When it comes to swanky hotels in Hong Kong, there’s no question that the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is a picture of classic luxury, even near on a decade and a half since its opening in 2005.
With its prime centralised location, splurge-worthy dining and signature creature comforts of the global luxury brand, the harbour-side institution has long been synonymous with high-end hospitality in Hong Kong. But with a slew of fancy newcomers — think Rosewood Hong Kong, the St. Regis Hong Kong — reshaping our city’s skyline in the past year alone, is the 14-year-old hotel still worth the splurge? We booked in on a recent weekend to unwind over the holidays and find out.
Set the scene for us: Where’s the property located? What’s it like to step inside?
Located atop Hong Kong Station inside IFC Mall, the location of the hotel doesn’t get more centralised — a convenience amongst the many reasons why the hotel sees heavy occupancy throughout the year. In the heart of Central, the Four Seasons offers a rare respite from the buzz of the city’s financial hub, offering a zen hideaway while a hop and a skip away from SoHo, Lan Kwai Fong, the Central Ferry Pier and harbourfront.
Directly accessible via the Airport Express, the Four Seasons also sees a high influx of business travellers mid-week — although plenty of space, leisure options and quiet nooks of the hotel mean you can still seek out complete peace and relaxation on a weekend staycation.
The grand lobby magnifies a sense of opulence and grandeur as you step inside — the high ceilings preferable, in our opinion, to some of the darkened and discreet, maze-like layouts found in other luxury Hong Kong properties. Three-storey windows let in plenty of natural light, while the polished lobby is a cosmopolitan crosswalk of sorts for Hong Kong’s well-heeled: from high-powered execs to ladies who lunch, visiting dignitaries and the more-than-occasional celebrity — you’ll find them here.
As for design, rich materials and furnishings exude luxury, but the neutral, somewhat business-like colour palette and lack of more overt design pieces or motifs can leave the decor feeling a bit dated at times next to some of the more dramatic and striking design-led hotels. That said, individual venues such as the crown dining jewel, Caprice, still retain their individual charms — the latter an opulent array of rich furnishings, marble, and crystal chandeliers complete with a massive open kitchen, wine and cheese cellar.
The Four Seasons offers a whopping 900-plus guest rooms of all different sizes and layouts in both the hotel and suite hotel towers. Our Harbour-View Suite was comfort at its finest, replete in soft hues and lacquered panels with subtle Asian accents. Wood- and silk-lined walls show little wear and tear for the age, with a separate bedroom, spacious living room and bathroom with double sink vanities.
The marble bathroom and walk-in rain shower was a definite highlight of the room, complete with posh Bulgari amenities. The plush, king-sized bed was slightly too soft for our liking — only after we woke in the morning did we realise there was a pillow and topper menu with eight different choices for pillows and customising mattress firmness. While the flat-screen TV in the living room was on the small side, we passed the afternoon instead reading on a cosy armchair pulled up against the large windows overlooking the harbour and Kowloon, with a pair of mini binoculars provided on the table stand a nice touch for a spot of people-watching.
It’s no secret that F&B is the proverbial feather in the Four Seasons’ cap, with the hotel holding the incredible distinction of housing the most Michelin stars under one roof of any hotel in the world. As such, guests are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to high-end dining, whether its savouring the immaculate creations of chef Guillaume Galliot at Caprice — a three-Michelin-starred institution where a meal is never complete without a platter of fabulous French cheeses — Japanese omakase at Sushi Saito (2 stars), or sublime dim sum at Lung King Heen (3 stars).
While high-profile guests may hideout at Caprice Bar, a more accessible post-work watering hole with equally great libations can be found at Blue Bar, where we were invited to step behind the bar to shake our own mocktails (one of many complimentary activities for hotel guests), before tucking into a Smoking Kimchi Dog washed down with an effervescent ‘Improved French 75’ as part of the new ‘Hotdogs and Hooch’ menu, where gourmet dogs are paired with Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2012 cocktails (Thursdays and Fridays from 6pm).
The outdoor pool area, with its separate lap and infinity pools, bubbling hot tub, and clear, unobstructed vistas of the harbour is hands-down one of the highlights of the hotel — a prerequisite for a relaxing staycation in Hong Kong. There’s nothing quite like a dip in the hot tub at dusk during the chillier winter months, watching Kowloon slowly light up against the colour-streaked sky, with the looming skyscrapers of Central in the backdrop making you feel like you’re sitting in the lap of luxury in the very heart of the city.
Those seeking more physical restorative comforts will also want to check out the Four Seasons Spa with its range of luxurious Western and Chinese treatments (arrive early to take advantage of the vitality pool, sauna and steam rooms), while heavy meals can be worked off at the state-of-the-art 24-hour gym. We opted for the Ayurveda oil massage (starting from HK$2,080 for a 90-min treatment) where a stream of warm, herbal oil is poured on the forehead and scalp to relieve stress and anxiety after a rejuvenating full-body massage.
This being the Four Seasons, seamless service, fantastic facilities and world-class dining are par for the course; despite its age, the grande dame of Central’s hospitality portfolio still manages to tick all these boxes with aplomb.
The hotel has kept up with the times, unveiling renovations and ramping up its offerings over the years with new additions such as the opening of Sushi Saito in 2018. While room rates are similarly priced to shinier new hotel openings in Hong Kong, with unparalleled service and facilities, the hotel manages to retain its competitive edge as one of the city’s most distinguished high-end hotels, offering the ultimate harbour-side staycation.
For stays from now until 29 February, 2020, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is offering an exclusive Weekend Retreat package with 15 percent savings off the best available room rate that includes a host of dining and spa benefits (including complimentary breakfast for two at The Lounge) and late check-out until 4pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +852 3196 8333 to make a booking.