Save plenty of room for dessert, whether it’s the Bombe Alaska (With raspberry, rose & lychee) or the grand marnier soufflé glace (The orange is so good that you could effectively drown yourself in the dish!).
Set Menu starts at: 480 RMB for a 3-course meal*, 550-RMB for a 4 course meal*
Dress code applies, shorts are not permitted.
* All prices are subject to 15% service charge
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.
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