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LUXURY HOTELS: Four Seasons Hong Kong

Style: Asian elegance
Seen in the lobby: Travellers with high standards

HONG KONG is home to some of Asia's finest five star hotels so when I say that the Four Seasons Hong Kong is hard to beat in terms of  luxury, service and sheer style it is not a statement to be taken lightly. From the moment you step into the wide lobby you know that this is a hotel that knows what it is about. Flashier boutique hotel offerings may have sprung up on every available street corner in recent years but the Four Seasons is above such petty competition. This is a hotel with a pedigree and it shows.

four seasons hong kong bar
four seasons hong kong bar
four seasons hong kong
four seasons hong kong caprice
four seasons hong kong harbour room
four seasons hong kong exec club
four seasons hong kong wine

The hotel won our Service with Style (and a smile) award in December against stiff competition. Good service makes you feel so relaxed you almost take it for granted, bad service is instantly apparent. A hotel's style comes from the top and debonair William Mackay, Regional Vice President and General Manager has just the right mix of calm and perfectionism to make it work. He's been at the helm of FS Hong Kong since before it opened (8 years ago), so maybe perfecting seamless service takes a little time.

Whatever the reason Four Seasons Hong Kong starts working its magic from the get go. The rigours of a long haul flight are soon forgotten and I start to relax before I even reach my room.  The views over Hong Kong Harbour and the sleek stylish east meets-west decor complete the process. The Executive Club Lounge, on the Hotel's 45th floor becomes my home from home.  The attentive staff are on call around the clock from breakfast to cocktail hour or even, on one memorable occasion, to minister to midnight champagne cravings.

I visited the hotel during Hong Kong's annual Wine and Dine Festival, and Four Seasons Hong Kong is the perfect destination for gourmands, not just because it is a short distance from the New Central Harbourfront, where the festival is held but because this hotel is all about great food. Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak was the first Chinese chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars for the excellent Cantonese food at Lung King Heen restaurant. The name means 'view of the dragon' and you do indeed get superb views from this fourth floor restaurant and food fit for a dragon king. Seafood and dim sum are among the specialties at this legendary establishment but simply everything is good. I visited with Australian Super-chef Neil Perry who was so in awe he instagrammed everything; and of course the food tasted even better than it looked. Currently, in honour of the May Dragon Boat festival, the famous glutinous rice dumplings with Abalone and Conpoy are definitely top of mind.
The hotel's much-heralded Caprice got a new Chef de Cuisine  in December last year and in February Chef Fabrice Vulin launched his first à la carte menu at the restaurant and the French cuisine with a hint of Moroccan flare received a rapturous reception. Oh, and did I mention the melt-in-the mouth deserts from pastry chef Marike van Beurden, because frankly Ms. Marike works miracles. I hear if it melts fast enough in the mouth; it doesn't spread to the hips at all.  The discreet Caprice bar is also a favourite spot for foodies thanks to the cheese and wine pairings from the head sommelier who seemed to know the history of every cheese from every tiny farm in France - and the farmer's wife - personally; Aged Comté,  Pâtes Molles  Chèvres ...impressive.

four seasons hong kong spa
four seasons hong kong spa
four seasons hong kong cheese
four seasons hong kong style
four seasons hong kong tai chi
four seasons hong kong pool
four seasons hong kong restaurant

I love Hong Kong; it has an energy that is infectious.  It buzzes in the air like a mosquito and tempts you out to play all day, and, since this is Hong Kong after all, most of the night too. Shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, theatres; you name it this Asian hub has it. So it takes a lot to keep me indoors in Honkers.  Nevertheless the temptations of the FS spa managed it. The spa at The Four Seasons Hong Kong is a serene oasis situated high above Central's busy, bustling streets. The wide windows of its incredibly indulgent private suites, with pearly ties and marble baths, look out onto the harbour but this close to the clouds you can guarantee that no one can look back at you.  For a real spirit of place try the Chinese Wellness Ritual 2 half hours of pampering that includes a scrub and massage using combinations of cinnamon, honey and warm rice milk and a monsoon rain shower. The sixth floor terrace with four, yes four, outside pools is also a real treat in a city hotel, like staying at a resort in the sky. 

However sadly for my credit card the hotel is directly connected to the IFC (International Finance Centre) one of the city's most impressive malls so it is all too easy to slip out and browse the A to Z of retailers from Armani to Zara.   I am particularly partial to the beautiful Lane Crawford department store, where the displays are always so beautiful you just feel compelled to buy something.

Mega malls excepted it is  hard to know what to buy as a memento after a hotel stay but at the Four Seasons there is no contest; at the hotel shop I bought a bottle of the famous Lung King Heen XO sauce -a spicy reminder of a great gourmet stay. 

Check in: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central Hong Kong Tel. +(852) 3196-8888
Key Count: 399 rooms and suites
Ultimate Luxury:  The top floor Presidential Suite with views of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon
Most Indulgent Moment: Pampering in a private suite in the sublime spa or was it that fabulous cheese and wine pairing at Caprice Bar...choices, choices...
Insider Secrets: The hotel has been under the wing of the same GM since it opened which may explain its consistency
The Little Things: Impeccable service ...everywhere in the hotel
Junior Luxies: Welcomed with open arms in true Four Season style and catered for even in the best restaurants
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Hotels Link: www.fourseasons.com/

Luxury Facts: The Hong Kong Wine and Dine festival 2014 will be held at New Central Harbourfront, Central, Hong Kong Island from 30 October to 2 November 2014. Last year's four-day epicurean extravaganza attracted over 140,000 visitors.   This year visitors will have chance to try great wines from around the world, international and local cuisine and experience wine culture events and live entertainment. www.discoverhongkong.com/

Hilary Doling 10/5/14
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