Island Shangri-La Hong Kong Review: Old School Cool, Enriched With Cutting Edge Wellness
— 22 September 2023

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong Review: Old School Cool, Enriched With Cutting Edge Wellness

— 22 September 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

When Island Shangri-La first flung its gilded doors open after a market review in 1991, it was the most impressive undertaking from a luxury hotel group in Hong Kong by a considerable margin.

Flanked on all sides by equally memorable landmarks — Pacific Place and the elaborate topiaries of Hong Kong Park are easy examples — this 557-room tower has since served as a stalwart rendezvous for every possible breed of luxury traveller.

In consideration of the Admiralty-based location, there is a predictably large contingent of corporate execs; yet the hotel has remained popular among families, ladies who lunch, and well-heeled overseas holidaymakers — all brought together by the encyclopedic F&B offering and signature ‘urban resort’ pool (with views to rival those of the local Four Seasons).

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Be that as it may, even pre-Pandemic, many Hongkongers were of the opinion the property was due for a facelift; with Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts finally heeding that feedback. Now, a multi-stage upgrade, encompassing everything from guestrooms to fitness facilities, is well and truly underway.

The opening of Yun Wellness earlier this August (Island Shangri-La’s newfangled spa concept) provided us with the right opportunity to experience, with fresh eyes, what is popularly regarded as an old institution.

Check out our full Island Shangri-La review below.

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong





  • Proximity to notable public spaces
  • Vast array of dining options
  • Intelligent new spa concept


  • Renovated rooms can feel cramped

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong – Table Of Contents

  1. Location
  2. Design & Aesthetic
  3. Rooms
  4. Food & Drink
  5. Service
  6. Verdict & Value


Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

Like the vast majority of excellent hotels on Hong Kong Island, this one’s location offers up a broad swath of connectivity options. Outside of rush hour traffic, a taxi from the Airport Express rank will have you on the hotel’s doorstep in under 10 minutes; while the Admiralty MTR station is absurdly accessible (guests can reach it via a series of lift landings connecting to the overarching Pacific Place mall).

Meanwhile, the hotel’s frontage runs along a quarter-stretch of Supreme Court Road; putting all 80,000 sqm of Hong Kong Park greenery within arm’s reach — a real treat for guests looking to shake off the doldrums of jetlag, or a particularly vicious hangover, with a few kilometres in trainers.

Under ideal weather conditions (i.e. between December-February), there are few better ways to see all of Admiralty’s skyscraping vistas than by traversing the route between Island Shangri-La and Central: one which, in consummate Hong Kong fashion, never necessitates a descent to street level.

Design & Aesthetic

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

Like all of its sibling properties around the globe, the décor at Island Shangri-La is inspired, first and foremost, by lofty visions of an ‘earthly Paradise’ — akin to what readers might imagine from the James Hilton novel Lost Horizon (1933).

In the 1990s, design firm Leese Robertson Freeman translated these notions (of European creature comfort set amidst idyllic Asian locales) into an array of spaces that are the epitome of classic luxury.

There are over 700 chandeliers — not a typo — that sparkle across the hotel’s myriad corridors and lobbies; and even ignoring the 167-square-foot Great Motherland tapestry — best appreciated while riding in one of the hotel’s bubble lifts — art is an unmistakable presence. (There are over 700 paintings set throughout the property.)

In a small detail which says a lot about the hotel’s mantra toward aesthetics and service, even the carpeting inside elevators changes daily — embroidered with ‘Monday’, ‘Wednesday’, and so on.

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

Whereas the majority of the hotel’s communal spaces remain dressed in the grand (yet somewhat shambolic) livery established in the ’90s, Yun Wellness gives the first inkling of what a fully renovated Island Shangri-La might look like in subsequent years.

An exhaustive refurbishment that has left no stone unturned, the hotel’s 8th floor is now awash in European-style resort town influences. Inside the changing and relaxation areas, there is an emphasis on openness and visual flow; with a suitably chic mix of geometric tiles, bronze fixtures, John Masters toiletries and touchpoints fashioned from tropical hardwoods.


Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

A number of the rooms on the property’s higher levels are now underscored by a similar motif of renewal. Designed by AD100 awardee Tristan Auer, the Cityview Suite I’m holed up in for the duration of this review boasts a much different mood to the rest of the hotel; with a sumptuousness and interiority that suggests a cross-breed between superyacht and vintage roadster.

For this renovated room category, an insistence on conspicuously parsing the space into three discrete areas (not counting the walk-in wardrobe-stroke-vestibule) means one might occasionally lose sight of what is, objectively, a generous sense of scale. (85 sqm to be exact.)

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

Fortunately, once you settle into any of the individual nooks: whether that’s a daybed by the window or inside the master bathroom’s beautifully appointed rainshower, the sensation is one of cocooning comfort.

Celebrated among hospitality professionals for his “millimetric” precision, Auer manages to nail the brief when it comes to all things small too. In the aforementioned bathroom, toiletries are presented in the style of a silk in-flight amenity kit; and the ‘maxi pantry’ (Shangri-La’s own spin on the humble minibar) comes outfitted with filtered water taps and a slew of neatly integrated build-ins where you’ll find all manner of tea & coffeemaking paraphernalia.

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review

One errant observation worth noting — at least around the time that I was staying — is that there is occasionally some minor disruption, owing to the ongoing upgrades happening across the hotel.

Credit where it’s due, staff did a bang-up job drawing my attention to this right at the outset during check-in, and every effort is made to ensure that construction and other noise-heavy works are kept to a minimum after 6 pm.

Again, under the circumstances, it’d be disingenuous to hold this against the overall quality of one’s in-room experience; though your own mileage will vary (based on whether you’re accommodated on a floor undergoing renovations at the same time as your stay).

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Food & Drink

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong review
Pictured: Nocturnal vistas, looking toward Tsim Sha Tsui, at Michelin-starred Restaurant Petrus.

In a pinch, one could conceivably spend the entirety of their stay at Island Shangri-La exploring the hotel’s various F&B outlets, without ever setting foot in the outside world.

There are 8 venues on the premises, including (in no particular order of priority): the multi-experiential Japanese restaurant, Nadaman; gastropub-inspired Lobster Bar & Grill; one-Michelin-starred Summer Palace; and Island Gourmet — a compact pâtisserie popular with about-town types.

I chiefly indulged, over the course of my stay, at Petrus and Cafe TOO; which serve as the hotel’s contemporary French fine diner and buffet restaurant respectively.

Island Shangri-La Hong Kong
Pictured: A kingly spread at Cafe TOO — home to what is arguably one of Hong Kong’s most encyclopedic breakfast buffets.

Once an extremely straight-laced purveyor of haute cuisine, Petrus has undergone a bit of a course correct in recent years: serving a menu of creative, minimally presented dishes inspired by the gastronomical adventures of Executive Chef (and Krug Ambassade) Uwe Opocensky.

Dishes like the famous “Asparagus”, encasing caviar and a taiyouran soft-boiled egg; or tartlet of Hokkaido-farmed mitten crab, evince Opocensky’s knack for sifting seasonal Asian ingredients through the screen of French technique. It’s clever cooking that manages to keep the central thread of pleasure — even if it’s as jarring as ever experiencing such food in a setting that looks as if it’s been airlifted from the Palais du Luxembourg.

After a particularly lively evening out on the tools, cafe TOO also gets the job done. The hotel’s buffet restaurant is the go-to venue for guests breakfasting in-house: populated by 10 live cooking stations which are bound, by sheer variety, to offer something for your whole party (especially useful if you’re travelling with young children or a plus-one).

Of particular interest is Cafe TOO’s focus on “iconic local eateries”. By bringing together a selection of classic Hong Kong flavours (e.g. roast goose from Yat Lok; egg tarts from Tai Cheong) diners are able to get a grasp on the city’s best-known delicacies in relatively short order — perfect when your stay is of the “all work, no play” variety.


Beyond the general tenor of service throughout the property — every member of staff, ranging from the housekeepers I encountered to Petrus’ assistant manager, was perfectly polite and pleasant — it’s helpful to say something at length about the modus operandi of the team at Yun Wellness: the focal point of Island Shangri-La’s multi-phase rejuvenation.

Happily, my review took place about a month after this spa had officially opened; and after putting in a few obligatory laps at the aforementioned resort-style swimming pool, I was invited to partake in one of Yun Wellness’s signature “Million Dollar” men’s facials.

Pictured: The new men’s changing rooms (including state-of-the-art grooming and an infrared sauna) at Yun Wellness.

At a hellraising ~AU$657 (HK$3,300), it certainly lives up to its millionaire moniker; and while I’m no dermatologist (or any other -ologist for that matter) I came away from my treatment feeling soothed and suitably ready to tackle a week full of “Asia’s 50 Best Bars” revelling.

The treatment’s punchy price tag means that Yun’s spa team necessarily pull out all the stops. Even after cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and applying a hyaluronic acid-rich serum (jokingly referred to as “instant collagen”); my therapist found the time to do some light masking of my hands and décolletage.

“Value for money” might be a slight overstatement, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Verdict & Value

Pictured: The hotel’s gigantic silk tapestry, entitled Great Motherland, is assembled from 250 individual panels. At the centre of Island Shangri-La’s renowned art collection, it towers across a vast upper-level atrium — around 16 storeys in height.

Unsurprisingly, the holistic excellence of Island Shangri-La (to recap: its location, broad F&B offering, and newly minted wellness spa) leads to room rates which are closely aligned with, albeit 5-10% lower, than what you’ll find in Hong Kong’s other well-regarded luxury hotels.

Peak seasonal dates notwithstanding, a suite in the newly renovated “Cityview” category can be had for AU$1,926.50 (with a further 5% reduction handy if you’re a member of Shangri-La Circle). For the sort of traveller who relishes a hotel which exists at the nexus between old-school grandeur and 21st-century ideas of elite hospitality, we’re betting that’s not too high a price to pay.

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

Address: Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, HKSAR
Contact: +852 2877 3838

The author stayed as a guest of Island Shangri-La Hong Kong for two nights.

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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