24-Hour Room Service: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

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The Independent Travel

Staying at the Mandarin Oriental is all about being pampered. The experience starts at the airport - assuming you have arranged for the limo to pick you up. A uniformed porter settles you into the car; the driver radios ahead to announce your imminent arrival, alerting a member of the reception staff to step forward, address you by name, and take you to your room for check-in formalities to be completed.

Staying at the Mandarin Oriental is all about being pampered. The experience starts at the airport - assuming you have arranged for the limo to pick you up. A uniformed porter settles you into the car; the driver radios ahead to announce your imminent arrival, alerting a member of the reception staff to step forward, address you by name, and take you to your room for check-in formalities to be completed.

Nothing is too much trouble: if you want the feather pillows removed, or the mini-bar stocked entirely with whisky, it will be done. The extraordinary thing is that they remember everything, so that on the next visit you will get what you want without having to ask for it.

The word oriental doesn't appear in the name of the hotel for nothing: inside there are plenty of eastern touches, from the choice of furnishing fabrics and the shape of antique furniture to the works of art.

Most of the guests are business travellers, although there is a fair proportion of tourists. It is also a popular meeting spot for locals, usually those working in the area. As a result, the dress code is smart: even casual here has to be smart or you could easily feel out of place.

Entertainment-wise, unless you want to sightsee, there is little need to step outside the hotel as it contains two of the best restaurants in the city, Vong and Man Wah, and its bars are packed in the evenings. There is live music in the Captain's Bar every night, and the Vong bar is one of the trendiest in the city.

Location, location, location

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is at 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong (00 852 2522 0111; www.mandarinoriental.com)

Transport: the hotel limousine service to or from the airport costs HK$650 (£58). If you'd prefer to go by public transport, the Airport Express train will drop you at Hong Kong Station, five minutes walk away, for HK$90 (£8) one-way, half that for children.

Time to international airport: by car, around 35 minutes; by train, 23 minutes.

Are you lying comfortably?

The beds are comfortable, the armchairs are comfortable - it is like being at home, except that home probably isn't quite as luxurious for some guests. All the rooms have great views, facing either the harbour or the city.

The suites, which are on the higher floors, all have fabulous views of the harbour, and balconies from which to enjoy them. If you really want to pamper yourself, book the Pine Suite. Among other things it has a four-poster bed, two bathrooms and a butler's pantry, which could be useful if you are planning a drinks party. It is also the only suite with a sauna.

Freebies: a full selection of cosmetics, a bathrobe, loofah and and other accessories, as well as fresh flowers and fruit, which are replaced every day. Chinese tea is brought to you shortly after arrival, and you may also get tropical juices, and a bag stuffed with as many beauty gifts as your room rate decrees.

Keeping in touch: all rooms are equipped with a wide choice of TV and radio channels, English electric sockets and a keyboard that enables you to check e-mails through the television. Suites have fax machines, and these can be installed in other rooms on request. High-speed internet access points are being installed in every room but further facilities are available in the business centre.

The bottom line

Rooms with a city view start at HK$2950 (£262), and harbour views at HK$3200 (£284) but this is for one person; add HK$250 (£22) to all rates if you take a friend and remember the extra 13 per cent in charges on top. Breakfast is not included. The best room in the house, the Mandarin Suite, costs HK$25,000 (£2,220).

I'm not paying that: special rates, until 31 March, start at HK$1999 (£177), including breakfast, but not charges.

Still too much: you will need to cross the harbour to Kowloon; the Imperial Hotel (00 852 2366 2201), close to the Star Ferry terminal, has rooms from HK$678 (£60), including taxes.

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