After a 12-hour overnight flight from the UK the words “Welcome to the Langham Sir” were music to my ears. I’d just arrived in Hong Kong on business and would be staying in this magnificent hotel for one night before crossing the border into Shenzhen, China.
The Langham is a beautiful hotel, in fact it doesn’t feel like a hotel at all, more like a home away from home and despite being at the heart of the busy Kowloon district and seconds away from stores featuring some of the world’s leading luxury brands it’s actually a very peaceful place.
As you walk through the front doors the smell from the Flowers of Langham shop permeates the reception area; this coupled with the sound from the grand piano only adds to the feeling of luxury one gets from being present in the foyer.
After a glass of champagne and a few beers in Palm Court with my colleagues Jon and Stuart we headed out for a walk around the Kowloon district, ending up in a sports bar showing Sunderland vs. West Brom. We stayed for a while, enjoying the beer more than the game, before heading back to the Langham for a Chinese themed buffet.
Having not slept for 31 hours I was in need of a rest and so headed back to my room. Here I had one of the most luxurious baths I’ve had in a long time whilst watching the television from the comfort of the bath; a little bit of this always helps too.
The Bathroom In The Langham, Hong Kong
After a morning of sightseeing around a very foggy and rainy Hong Kong harbour we began our journey to China. It took us approximately 1 hour to arrive at the border crossing and then we waited for what seemed like another hour before we were eventually let into the country. Chinese border control is a thorough but drawn out process.
Eventually we arrived at the Intercontinental only to discover that this particular 5-star hotel had a Spanish theme. If anyone knows of the link between Chinese and Spanish culture that inspired this then feel free to leave it in the comments below.
We were greeted by concierge dressed in matador costumes before being escorted past a miniature 15th century Spanish galleon and onto reception. The bedrooms at the Intercontinental in Shenzhen are exactly as I imagined they might be; the bed was very comfortable, the bathroom luxurious and I even had a Bose sound system.
A Spanish Galleon in Shenzhen
The weirdness starts when you enter the hotel lobby and observe your surroundings. Could this hotel have employed two interior designers, both with very different views on what the desired outcome should be? That said, the hotel was very clean, well maintained and certainly had an abundance of character which made my stay all the more enjoyable.
The Lobby @ The Intercontinental, Shenzhen, China
On the Monday and Tuesday we visited 4 factories that specialise in the production of LED lighting and actually had the opportunity to have a traditional Chinese lunch with the management from one of these factories.
Lunch was an interesting experience and when the chicken feet arrived at the table I new that this was one item I had to tick off my bucket list. My colleague Stuart remarked that this dinning experience was similar to a bush tucker trial. I only tasted a small part of the chicken’s foot and have to say that it is similar in consistency to the end of a chicken drumstick. We tried a Chinese sea vegetable that looked rather like a piece of liver, but when tasted was actually very sweet and quite nice.
Traditional Chinese Lunch
The experience of witnessing a part of the real China was one that I’ll never forget. The whole time I was in China I did not see a single house, only rows and rows of dark, run down tower blocks. Perhaps this is the result of over population and something we in the west have to look forward to?
Shenzhen’s factories were not what I had imagined either. They certainly did not fit in with the Victorian style scene with thick smoke polluting the atmosphere above a large metropolis that I had imagined. In reality, Chinese factories resembled run down tower blocks centred in residential areas.
The temperature in China was quite cold and it did not stop raining the entire time I was there. I also wondered whether the residents of Shenzhen ever witnessed the sun’s rays as it was quite a grey place and although brighter on occasions I did not see the sun the entire time I was in the far east.
After our final factory visit we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation before heading back across the border for one last evening in Hong Kong. I took the opportunity to have another bath and catch up on the Man Utd vs. QPR highlights before packing my suitcase and getting ready to leave.
A Wonderful Bath @ The Intercontinental, Shenzhen, China
The journey back to Hong Kong seemed shorter than the journey to China. When arriving back at the Langham the concierge greeted me: “Welcome back to the Langham. How was your trip to China? Did you enjoy it?”. I couldn’t help but notice the cheeky grin on his face as he said this, as if somehow hinting that he knew it wasn’t as good as Hong Kong; and as if by his own design, coinciding perfectly with his comments, there was an Aston Martin and a Ferrari parked beside us.
As it was getting late we visited the Bostonian restaurant and indulged our desire for western food. Monster burgers, with Coca-Cola, Heineken and cocktails were ordered and this meal didn’t disappoint.
Monster Burger! @ The Bostonian
After a night of drinks at Palm Court and a better night’s sleep I awoke on Wednesday morning and headed to the outdoor swimming pool located on the roof of the Langham. A few lengths and some time in the hot tub later and we decided that we should do some sightseeing. 30 minutes later and we emerged into another rainy Hong Kong morning ready to take in some sights. After crossing the harbour by ferry we arrived at the Central Pier before jumping in a taxi and heading straight for The Peak Tram to take us up to Victoria’s Peak.
Central Pier, Hong Kong
Upon arriving it was clear that this would be a souvenir shopping trip as the only thing to be seen from the peak was thick fog. I’m sure on a clearer day the view from the peak would be outstanding, but in November it’s certainly not something I’d recommend.
We returned to our hotel for an afternoon of relaxation, followed by a champagne dinner and the opportunity to reflect on what was an enjoyable and extremely interesting few days in the far east.
After a quick journey to the airport we checked into the Virgin Atlantic Lounge and enjoyed yet more champagne and a selection of cold meats, cheese and frozen grapes before catching our flight home.
Stuart, Steve & Jon in The Virgin Atlantic Lounge, Hong Kong
My trip to the far east was luxurious, enlightening and seriously tiring; but I am extremely grateful to SimplyLED for providing me with the opportunity to experience this trip.