Shopaholics’ heaven on Hong Kong Island is centred around the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel. I looked out of the big picture windows of the hotel’s room 1513 and across to Armani and its new terrace, and could not wait to see this new beauty for myself.
Giorgio Armani’s fourth Armani Privé lounge, and the first-ever Armani Aqua restaurant, opened this August – the official grand opening party is November 15th, 2011. (Will he be there? That is the question.) I rushed over to have a look.
Take the escalator up to the second floor of Chater House and you pass a black and orange Italian-Oriental counter, manned by chic young ladies. They usher you through to a ‘catwalk’, a long black and orange carpet with arches down either side, with mirrors behind. The effect, both sides, is of infinity.
Think Alhambra in Granada, or Shanghai South rail station (the one for high-speed trains to Hangzhou), an interior space that goes on forever, in this case with no-one else to disturb the emotion. At the end you come to the restaurant, pale lemons and white.
Another room, black and red, is the nighttime mystique of Armani Privé, and through this you can go to the outdoor terrace, overlooking the New York-style buzz of Hong Kong’s Central. I can even see back across to my temporary home, Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
On my way back to Landmark Mandarin, I passed Stella McCartney, Anya Hindmarch, Harvey Nichols, Paul Smith and Dolce & Gabbana – or at least their shops. All this, by the way, was without going outside.
Hong Kong’s Central area, on Hong Kong Island, is a maze of above-street walkways that take you, and the ant-like hordes that help give this city-stage its vibrancy, from and through to one building after another (in this case from Chater House on to Alexandria building and to Landmark).
At Landmark, I was able to take a second floor opening direct to the hotel’s elevators. This is a hotel that blends in with retail so well that its employees know their Gucci as minutely as their Guide to Services.
And boy, is this a fun place for a girl. Breakfast in MO Bar is a quirky experience, where toasting breads sit next to beer taps, for later in the day this is THE action-packed venue for every smart ageless thing to pop in, for a cocktail and, perhaps, mini burgers and chips (the live music has been known to feature such greats as Annie Lennox and Harry Connick Jr).
The 114 rooms are pretty memorable, too. Most, including 1513, have a central bathing area, including a seven-foot circular tub, with the bedroom and living spaces set off this hub as radial arms, so to speak. Screens can separate areas, or leave’em open.
Taupe sheets match taupe walls, I had a choice of Frette toweling or Ploh soft-as-satin-robes, and at nighttime a phial of sweet-scented fragrance and a miniature book-mark with its own light awaited (it was incompatible, sadly, with another of the room’s accessories, a Bulgari book that must have weighed all of ten pounds).
There is always something new in this luxury hotel. Bastien Gonzalez, that luxury foot specialist who turns even a basic pedicure into a heavenly experience, is setting up shop in the hotel’s fifth floor spa. Take a photo of one of Richard Ekkebus’ dishes in the two-starred-Michelin Amber restaurant – perhaps his signature lobster jell-O-filled sea-urchin – and you might win a Leica and an overnight.
Take a liking to a simple caprese for a gal’s working at-desk lunch before heading off for more shopping and it comes as a simple tower. Need directions to the Apple Store? One of the eager-beaver staff will walk you there, personally, inside, of course, to see whether Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter has changed her mannequins.