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Island Shangri-La Hongkong… The Best View in Town!

Published 06 January 2011   

By Thomas Jones

There are many ways to see and experience Hong Kong; one from street level where you are surrounded by tall buildings and noise. An overwhelming exercise in steel, concrete, glass and fumes followed quickly by a stiff neck from looking skyward. The other, and by far the more opulent and peaceful option for viewing this beautifully tall and leggy city, is from the top of one of the many luxury skyscraping hotels that line the downtown areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

At 56 floors tall, the Island Shangri-La is one of the best places for enjoying a truly superior view of the world. The building is oriented at an angle to the shore line thus opening up a wider arc with a perfect view of the mountains on Hong Kong Island all the way up the foreshore and over to Kowloon across the busy harbour. Indeed, from my 54th floor vantage point in a Harbour Suite I experienced the city like I never had before and was mesmerised to an extreme state of contentment in my high-backed comfy chair for a good hour-and-a-half as I sat sipping Jasmine tea enjoying how the other half live.

Surrounded by beautiful murals and dark wood panelling, the suites set a pleasant tone against the décor, creating an oriental harmony, which lets you know that you are well within the Pearl of the Orient. Practical touches of plasma televisions and a professional home audio theatre systems,  and televisions above the bath provide you with enough  reason to simply sink into their heaven sent king-sized beds and never move.

The design theme of the Island Shangri-La Hotel is to recreate the style, ambience and tradition of the world’s grand hotels.  Rich architectural details and elegant Chinese accents complete the luxurious interiors aglow with Shangri-La’s hallmark of warm and inviting service. It has 531 spacious rooms and 34 luxurious suites commanding spectacular views of the Harbour or Victoria Peak. The Island Shangri-La features gorgeous interiors that combine select Oriental touches within a classic European theme.  The key to creating the total look is the choice of materials.

A lot of thought and research went into the design and the result is masterpiece of opulence. For example, several kinds of European marble have been meticulously chosen for different areas of the hotel. Marble enhanced with sand-blasted patterns, sourced mainly from Spain and Portugal, is used in the guest bathrooms while Italian rosa aurora, a fine pink variety, has been used to add colour to the main entrance.  This is complemented by pattern work in red-brown rosa verona with black for the floors.  The Lobby presents regent white combined with dark serpentine green from Italy for the floors, and smooth perlato seveo for the walls adjacent to the grand staircase.

For entertainment, Shangri La has a dragon’s share of restaurants to choose from; from casual elegance to sophisticated haute cuisine. The Summer Palace with the grandeur of Chinese heritage and a touch of modernity continues to present the best of Cantonese specialties expertly prepared by Chef Lee Keung and his kitchen brigade.  Then there is Café Too, a cooking-dining arena, where a high level of cooking activity in the seven open kitchens makes dining here a truly interactive and theatrical experience.  The signature Restaurant Petrus epitomises excellence in fine cuisine against a backdrop of the harbour and city lights from the 56th floor, and boasts an exclusive wine cellar featuring an extensive list of over 1520 fine wines from around the world (featured on pages 140-42)  Then there is Nadaman, the Japanese restaurant-par-excellence, which sits at the top of its game across the Shangri-La hotels that it calls home. (See FRV October 2008.) as well as the 90-seat Lobster Bar and Grill, complete with two huge and beautiful marine aquariums that provide hours of viewing pleasure during those comfortable silences.

As for that most quasi-religious Hong Kong visitor experience, shopping,  the Island Shangri-La is situated atop Pacific Place – a modern and exciting commercial, shopping and entertainment complex in the bustling Central financial district of Hong Kong Island, thus making a shopping trip as easy as getting in the elevator and pushing ‘L’.

If you were to push the ‘up’ button instead, at around level 40 you would enter into a huge atrium that houses a 16-storey tall Chinese mural entitled “Great Motherland of China”. Painted on silk and measuring 51m high by 14m wide, it is the largest landscape painting in the world. It contains well-known landmarks such as the Great Wall, Huangguoshu Waterfalls and the mountain pathways commonly found weaving through the cliffs of Sichuan and Taishan.

A true example of opulence if ever there was one.

Island Shangri-La
Pacific Place
Supreme Court Road
Central, Hong Kong
T: (852) 2877 3838
F: (852) 2521 8742