International TravelThings I Love

A GRAND JOURNEY ENDS IN HONG KONG (Part 8 & final in a series on this journey)

Hong Kong L'Atelier Joel Robouchon


Two years in a row, a stop in Hong Kong ended up being for a very short period of time. Compared to the last year’s visit — just a six-hour plane change en route home from Johannesburg — this year’s 26 hours was a joy!  I wish I could take credit for the stop, but it was Cathay who provided the generous layover en route from Perth to LA. If one could nitpick (for sake of argument), check-through baggage is not allowed with a stop in excess of 24 hours. The path of least resistance was throwing all the luggage into the taxi, with the help of our hotel’s airport-based personnel.  After flying from Perth for 8 hours, it was just 9 a.m. when we arrived at our hotel.
Where to stay is the other big decision, even for a brief stop.  As one can imagine, every hotel in the world has a presence — and the high-end ones are abundant.  In the past we’ve always stayed on the Kowloon side, so I made an executive decision to switch it up and picked The Four Seasons (in the Central District or opposite side). We’ve enjoyed having many benefits by booking through Amex Platinum Fine Hotels program (upgrade, breakfast, wi-fi, etc) but discovered there is an attendant “risk.”
View from the room looking to Kowloon side (above);
Welcome amenity from hotel and a wonderful FS exec I know from home — love the cookies with the FS logo (below)
Technically the program’s hotel check-in time is noon (when available). But on so many occasions, we’ve checked into our room upon arrival — even quite early in the morning.  It is always such an amazing pleasure, that if the room happens NOT to be available, well … you get my drift.
Arriving after many hours of travel and with no time to spare, we anticipated settling in with a shower and getting on with our one day. That was not to be, at least initially, when we were told the hotel had been full the night before thus no check-outs thus no rooms to be cleaned for the next check-in.  Really?  Every one of the 399 rooms?? Another long story short:  How situations (which always arise) are handled is what makes for a great hotel.  Suffice it to say, after a brief conversation with management, we had a lovely breakfast and were in beautiful accommodations by 10:30.  Thank you to the great people at the Four Seasons for making that happen.
The big plan for the day was a trip to Sam’s Tailor on Nathan Road. I asked our hotel to recommend some light local fare for lunch as we had a big dinner planned, and left with their recommendation close to Sam’s. The hubby wanted to have the folks at Sam’s guide us as it is their “hood.” Apparently great minds think alike for both sent us to Cuisine Cuisine in the MIra Hotel.


With my buddy Roshan Melwani from Sam’s — yes, he’s that tall.


The restaurant manager could not have been more attentive and the restaurant’s cuisine is excellent in a beautiful setting.  We dashed back to Sam’s to thank them for the recommendation (not to mention the escort and intro they provided at the restaurant).  From there we took the subway back to our hotel, just two stops as it whisked under Victoria Harbour which separates the Hong Kong and Kowloon sides.

Dinner was a repeat of the last night from our 2015 vacation, except that was the London outpost of L’Atelier Joel Robouchon.  And what a spectacular way to end things.  My only regret is getting to the Landmark shopping complex (where the restaurant is located) too late to shop!  It is a shopper’s paradise on steroids.  Total eye candy, for sure. Maybe that was the hubby’s secret plan ..

Back to the dinner, “l’atelier” means “workshop” and is thus called due to the open kitchen visible from the U-shaped bar seating.  We find it totally fascinating.  And then there’s the wine list containing 3,400 labels.  The selection is staggering.  All you oenophiles can see what I mean here. It’s always amusing to find California Cabs in other parts of the world, and what they sell for!
Looking inside “l’atelier” or workshop from our seats
Apples perfectly and precisely arranged.
The main course (veal) is presented prior to the painstaking carving and plating process (at least 10 minutes) … it was delicious.

Desserts presented, shown intact (L) and as they are revealed (R).




As the food coma sets in ..


And then it was time to go home.  Three weeks, literally a lot of ground covered, 11 flights, nine hotels, four countries (five if you count the overnight in Sri Lanka), one home stay.  Safari drives, a Wonder of the World, forts and mosques, beaches, shopping, eating and fascinating people met far and wide.  And, still, there’s no place like home!