A Brief Interlude at the InterContinental
I was faced with a dilemma of global proportions: Plan a business trip to Hong Kong while not totally botching everything. Thankfully, I had some help.
With just 72 hours to take in one of the world’s most intriguing cities, manage jet lag and (of course) work, I had to find a place to stay. My all-too-ambitious To-Do list required it to be centrally located, more comfortable than my bedroom at home (hopefully), and steeped in everything life in Hong Kong has to offer. Let the internet sleuthing begin.
Here’s the deal: Hong Kong is popular. You have hundreds of hotels to choose from, each claiming the best, most unique out-of-towner Hong Kong experience in the heart of the city. With hundreds of high-rated luxury options, you can’t go wrong. But somehow, I went really right.
Call it intuition or three gin-and-tonic-deep jetlag, but I landed on a place I knew I could trust – the revered InterContinental Hong Kong. Built in 1980 and taking in the sun on the Kowloon waterfront, the InterContinental features stunning views of Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline. (Two-thirds of the property is actually built on stilts, so you really can’t get much closer to the waterfront.)
It was also just minutes away from most of my scheduled meeting venues, so that worked out.
Central location? Check. Swanky vibe? Oh ya.
Maybe it was the five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide or the three Michelin-starred restaurants (like Nobu, one of my stateside favorites). Or it could have been the unapologetically handsome interiors inspired by the Chinese principals of Feng Shui – there was just something about this place that made me want to dress in black tie and order something shaken.
Seeing as it was well past my Californian bedtime, in-room tea was more fitting. I’d read about the InterContinental’s famous, extravagant traditional afternoon tea … sort of a holdover from the British colonial days. (High Tea in Hong Kong is a really big deal.)
My entire stay at the InterContinental, though short-lived, was unforgettable: Every associate I came into contact with made me feel like the celebrity my mom and wife keep telling me I am. It’s tough being away from family (and my six, read ‘em, six kids), but having a soft place to fall at the end of the day with hotel employees who seem to have a real passion for their guests made it feel just like home. Plus the sheets were nearly ten times softer than mine. Not sure how they do that.
And that was just the beginning. Here are a few more highlights from my InterContinental Hong Kong experience:
1. In-Room Check-in With Welcome Tea:
After more than 15 hours on a plane, I avoided eye contact with nearly everyone and walked straight up to my well-appointed room, where my mood quickly changed at the sight of hot tea and fresh fruit. You had me at green tea, InterContinental.
2. [Multi]continental Breakfast:
After my 16-hour time change hibernation, I was ready to eat everything in eyeline. Naturally, the buffet at the Harbourside restaurant quickly became my morning go-to. Tucked right inside the InterContinental, the Harbourside was a full flight of steps up from your average feast, with dining options ranging from traditional Japanese and Chinese breakfasts to rice porridge and pancakes. At one point, my plate was stacked with such sundry items as dim sum, fried rice, samplings of cheeses I’ve never even heard of and a bit of fresh fruit thrown in for good measure.
3. The Only Charcoal Grill in All of Hong Kong:
I was excited to hear that Steak House Winebar + Grill, also located inside the hotel, featured Hong Kong’s only charcoal grill. Eating here took me back to the days of family barbecues in the backyard (minus the wine bar, perfectly prepared food, and the overwhelming sexiness of the interiors, of course). I recommend asking for the lemon-citrus butter sauce with your favorite cut; mine was the U.S. Bone-In Porterhouse Steak. #America
4. The Redefined “Lobby”:
My favorite way to take it down a few notches after a long day of meetings was stopping by the Lobby Lounge before heading back to my room. Nursing one of their nine signature “V-Sip” cocktails (you have to try “Smoke and Mirrors”) was the perfect nightcap while watching the city lights dance on the water of Victoria Harbour.
Gān bēi, Hong Kong and InterContinental. I’ll see you again soon.