Sunday, February 13, 2011

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong 2010: Deluxe Rooms

Island Shangri-La

After checking in, we went to look at our rooms before having breakfast yet again at Cafe Too. Usually, as stated in my earlier post, someone will bring you up to your room, but since we were already past guests here we chose to go up just by ourselves.

Island Shangri-La Double Beds

We had two rooms this time- one double beds and one king. The double room offered a view of the peak, and was much smaller in comparison to the king room. In addition, being on a lower floor (40th) meant that some amenities were of a lower quality- for example, the plates and tea cups were blue/pink and white while the ones on the upper floors were newer with a simple gold and white. So, definitely request a room on the higher levels. If you booked a Horizon Club room, no need to worry, as you are definitely getting the rooms on the highest floors already.

With Shangri-La here, the rooms have been kept to have a feel of classic, old-style luxury. Even though the rooms have been renovated almost half a decade ago, they decided to keep most of the same elements intact with the same layouts- the walkway area feels very familiar to the old styles. What has been updated are the bedspreads and the walls to have more dark wood details in contrast to the lighter colored wall paper and fabric walls.

As you can see by the photo, the rooms do have a nice work table as well as a large LCD TV- underneath it is a DVD player as well. In addition there are nightstands beside the bed and there is a nice sitting area with a small round table that houses some fruit plates. What you don't see in the photo is a large formal coat hangar and a luggage storage area. Overall, the room was a nice size (for Hong Kong especially), but a friend who visited us thought this room was a bit on the tiny size for a hotel of this caliber.

Island Shangri-La Harbour View King Bed

On the other hand, she liked the size of our king bed room. This was actually a harbour view room- we actually had to pay to upgrade as there were no peak rooms available. When we had the highest tier of Golden Circle membership, they actually upgraded us for free to harbour view. With the harbour view rooms, the rooms were certainly larger and wider, thus allowing us to have more space to move around. In addition, the Samsung LCD TV's were slightly larger, and the bathroom had a separate shower/tub instead of a shower/tub combination, while also again being larger in square footage.  The color scheme in the harbour view rooms also was slightly different, with green being the main color instead of gold in the peak view rooms. But for this review, I'll be mainly talking about the peak view- above I have told you the major differences between the two types! :)

Island Shangri-La Double Beds

One of the first things we realized as we stayed here was the varying housekeeping styles. They would arrange the beds differently at times- sometimes with the additional bed spread applied full out, sometimes as just an accent, or sometimes not even there at all (like the bed farther out in this photo).

Island Shangri-La Double Beds
(see- another way of laying out the bedspreads!)

The beds were quite comfortable here in my opinion- in comparison to most American style beds where they are extremely cushy and soft, these were firmer, providing more support while also being cushy, The pillows were also firmer but also still very cushy. I liked them. But if all you like is ultra cushy, ultra soft, with no support then you probably will find Island Shangri-La's beds quite unusual.

Island Shangri-La Butler Call/Do Not Disturb Button

In the entrance area was an interesting button- a Butler call button! All the electrical buttons were from the brand "Le Grand," in which we also saw Kowloon Shangri-La using as they started to renovate the rooms. This butler call button anyway was quite convenient. If you wanted the housekeeping staff to clean your room earlier or after when they passed your room already, they would do it, and quite efficiently too!

Island Shangri-La Closet

Since I don't have a picture of the entry area before the main bedroom section, I'll just describe it to you in words. It was quite classy, with lots of dark wood applied. The closet and a small bar was on one side, while the bathroom entrance was on the other. The closet was quite large. There was a synthetic pillow/wool blanket, two types of robes (a thick terry cotton and a thinner Japanese style), plenty of shelves to put shoes and other things, lots of wooden and silk hangers, a iron with a ironing board, several bags, and a large safe that was large enough to hold a 17 inch laptop as well as lots of other things.

Island Shangri-La Tea and Coffee with Condiments

The bar had a minibar, plenty of snacks (not complimentary), lots of glasses/teacups, a tea pot, a tea kettle, and a selection of instant coffee (Nescafe Gold!) and teas (provided by Boh) along with condiments (brown/golden turbinado sugar, white sugar, and artificial sweetener). The teas were fabulous and were very fragrant for a tea bag. With the harbour room, the bar area also had ground coffee along with a french press.

Island Shangri-La Handicapped Bathroom

Our first double bed room was a handicapped room- the only way we could have told was the bathroom, which was laid out differently. Unlike the other rooms in the hotel, the handicapped rooms did not have a bidet, and the TV was placed facing the direction of the door. The layout was different too; the entrance was in the right of the bathroom instead of dead center like the regular rooms (hence the weird TV placement).

The angle of this shot is a bit weird, I had the camera way above my head pointing downwards to get this shot. It isn't as small as the photo might suggest, but in comparison to the regular bathrooms it does feel more cramped, although the square footage is probably about the same. They do share in common however the multiple stone inlays. 

Island Shangri-La Handicapped Bathroom Toilet

Some extra additions to the handicapped bathroom was that there was a metal bar in between the toilet and the bath tub, and there was also a red button for emergency calls if necessary. And hey, did you notice the blue water? That's how the toilet water looks like at Island Shangri-La. It's like as if toilet cleaner solution was already included in the toilet water...which it probably is.

Island Shangri-La Room L'Occitane Toiletries

As for the toiletries, Island-Shangri-La provided a wide amount of high quality toiletries. Their packaging had been recently changed from a blue theme to this square brown and yellow theme. I did notice some slight improvements compared to other Shangri-La's on toiletries- here we had "razor and foam" while in another Shangri-La we also stayed at this trip it was "razor and cream." Meaning....here at the ISL they provided a mini pump of shaving foam but in the other Shangri-La they provided a tube of shaving cream. Little differences are what matters! The L'occitane toiletries were very nice and had gotten a modern refresh; in addition to what you see here, Shangri-La also provided some bath salts and some of their own privately branded soaps too.

If you can't see all the toiletries in this photo here is my list: L'Occitane shampoo, condidioner, shower gel, body lotion, and milk extra gentle soup, two toothbrushes with a mini tube of Colgate toothpaste in each (nice soft bristles too), razor and foam, comb (fancy looking but the plastic they use now is a bit bendy which I don't care for), an emery board, sewing kit, hair band, shower caps, and a plastic disposal bag. Yes, you have basically anything and everything you need for a night's stay!

Island Shangri-La Handicapped Bathroom

Here is a vertical photo of the handicapped bathroom. As you might notice, there was a balance available for use, and looking at the bathtub, Shangri-La does provide two sets of the L'occitane products for your use, and they will give you new ones twice a day...if you take all the bottles away!

Island Shangri-La Room 5018 Tub

Anyway, since I've been talking so much about handicapped versus regular bathroom, here's some pictures of a regular bathroom. We did transfer rooms during our stay as the air conditioning in room 4018 was a bit wacky....and we were then transferred to room 5018! How fun. Being a regular bathroom, it was much easier to walk around as the center of the bathroom was free of obstructions. The photo shows you the left side of the regular bathroom- the shower/tub combination. Here they had two shower-heads; if I remember correctly they were Grohe, while the fixtures were by Toto.

Island Shangri-La Room 5018 Sink

The sink was the same as the regular rooms. With a harbour view room, you would get double sinks here, also in the same look as this single sink. The containers behind the towel are where the cotton buds/cotton balls and bath salts are located.

Island Shangri-La Room 5018 Bidet/Toilet

And here's the right side of the bathroom. See how it makes a bit more sense here with the toilet and bidet next to the television? The TV was by the way a Sharp LCD, it's been here for many years if I remember correctly.

Island Shangri-La Room Desks/ TV/ DVD Player area

As for the work table and TV area, both were quite large and expansive. The TV could connect to a DVD player. In addition, the TV also featured radio and listening stations- like a Classical channel, Shangri-La Music channel, RTHK, et cetera. The Shangri-La Music Channel played the music usually played in the halls on each floor, but in this case it was different as for most of our visit, the halls played cheerful holiday music while the Shangri-La Music Channel kept its usual music including Vivaldi's Four Season's and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Channel 99 has the Hong Kong weather so you can be quite well informed about everything weather- pollution stats, temperature, wind speed, sunrise and sunset. For those liking other channels, there's plenty to choose from- Cartoon Network for example played lots of Garfield and Tom and Jerry, while the Now Sports selection had lots of soccer and East Asian Games in Guangzhou replays. BBC was available as well as TVB and A TV. So, if you do happen to get sick and have to rest, you will not get bored here at Shangri-La watching the TV. Hint-hint. ;).

Island Shangri-La Power Ports

As for the work table, it had a hairdryer, two pens, lots of stationery (postcards, large sheets, fascimile sheets, envelopes), some pencils, clips, and a pair of scissors. A fax machine/printer was also set alongside in a cabinet, which caused lots of warm air to seep through the room. The plugs were plentiful- one universal adaptor was given as well. In addition, an ethernet cable was provided for wired access. You could however use either wired or wireless internet connection...after all, because you can, and it's free! Shangri-La had finally realized these years that internet is very important for people to connect around the world, and they now offer free internet in their hotels. Awesome.

Island Shangri-La Teddy Bear with Bonaqua Water 770ml

There were quite a lot of complimentary items during our visit. First of all, two Bonaqua 770 ml bottles of water were provided- a great feature for those planning to walk around Hong Kong during the day. We were kept hydrated from these bottles of water, which were replenished every housekeeping service as we took them away for use. Sometimes the housekeepers would give us extra at the bar too which was a nice gesture. Some other hotels do not provide as much water and thus you are left to either request more water or to buy your own.

For your reference, the "Tony" Shangri-La bellman teddy bear is not for free...you can get it if you pay a donation to a specific organization listed on the label though.

Island Shangri-La Bookmark

A signature free feature that we also received were the bookmarks provided every evening. These refer to Lost Horizon, which Shangri-La bases some of their features out of- for example, this book mark states that Shangri-La has a "very delightful library"...and guess what, Island Shangri-La does happen to have a library that seems like an exact replica of what Lost Horizon describes it to be!

Shangri-La had changed the design of these bookmarks from our last visit to be more upscale looking- instead of a simple white card with some color accents with a white ribbon, this time they gave us higher quality beige colored paper that was stamped with Island Shangri-La's name, and instead of white ribbon, there was a colorful tassel (whoops, not shown in this photo). This was certainly an upgrade...when so many things have been downgraded at many hotels it was nice to see something that had improved.

Island Shangri-La Entertainment/Laundry/Breakfast Tray Information

With the evening service the housekeepers also put out a tray with entertainment, laundry, and in-room breakfast information. For those wondering, I did fill out that opinion card. :)

Island Shangri-La Chandelier

The interesting parts of the hotel do not just stop from what I have told you. The vast amount of chandeliers was evident- there were plenty in the lobby, and each room had one too! A very elegant one too. This could also be controlled in steps by buttons located along the bed. Other buttons could control the window shades (a day one and a black out drape).

Island Shangri-La Alarm Clock

Another intriguing part of the hotel was the clock. As long as you lifted the clock up, the light on top of the alarm clock would turn on! The fact that Island Shangri-La's name was yet again was on the clock was also quite impressive- not all Shangri-La's have this feature.

Island Shangri-La Fruit and Tea

One of the best signature features about Island-Shangri La is that they gave out tea and fruit every day to guests. This was different from before, as before the tea would only show up on the first day of the visit. If they had some special gift (like a flowering tea that would become flower shaped when steeped) then another tea pot would show up again.

Island Shangri-La Tea

However, tea and fruit were plentiful this time around. With every new housekeeping service, the teapot would be filled again with hot Boh jasime green tea. So fragrant and so delicious.

Island Shangri-La Fruit Bowl

Fruit selections also varied in our rooms. It seemed as if the higher level rooms also had dragonfruit. Occasionally we would get pear also, but the more common fruits were a red apple, an orange, and a yellow banana.

Island Shangri-La Fruit and Tea with Gift

Island Shangri-La Island Gourmet Chocolate Christmas Gift with Card

Island Shangri-La Island Gourmet Chocolate Christmas Gift

It so happened to be the night before Christmas that we received a gift from Island Shangri-La- a nice holiday card and a box of Island Gourmet Chocolates!

Island Shangri-La Island Gourmet Chocolate Christmas Gift

The chocolates we shared with our friends but they certainly looked good. I would assume if you stayed in Horizon Club you could get these anytime; round truffles with a creamy center in dark, white, and milk chocolate varieties were available at Kowloon Shangri-La's Horizon Club everyday in our past stays there.

Island Shangri-La Golden Circle Amenities- Local Amenity, Cup Noodle, Cookies and Milk

The last amenity we had in our rooms came from Golden Circle, Shangri-La's loyalty program. Since we were Jade members (that's middle tier) they provided us with three additional amenities on our first night which we selected from a list beforehand. Our selections were instant noodles, cookies and milk, and a local amenity. The local amenity is always fun as you never know what you might get.

Island Shangri-La Golden Circle Amenities- Nissin Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor

Everyone who has had Nissin's cup noodles, especially this variant, will know that these taste quite delicious- smooth and bouncy. Shangri-La has been consistent in providing this large sized paper container version for our past stays so for those requesting instant noodles, this is what you get at Island Shangri-La.

Island Shangri-La Golden Circle Amenities- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Kowloon Dairy Gold Medal Milk

The cookies and milk this time were chocolate chip cookies with the usual Kowloon Dairy Gold Medal Milk. Only this time, the milk was not from a glass container. It was still however very rich and creamy, full of flavor. The chocolate chip cookies on the other hand were crisp and buttery, with lots of dark chocolate chips in them.

Island Shangri-La Golden Circle Amenities- Local Amenity- Almond Cookies

Last but not least, the local amenity was an apple-shaped jar of almond cookies. Last time it was egg rolls. These were also quite pleasant- sweet with plenty of almond flavor.

Conclusion
Having showed you many photos of the room, you just may come up with your own conclusion of this hotel and if you should stay here or not sometime in the future. As for me, I thought Island Shangri-La's rooms were very well maintained this time around. The rooms were of a good size (especially the harbour view) and everything was quite clean. Housekeeping was very diligent and all the towels and linens were clean and in good condition. The views were fabulous (I will share some photos in a separate post) as well to boot- not all hotels are able to have such views!


As for some negatives, Island Shangri-La's carpeting is getting a bit old with some minor stains. But that's why they provide you with slippers to walk around- two pairs per room, all located in the closet or taken out and placed next to the bed by the first evening housekeeping service. In addition, the air conditioning in one of the rooms was a bit off- of which we then we switched rooms after figuring that out. It would either be too hot or too cold, which was quite irritating!

Otherwise, I highly recommend this hotel. It has a great location; after all, it is walkable to many eateries, the Admiralty MTR and ding-ding tram stop is just several minutes walk away from it, and Hong Kong Park and the British Counsulate is right next door. Having Pacific Place right below also is fantastic- you have tons of shopping and more food options, as well as an upscale market, and you have three more hotels next door to look at for some dining options. The service was quite friendly and professional this time around. We walked off from this hotel feeling that what we spent was definitely worth it- definitely an improvement from our past stays! 

For those deciding between Kowloon Shangri-La and Island Shangri-La (and are Golden Circle members), you probably realize that the Island Shangri-La is quite a lot more expensive. But what pay more for you do get back- higher quality amenities, a better location, more pampering and exclusivity feel, larger rooms, and better service. It all comes down to what you would like to spend and what experience you want to get in return- Kowloon is a bit aged (although freshly renovated) but you will still get a fine experience.

And of course, this isn't the end of Island Shangri-La posts yet. But since most of you readers read the rooms post more compared to the rest of the posts, I'm condensing more information into this one. I still have some more public spaces (the library/Atrium and things on the room levels) and lots of Cafe Too breakfasts to talk about...all that coming soon. How soon, I can't really tell.

Now that you have read so much, I would like to thank you for reading this ultra long review! Have a great week. :)

Island Shangri-La
Pacific Place
Supreme Court Road
Central, Hong Kong
T: (852) 2877 3838
F: (852) 2521 8742



Extra Information March 11, 2011: A friend who had returned from another stay at the Island Shangri-La has told me that the Horizon Club rooms are even further renovated and also have extra features- fatter pens with the Island Shangri-La logo on them in comparison to the regular thin "S" pen and larger 50 ml L'Occitane toiletries in addition to more snacks to aid travelers to have a smoother day throughout their visit. 

Find the rest of the posts in this series at this trip's TRIP INDEX. 

3 comments:

GiGi said...

Aw! I stayed at this hotel before and it was magical - just like the city of Hong Kong! This hotel also has the most AMAZING restaurant in it called Cafe Too! I hope you went and ate to your hearts content!!

EatTravelEat said...

GiGi,
Cafe Too is going to have its own appearance soon on the blog! I had plenty of breakfasts there this time and in the past.

Anonymous said...

the alarm clock looks tempting to take home... are they selling it?