You know know what I love about Hong Kong? One minute you can experience the traditions of the East and then, the next minute, you have the most sophisticated dining and hotels and shopping of the West. It’s great for shopping by the way. It’s exotic, it’s exciting, and you’re going to love it.
Now if you want to be at the heart of all the action in Hong Kong, then Hotel Shangri-La Kowloon is the place to stay. This deluxe hotel is right on the harbor waterfront, on top of all the transportation routes from Salisbury Road, including the public transport system, the MTR, and its panoramic views of the harbor and Hong Kong Island skyline are sensational when weather permits..
The name, Shangri-La, came from the novel written in the 1930’s by James Hilton, an English novelist, about a mystical place in the Tibetan Mountains that cast a spell on everybody. It was a place of peace and harmony. The staff at the Shangri-La Kowloon tries to emphasize that. So, when you walk into a Shangri-La, you’ll notice and feel something a little bit different and you’ll feel at home.
Boy I’ll say, you feel like royalty when you arrive! There is a doorman and sometimes an agent to greet you and help you out of the car, if you are a VIP, they’ll have flowers for you.
Once you are through the door, the famous Hong Kong concierge, Edward, will direct you to the reception desk or anywhere else you might want to go. He’s been there since the day the hotel opened, 26 years ago. They call him the lobby ambassador. He is just fantastic!
The lobby is majestic, with designer tile floors, escalators from below, and a grand reception desk. Crystal chandeliers and a marble fountain add to the ambiance as well as the tasteful furnishings, gorgeous floral arrangements, and hanging Chinese artwork. There are also window tables to watch the busy world flow by or wait for a friend, making meet ups very convenient.
The place is absolutely huge! With 700 rooms of varying accommodations, there is something for every traveler to enjoy. The deluxe harbor view rooms will appeal to everyone with their sweeping views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island. Each is nearly 500 square feet of stylish comfort featuring wood walls with a coffee beverage service bar with stocked refrigerator. There are two full beds with extra large pillows and duvets, the usual personal room safe for your valuables and lots of wonderful touches to make you feel at home.
Don’t worry if you have little ones, they’ve got the younger set covered. There are coloring books, bibs, crayons, and fresh bottles of milk to go with some very cute cookies. I won’t tell if you steal one away from your tot!
Don’t miss the bathrooms, which are lined with solid marble and elegant mirrors, shelving is built in. They have lovely tubs to soak in and separate glass shower enclosures. The rooms are fully stocked with plenty of towels and toiletries for you to treat yourself to some relaxation and pampering.
The hotel is so swank, they have a special private section for really big VIP’s, called the Horizon Club! This is their hotel within a hotel, taking up three floors. You go there, you check in privately. You have your breakfast privately. Cocktails in the evening with dainty morsels. And it’s always open, 24/7. There’s even a butler and people on call to look after all your needs.
There is also a very impressive meeting room for those high level negotiations on the first level of the Horizon Club, totally geared up with full with office services, as well as, computer stations and an executive lounge complete with coffee bar to power up.
Satellite TV, in-house movies and DVD players are standard in each room and I was tickled to find a full printer, scanner, copier fax machine right there under the TV.
Now one thing that I noticed about the hotel is, even the standard rooms, they’re very well-equipped with all the latest technology. They have plugs for every voltage, wireless connection, broadband, and since the iPod is so popular, every room is equipped with an iPod connection. So you can plug in whenever you want and play your own music.
With everyone traveling with their laptops these days, sometimes, they can’t quite work out how to connect to the internet. So they make it easy and seamless. There are people on call, 24 hours, from the business center, fully trained. They have all the little gadgets to help you. And they’ll take you through, step by step, on how to connect. So you’re always connected at Kowloon Shangri-La.
The hotel is very well equipped with amenities. Man, I’ll say they are equipped! You can take a jet streamed bath before or after your work out. Wanna tighten those abs, run off a few pounds? There are no excuses with all the machines around the gym. Go on vacation and come home all buff!
Just thinking about exercise has me hungry! Hotel Shangri-La Kowloon is well fortified with food places. They have Chinese restaurants, Italian restaurants, a buffet restaurant, even a Spanish tapas bar. Everything that you could possibly need. Oh, yes, they have a Japanese restaurant. A very famous Japanese restaurant called Nagama, it started over a hundred years ago in Japan.
Talking about doing it well and doing it the best, I think the buffet s is probably the most amazing eatery I’ve ever seen. They call it theatre kitchen. The buffet is divided up into a number of kitchens. You have the West, you have the Chinese, the Indian, and the Malay. They have the salad bar. All the food is cooked fresh as you stand there. So you’ll see just very small portions on the buffet because the cooks are always making it fresh for you. And. if there’s anything in particular you don’t see that you want, they’ll make it for you, all you have to do is ask. It really isn’t a buffet, it’s more like food stations and they have such an array of food available. Breakfast is amazing! Fresh fruit, squeezed juice, dim sum! Whoah!!! The pastries and omelets were the best!
Now, I remember the Chinese restaurant from years ago, it was really good. Shang Palace is still one of the best restaurants in town. And they’ve produced a cookbook for guests to take home with them to try out the recipes in their own kitchen. (I didn’t tell them I don’t cook.)
If you crave Chinese food like I do, you will absolutely adore the Shang palace restaurant. Enter down a hallway of Chinese grillwork, Buddha’s and lanterns, to the lovely dining room. Here you’ll find clear lazy susans, so you can share all the entrees, gorgeous tableware and simplistic but elegant china adorning the tabletops. While the interior features the lanterns and silk wall hangings, and typical red painted woodwork so traditionally Chinese. Now they specialize in very unique, yet classic, dim sum and traditional Chinese fare.
They hand make all the different varieties of steamed delights and fried morsels, like chrysanthemum dumplings, this is artwork that you can eat! I just have to try everything so let’s have it all: duck pastries-just like my bathtub duckies, char su bao—that’s barbecued pork filled bun. The whole family will love these samplings. You’ll see cute, little bunny steamed dumplings with scallops, just too cute! Not to mention the gold fish dumplings, swimming in a bamboo basket! How ‘bout butterfly vegetarian dumplings in green? Looked more like sting rays to me! Out of animals and back to flowers. There are bok choy cabbage dumplings in the shape of roses. And what menu would be complete without good old sticky rice dumplings, always a favorite dim sum!
Still hungry? Want to kick it up a notch? Where can you find a Spanish tapas bar in Hong Kong? Well, you’ll don’t have to go far for some fine flavors inside Hotel Shangri-La. They have a tapas deli kitchen, where they freshly prepare seasoned, little Latin delicacies upon request.
Watch as the chef makes a traditional Spanish dish of sizzling prawns or try their amazingly flavorful mozzarella cheese brochette. A very special layering of tomatoes, cheese on toasted baguette and garnish! Don’t miss out on one of my all time tapas favorite combination plates. Thinly sliced smoked meats, just a tiny slice taste of everything, a virtual Spanish smorgasbord so to speak. It’s beautiful! Now, you have to have something to sip as you graze on these dainties, so you’ll also find wine cases and wine bar in the tapas bar. They pour a decent size glass of wine, red or white, whatever you prefer!
It’s time to rejuvenate, after all the sightseeing, exercising, and stuffing that delectable Chinese cuisine, so check in at the spa and get your towel. You can catch up on your tan if it’s foggy outside, there are tanning capsules to do the trick. Or maybe get a special message treatment by a gentle therapist.
The Hotel Shangri-La Kowloon is a fabulous place to base camp, as you venture through Honk Kong to experience a kaleidoscope of Chinese life; a fusion of east and west, where new and old meet at every corner. This is the place to be with everything at your fingertips, you can’t go wrong. Eddie the Lobby Ambassador will take good care of you, I’m sure.