Review: Old-world charm and class at the Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong


The last time I stayed at the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong, I was nine or 10 years old. I remember thinking that the rooms were huge — big enough for me to do cartwheels in — and feeling like everything about the hotel was opulent and grand. This time, I returned to find that almost nothing had changed.

Walking in, the first thing I looked for was a large flower centrepiece in the main lobby that displayed a different arrangement everyday. High ceilings, numerous chandeliers and an imposing staircase featured in the background. Despite its scale and grandeur, however, the attentive service I received by bellboys dressed in smart tailcoats to the professional, pleasing staff behind the check-in desk was gracious and warm.

Located in Central, the 565-room skyscraper soars 56 floors above Pacific Place Shopping Complex and sits next to the JW Marriott Hotel and Conrad; as well as in near proximity to Hong Kong Park, where guests with room views of the park can watch people jogging there in the early morning.

A panoramic view of Victoria Harbour from the 55th floor

My accommodation had, in my humble opinion, a more glorious, panoramic view of the Victoria Harbour. Thanks to wide floor-to-ceiling windows, my eyes were directed outside once I entered my Horizon Harbour View Room. Part of the Horizon Club’s category of accommodation, along with the Peak View Rooms, guests of any of the Horizon Club rooms enjoyed extra facilities and benefits like complimentary suit pressing or laundry, all-day beverages, private lounge access and special check-in/out services.

The king-sized bed with Oriental touches of décor

As I’d expected, my room was lavishly furnished, fully carpeted and decorated with a glass chandelier — one of a few hundred in the entire hotel — rich textiles in muted gold, beige and off-white, rosewood furniture and thick brocades. Boasting a traditional, old-world charm, the expansive 44 sqm room was luxurious and cosy.

The room’s glass chandelier — one of a few hundred in the hotel — is a signature décor that had its own lighting control

“My Horizon Harbour View room was lavishly furnished, fully carpeted and decorated with a glass chandelier — one of a few hundred in the entire hotel — rich textiles in muted gold, beige and off-white, rosewood furniture and thick brocades.”

My welcome tea setup upon check-in

For a warm welcome, a pot of tea with a matching porcelain set, as well as a cold towel and chocolates sat on a side table by the window. A note card by the setup explained that as part of Chinese culture, it was customary to welcome guests with tea. Spread around the room, I noticed more Oriental touches in the form of a padded headboard and cushions with flower motifs, gold trimmings and Chinese colours and, interestingly, even the book Lost Horizon by James Hilton about the origin of Shangri-La on one of my bedside tables.

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Premium toiletries courtesy of L’Occitane and the hotel’s own

One special highlight of my room was its massive marble bathroom. Featuring a soaking tub with an in-built television, a separate rain-shower area, a bidet and toilet, and premium toiletries courtesy of L’Occitane and the hotel’s own, the space held every amenity needed and more. Sparing no expense, I noted that I’d never enjoyed marble furnishings on such a scale. It was another testament to the hotel group’s paean for unparalleled luxury.

“One special highlight was the massive marble bathroom that was a testament to the hotel group’s paean for unparalleled luxury.”

The rosewood working desk situation below a gold-trimmed mirror

Venturing outside my room, I was afforded a top-down view of the world’s largest silk painting, The Great Motherland of China. Spanning 16 floors from bottom to top, from a pebbled indoor garden through the hotel atrium and towering above my 55th-floor level, it was the grandest, most impressive piece of art of all 917 paintings in the hotel.

My bedside table accoutrements, including a book about the origin of Shangri-La

While I was unable to enjoy all of the hotel’s facilities, including a health club and spa, restaurants, lobby lounge and bar, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. In a city as frenetic as Hong Kong, it was a pleasure to discover that some things remained the same at the Island Shangri-La.

Where: Island Shangri-La
Supreme Ct Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2877 3838

Note– The critic was invited by the Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong. But all the opinions expressed herewith are her own.

The luxe factor is

7.5 Location
6.5 Rooms
8 Service
7.5 Breakfast
7.4