The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental has more unique elements than nearly every other luxury hotel in Hong Kong. Where else are there seven marble steps from the lower to the upper lobby, deliberately angled so that at the top you can go through a Dior door direct into a retail salon? Where else do bedrooms have wall-set chilled cabinets to hold whatever welcome goodies culinary director Richard Ekkebus might have in mind? Where else do you have two Dutchmen, Ekkebus and his GM, Torsten van Dullemen, planning what they can do next? As it happened, that very day van Dullemen, whose next triathalon is this very Sunday 4 June 2017, was displaying his physical prowess in a demonstration at the hotel’s lovely wellness complex.
Torsten van Dullemen is a follower of Joint Dynamics, the intelligent movement initiative led by David Jacquier, who has worked with the All Blacks and many other sportspeople. It seems that, apart from joggers or running machines, and a few other bits of cardiac equipment most gym ‘torture machines’ are unnatural, forcing the body into movements that never occur in normal life. Now I do not fully understand Joint Dynamics but it does sound more akin to ballroom dancing or tai chi than weight-lifting, and sometime I want to know more. But, for the moment, let me share one of the most delectable tastes I have had in a very long time. Richard Ekkebus insisted we try his caviar tart, a one-bite delight, that I actually dreamed about later – or perhaps it was the glass of Barolo Eugenio Bocchino Riserva 2006 that sparked the memory.
The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental is so integral with the fine things of life that recollection can blur. Where does the hotel end and the fabulous Landmark retail begin? Get into the shopping area via that lobby exclusive, and a couple more entrances. Turn the other way into the street-set MO Bar, which attracts an after-work crowd that comes here just because it is, they think, a free-standing bar. This is where top global DJs spin, Wednesday through Saturday (coming up on Friday 16 June 2017, as an extra, is mid-fi synth-wave specialist Com Truise). In the bijou mezzanine gallery, which holds 12 at most, it seems New York’s iconic PDT – Please Don’t Tell – bar will introduce a speakeasy.
Back in New York, PDT hunters go to the Crif Dogs restaurant on St Marks Place. In its old-fashioned phone booth, pick up the phone, press the buzzer and the phone booth wall opens to let you into the minute bar. This is the kind of “exclusive” that this luxury hotel loves to offer and, when it comes to overnighters, this is the kind of place that attracts the entertainment crowd and the millennially-minded of all ages; it helps that both Torsten van Dullemen and his number two, Archie Keswick, who is not Dutch but quintessentially English, of the OE (Old Etonian) style, are perennial youngsters. Stay here to relax after the chaos that is Hong Kong in your two-metre diameter circular bath-tub, preferably with plenty of Jo Malone sweet-smells, and perhaps nibbling on Richard Ekkebus crudités.
Mary Gostelow travels over 300 days a year, doing one-night stands in top hotels around the world. Read her daily travelogue, www.girlahead.com