When the Island Shangri-La opened in 1991, with 531 rooms and 34 suites, it was one of the most cutting-edge hotels in town. Hong Kong’s moved on but the hotel still offers high-end reliability. You won’t find a lot of new-fangled gizmos here but that’s a relief to guests who like that it remains both glitzy and cosy.
The hotel is part of the Pacific Place mall complex, which sits on top of Admiralty MTR station, one stop from Central. You can be dropped off by taxi on its Supreme Court Road front but you’ll almost certainly find the MTR a quicker and cheaper form of transport. Hong Kong Park is on the doorstep; and a network of walkways means you can walk from the hotel to Central without descending to street level.
Style & character
East definitely meets West here though the journey’s considerably more comfortable than it was for the travellers who encountered Shangri-La in James Hilton’s book Lost Horizon. There are 779 Austrian and Venetian chandeliers, a painting on silk entitled ‘The Great Motherland of China’ that’s 16 storeys high and can be admired from the bubble lifts, and Fragonard drawings in some of the corridors. (There are apparently 719 paintings, European and Chinese, dotted about the place.) This is the sort of hotel in which the French restaurant provides a stool for your handbag; it’s about old-school luxe.
Service & facilities
Noticeably kind. The hotel prides itself on a certain graciousness and that’s reflected in the staff who can frequently be seen offering unprompted assistance. There’s an outdoor pool and whirlpool tub, an indoor whirlpool tub, sauna and steam rooms, complimentary yoga sessions and a 24-hour gym.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
These aren’t the most tremendously exciting rooms in the city and anyone under the age of 25 might have difficulty identifying the bidets in the bathrooms or the corner-stand on which to hang your jacket. But they’re reassuringly solid, you can find the light switches when you need to, the beds are extremely comfortable and the bathrooms are spacious. Unusually in Hong Kong, the Kiblat – the direction of prayer for Muslims – is marked within desk drawers. (The owners of the Shangri-La hotels are Malaysian Chinese.) If you upgrade to the Horizon Club rooms between the 52nd and 55th floors, you’ll get access to the excellent Horizon Club lounge plus a free copy of Lost Horizon by your bedside.
Food & drink
There are eight outlets, including Japanese (Nadaman) and French (Restaurant Petrus, which is renowned for its wine cellar). Café TOO is popular with locals at weekends because of its international buffets, and Summer Palace, the Cantonese restaurant, currently has two Michelin stars. (Your city expert is particularly fond of the tiny, discreet patisserie called Island Gourmet.)
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