We love our kids more than anything in the whole world (those long eyelashes, that cheeky grin!), and we want to spend every waking hour with them, right? Ok, so maybe not every waking hour. (And especially not those middle-of-the night hours when everyone should be sleeping). So what to do when your kids demand all your time but you desperately need some downtime? Two words: Time out (for mama that is!)
After a recent return to Hong Kong involving a 12 hour solo flight with a toddler that hates to sleep (Worst. Flight. Ever.), I had only one item on my birthday wish list, a night off. And not just any night off, but some alone-time in a hotel to relax, read, sleep, take a bubble bath and all the other things that I don’t usually get a chance to do at home. So it was with a cheery wave to my husband and son that I jumped on the MTR to Kowloon Station and the W Hong Kong.
The first thing that you notice about the W Hong Kong is that it’s really, really cool. The décor is ultra-modern, the music is hip and the staff look pretty much like off-duty models. It’s the antithesis of the stuffy five-star hotel experience and definitely has a more laid-back vibe than most. Conveniently located just above Elements mall, the W Hong Kong is a great base for some staycation shopportunities.
My room was definitely spacious, especially by Hong Kong standards. The huge king bed was plush, super-comfy (especially for one!) and the lounge area at the window made the most of the westerly view over the water. Most exciting of all was the bathroom, with its huge bathtub complete with built-in TV and stocked with yummy-smelling Bliss goodies. There was also a powerful rain shower that helped blast away the temptation to crawl back into that bed when I finally emerged the next morning.
After dropping off my things, I headed straight up to the 76th floor to check out the outdoor pool and hot tub. Bearing in mind that this was winter and not exactly toasty outside, the pool was heated to the perfect temperature and I spent a happy hour admiring the view while practicing my backstroke. A quick glass of champagne in the hot tub, then it was time to eat. I had every intention of checking out WooBar for a cocktail and Sing Yin Cantonese restaurant for dinner, but a fluffy robe beckoned so room service and that fab view won the day.
Now, I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person. It was therefore quite demoralising to be outwitted by the W Hong Kong’s complex lighting system and, after a full 40 minutes of trying to switch off the under-cabinet nightlights, I admitted defeat and fell into bed. As a mother of a toddler, it obviously takes more than a bit of ambient light to keep me awake, but plenty of people need pitch black to catch their zeds so that could prove annoying for some.
Tech frustrations aside, it was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months and I woke ready for breakfast at KITCHEN, the W Hong Kong’s bistro. This is a beautifully organised buffet in a different league to the soggy bacon and wilting fruit salad that some hotels dish up. With a cute juice bar, a patisserie selection to rival a French bakery and oodles of yummy Western and Chinese breakfast options I made sure to linger over my morning newspaper.
Breakfast over; it was time to head up to Bliss Spa. With a reputation for fun, yet effective treatments, I was looking forward to my Rodial Time Freeze Facial. Described as Botox without the needles, I was excited to see what this facial could do for my weary, jet-lagged complexion. After a thorough cleansing, the first of three masks were applied and I started to zone out as therapist Natalie massaged my knotty neck and shoulders. I will say that the fruit acid mask that forms the main part of the facial tingled when it was applied, but that it wasn’t uncomfortable, and that Natalie checked throughout to ensure that I was ok.
I also tried ‘The Eyes Have It’ eye peel and mask which claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles and brighten the eye area, again great for jet-lagged skin, (although the eyes-sealed-shut sensation might prove a little claustrophobic for some). After a short while, I drifted off listening to Bliss’ hip spa tunes – no whale music here, just modern interpretations of Rat Pack and easy listening classics. After a final mask removal and application of Glamoxy snake venom inspired serum (yes, really!) the facial was over and I was prised from the couch. I’ve never tried injectables so I can’t verify the Botox claims, but my skin looked great; brighter, clearer and tighter, and the wide-awake effects lasted for days afterwards. In all the excitement about my new, improved skin I’d forgotten all about Bliss’ famous brownie buffet and so extended the pampering further with some sweet treats and a magazine in the relaxation room before meandering back to my room for a late check-out.
A stay at the W Hong Kong is the perfect antidote to mum-fatigue. It’s achingly cool, has all the facilities and then some, and is the ideal place to stay if you need reminding that you are an adult and not a mere conduit for bananas and Lego. I’d even go so far as to say that it would be a waste of a great hotel stay to bring the kids, although my mum-antennae did pick up on the very funky Bloom highchairs at breakfast.
The idea of a solo staycation may not appeal to everyone, but a night alone definitely made me appreciate my family even more the next day. Surely reason enough to make this a monthly event in the diary? (Pretty please?)
W Hong Kong
Address: 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Tel: (852) 3717 2222.