A Family-Friendly Stay at the Island Shangri-La | Liv

The Buzz: The Island Shangri-La has an ambitious goal: to be the number-one hotel destination for families in Hong Kong. To this end, it has invested in a significant renovation of its 45th floor, in which 21 guest rooms have been transformed into whimsical family suites that put the kids’ experience front and centre. Each of the themed rooms come with its own distinct decor, full of surprises to charm children and adults alike. From a rowboat junior bed with its very own walkway to a secret garden, a safari lodge or even a Hong Kong-themed suite complete with vintage tram bunk bed, kids and grownups alike will be wowed by these new designs.

Ice cream at golden hour in The Hangout. Photo: Sarah Fung

The Stay: After checking in, we were escorted to The Hangout, a kind of “executive lounge” for kids, if you will. It’s divided into three parts: an activity room with a toy library filled with beautiful toys, a kitchen area stocked with healthy treats and meals that you can grab any time of the day, and an eclectic lounge where kids and adults alike can kick back, snack or rest. The lovely Hangout team were beyond welcoming, and greeted our children by name and with a big smile every time we stopped by.

A library of wooden toys at The Hangout. Photo: Sarah Fung

You can tell that parents were consulted when putting this space together: wet wipes are readily available and the fridge is filled with healthy, crowd-pleasing fare for hungry tummies, from ham and cheese sandwiches to good old mac n’ cheese. Perfect for addressing those inevitable cries of “I”m hungry!” 20 minutes after breakfast.

But you won’t find (much) junk here: instead you’ll find fruit cups, veggie sticks, organic juices and low-sugar cakes, with a few treats such as marshmallows and cookies for a touch of sweetness. We also loved that The Hangout is conspicuously low-plastic, from its stainless steel children’s plates to the wooden toys and the tempered glass food packaging.

Everything babies and young children might need, all available at The Pantry. Photo: Sarah Fung

If you’re travelling with very young children or infants, you’ll find The Pantry a godsend: here you can borrow all kinds of baby care essentials free of charge, from car seats and strollers to rockers, cots and bottle warmers. There’s even a laundry area so you can sterilise bottles or wash a load of clothes using baby-friendly detergent. No need to lug all your baby supplies with you when you come to stay. Hallelujah!

The Underwater Treasure suite’s bunk bed

We spent the night in the two-bedroom Underwater Treasure suite, and were utterly delighted by the setup and the attention to detail. At 948 square feet, this spacious suite is decorated throughout with an ocean theme – think brass conch shell door handles, coral wall art and an impressive jellyfish mosaic in the bathroom. The kids adored checking their own special mailbox, which contained a special welcome gift of stickers and a puzzle in an adorable tote bag.

The underwater mural lights up with surprises

But while the adult’s sleeping area is beautiful, the kid’s room is where the wow factor kicks in big time. The centrepiece is a magnificent submarine bunk bed with real, working switches and levers, a slide, portholes, a periscope nightlight and a secret reading nook. The sub faces a spectacular underwater mural, with hidden pictures that you can uncover with a UV torch. Our kids had an absolute blast playing in the suite and letting their imaginations run wild.

The grownups’ room continues the nautical theme

After our 4pm ice cream break, it was time to hit the pool. The Island Shangri-La’s pool deck has also been renovated in the past year, and is now an invitingly retro-chic haven. Rare for an urban hotel, the Island Shangri-La has installed a splash zone, where kids can run and play in the interactive water features, or paddle around in the gently warmed infant’s pool. It was hard to tear the kids away from their bedroom, but they absolutely loved the pool too.

Kids love the newly renovated Splash Zone. Photo: Sarah Fung

The Verdict: There were many sad tears when we left, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this experience. For children, the Island Shangri-La family suites is where core memories will be made. The hotel has expertly walked the tightrope between catering for its littlest guests and ensuring that the experience aligns with the brand’s premium positioning and the high standards its regulars expect. The result is an absolutely beautiful and meticulously thought-out staycation experience that will be hard to beat.

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