Hong Kong With Kids: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel
I never thought I would say this, as it has a reputation for being a business hotel, but the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong was a great place to stay in Hong Kong with kids. My daughter is a fan and believe me, there is nothing more entertaining than a 4-year-old constantly saying Mandarin Oriental.
Some Personal MO Background
The Mandarin Oriental is a Hong Kong institution that I have loved since the first day I set foot inside. During the 6 years we lived in Hong Kong, I visited the spa more times than I can count, had tea in the Clipper Lounge, bought desserts at the Cake Shop, enjoyed steaks at the Mandarin Grill, dinner and drinks at Vong (now M Bar) and many martinis in the Captain’s Bar. My husband had his suits made by Norman at Ah Man Cheong and my sweaters came from Pearls and Cashmere. Both shops are still in the Mandarin arcade. Even though I lived in a different hotel nearby, we still have a deep personal connection to the Mandarin, so when I booked my reservation for our last trip, I knew it was going to be special.
A Central Location
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is located in Central (on the island) at 5 Connaught Road and connected to the Prince’s Building via a covered walkway. You will be able to weave your way around Central to eat and shop in core malls without stepping outside, which is perfect in inclement weather. There is an upscale grocery store in the adjacent Prince’s Building called Oliver’s as well as a drug store, book store, children’s clothing stores and more. Shopping on the Queen’s Road and in the IFC mall or the Landmark is within easy walking distance. Truthfully, it’s one of the best locations in town. I’ll address how to get to the hotel from Hong Kong International Airport below.
The Rooms (Heaven)
Walking into the lobby again was almost like a big welcome home to Hong Kong. I appreciated the easy check-in after being in transit for 25 hours with a 4-year-old. The room blew us away. There was a little backpack for my daughter and amenities for me waiting on our bed. Though it was late, we took our time settling in, ordered our first room service, and enjoyed ourselves. They even had a plastic pink kids’ cup in the room, next to the regular glasses in anticipation of my daughter. It’s the little things like that she and I appreciate.
The hotel’s recent renovation left no detail unaccounted for. What once was a balcony is now a nicely appointed office and sitting area that has blackout curtains dividing it from the sleeping area. As a parent, I always appreciate being able to separate myself from my daughter while she sleeps, as she goes to bed earlier than I do. I could type away on my computer in the sitting area without bothering her. I brought every single charging device, but in the office drawer was everything from iPod cords to office supplies.
All of the lights are controlled electronically, as are the blinds. It’s all very state of the art, though it takes a little getting used to.
The bathroom is just flat out amazing. If you open the shutters near the bathtub, you’ll have a full view of Victoria Harbour (at least our room did), not to mention a TV in the swivel mirror. The shower has dual shower heads that massage shampoo out of your hair and the bathtub has a cascading waterfall spout. You’ll also become a Hermes toiletry addict.
Watch this 2 minute video, to get a feel for the awesomeness of the hotel. It will make you want to go there, I promise.
We had a view of Victoria Harbour and Jardine House (My husband’s old office has the round windows) that’s perfect for the nightly 8pm laser show over the water. Kids will love the laser show.
Room Service: My daughter could not order enough room service! The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong actually has a very good kids menu. She seemed to like the Caesar salad, bread and side of vegetables (make sure to order the veggies without butter). My husband lived at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong for a month while his firm was deciding whether or not to relocate us. His standard room service order was either the burger or Nasi Goreng. I can vouch for both.
Caffe Causette: This is the most kid-friendly restaurant in the hotel. Here and in the Clipper Lounge, kids are given Momo the Monkey papers to color. The food can be healthy and light if you like, or quite the contrary depending on your cravings.
The Mandarin Cake Shop: Need I say more? I admit that over time, I’ve had most of the cake flavors here, but I am partial to the American Cheesecake. Pick up some Rose Petal Jam. I wrote about my love for the Mandarin Cake Shop and some of the amazing Easter cakes they had on offer during our stay.
Clipper Lounge: They have a delicious breakfast buffet, but you also must book the afternoon tea. We were there during Easter week when they had a special chocolate afternoon tea, complete with the Easter Bunny.
Alone Time For Parents
The Mandarin uses a baby sitting service that I was already familiar with from when I lived in Hong Kong. The babysitters are enrolled or registered nurses and fabulous, in my experience. Feel comfortable treating yourself to a spa treatment, dinner or some gym time without the kids. I did, and when I came back, my daughter didn’t seem to care at all that I was gone. They were having a great time.
Getting To Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
You may book one of the hotel cars to pick you up at Hong Kong International Airport. For old time’s sake, we took the Airport Express, which is the train from the airport to Central Hong Kong. From the Airport Express Central station in the IFC mall, it’s just a short taxi ride to the Mandarin. If you’re able to walk while pulling your luggage, it would take about 10 minutes to reach the hotel from the Airport Express. The Central MTR station is adjacent to the Airport Express and where you catch the MTR to Hong Kong Disneyland.
Things To Be Aware Of
If you are on foot pushing a stroller and headed to the adjacent Prince’s Building (where shopping and walkways to The Landmark are), you may need someone to help you get up a small flight of steps near Cafe Causette. I have a Bugaboo Chameleon stroller and have always been able to do it on my own, but if you’re worried about it just ask a hotel staff member to come help you. The same applies when exiting the lobby to street level.
Do not expect to see a ton of kids running around this hotel. Because it’s so centrally-located, quite a few local firms put their guests up at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. My husband’s firm did. Perhaps, that’s why I always considered it more of a business hotel. It is, but it’s great for Hong Kong with kids, too.
Do not hesitate to ask the hotel for whatever it is that you need, the staff is very accommodating and kind.
Why My Daughter Loves It
There is a pool upstairs but we never used it. I think she was happy here because of all the reasons I listed above and also because it’s not a hectic hotel with people everywhere. Though it has that dark, contemporary Asian zen feel, it’s very comfortable. It was a chore to get her to leave the luxurious room at times, but not because she was fussy. She just liked being in it. We both felt very well taken care of at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
*I enjoyed a discounted media stay, though I was really not obligated to write this post. See everything I’ve written about Hong Kong to date.