When I first heard about the new Safari and Pirate-Themed Kids Rooms at The Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel, I knew that it was something I had to look into. And then when I did look into it and saw the photos of the rooms, not only did I know I that we had to stay there, but I felt like I’d be betraying my kids, especially my two-year old daughter if we didn’t. So when we were invited by Samson Lam of Sino Group Hotels to experience the Little Adventurer package at the hotel, we all counted down the days to our Hong Kong Gold Coast staycation…
The Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel is located in well, Gold Coast. Being relatively new to Hong Kong, and having never been to that area, I just assumed that we were in for an hour or so commute. And being from the U.S., I saw that as no big deal- “that’s like driving from Studio City to downtown L.A. in rush hour”, I said. But, as it turns out, it was way closer than I had expected – only half an hour! It was more like driving from Hollywood to West Hollywood in rush hour traffic (there’s always traffic in LA). So not only was it a breeze to get there, but when we did we were totally taken aback by how beautiful it was. In only 30 minutes, we had been transported from the hustle, car horns and stress of the city to a relaxing seaside hideaway. Ahhhhh– we all let out in unison as we walked into the spacious, sparkling lobby smelling orchids in the air. We were kindly greeted by Winnie, assistant marketing manager and Samson Director of Marketing of Sino Group of Hotels, who gave us the warmest possible welcome and told us of all the wonderful amenities and activities available at the property. Then we were shown to our rooms.
Do you remember when you watched the movie BIG with Tom Hanks when you were a (very) little kid (for those of you who are too young to remember that movie, get outta here!)? And you wished with every fiber of your being that you could have his kid’s dream of a room outfitted with things like arcade games, bunk beds and a trampoline? Well, these are that room! We were given the run of both the Safari and the Pirate themed rooms, and the kids spent the first 15-minutes running back and forth between rooms trying to decide which one they wanted to sleep in. OK, so maybe Peter (my husband) and I were doing it, too. Come on man, both rooms were really cool.
The Safari Room
The Safari Room had us feeling hyped. The hotel had truly spared no detail and clearly went full bore with the theme to make sure kids could really go wild with their imaginations in a place that seemed almost like a “Choose your own adventure” pop up book. There was fake grass for the flooring, camp lanterns provided the lighting, safari-style luggage was stacked in the corners for more effect. It was like we had checked in to our own private fun house, and unlike other hotel stays where we chill, watch a bit of TV and then nod off, in the safari room, we didn’t stop moving until we all passed out from exhaustion (a night spent running with elephants and zebras will do that to you). We wore these safari hats (see above) and pretended to 4-wheel drive through the Serengetti for longer than a grown woman should admit.
We then pretended to roast marshmallows over the most adorable “pretend” fire pit you will ever see in your life in the company of a big stuffed gazelle, who was kind of like that friend who doesn’t ever say too much, but can read people like a whiz. And I think this gazelle was reading us as “nice family, but who are the parents here?”
The gazelle later loosened up a little and joined in the fun on the mosquito-protected “camp bed”.
From the bamboo covered walls and entertainment center to the large, rustic tree growing heartily in the corner, to the bathroom which was consistently fitted out to theme, this room went the distance to put is deep in the heart of a Safari Adventure.
The pirate-themed room was decorated in just as much detail as the safari room. But instead of running with gazelles and exploring big game territory from our king sized jeep, we enjoyed a high seas adventure surrounded by friendly, plush sea life without having to take one Dramamine (anti-motion sickness) tablet! The room was fitted out with barrel furniture, treasure chests and wood plank walls, done up big to give us the feeling that we were staying in the “Captain’s cabin”. We liked the way this captain rolled. It was if he had given us strict captain’s orders to “Have a blast, me mateys!” And we were like “aye aye cap’n!” as we took turns steering the ship from the wheel on the wall, had treasure hunts, arm-wrestled each other for turns chillin’ on the jellyfish bed, and then whale watched from our comfortable “tall ship” bed as we drifted at sea and then eventually drifted to sleep.
Everywhere you looked, there was a fun pirate prop. From the wheel on the wall to the fish net above the TV to the ocean patterned carpet and the porthole mirrors, the pirate room had us feeling like bonafide buccaneers (light on the bonafide)!
The Satay Inn
On the evening we arrived at the hotel, we were kindly invited to dine at The Satay Inn, a family-friendly restaurant on site which serves authentic Singaporean-Malaysian cuisine. It’s a casual dining atmosphere on the ready to feed the youngest of hungry guests. Per Food and Beverage Manager, Perry Fong’s suggestion, we ordered the local favourites on the menu. We noshed on a scrumptious appetiser sampler offering deep fried soft shell crab, spring rolls, chicken feet and pepper chicken wings. We then enjoyed their signature Hainanese Chicken, pepper prawns and pineapple fried rice which was set in half a pineapple, and was the kids’ favorite! The food was fantastic and the service just as impressive as the food. We finished off the meal with a refreshing and delicious Gula Melaka, a sago pudding served with coconut milk and palm sugar. Stella, however, got her own special dessert. And it had nothing to do to with her charming the staff, at all.
The breakfast buffet at Cafe Lagoon was perfect for families. It truly had something for all of us. You could find each of us in different corners of the buffet, hovering over our favorites. My husband, Peter was all about the dim sum, my son Evan was loving the cereal station, my toddler Stella was torn between the muffins and the chocolate drizzled waffles and I was lapping up that good ol’ American bacon and eggs. And all four of us were all about those killer mini donuts. The buffet had everything from cold cuts and cheese to all kinds of fresh fruit to a salad bar to a dim sum station and traditional British breakfast foods.
Tea Time at The Atrium Lobby Lounge
One of the highlights of our stay at The Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel was having the afternoon themed tea sets at The Atrium Lobby Lounge . Each themed tea set comes as part of the “A Little Adventurer” package with guests receiving either the safari or pirate set to match their room. Just as we were able to experience both of the themed rooms, we were also able to experience both corresponding tea sets. And boy oh boy was it a treat!
The tea set which corresponded with the pirate-themed room, the “Uncovered Treasure Box”, was a goodie-filled treasure chest which included all kinds of sweet and savory masterpieces- from lobster rolls to impressive, kid-favoring pastry art.
For the safari-themed room, the matching tea set was three tiers of bamboo heaped with another amazing variety of fun, culinary creations. This whole experience was so fun and exciting for the kids- for all of us, really, as it was a sweet departure from the “normal” tea time. It really was a special time. And Food and Beverage Assistant Manager, Perry Fong went above and beyond to make sure we had an enjoyable and positive F & B experience throughout our stay. He really left an impression on us all, and the kids were still talking about him a week later.
The Gold Coast Kids Club
One of the most appealing aspects of The Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel for families with young kids, in my opinion, is their Kids Club. When we were told that the kids had access there, and were also due to participate in pirate and safari-themed art workshop sessions there, we had honestly just imagined a small, sectioned off area or a small room filled with a few soft play toys like we’ve seen in other hotels. But, oh were we wrong! The Gold Coast Kids Club is a massive, spacious open area, with its own entrance to its own large section of the building. I’m pretty sure we all said different variations of “WOW!” as we walked in and saw what can best be described as a kid’s paradise. A good portion of the room was an open area loaded with all kinds of soft play apparatus including big, soft blocks and collapsable tunnels. There was a big jungle gym in another section of the club and a play kitchen area full of several mini kitchenettes in another. And there was also a big, comfy reading corner where kids could just relax and chill out (my husband and I were reeeeeally eyeing that area). It was an awesome bonus to an already fun-filled stay. Kid-friendly rooms, kid-friendly food and now this? Nope, the kids didn’t want to leave. To add to the extreme awesomeness of it all, there was an arcade located right off of the Kids Club which put a huge smile on my 13-year old’s face.
The Gold Coast had kindly arranged for both our kids to take part in two artistic workshop sessions each, so they could enjoy the workshops (guests get to enjoy one of these workshops as part of the “A Little Adventurer” package) which corresponded to both the safari and pirate-themed rooms. The workshop space was set in a sectioned off area at the Kids Club, and the sessions were facilitated by friendly, patient staff members. For one workshop, both Stella and Evan painted a ceramic figurine; Stella painted a cow and Evan, a pirate ship. Stella loves to paint so this was right up her alley, but even my 13-year old son Evan managed to get into it, at one point so much getting lost in concentration in the detail of his ship that he wasn’t even responding to his name. For the second workshop, Stella created an adorable, animal-themed foam picture frame and Evan painted a pirate-ship tote. The activities were totally worth our time, gave our kids not only some time to flex their creative muscles, but also gave them cool little souvenirs to take home.
The pool area of the hotel was another highlight of our stay. There were two pools, the main pool and the kids pool, and both were beautifully maintained. The kids’ pool had two waterslides! And my kids had a blast gliding down those slides over and over and OVER again. But their favorite part? The water park. Yes, I said it, the water park, which included all kinds of spraying, twirling, spilling and sprinkling water obstacles on a soft foam flooring. We were ALL loving it because how often do you find these types of things in Hong Kong? We all had a family swim in the main pool and lounged poolside for a bit, but all too soon it was time to pack up and go.
Our stay at The Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel was a great experience. I would recommend this place to any family wanting an easy getaway to a beautiful location not far from home. You get the perks of feeling like you are truly on vacation without the expense of airfare or the challenge (torture) of traveling with a busy, minimally-attention-spanned toddler. It’s only 30 minutes away, and it’s seaside location is truly wonderful surrounded by lush tropical greenery with the Gold Coast Yacht Club in view. It’s relaxing and enjoyable for the results, but add in the “A Little Adventurer Package”, with a themed room, themed tea, art workshops and complimentary access to the Kids Club, oh and then consider the awesome water park and pools and BAM! — it’s a no brainer for the ultimate family staycation!
Visit www.goldcoasthotel.com.hk to book your stay.
Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel, 1 Castle Peak Road (Castle Peak Bay), Tseun Wan, Hong Kong