I’m not particularly keen on 4-hour airport waits, especially with a cranky husband toddler on your hands, not to mention the long haul, airport taxes (i.e. blatant daylight robbery), and jet lag. So when we were given the opportunity to enjoy a staycation right here at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, you can bet we didn’t have to be asked twice.
It wasn’t just any old night away from cat poop and dirty dishes… It was a luxury king-size bed. It was a washroom with a TV. It was freshly-squeezed mango juice brought to your room. It was breakfast with an omelette chef. And it was a pillow menu. Yes, a pillow menu.
If you’re looking for something fun for the kids this summer — and a little pampering for mama as well! — you’ve got to check out the Mandarin Oriental’s Mini MO summer package.
Created specifically for families, this one-night staycation includes a Harbour Room for you and your family, an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes workshop with the hotel chefs and makeup artists for the kids, and a grand buffet breakfast for the whole family. Plus, you receive a welcome package with goodies like cookies, a fruit kebab and an InstaMax camera for the kids, and perhaps most importantly, a bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket for you (and your partner if you choose to share).
A Kid-Friendly Hotel
I was a bit nervous when I entered the posh lobby pushing a toddler in a stroller, but right away the hotel staff made us feel welcome and helped us with our stuff. Everyone from the front desk staff to the lift attendant to the cleaning staff not only greeted our little potato but actually stooped down to make him smile. This will be a relief to mamas everywhere who have felt the scorn of bringing a child to a fancy place.
We were provided with a cot, baby bath, bottle steriliser, bottle warmer, and a high chair in our very own room, with Beatrix Potter dishware for our boy both in our room and at breakfast that thankfully even he couldn’t break (clever move on their behalf). You can even request an XBox, DVDs and board games for the kids… and husbands who want to connect with their kids.
If you asked our toddler to rate the room, the sheer number of new buttons to press would be all it would take for a perfect ten. The DVD player. The TV remote. And my goodness, a remote for the lights. Heaven on earth.
For the rest of us however, it would be the soft bathrobes and slippers, the Hermes bath accessories and the Nespresso machine (instead of your usual instant fare). Or the exotic Oriental ice bucket and the ingenious Valet Box, which offered laundry and delivery services without disturbing your family time.
Their pool is closed for renovations this summer, but you can use the pool at their sister hotel, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, just down the street (and maybe check out the hotel’s Michelin-starred Amber if you can convince your partner to pay).
The room we stayed in had an open-concept style that felt spacious and luxurious as it overlooked the Victoria Harbour and the Kowloon skyline. Little potato sat by the windowsill for a good half hour just watching the junks and ferries. I guess it was a nice change from the brick wall we usually stare into at home!
My favourite part about the room (aside from the washroom TV!) was the curtain that separated the baby cot from our bed. So after your potatoes are asleep, you can close the curtain and have your romantic coupley time (which in our case meant watching movies on the TV since we don’t have one).
The Behind-the-Scenes Hotel Experience
Through one of the hotel’s four behind-the-scenes experiences, your kids can get an insider look at how the hotel artisans do their craft. Now before you picture a classroom with Mrs Nelson and rows of desks, the sessions are personal one-on-one experiences where your kid actually gets to engage with the artists. And besides, what kid wouldn’t want to bring home their own box of chocolates? (You just might have some squabbles when Mommy doesn’t want to share!)
There’s the option of making mocktails with the bartender overlooking the city from the 25th floor’s M bar or a box of handcrafted truffles with the chocolatier. They could also try their hand at decorating a cake or cookies with the pastry artist from the bakery or learn about applying make-up and nail art at the Mandarin Salon (for kids 8-15).
Seeing as my current make-up and manicure knowledge is about as good as nil (and my chocolate quota has been filled for probably the next ten years), I thought I’d give the last option a try. The ladies who worked with me, Maya and Rita, were both very friendly, helpful and professional and would be great with any of your daughters who want to be like Mommy for a day.
Aside from the aforementioned glorious hand massage, the ladies did my face and nails, talking me through the process and giving me personalised tips. I learned how to define my eyebrows and how to take care of my cuticles, all while relaxing to a stunning view on the 24/F and sipping my cappuccino. Pretty darn sweet.
Breakfast in the Clipper Lounge was resplendent with platters of fresh fruit and freshly-squeezed fruit juices (mango, watermelon, honeydew, grapefruit and orange), a generous selection of cheeses, pastries and fresh breads, and even individual bamboo baskets of fresh dim sum.
The little man loved gorging on the four different kinds of salmon, while the pile of bacon, sausages and Canadian bacon got my husband’s approval right away, as did the mushroom quiche and baked ham.
Their omelette station featured a choice between organic or free-range eggs and all the trappings and the air yogurt was to die for, which tasted something like heaven and something like healthier whipped cream. I had two and a half cups and wished I was a cow so I could have four stomachs for more.
All this decadence was enjoyed around the hotel’s grand entrance staircase in elegant plush seating overlooking the lobby below, so all you foodies can #Instabrag your delicious meal with a dazzling chandelier as well.
If you’re looking for a staycation beyond just a hotel room this summer, the Mini MO may be just your thing. With the interactive experience, the kids get out of your hair for a bit and get to try some cool things while you get your pampering. What else could you possibly want? There’s even babysitting on offer if you really want some me-time. And can I say again, the bottle of champagne?! Book now and enjoy this unique staycation before it’s back to school!
The Mandarin Oriental’s Mini MO Summer Package is $4,749 + 10% service charge per night. Check-in is at 2pm and check-out is at 2pm the following day with 72 hours advance booking required. Valid from now until 31 August, 2015.
Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central, 2522 0111, www.mandarinoriental.com