Fitness & Spas Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

Back to the luxury Island Shangri-La Hotel

Horizon Club's buffet...

Horizon Club’s buffet…

This is a Tale of Two, no not Two Cities, but Two Buffets. Why, you may reasonably ask? Well, the luxury Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong, has two elegant 56th floor spaces right next to each other. One is the Horizon Club, so sophisticated that it always reminds the gal of what it must be like waiting in an anteroom before going to have an audience with His Holiness, or perhaps M. Hollande. Next door is Pétrus, the hotel’s highly-prized wine emporium that also serves lunch and dinner, and breakfast too (it has a new chef, Ricardo Chaneton). To get to the 56th floor you ascend in one of the elevators looking into a 16-floor atrium that has the world’s largest Chinese silk painting, The Great Motherhood of China – see above. It is a total of 160 feet tall, by 53 feet wide.

.. and its elegant table setting, and view

.. and its elegant table setting, and view

First, I went to the Club buffet, which is continental only, and sat under five glorious multi-light chandeliers – there are a total of 770 chandeliers throughout the 565-room hotel. I listened to classical music. The wood tables were set with purple orchids, and linen mats that, like the 22-inch square napkins, had what is called ‘pulled thread’ borders. Chairs are wood, with marine, or old gold, padded upholstery. I had a Ferme des Peupliers low-fat yoghurt, and an excellent cup of coffee in a blue and gold floral cup, Narumi for the hotel. Then it was time to move on, or at least next door.

Pétrus buffet....

Pétrus buffet….

In Pétrus, I sat under eight more chandeliers, and listened to quiet opera. Here the table had a yellow overcloth, a gold under-cloth, and orange orchids. My square napkin, also 22 inches along each side, had a simple stitched edge. The china here is white. I could have gone for an English, Japanese or Chinese set, the last with stir-fried noodles, bean sprouts, pan-fried pork buns and steamed turnip cakes. I went instead for a simple omelette, which came decorated with wisps of leek shavings and a purple orchid, and my toast was in an elegant silver holder. And now I felt deliciously satiated, and ready to face another day.

.. and its omelette

.. and its omelette

I had dined last night with Franz Donhauser, an inveterate hotelier through and through – his family, back in Austria, had run their own establishment for three centuries (yes, that is right, over 300 years). Actually this luxury hotel is coming up for its own anniversary. It reaches its quarter century this year, and among the many festivities is a big cocktail on March 1st, 2016, taking over the whole of the 56th floor, both the Horizon Club and Pétrus. As we toyed with our barramundi in the Lobster Piano Bar, with a Canadian crooner, female, actually perched atop the Steinway or whatever it was, the sommelier, Yohann Jousselin MS (a Loire boy) came over to remind us about his Pairing of Pétrus dinner, scheduled for April 20th, 2016. Sadly, I will not be in Hong Kong that night.

 

 

 

Read more
Fitness & Spas Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

And Macau’s absolutely-newest luxury hotel

Janet McNab and a Macau 'Bloody Mary'

Janet McNab and  ‘Bloody Mary’

Every St Regis luxury hotel worldwide has its version of the Bloody Mary, a feature now so well-known that St Regis brand manager Jim Petrus was given nearly half a page in the Wall Street Journal last week to talk about the original St Regis New York model, and the Siam Mary version at St Regis Bangkok. At the two month-old St Regis Macao, Cotai Central, says the gal, the barman made a Mario do Leste Bloody Mary (see the video below), and presented it to Janet McNab on a tray with black and white swirls reminiscent of the markings on quays in old Portuguese colonial sea ports. Now Australia‘s top hotel ladies – of the calibre, say, of Jennifer Fox, Marlene Poynder and Sonja Vodusek, are not fazed by anything, and Janet McNab fits that mould.

H tartare

Hamachi tartare

Here, in Macau, she oversees the adjacent 4,000-room – yes that is right – Sheraton Macao, Cotai Central as well as this 400 room hotel. The two properties share finance, distribution and a few other functions, and both hotels are connected, by an underground area big enough to need bicycles, to Sands Cotai Central’s Conrad, Holiday Inn and Venetian, with more siblings to come – all these share purchasing and stores, dining for the thousands of team members, and a highly automated uniform store that would make Amazon’s Jeff Bezos open his eyes in admiration. Interestingly, St Regis only has one eating place, The Manor, and very agreeable it is too.

Choose your lucky-stone massage oil

Choose your lucky-stone massage oil

Designed by Wilson, The Manor is cleverly divided into adjacent rooms, all light and bright. One is loosely themed as a library, one as the kitchen. I am not sure which we dined in but it was very relaxing. Oscar the major-domo brought over the dispenser, what the Japanese and Vietnamese used to use as coffee drips, as shown above, today offering a non-sweetened palate cleanser, of ginger and citrus. He recommended a hamachi tartare topped with string-thin potato sticks, and a divine mustard sorbet hidden in the middle. China is Bernardaud, cutlery is Christoflethis is St Regis, remember. The Iridium spa, on the 38th floor, works with Remède, and a selection of jewel-based massage oils, including good luck aquamarine and majestic sapphire.

Ready to leave Macau, for now

Ready to leave Macau, for now

Talking of colours, whereas in the arrivals reception area designer Etienne Moyat seems to stress masculinity, and darkish wood, in bedrooms he is lighter, brighter and uplifting – and stunning  minibar cabinets have interiors that are bright turquoise, or lavender. A black people-carrier awaited. I left this new and stylish luxury hotel, and was taken to the TurboJet marine point for a red ferry to multi-colour Hong Kong.

 

 

Read more
Fashion Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

One of Macau’s new luxury hotels…

Artist Fanny Le Vasseur

Artist Fanny Le Vasseur

Macau has seen two new luxury hotels open since the gal last visited this bustling enclave, a Special Autonomous Region SAR of China.   The 256-room Ritz-Carlton Macau is a mostly blue and white jewel, as the photo above shows. The hotel is, by the way, part of the mammoth Galaxy complex, and its lovely Ritz-Carlton Café, a modern take on a French brasserie, opens directly to the Galaxy shopping mall.

As people wander past they are enticed into the Ritz-Carlton Café, partly by Quebecoise caricaturist Fanny Le Vasseur who offers to draw a likeness. Yes, we want as much entertainment as possible in this hotel, says hotel GM Juan Samso, a Catalan from Barcelona. This is a hotel with entertainment, and with lots of edgy flair.

Juan Samso and the New Year tree

Juan Samso and the New Year tree

Over the last week, lots of reds and oranges have been introduced into the overall blue and white colour scheme, in honour of Chinese New Year. As in most establishments, a tree festooned with red good luck charms stands in the main lobby. This is a time for shopping, so the mall retailers will in the main be happy – the exceptions are those who sell shoes as apparently it is really bad luck to buy your Louboutins or Manolos during New Year (similarly, if your tresses need cutting, you should have rushed to Toni & Guy by last Saturday, before the festivities began in earnest).

The bar counter, and backdrop

The bar counter, and backdrop

I am taken on a hotel tour – I adore the rich blues, blacks and whites of the museum-like Lai Heen Chinese restaurant. One of the must-have private dining rooms has a round table with electronic Lazy Susan rotating centre that seats, wait for it, 24. This is Macau‘s highest Chinese restaurant, on the 51st floor. I also loved the 53rd-floor Club Lounge, with permanent centrally-placed white marble cooking station, and a chef day and evening long to cook whatever someone wants. And I was impressed by the bar, where the strategic pattern behind the counter is provided by the massive architectural fretwork outside.

The gin trolley

The gin trolley

Juan Samso showed off the bar’s gin trolley, with Hendrick’s and Monkey47 and a dozen other trendy brands. And then, after looking at some of this luxury hotel‘s bedrooms, offering champagne hues and some round bathtubs, we went back down to the brasserie. This pale jade-coloured tiled space really does evoke hints of Paris, and having a caricaturist in a Breton beret just added to the sense of entertainment.

Read more