by Rebecca Scherm I: THE DARK AGES Before I found Badu, I’d been listening to hairy weirdos twiddling their amps for a decade, and I’d had enough. I got into spangled ladies filling stadiums with dancey-pain. I’d landed at Alicia Keys via Whitney –> Mariah –> Beyoncé and then stalled out, repeating Alicia Keys’s excellent Unplugged for weeks (minus the Adam Levine intrusion, which is like a child’s piano recital). But something was missing, I knew. Religious people might say I was “searching.” And I was. For different needs, IRead More
If the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan elder statesman oozing colonial-era charm, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a young, hip fashionista radiating sophistication. Opened in 2005 in a glitzy shopping center of the same name (the Landmark), this property is nothing short of spectacular, proposing an elegant home-away-from-home right in the center of the bustling Central district. For travelers who might find the old-school service of The Peninsula or MOHK a bit too fussy, The Landmark is an ideal upscale lodging alternative while visiting Hong Kong.
From top to bottom, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental feels like a well-designed luxury apartment building. Located up a small flight of stairs, the perfumed lobby is relatively small and discreet, not a destination in and of itself, as is the case at most of Hong Kong’s marquee hotels. With only 113 rooms and suites, the hotel never feels crowded, and the steady stream of in-the-know locals who come here for the award-winning spa and restaurants also add to the non-touristy ambience. The only thing missing here is a view of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline (which many other top-tier properties in the city offer), but even that fact lends itself to the feeling that this isn’t just a hotel.
Rates: There are five room types, with rates from $630/night; two suite options start at $1,030/night.
Rooms: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s guestrooms are among the largest in Hong Kong, averaging 540 square feet. In fact, at 450 square feet, the standard rooms are already the largest in the city. Adding to the ample square footage is the space-maximizing room design, with the flow of the bathroom, bedroom, and living space feeling connected, yet separate. Views are of an atrium or nearby city buildings, which may not thrill guests looking for a jaw-dropping vista, but that seems like a small concern in a destination where you can take in the skyline from so many other vantage points.
All rooms feature a contemporary color palette and excellent appointments: goose-down bedding by Ploh, Frette bathrobes, multiple HD LCD televisions, Nespresso coffee machines, and high-quality audio systems that are compatible with personal devices. The elegant bathrooms come with rounded bathtubs, rain showers, dual vanities and sinks, and high-end, chemical-free grooming products by Sodashi (higher-tier rooms and suites feature products by Jo Malone).
Drinks & Dining: Located on the ground floor, the two-story MO Bar offers all-day dining and beverage service (including a popular high tea). Occasionally, the space hosts live concerts; past performers have included Alicia Keys, Harry Connick, Jr., and John Legend. For fine dining, two-Michelin-starred Amber serves up modern French cuisine in an airy space; it’s been counted among the world’s 50 best restaurants (on San Pellegrino’s list) several years in a row.
Health & Fitness: Offering a wide range of Eastern- and Western-inspired treatments, The Oriental Spa ranks among the city’s best spas and stands out, in particular, for importing world-class aestheticians and treatments from other countries. The Landmark also offers guests access to an indoor pool, yoga and Pilates facilities, and a high-tech fitness center with a full range of cardio and weight-training equipment.
Etc.: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is just a short distance from the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, but you can skip the busy streets of Central and travel between the two properties using pedestrian footbridges and shortcuts through the Landmark shopping center.
Pros: Understated, supremely elegant service and accommodations; award-winning facilities and restaurants; a dream location in the middle of Central.
Cons: No views of the harbor or skyline.