I’ll be honest with you: I’ve always favoured traditional décor over contemporary design. I opt for things that are classic and timeless over anything that’s modern and in vogue. And a good case in point where this bias was tested was during a recent trip to Hong Kong, where I stayed at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
As the younger sister of the flagship Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong property — where I stayed at on my last trip to the city — The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is all clean lines and stylish, sleek furnishings, with avant-garde objets d’art sprinkled all around the guestrooms and public spaces. Instead of a stone ice bucket with dragon motifs, for instance, you have rose gold cocktail shaker sets. Instead of vintage Chinese artworks, you have custom brass tree and bird sculptures hanging above beds.
Perhaps the highlight in my L900 Landmark Suite — one of 11 in the hotel and one of 113 guestrooms in total — was a one-of-a-kind crystal vitrine suspended by brass rods floating between the dining and living areas, where culinary delicacies are placed inside like iridescent jewels on display. In the midst of the cream, beige and brass palette; hand-painted silk walls; animal skin-inspired textures and acrylic tables and desks, the deliberateness of turning a standard hotel room feature into something that deserved its own spotlight didn’t seem that intentional; but rather, par for the course.
“The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is all clean lines and stylish, sleek furnishings, with avant-garde objets d’art sprinkled all around the guestrooms and public spaces.”
Another highlight was a seven-foot-wide spa-inspired bathtub in a bathroom space that rivalled my bedroom. Behind polished glass sliding double doors, it’s the first thing I saw when I stepped into the marble entrance of my suite. It made for a grand first impression in my most luxurious accommodation.
Flanked by a glass-walled lavatory and walk-in rainforest shower complete with Jo Malone amenities, the deep soaking tub was awesome to look at and even more so to be in. To ensure that I made the most of it, the hotel arranged for a bath experience — one of three, each dubbed The ‘Morning’, ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Romance Experience’. I was advised repeatedly that the Romance Experience was the “best”, complete with dimmed lighting, champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries. So naturally, I went with that option.
“The highlight in my Landmark Suite was a one-of-a-kind crystal vitrine suspended by brass rods, where culinary delicacies are placed inside like iridescent jewels on display.”
Despite the hotel’s location in the heart of Central — quite literally a few minutes walk to the city’s key commercial buildings and shopping district — I opted to spend as much time in the hotel and my room as possible. This was a first for me. But the longer I whiled away, the more I felt like staying put. I even caught myself staring out my 10th floor view several times while squatting on the benches adjacent to the floor-to-ceiling windows in my living room and bedroom.
Maybe it was the fact that entering the hotel each time was akin to an atmospheric shift, where the noise and bustle of Hong Kong’s city life slipped away and a quiet sanctuary of calm and warmth greeted me instantaneously. Or maybe it was in the details: from a calming oil left on my bed one evening after turndown service and an eye mask the next, to an amethyst crystal standing in the centre of the spa’s steam room where I relaxed in after a dip in the hotel pool. The ambience and energy everywhere I went gave me a sense of residence in a city I’d always flown in for a few days just to run around checking things to do of a list, and then departing.
The morning before I checked out, I went for breakfast at the in-house two Michelin-star restaurant, Amber, where an artful chandelier featuring 4,320 bronze rods undulated across the entire room. It was a beautiful backdrop for bacon and eggs. Swinging my eyes downward to the surrounding office buildings and spotting people seated at their desks, working away, I felt spoiled and quietly overwhelmed by how much I’d enjoyed my time away.
For a moment or two, I forgot where I was, thinking I was home. I knew then that after just a two-night stay, my prior predilection for time-honoured aesthetics had been irrevocably challenged.
Where: The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental
15 Queen’s Road Central,
Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 2132 0188
Note– The critic was invited by the Landmark, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. But all the opinions expressed herewith are her own.