The Greatest Hotels in the World –MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG
THE MANDARIN STORY
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong celebrated “50 Fantastic Years” throughout 2013 with a host of special promotions to honour this milestone achievement. The year-long offerings commemorated the iconic hotel’s past 50 years, as well as the next 50 here in the heart and hearts of Hong Kong.
In 1958, the Honourable Hugh Barton, Chairman of the Hong Kong Land Company, had a dream that Hong Kong’s Central district needed a world-class hotel. His dream became reality on 1 September 1963 when the iconic Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong (formerly The Mandarin) was launched with a soft opening. When the hotel officially opened on 25 October 1963, the 650-room, 27-storey hotel was the tallest building on Hong Kong Island and instantly became a historic landmark – a status it still holds today.
Built on the former site of the colonial Queen’s Building, the cost of construction came to HKD42 million, whilst the cost of interior design amounted to HKD66 million. John Howarth of the Leigh & Orange architectural firm was appointed architect, whilst interior design responsibility fell on Don Ashton, art director for such films as “Bridge Over the River Kwai”, “Indiscreet” and “Billy Budd”.
Upon its opening, the South China Morning Post enthused over the space-age lifts that seemingly catapulted guests to the top floor in just 21 seconds. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong was the first hotel to have direct-dial telephones and was also the first in Asia to have a bathtub in every room – leading the architect of the hotel to ask, “Are the guests amphibious?”
Following a USD150 million renovation in 2006 (more than double what was spent on building and furnishing the original hotel), this landmark hotel was completely transformed and was able to offer guests 21st-century oriental luxury and modern technology, whilst retaining its much-loved character and soul. This new 501-room hotel was the first to have Technology Butlers available 24-hours a day and the first in Hong Kong to employ someone to oversee social media. The hotel has enjoyed continued success throughout the last 50 years and since 1963 has repeatedly been voted the world’s best hotel. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is also home to three Michelin-starred restaurants.