Not only does the Kowloon Shangri-La enjoy a fantastic location, it also offers exceptional views over Hong Kong Island and Bay. This large luxury hotel offers many services, high-quality accommodation with great views, and delicious, award-winning cuisine.
The Kowloon Shangri-La overlooks Hong Kong's famous skyline and the bay below, with the Avenue of Stars just a little further off for a waterfront walk! The very lively and seemingly never-ending Nathan Road is also nearby, while the embarkation point for ferries crossing the bay is around a 10-minute walk away. The hotel is around half an hour by taxi from Hong Kong International Airport (1 hour by bus), but beware of traffic jams, which can easily add half an hour to your journey.
The Shangri-La's view over Hong Kong Bay is second only to that enjoyed by the Intercontinental, owing to the more withdrawn location of the former.
The hotel's aim is to create a heavenly haven of peace as described in James Hilton's novel 'Lost Paradise', which alludes to Shangri-La as a valley of butterflies, flowing water, etc. as yet undiscovered by man. This explains why birds, rather than humans, are depicted in the monumental painting at the entrance. Indeed, birds and butterflies are a recurring theme throughout the hotel, and there is also the soft and constant tinkling of water from a large fountain.
There is a luxury shopping mall open to the public in the basement of the hotel. Eight of the rooms have been fitted out to cater for people with disabilities, and thosetravelling with their laptops will be pleased to know that a Wi-Fi Internet connection is available throughout the hotel. Those travelling with children, for their part, will be pleased to hear that there is a programme of events organised for children at the hotel, which is unusual in Hong Kong, and a little box containing toys, a drawing book, etc. is also provided.
The Kowloon Shangri-La was built in 1981 and last renovated in 2006 and consists of a tall tinted glass-covered building. The hotel entrance is a large porch opening onto the street and manned by porters, whilst the mezzanine in the huge rectangular reception area is the beginning of a footbridge leading to the promenade around Victoria Harbour and the nearby Avenue of Stars. There are also two long picture windows in this room, through which you can admire Hong Kong Bay and watch the goings-on outside the hotel. Inside, there is a superb, huge painting depicting paradise in the Shangri-La valley, whilst amazing chandeliers hang from the ceiling. The level of service here is impeccable, but there were not nearly enough staff at reception, and the long queues that build up at the long counter as a result of this can make the place feel a bit like a noisy railway station at times.
The various storeys of the hotel overlook Hong Kong Bay, and there are four more levels below the ground floor. It is also worth remembering that you will need to use your room key-card to operate the lifts. In the basement, there is a three-level shopping mall that hotel guests can access directly from reception. The hotel is attractively decorated using various materials, including the ever-present marble, slate from Japan, and fabrics including silk on some of the walls, the rugs and the carpets, etc. The 20th-storey club lounge consists of three distinct areas separated from one another by thick walls covered in quilted fabric, and furnished with comfortable sofas in cream and dark brown velvet. The area on the 21st floor, where club breakfasts are served, is yet more spacious. The hotel also operates a 24-hour private check-in/check-out policy, and the view from the front of the hotel over Hong Kong Bay is spectacular. Au 21e étage, l'endroit collectif est encore plus grand. C'est ici qu'est servi le petit-déjeuner du club. A variety of cocktails are served from 6:00pm to 8:00pm and sandwiches can also be ordered, to enjoy overlooking the Avenue of Stars, way below. The whole of this brightly-lit area is cosy but at the same time well-ventilated, and it is easy to move between the different areas as the buffet area connects them all.
On entering the well-being area there is an indoor pool, which serves its purpose, and a jacuzzi just next to it. Unfortunately, though, there is no natural light here. On the other side of a glass partition there are a number of gym machines lined up side-by-side, though if that sounds a little too strenuous for your liking, head for one of the three small, stylish massage rooms, where space is a little confined and there are no windows.
The hotel has a total of 700 rooms spread between the 7th and 21st floors. Long, thickly carpeted corridors lead to the rooms, which fall into four categories, and the 30 suites, measuring between 452 and 515 sq ft respectively.
The view over Hong Kong Bay is obviously very appealing, and each room has a bay window with a small opening at one end to air the room a little. The 'Superior City' and 'Deluxe' rooms either overlook the city or the gardens, whilst the 'Deluxe Garden' rooms are identical in design to the 'Deluxe Harbour View' rooms but overlook the gardens and are a little more spacious than the lower categories. The suites consist of five different categories, determined by their size and decor. The club rooms are basically the same as those on the other floors, except they also have additional facilities and a personalised service.
Just like the other Shangri-La hotels around the world, the luxurious level of comfort is the result of a combination of many features, including the soft and welcoming decor, quality furnishings and technological facilities. There are large mirrors, two armchairs, a large bed embellished with a fine, brown leather headboard, a long desk (with a concealed multi-way adaptor, including one for a fax machine) and TV cabinet, many lights that can be controlled from the headboard (but not adjusted for ambience), a curtain that can be opened electrically, a very well-stocked minibar, very discreet individual air-conditioning, a large television (not a plasma screen) with 44 channels, films on-demand, a DVD-player, an Internet connection, a telephone, etc. A curved wall with a cupboard designed to fit snugly against it helps screen off the pleasant and spacious bathroom, which is reached through a sliding wooden door. The pleasant and spacious bathrooms are done out in grey and white all-marble decor and have a bathtub (with a very angular design) and separate shower, a large mirror (plus a magnifying mirror), a hair-dryer and a comprehensive range of hospitality products. There is also a loudspeaker in the bathroom so you can still hear the television while you take a bath. It is worth remembering that the sound-proofing between the rooms is not always great. Room service is available 24 hours a day, as is the butler, who can be summoned at the press of a button.
Each of the hotel's restaurants is run by a chef from the country whose cuisine is showcased there. The main restaurant on the mezzanine level serves up the only buffet in the hotel, and a sumptuous one at that. Unfortunately, the tables are cramped together and the ceiling is low, so the noise does not dissipate. As you enter the enormous restaurant, you can't miss the selection of mouth-watering desserts on display, and the sight of many cooks working frenziedly behind the various counters, grills and so on is quite something to behold! The choice is huge, with cuisine from Thailand, India (with two superb tandoor ovens), Mongolia, Malaysia, Europe, and Japan (sushi and seafood)! There is also a wide selection of dim sum, barbecued food and fresh pasta (the cook blends and cooks it to your preference), etc. There is also a tapas bar serving different tapas dishes from many countries. The counter is lit up in the evening, just like the city that can be seen outside, through the large picture windows, whilst various bottles of wine stand side-by-side in one of the transparent walls.
The Kool cafe was the first restaurant to introduce chocolate fountains, an idea which has been widely copied, whilst the teppanyaki dessert corner is particularly interesting, with its many combinations of sweets and chocolate.
At the end of an impressive corridor on the lower ground floor you'll find the Shang Palace, decorated in red in recognition of the important role this colour plays in Chinese culture. Of course, imperial gold is also prominent here. This restaurant consists of a large square room with a high ceiling and box beams, and a few round tables set with pretty crockery created exclusively for the restaurant. The plates, for example, are shaped like fish, the symbol of longevity, and Chinese lanterns hang from the wood panels. The mainly Cantonese cuisine prepared for diners in this restaurant made it the only Hong Kong restaurant to be awarded two Michelin stars (2006). Specialities from other regions in Asia are also on the menu. You absolutely must try the sunfish, which is deadly if prepared incorrectly, but to reassure you, all the chefs who include this dish on their menu must hold the license required to serve it to diners.
The Angelini, which prepares dishes from all over Italy - and indeed ships over more than 80% of its ingredients from Italy - is decorated in a pleasant and very modern fashion, with superb Murano chandeliers and red and pale brown armchairs. Diners can either opt for a set menu or choose dishes à la carte! Here too, the kitchen staff put on a fantastic show, with one oven to cook meat and another for fish. As a diner, you feel very close to the action as the chef is separated from you by only a glass partition that he can open as he sees fit to talk to the one lucky table. The wide selection of 'antipasti' starters on the buffet counter (from Monday to Saturday) are also worth a mention!
The Nadaman is renowned - especially in Japan and China - for its Japanese dishes. Its sushi dishes are on display in a transparent refrigerator that helps preserves their freshness. A room has been set out for all guests, with tables and benches nicely separated from one another by wooden partitions. If possible, though, it is more enjoyable to sit around one of the teppanyaki tables and watch the action unfold before your very eyes. There are also private rooms (teppanyaki or tatami rooms), should you prefer more intimate surroundings. Some guests staying at the hotel, and even those who are not, come here purely for the Kaiseki, a multi-course dinner that gives food lovers the chance to try many smaller dishes and gain a broad insight into the range of cuisine from the land of the rising sun, and the different ways food is cooked there. Once again, the process is a true performance!