Ro­man­tic De­tours

Make your Valen­tine’s Day un­for­get­table with these lux­u­ri­ous and one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ences,

Prestige Hong Kong - - FOCUS - Writes Mar­tine Beale

Star Rated

Chef Xavier Boyer is bring­ing his Miche­lin-starred magic to a stel­lar five-course Valen­tine’s din­ner at Gaddi’s, the revered 65-year-old French din­ing in­sti­tu­tion nes­tled in The Penin­sula. Boyer is a pro­po­nent of the less-is-more school of cook­ing, pre­fer­ring to let care­fully se­lected flavours in dishes shine. An opu­lent decor re­plete with shim­mer­ing chan­de­liers, flick­er­ing can­dles and white linen table­cloths sets the tone for ro­mance. The menu be­gins with Hokkaido sea urchin with spicy av­o­cado and lob­ster jelly, fol­lowed by Brit­tany scal­lop dumpling with kaf­fir lime foam and Kristal caviar, and then pan-seared John Dory with cit­rus, leeks and black truf­fle. An in­dul­gent main course of roasted pi­geon with hazel­nuts and pear pre­cedes a de­light­ful dessert of red sugar pearl with light cas­sis cream, red fruit and al­mond ice cream. The ex­quis­ite meal con­cludes with cof­fee or Penin­sula teas ac­com­pa­nied by Valen­tine’s choco­lates and pe­tits fours.

MOVE TO THE RHYTHM

Un­leash your in­ner dance diva with the lat­est and hottest dance trend, ce­roc. It orig­i­nates from France and is akin to mod­ern jive that can be done to any kind of music. The dance is hugely pop­u­lar in the UK and was brought to Hong Kong by in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed singer/song­writer and Celtic harpist, Katie Tar­gett-Adams, who founded Ce­roc Hong Kong. Work­shops and classes are held in a spa­cious stu­dio in Sheung Wan, while reg­u­lar ce­roc nights hap­pen at var­i­ous venues in Cen­tral. In the 45-minute class, be­gin­ners learn and prac­tice four easy moves taught by qual­i­fied teach­ers. In­ter­me­di­ate classes demon­strate more com­plex moves. As well as get­ting down with your part­ner, you can dance with oth­ers and so­cialise af­ter the classes. If that doesn’t ap­peal, take a pri­vate class for two. Either way, it’s heaps of fun. With just a few ba­sic steps you’ll be whizzing around the dance floor in per­fect har­mony.

LOFTY SPA ES­CAPE

Bliss Spa on the 72nd floor of W Hong Kong ho­tel boasts spec­tac­u­lar views of Vic­to­ria Har­bour and West Kowloon. These im­pres­sive vis­tas can be ad­mired while en­joy­ing the spe­cially cu­rated Valen­tine’s spa treat, Just You and Me, de­signed for love­birds. Pam­per­ing starts with a one-hour-45-minute aroma hot­stone mas­sage with a scrub for eas­ing tense mus­cles, re­lax­ation and boost­ing the im­mune sys­tem. This is fol­lowed by a one-hour Natura Bissé in­tense age-de­fy­ing fa­cial, which re­ju­ve­nates and firms skin from a cel­lu­lar level, and in­di­vid­ual 30-minute rose-petal su­per soaks. As tran­quil­lity and gor­geous aro­mas wash over you, in­dulge in cham­pagne, a lob­ster and av­o­cado wrap, and fruit plat­ter. Utilise the steam room and sauna, and head up to the rooftop for a dip in the Jacuzzi and the city’s high­est out­door heated pool – you’ll feel on top of the world.

RO­MANCE ON THE BAY

The Kerry Ho­tel has done the im­pos­si­ble – it’s made Hung Hom Bay hip. It’s the first new ho­tel to open on the Kowloon wa­ter­front in 20 years, and its in­te­ri­ors are con­ceived by de­signer du jour An­dré Fu – so ex­pect ul­tra-chic per­fec­tion. Red Sugar, the ho­tel’s bar, houses cosy leather arm­chairs, and ex­posed red brick and pipework that re­call the district’s ship­yard his­tory. For just one night, the bar trans­forms into a ro­man­tic restau­rant serv­ing a sump­tu­ous four-course Valen­tine’s din­ner that in­cludes lob­ster, beef, and dessert pre­pared by Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Matthew Ben­nink. Be­fore the meal, you are served a wel­come glass of Veuve Clic­quot cham­pagne, or a His or Hers cock­tail – truf­fle-washed bour­bon, Aperol and choco­late ver­mouth for him; vodka, cit­rus, house-made rose cor­dial, cran­berry juice and sparkling wine for her – on the wrap­around ter­race, which of­fers un­beat­able 270-de­gree views of Vic­to­ria Har­bour and the Hong Kong sky­line.

SWEET SCENTS

Per­fume-mak­ing dates back nearly 4,000 years to the Bronze Age. The Egyp­tians, Greeks and Ro­mans all played a role in mak­ing it an art form, but it was the French who el­e­vated it to lux­ury sta­tus. Many of the botan­i­cals used in mod­ern-day per­fumes come from Grasse, known as the per­fume cap­i­tal of the world (the flow­ers used in Chanel No. 5 are grown there). You can learn how to com­pose your own eau de par­fum at an in­ti­mate two-and-a-halfhour Pri­vate French Per­fume Mak­ing Work­shop for Two at In­time Ar­ti­san de Par­fum. Un­der the guid­ance of founder An­gel Che­ung – who learned the art of per­fume-mak­ing in Grasse – you and your loved one will be taken on an ol­fac­tory jour­ney that ex­plores blend­ing tech­niques and 170 in­gre­di­ents to cre­ate a be­spoke per­fume that de­lights your senses and is unique to you. Your 30ml bot­tle comes with a per­son­alised la­bel.

SPA OF THE ORI­ENT

If you’re look­ing to share a classy spa ex­pe­ri­ence with your beloved, then the award-win­ning Man­darin Spa at the Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Hong Kong de­liv­ers with its spe­cial Valen­tine’s Day ex­pe­ri­ence, Bub­bles on the Bal­cony. A 90-minute treat­ment is ex­pertly given in the pri­vacy of a beau­ti­ful Cou­ples Suite with Jacuzzi, steam shower and re­lax­ation area, fol­lowed by cham­pagne and straw­ber­ries served on the spa’s bal­cony. You can choose from a range of holis­tic treat­ments – the Aro­mather­apy Mas­sage with es­sen­tial oils re­laxes the body and clears the mind – that draw on tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine philoso­phies. Ar­rive 45 min­utes early to sub­merge your­self in the heat and wa­ter fa­cil­i­ties, which dis­solve stress and help you tran­si­tion from busy­ness to serene time with your sweet­heart. As ex­pected from a ho­tel that has been the bench­mark of so­phis­ti­ca­tion in Hong Kong for more than 50 years, ev­ery­thing from the treat­ment and ser­vice to the re­fined 1930s Shang­hai-style decor is im­pec­ca­ble.

CULI­NARY CUPID

Cook­ing with your part­ner can be a won­der­ful bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – af­ter all, cou­ples who cook to­gether, stay to­gether. The Cook­ing with the Culi­nary Stars classes at the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Hong Kong present a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to gain ex­per­tise from culi­nary mas­ters, and the chance to dis­cover if your chef skills are on par with your loved one’s. There’s a va­ri­ety of classes, each helmed by cel­e­brated chefs from the ho­tel’s restau­rants: two-Miche­lin-starred Yan Toh Heen, Nobu, one-Miche­lin-starred Rech by Alain Ducasse and The Steak House winebar + grill. In ad­di­tion, classes at the ho­tel’s Bak­ing Club fea­ture demon­stra­tions by Ex­ec­u­tive Pas­try Chef Cyril Dupuis and Rech Pas­try Chef Thomas Moulin. The two- to three-hour classes cover ev­ery­thing from clas­sic cook­ing tech­niques and es­sen­tials to spe­cial­ity and sea­sonal dishes, and in­clude lunch fea­tur­ing dishes from the class paired with wine. You also take home an of­fi­cial cer­tifi­cate, apron, pas­try equip­ment set and chefs’ recipes.

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