The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong's Suite Makeover
Hong Kong's style-focused Landmark Mandarin Oriental celebrates 10 years the only way it knows how: by revamping its suites. Story and photos by CHRISTOPHER KUCWAY.
Published on May 23, 2016
IF A MEASURE OF A HOTEL room is judged by how well you sleep, then The Landmark Mandarin Oriental's revamped suites score big time. That's the polite way of saying that I slept in on the first of two nights at the hotel, the clock counting off towards eight in the morning before I knew it. Normally I'm checking e-mails by sunrise, so it was time to scramble. Not that I had far to go—for anything. Smack in the middle of Central, which in Hong Kong means the middle of the universe, all I had to do is push a button to part the curtains on another day in one of the world's most industrious cities and see early risers already at their desks in the office blocks immediately outside my window. And I hadn't even shaved yet! My first meeting was at nine, but I still took the time to make myself a coffee in what is best summed up as my own small kitchen.
Brushed brass artwork lends the suite a smart, residential feel.
To mark its 10th anniversary in 2015, Hong Kong's 113-room Landmark Mandarin Oriental was revamped its suites. Behind the reno is 32-year-old local architect and designer Joyce Wang, who describes the new-look suites as "sexy." No expense was spared, though the hotel offers no dollar figures for the refurbishment, which took rooms from a darker, boxier look to one dominated by brushed brass and transparent acrylic. On initial glance, I find the suite is focused most on comfort. "The room is conducive to your stepping out of your own skin and behaving differently than, say, if you were at home," Wang tells me. She's right; sleeping in is counter to my normal behavior, but how did she know? "Elements in the room are staged to delight and pleasure the guest with exceptional experiences."
My 15th floor aerie is dubbed an L900 Landmark suite, and at 83 square meters is the largest at the hotel aside from the Presidential suite.
As with any good design, the focus is in the details. After two sets of polished glass sliding doors at the entry is a two-meter circular tub. Turn left, and it's that king-sized bed to sink into, along with his and her walk-in closets and a small bench to peer out at the surrounding offices. Gladis Young, the hotel's communication director, forewarns me that those in the offices can peer right back, so the muted blinds are a must.
A king-sized bed that is difficult to leave.
On either side of that bed that coddled me in its embrace until rush hour are nightstands generous enough for my iPad and iPhone—both plugged into a hidden set of universal outlets—a magazine or two, a hotel phone, bottled water and some in-house Valrhona chocolates. On the opposite night stand is a Bose SoundLink Bluetooth III speaker, to which I pay a lot of attention, while on my side there's an alarm clock, which I completely ignore. A curved, padded leather headboard is fitted with individual reading lights like you'd find in a business-class seat. Above it is a brushed-brass wall hanging set against distressed silk sectionals. Those two walk-in wardrobes face each other, motion-sensor ceiling lights illuminating their simple, efficient layout. A sucker for little touches, I take to the tilted wooden shoe rack, immediately lining up both pairs I have, lending my closet the look of a store display.
His and her sinks look out through floor-to-ceiling windows at Central. This middle third of the suite centers on that circular bathtub, with separate glass cubicles for the toilet and for the sit-down shower. The white-on-black bathroom, accessible from either room, features Jo Malone toiletries and great views of the buzz of this big city.
The circular tub is the centerpiece.
What stands out about the suite is its residential rather than hotel feel. That is most pronounced in the living room, reached by a right turn at the entrance, where a sofa and wraparound chair are set around an acrylic coffee table. Handwoven rugs in the bedroom and living room both bear subtle animal skin motifs. Wang introduced transparent acrylic table ends into her design in order to give the suites a more airy, less boxy feel. Each piece here feels like it's floating off the floor. The dining table is complemented by Wang's favorite feature: a chilled vitrine—capitalizing on the hotel's strong food-and-beverage presence with two lemon tarts on my arrival—and what is dubbed a vertical minibar that would be envy of any home entertainer. It consists of a fireengine red Nespresso machine; a tea maker with six varieties of Jing Tea; liquor in both 5- and 35-centiliter bottles; and a collection of glasses that includes four types of wine stemware, brandy snifters, whisky tumblers and beer glasses.
The longer I spend in the suite, the more I can envision Wang's sexy version of it. I want to invite friends over but I fear for the minibar. Yet, she echoes my initial take when describing what she looks for in her perfect hotel room. "The feeling of privacy, because that's what I expect of my own home—and being able to 'get away' is a luxury for me." Maybe sexy and homey aren't that different after all. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental; 15 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong; mandarinoriental.com/landmark.