Island Shangri-La is one of Hong Kong’s most well known luxury hotels; it’s a grand and opulent urban sanctuary where you can escape the city outside and step into a different world, full of chandeliers, classical beauty and charming attentive staff.
Located above the high-end Pacific Place shopping mall and just a few minutes walk from Hong Kong Park and Admiralty MRT station, you can enjoy everything Hong Kong has to offer with ease. Your first challenge will be to leave this sweet scented sanctuary (there is ample use of the Shangri-La’s famous, heavenly, signature fragrance) and explore outside.
Our Island Shangri-La experience began as we entered the arrival hall at Hong Kong International airport, where we were met by a hotel representative who escorted us to a waiting Mercedes SL350 to be transported to the hotel.
Views of the docks, mountains, skyscrapers and iconic Victoria Harbour passed by as we transferred seamlessly to the hotel, where a member of staff was waiting for us to escort us straight to our room for check-in. It was a smooth process that left us settled in our room in an efficient manner; sipping the Chinese tea that had been made for us in advance, within minutes of pulling up outside.
The Shangri-La Horizon Club goal to provide ‘hassle free travel experiences’ was well and truly met in what felt like an effortless way.
The hotel itself is grand, with a lavish classical feel woven with a traditional Chinese style; there are notable features not to miss like the Banyan Tree that was planted in 1870 and thought to be the most expensively preserved tree in the world, which provides the backdrop to the Lobby Lounge, viewed through the vast glass windows of the hotel. The atrium houses the ‘Great Motherland of China’, a 16-storey landscape silk painting deemed to be the largest in the world; an impressive yet thought provoking piece of art.
Our Horizon Club Harbour View Room, as the name suggests, looks out over Victoria Harbour but we can also catch glimpses of The Peak behind us; it’s a stunning view that reflects the great location of the hotel. The room is spacious and light with a chandelier making up just part of the elegant figures and fittings. There is a bathroom with a double sink, high quality shower and bathtub which includes a miniature TV screen set into the wall.
As we’re staying in a Horizon Club room, we have access to the Horizon Club, the highest club lounge on Hong Kong island which includes the only outdoor roof garden in Hong Kong.
Leisure facilities on offer include an outdoor pool, 24 hour gym, a spa, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fitness centre with complimentary yoga and pilates classes; more reasons that make it tough to leave once you check in.
The Vegan Food:
Our Horizon Club benefits included the choice of breakfast in different 3 restaurants; a continental buffet in the Horizon Club, a more extensive buffet with à la carte options in Petrus or a full breakfast extravaganza in Cafe TOO. We enjoyed the selection of fresh fruits along with our coffee, fresh juice and congee in Petrus on our first day and a more extensive selection including sushi and a freshly prepared vegan curry on our second day in Cafe TOO.
Cafe TOO is a large restaurant but they had managed to maintain a peaceful atmosphere where guests can enjoy the extensive buffet. There was the same juice, fruit and cereal offerings as in Petrus, but also a huge buffet with international cuisine. Vegans must be cautious here as like a lot of food in Hong Kong, there may be hidden ingredients in seemingly safe dishes, pork in the vegetable dumplings or oyster sauce in the vegetables for example. It’s advisable to ask a member of staff to help as once they know you are vegan they can double check the ingredients for you.
The staff in Cafe TOO were particularly helpful, getting some special dishes made for us as well as identifying everything we could eat. We were offered a vegetable fried rice and also a vegetable curry, which was one of the nicest curries we’ve been served in some time, full of chargrilled vegetables, fresh spices and creamy coconut milk.
In the evening we headed to the Horizon Club where the staff also worked hard to make sure we had a good choice of canapes to go with our complementary evening drinks. Delicate cucumber slices topped with avocado and tomato, fresh spring rolls and traditional vegetable stuffed tofu skin rolls were amongst the tasty vegan treats they made for us. We were impressed that they also made something different on our second night, including a spinach stuffed pastry and roasted vegetables.
We were lucky enough to experience lunch at Summer Palace, the 2 Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant at Island Shangri-La. Think simple and uncomplicated cuisine, big on flavour and made using the finest ingredients, often locally and ethically sourced as part of the Shangri-La’s ‘Rooted in Nature’ initiative (you can read our full review of Summer Palace here).
The Vegan Essentials:
There were synthetic pillows available in our room so a feather free sleep was easy to arrange.
The in-room amenities were from luxury French brand L’Occitane; they don’t contain animal products and do not test on animals.
There is a spa with a full range of treatments available to spa loving vegans and even a hair salon too.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Check-in to Island Shangri-La for a vegan friendly escape from busy Hong Kong city. Enjoy top end vegan luxury, helpful and efficient service and great vegan food. Take advantage of the benefits of a Horizon Club room, enjoy amazing views of Hong Kong and make a reservation at Summer Palace, the Island Shangri-La’s vegan friendly, 2 Michelin starred restaurant whilst you are there.
We were guests of Island Shangri-La but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Supreme Court Road,
Telephone: +852 2877 3838
Rooms From: £300 / $450 (Nov 2015)