The newly-opened Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is the ideal base to begin your seafaring adventures.
Hong Kong might be better known as a mecca for shopping, but with numerous islands with scenic, picturesque beaches, this is a destination you can consider for a nautically-themed holiday too.
The Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is situated on the south side of the island right next to the renowned theme park, Ocean Park. It is also a short drive away from the most famous beach in the territory, Repulse Bay with its designer boutiques and elegant restaurants lining the sandy beach.
There are numerous standout features at this hotel, notably the environment-conscious décor. The outer metal façade designed by Aedas resembles serene, calm waves of the sea, whilst the central lagoon pool is the largest of its kind in Hong Kong (a city where space is at a premium).
Living walls and rainwater collection
There are countless green initiatives taken up by Marriott in the design of the hotel. The façade has energy-saving components to ensure the buildings are kept cool in the summer months.
You will also notice vertical living walls as well as rainwater collection areas. The rooms have exceptional views of the lagoon or Ocean Park and generally have elegant and discreet nautical or animal themes.
The rooms are fully air-conditioned and have a living/sitting area (another rarity in hotels in Hong Kong). There is a sumptuous featherbed with a high-quality duvet to guarantee the perfect night's sleep, especially as you are far away from the hectic streets of downtown Hong Kong.
Dining out, Hong Kong-style
They have a twenty-four-hour fitness centre with the latest, state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment and free weights. The central lagoon is beautifully landscaped and open for swimming daily from 8.00am – 5.00pm. The renowned Harnn Heritage Spa has opened their first outpost outside of Thailand and Vietnam in Hong Kong at Ocean Park Marriott.
Hong Kongers love dining out and at this hotel, they have a plethora of options with four restaurants available from Cantonese to a premium steakhouse. My advice would be to head to their Marina Kitchen first and sample the delights of a Hong Kong buffet.
Hong Kong buffets are unlike anything else you will encounter in Europe, they tend to have both the best of Western and Eastern cuisine along with a healthy selection of seafood and a mouth-watering selection of desserts.
The Marina Kitchen version exemplifies the best this city has to offer. On arrival, you are greeted by the most splendid display of chilled crustaceans and shellfish imaginable: crabs, lobsters, mussels, whelks… You might think you've arrived at Atlantis.
The seafood doesn't stop there with a glorious selection of sushi and sashimi available. And then you have your Western hot dishes like premium cuts of roast beef or the oriental dishes like honey-roasted char siu.
Another dining option is Neptune's restaurant inside Ocean Park with an unsurprisingly strong seafood bias. You genuinely get to taste the local delicacies that are seldom on Chinese restaurant menus in Europe.
Five thousand fish
It is not every day that you come across marinated abalone in Hua diao, plum wine, whisky and sake for starters and braised oysters with bamboo shoots and sake in a clay pot. And all this served to you whilst a shoal of exotic fish is swimming around the largest glass tank you will ever come across.
The park itself has something for all tastes from the adrenaline-pumping, The Abyss, where you plunge twenty stories straight to the ground to the more genteel like penguin and panda watching. Their grand aquarium is not to be missed with a jaw-dropping collection of five thousand fish from over four-hundred species housed in an aquarium dome with an expansive thirteen-metre-wide acrylic viewing panel.
Ocean Park isn't just about fun rides and animal watching but they are one of the leading conservation organisations in the Far East and regularly run informative days-out for school children to learn about what they can do to help protect the environment and endangered species.
If you want to go on a journey less ordinary next time you visit Hong Kong, make sure you visit Ocean Park and the neighbouring Marriott Hotel.
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