As 2020 crawls along, the coronavirus continues to make international travel difficult. If you're used to traveling frequently, you probably agree with me that it's been strange to be stuck at home for so long. Well, a couple weeks ago, a friend and I decided to break out of our routines with a staycation at the Mandarin Oriental in Central Hong Kong! I'll share our experience so you can decide whether this is a treat you'd like to try for yourself!
This post contains Booking.com affiliate links which means I receive a small commission if you book a stay through that site. This won’t cost you anything extra but helps support this blog. Lastly, my staycation at the Mandarin Oriental was funded by me so this is not a sponsored post. Thank you for your support!
Why Go on a Staycation?
At first, I was skeptical that a staycation would be worth the money. After all, my apartment is comfortable and I have a great view.
Why would staying in a hotel for a night be any better? I wondered.
The hospitality industry in Hong Kong has been hit hard over the last year and is struggling. As a result, many hotels are offering great staycation packages to entice Hong Kong residents to book a stay as tourists have not been allowed into Hong Kong since March.
Mandarin Oriental Staycation Package
Despite wondering if a staycation would be worth it, I've always wanted to stay in a Mandarin Oriental property. Normally, these properties are a bit above our average hotel budget when we're traveling.
So when my friend sent me the information on the latest Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong staycation package - 70% off! - I decided it was too good to pass up.
The staycation package* we booked included:
*This particular deal was for Hong Kong residents only and had to be booked by August 19. Check the Mandarin Oriental website for the latest staycation package offers.
Our Staycation Experience
Because COVID-19 restrictions are changing constantly, our staycation experience (on August 15-16, 2020) was different from what you could expect if you went on a staycation today.
Hopefully this article will give you an idea of what to expect and how the hotel adapts to the restrictions in this ever-changing environment.
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Meeting up in Kennedy Town
On Saturday, August 15, my friend and I met up around 5:30 pm to begin the staycation. We decided not to go earlier in the day since all of the amenities - pool, fitness center, spa, etc. - were closed at the time due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Since we both live in the same neighborhood - Kennedy Town - we decided to ride the MTR to Central together. But, first things first, we stopped in our local Wellcome (grocery store chain in Hong Kong) to buy some wine for the night. The exact same wine is about four times cheaper in the grocery store than it is in the minibar or from room service - I checked!
Check In at the Mandarin Oriental
When we arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, we checked in with our Hong Kong ID cards. Even though the room wasn't in my name, they still required me to show my HKID card. This is the first time in several years I haven't used my passport to check in at a hotel!
Next we each filled out a Health Declaration Form and had our temperature checked. All clear!
By the time we checked in, it was already 6 pm. As part of the check in, we selected our courses for dinner and scheduled it to be delivered at 8:30 pm. Though it was a bit later than we wanted, the earlier dinner time slots were already full.
Mandarin Oriental City View Room
Once we finished the check in process, the hotel clerk showed us to our room. She was incredibly friendly and welcoming throughout and offered a room overview for us. We preferred to discover all the hidden gems for ourselves.
The room was incredibly spacious - especially for Central Hong Kong! Compared to the hotel I stayed in when I visited Hong Kong 3 years ago before moving here, it was a palace!
Our City View Room faced the Prince's Building across the street, however, we had a pretty decent side view of Statue Square and the Bank of China Building.
We were delighted to find plenty of luxurious amenities, such as comfy robes and slippers. Some of the features I would appreciate if I were a traveler staying longer:
Shortly after we arrived, we received a welcome drink which was brought up to our room. We chose hot tea and had a lovely Earl Gray to sip on while we explored the room and admired the view of Statue Square and the Bank of China building.
Because our dinner was scheduled late, the hotel clerk asked that they send us up some cookies to snack on. She was so thoughtful!
After a bit, we decided to wander the hotel and see what else was in the building. Since it was after 6 pm, all the restaurants and bars were closed so it was a quick and quiet walk.
It was almost eerie how quiet the hallways and elevators were. It reminded me of coming back to a hotel around midnight after a night out on the town. Except it was 7:30 pm... on a Saturday!
At around 8:15 pm, our dinner arrived. An attendant wheeled in an entire table, then set the table with the food from a small food warmer below. We both ordered the Lobster Bisque and Steak Frites for our appetizer and main.
Although the food was relatively warm when it arrived, it quickly cooled down. And since it was a 3-course dinner, we had to choose which course to eat while it was hot.
All of the dishes were flavorful and cooked perfectly. But they would have been much better if they had been hot. That's the sacrifice with in-room dining though.
By the time we finished dinner and called for them to pick the table up, we were winding down for the night.
Breakfast at Café Causette
On Sunday, we slept in and then headed to breakfast at Café Causette. As part of the staycation package, you could choose between three breakfast options - a breakfast buffet, an a la carte menu (which was also all-you-can-eat), or in-room dining.
Both my friend and I wanted to avoid the buffet and frankly I was surprised they were having one. We didn't go in so perhaps they had someone dishing out rather than shared serving utensils. But in this coronavirus world, buffets are to be avoided in my opinion.
Instead, we opted for the a la carte menu at Café Causette. It was a great choice! They offer several set menus with more food than you can comfortably eat. Not that you can't eat it, but you're going to be in pain afterwards and need a walk!
My favorite part of the breakfast was the fresh fruit and yogurt. It occurred to me as I was eating it that I haven't had good tropical fruit - like pineapple - in many months and I miss it!
The smoked salmon eggs benedict I ordered were delicious and very rich. I was so full by the end of the meal.
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Check Out of the Mandarin Oriental
After breakfast, we packed up our stuff and checked out. The receptionists and everyone working at the Mandarin Oriental were incredibly gracious and kind throughout our stay.
Whether you're searching for a staycation or visiting Hong Kong and are looking for luxury, I'd recommend this hotel. Check out rates and reviews for the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong on Booking.com.
Then we headed back to real life with a quick 20-minute ride on the MTR to Kennedy Town.
Final Staycation Thoughts
Despite all of the amenities being closed (pool, spa, restaurants after 6 pm) due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in Hong Kong, the staycation experience at the Mandarin Oriental was totally worth it!
For me, just getting out of the apartment for a night and being pampered was a refreshing change in routine. It felt like a mini-holiday, even though I was only a couple miles from home.
If you're climbing the walls of your apartment, I definitely recommend looking into a staycation and treating yourself to a break from routine!