FLY It’s just after 1 a.m., and I’m settling into my biz-class seat on the nonstop flight from Toronto to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. Knowing I’ll be able to put my feet up for the next 14.5+ hours is the proverbial “game changer.” The glass of Deutz Brut Classic bubbles also helps, as does the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist. My eyes are as heavy as a velvet theatre curtain, but Lynn Chen, the inflight service manager, offers some seasoned advice: “Stay awake for at least four hours and then try to sleep for eight,” she says. “Have a little meal and a glass of wine and watch a movie. Relax.” I choose Call Me by
Your Name, which is a rather racy flick to watch with strangers. I manage to stay awake until 3 a.m. (Sorry, Lynn!), but then I fall into a deep sleep. Eight hours later, I slowly open my eyes and wipe them like a raccoon who has been woken from a deep slumber. During the night, an orchid has been placed in the holder in front of me. In China, orchids symbolize elegance and friendship. It seems I have a new flying friend.
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The mural in the Lanson Place Hotel cocktail/library was inspired by the work of French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy. “He was an artist who passionately combined all his travel memories into one beautiful picture,” explains Stella Chow, the hotel’s director of marketing and sales. “We want to inspire those kinds of memories for our guests.”
SHOP Once you venture outside Lanson Place, you’re in one of Hong Kong’s marquee shopping areas. Five minutes away on the tree-lined Hysan Avenue and Yun Ping Road is Lee Gardens 1 and 2. Name a luxe label and it’s there—either inside the shopping centre or in one of the street-front shops. Times Square, one of the city’s first mega-malls, is also about five minutes away. After you’ve indulged a little (or a lot), return to Lanson Place to sip a Murano white wine cocktail in the library lounge.
STAY/SIP If you’ve spent more than 14 hours on a plane—even if it’s in super-comfy business class on Cathay Pacific—there’s nothing like arriving at your hotel and being kindly welcomed into your cozy home for the next few days. My first impression of Lanson Place Hotel, which is located in the centre of Causeway Bay, is its custom scent: Golden Bamboo. This gentle citrus floral drifts out onto the street corner, luring you into a calm oasis away from the traffic-lined Leighton Road. “We want you to immediately get a sense of tranquility,” says Stella Chow, the director of marketing and sales for the 194-room boutique hotel. “We’ve created an elegant clublike setting along with the exclusivity and comfort of a private home.” It’s also stylishly understated with European flourishes—like its Gio Ponti-inspired Murano-glass light fixtures and its etchings and lithographic prints from French expressionist painters like Bernard Buffet in its penthouse suites. If you’re spending more than a few days here, you’ll love the complimentary selfservice launderette and kitchenettes in every room.
CHILL After walking 34,148 steps and climbing 61 flights of stairs in hilly Old Town Central, I am primed for my Oriental Essence Massage at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Central. (The world’s longest covered outdoor escalator is in this neighbourhood, but I only rode it once.) Before the treatment, I take a dip in the pool, which has an entrancing soundtrack playing on its underwater sound system. At one end of the room, there’s a hypnotic film of jellyfish moving in slow-mo. The ceiling is mirrored, so while I’m doing the backstroke, I have this soothing out-of-body experience when I catch glimpses of myself floating by. There’s just enough time to hit the cinnamon-scented Chinese steam room before submitting my tired limbs to Angel—yes, that is my therapist’s name. “I didn’t know what my name meant,” she laughs, when I suggest that her name is very apropos. “I opened the dictionary and chose an English name that started with ‘A’ and was easy to pronounce.” In addition to her massage moves, Angel asks if I want to be cupped. Cupping involves having glass jars that have been heated applied to your body. (The heat lowers the pressure in the glass, which creates a suction effect when it’s placed on the skin.) It’s believed to improve blood flow to areas that are stiff and inflamed. “I love my city, but it’s go, go, go!” says Angel as she gently twists one cup into place. “You need me time.” She positions 17 cups on my back; while it sounds and feels like a school of carp fish sucking on my back, the gentle pulling sensation is utterly satisfying. When I later catch a glimpse of my “Hong Kong hickeys,” I take a deep breath and smile.
TEA TIME One of Central’s most famous local cafés is Lan Fong Yuen. It’s credited with having invented the famous “silk stocking” milk tea. (Condensed milk and sugar is added to black tea that has been poured through a cloth bag.) This creamy tea pairs perfectly with an egg tart from nearby Tai Cheong Bakery. It’s the Magnolia Bakery equivalent in terms of its local fan base.