Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
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Historical Traveler Reviews Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Lost its charm.
As a fan of the Mandarin for many years I'm now sad to say that it has lost the charm it once had, perhaps irretrievably.
For some time now visitors here have been happy to overlook the slightly tatty interior because the service was simply impeccable - the best that I've experienced anywhere. This is no longer the case. Many of the long serving staff have left in the run up to the impending closure for refurbishment and standards have plumetted. No longer five star standard.
Nice hotel, Bad service
I stayed at the hotel for a bussiness trip!
everything about the hotel was great including the overall service and the location.
One problem though....When I went to bed for the first time, I felt something in the middle of the bed (this was a king size bed).
I did not know what it was and I was very tired so I just moved over to one side of the bed so I would not have to sleep on the "thing" that was sticking out in middle of the bed!
I only stayed for one night, and when I was ready to check out, I asked for some compensation for my unconfortable bed. The front desk said that they would send somebody up to see if this was a real problem.
Anyway, when the person got to the room, he lifted up all the sheets on the bed and lo and behold there was this big metal peice connecting two twin size beds so that it would look like it was a king size bed!!
After all of this I asked for even a little compensation but they would not do anything except apologize! I was shocked because going by the service that they claim to have, they should have at least done something in return!
Ranked #5 out of 6 (all five-star hotels in Central)
Location, Captain's Bar
Patio Hazard, Rooms, Decor, Fitness facilities, Service, Rates
The Bottom Line
If you can get into the Conrad, Shangri-La, Marriott, or Ritz, I would highly recommend them. These are terrific hotels and reputationally (amongst locals) are the best hotels available.
This is a comparison review of how the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong ranks out of the six existing 5-Star Hotels in Central/Admiralty, the heart of Hong Kong (the others are the Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, The Conrad, Island Shangri-La, and Four Seasons). I have stayed at all the hotels throughout the past 9 years, and I would currently rank the hotel #5 out of 6 on a comparative basis, based on the newness (or outdatedness) of its decor, quality of rooms, fitness facilities, service, value for money, and efforts the staff make on behalf of its customers.
The thing I like about the Mandarin Oriental is its location. While the other Central/Admirality hotels have generally better service, room quality, fitness facilities, and general staff attitude, the good thing about the Mandarin is that it is located in the middle of Central. Although this can be quite noisy (from inside the room) and frenetic, and attracts strange stragglers in the lobby late in the evening, I think the one pro of the hotel is it's location. On the other hand, the Ritz-Carlton is right next to the Mandarin Oriental, and the other hotels are only 60 seconds away by cab.
In terms of service, I believe the best hotels are the Island Shangri-La, then the Conrad and Ritz-Carlton, then the JW Marriott, and finally the Mandarin Oriental (the sixth hotel is the Four Seasons, which hasn't opened yet). I find the big difference in service is that the Admirality hotels (Conrad, JW Marriott, Shangri-La) have an impeccable, sustained level of service, all the time, at all seasons in the year.
The Mandarin, while marketed heavily for their good service quality, is actually the weakest in this area, perhaps because they have fell into a comfort zone through the years. During my numerous stays there, I had repeated service problems with the faucet and bathtub in the bathroom (took them many many repeated visits to fix, and they would tell me they fixed it when they didn't). The staff was generally unresponsive, and at times rude (perhaps this was due to the fact they were understaffed). There were two staffers - Danny Lai and Chris Knothe - that I had to continually avoid because they were simply unpleasant to me consistently (and, from what I hear, to other guests as well).
They also have this general reputation in Hong Kong (to locals) to always want to maximize the rate they are charging the customer (after staying for over 3 weeks there on a visit, and wanting to book a subsequent 2-week visit a few days later, they wanted to charge me 3X the room rate I was being charged on my first visit on the grounds that 'it was high season'. Reputationally, they manipulate their room prices aggressively so buyer beware. If you are unsure about what the norm/accepted room rates for 5-Star hotels are in Hong Kong, I would strongly recommend sticking with the Shangri-La or Ritz-Carlton (which shares the Mandarin's prime central location).
In terms of fitness facilities, the best is, hands-down, the Island Shangri-La. Its gym is enormous (similar to the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai), and the treadmills face a spectacular view of Central/Admirality. Next would be the JW Marriott and Conrad, and then the Ritz-Carlton. While smaller, these gyms are efficient and well-ventilated. Last would come the Mandarin. The Mandarin's gym and pool are not really a 'gym' and 'pool'; the gym is like a backroom attic that was hastily converted, and they stuck in a few treadmills. There is a constant stench/odor in the facilities perhaps due to poor ventilation, and there were times I had to cut my workout short because of the odor. The pool is not really a pool, but more of an extra-large bathtub (although granted it is pretty warm).
In terms of rooms, the best rooms are probably found in the Conrad and Shangri-La. The Conrad is very artfully decorated, pastel in hue, and there is an enormous double-sink bathroom and the square footage is unrivaled. The Shangri-La has a huge room as well, and very artfully decorated in Asian motifs. Next would come the JW Marriott and Ritz, which have smaller rooms and acceptable decor.
Finally, it would be the Mandarin Oriental, with a somewhat outdated decor, and very boxy/restrictive layout within the rooms. The room layout of the Mandarin is a box rectangle.
The room amenities are average. There are no irons in the rooms, and the daily internet charges are probably the most expensive in all of Asia (about US$25/day). There are no movie channels (HBO/Cinemax). The concierge charges about US$5 for any request you make (i.e. if you want them to purchase a beverage or food item). In terms of cost of services (room service, laundry, etc.), this is hands-down the most expensive in Hong Kong (and probably Asia). A simple bowl of wonton noodles is about US$30 including service/tax. If it is room service, tack on an extra 15%.
*** PATIO HAZARD ***
The one thing about every single room at the Mandarin is there is a narrow personal patio in every room. I personally was slightly freaked out by the patio, because the wall is very very low, and I felt it was very easy for a child (or teenager, or inebriated adult) to accidentally fall over the patio to the ground far far below. There is NO barrier or protection at all. The rooms go quite high (24 floors), so I found it quite dangerous. When I first went in, I actually asked to change to a patio-less room, but none exist. If you stay at the Mandarin, this will be a hazard you will have to accept (you can ask to stay on the lowest floor available, which I think is 6th). I would highly advise you prohibit children from entering the room, or at least keep them heavily monitored at all times.
Quality of Service: Fair
Location: Very Good
Room Rate: US$ 600
Room Type: Single
Best service in the world.
I agree that the decor in the rooms may need updating, but this is more than made up for by the fantastic service that this hotel provides. I was in HK for business and my wife joined me for a few days. When she arrived the hotel had placed a welcome card and a box of chocolates in the room for her. The staff are so polite and helpful, and the position of the hotel is fantastic for the business district and more importantly the bars of Lan Kwai Fong. The views across to Kowloon from Vong restaurant on the 24th floor are fantastic, and i enjoyed an ice cold beer in a silver jug in the Captain's bar every evening. Bliss!!
Can I live here?
I love, love, love this hotel. The service is out of this world and I am always so appreciative of the time and care the staff take. Decor-wise, this place is not that cool or funky and when you first enter, you may be wondering what the big deal is? But as soon as you begin to enjoy the full experience of the Mandarin Oriental's service and attention, you will never want to stay anywhere else in Hong Kong!
A little jaded excellence.
One of the best group of hotels in S.E.Asia and one of the first. A little jaded and dated now but everything else puts that in the shade. Facilities excellent with nice rooms with a small balcony. Well fitted out. Service second to none. Nearly had my knuckles wrapped when I tried to pour my own coffee at the breakfast table. Attendants at the poolside anticipate where you will emerge and stand there with a towel ready to wrap round you. Better than at home. We ate in the superb buffet restaurant on the mezanine floor which needs to be seen to be believed as it seems to run on for miles. Couldn't even start to describe the various foods etc. Well worth the £18 per head.
Hong Kong is great for a stopover. As one would expect, not expensive generally unless you go in to the large retal shops that you would find in any city around the world.
Must do's: Take a trip on the cheapest ferry in the world across to the mainland at Kowloon. Do it again at night and look at the fantatic light display on all the buildings. Go to the night market and see the shops. Take a meal in a local restaurant or cafe. We went into a Vegitarian resturant that was full of locals and had a fantastic meal which cost around £7 for two.
Take a trip up to the peak on the tram. Views are spectacular, except for the pollution, and the buildings are amazing.
Take a trip out to one of the Islands, great fun. Go to Stanley Market in the south of the Island.
We stayed here recently for a few days and had a fantastic time. The service was second to none right from check in through to departure. One critisim was that the rooms could do with a little updating, however they are very well appointed.
I fail to understand the high ratings that the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong receives in most travel publications. The service is above average, although not nearly as spot-on as the Mandarin in Singapore, where we were greeted by name each time we entered the hotel ... at the Hong Kong MO, the doorman was rarely present and the staff never even looked up from the reception desk. The physical space of the hotel is deteriorating, despite a renovation that is supposedly in progress. The rooms are rather small, and the furniture is well-worn and dated. The balcony door had only a small latch lock (although we were on the 9th floor, it still didn't provide a great feeling of security), and the windows didn't seal out street noise very well. The exterior is not very attractive ... basically a square box with dingy white and yellow tiles. While I understand that some of their guests enjoy the cigar bar, the strong, acrid smell of smoke permeates the lobby and one of the dining areas ... not exactly a welcome aroma when non-smokers enter the lobby. We didn't have high tea at the Mandarin because of the lingering cigar smell. Instead, we headed across the harbor on the Star Ferry to the Peninsula Hotel for tea, instead. With its gorgeous interior and exquisite service, it made us wish we had stayed at the Peninsula.
Very Nice but not perfect
We stayed at the MO Hong Kong for a week in November 04. I like Mandarin Oriental hotels overall and have stayed at their properties in San Franciso, London and Miami. The service is flawless. This hotel however is right on the cusp of slipping into less than world class status. Even though I had a reservation for over two months, when we checked in late in the evening we were put in a 23rd floor room that was very poor. The windows were the worst I have seen at a hotel in decades. The noise from the street was outrageous. The next day I was moved to a room of the same size but with a balcony and a better window set up so that the noise decreased substantially. While the room was nicely decorated, there were small issues with the ceiling in the bathroom, wallpaper coming off the wall in the bedroom and the ac was loud. This criticism is based on a very high expectations on my part, however. That having been said, we had a great stay overall. I met one of the managers in an elevator and when asked about my impressions, I relayed my feelings. I was contacted a few hours later and was given a credit back on the car service to the airport. I thought the room rate was a good value and the location can't be beat. Also, I was told the hotel is due to be renovated next year. I'd stay here again, but would be very particular about my room.
Absolute standard of excellence
This is my all time favorite hotel in the world! The rooms are beautiful without being over the top. Have a timeless class, not momentarily trendy. The staff is incredible. Friendly and attentive but not cloying. No request goes unanswered. The various restaurants and bars are all fantastic. My favorites are Man Wah for Cantonese dining and the great Chinnery Bar.
TripAdvisor Reviews Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
Travel Blogs from Hong Kong
Abuelasue stayed here on Dec 29, 2014 during their trip titled: Granna and Pot Down Under.
Now sorry but it did this before, if I make a mistake I can't seem to get back to the end to continue suet I've made a correction. So if the spelling is bad or words are out of line now you know why! Buddha - so let's go to pictures. .. After Buddha we took the cable car back down the mountain - could not face that bus again for sure! I would definitely be car sick. The cable car was good fun but very ...
... side, there I would visit the HK Cultural Centre. I had found out that The Nutcracker was playing, and seeing as I hadn't seen it in a while decided that would be a great way to spend the evening, inside, sitting and enjoying the Ballet. The performance was well done. I am really glad I decided to go. Although the production team was mainly made up of foreigners the actual performers were mainly from China. One was from Henan, she was the Princess, and there was also a ...
... day and despite the wind, it was nice and cool. The trip up the mountain was beautiful, with huge rocky terraces, retaining gorgeous cool forests of fern and bamboo and if we were lucky we could glimpse little mountain streams trickling down the rock faces. Mansions were tucked into hillside crevices and the road became so narrow and twisty that the bus had to stop sometimes to let trucks and other traffics pass. Phil became queasy and quiet as we ...
... centre, where you were supposed to be able to go up to the 7th floor and see the sunset. However, when we got there, there were only five floors. Maybe something funny happened since my book was published.
Ranald and Nick were tired again so they went back to get some curry and take a nap at the hotel. Nick's friend Jason was going to meet them to go out partying somewhere. I was not really interested anyway.
So, I went up to ...