The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Spa by ESPA – Shell Power Treatment & Organic Salad Bar lunch buffet review

ritz carlton hong kong spa power shell treatment

I recently wrote an article about the Top 5 Spa Dining & Pampering Packages in Hong Kong – and ended up with a massive case of spa FOMO as a result.

Happily, The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong took pity on me and invited me to trial a luxurious spa day with them – an organic salad bar Go Green Lunch at The Lounge & Bar followed by a Shell Power Treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA.

ritz carlton hong kong organic salad bar

When I told my friends I was having a salad for lunch, there may have been some sniggers – as you may have gathered from my penchant for afternoon teas, salad ain’t really my style! But let’s be honest, the last thing you want when you’re lying on your massage bed is a bad case of bloated food baby and even old salad sceptic me was converted by The Ritz-Carlton’s buffet; it was delicious, healthy, filling (but still light!) and extremely good value at only $228 for unlimited visits. Given the salads at City’super or Simply Life knock on the door of triple figures for only a tenth of the quality and volume, this is a pretty great deal – especially once you factor in some fabulous views over the harbour. Hell, they’ll even expertly toss your salad for you in the deal too.

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The Sound Of Music @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

the sound of music hong kong

The hills are alive…!

When it comes to the opening lyrics of musical numbers, I’m not sure there are any quite as stirring as those of The Sound Of Music. Come on, you’re singing it already aren’t you?

Landing in Hong Kong for a month-long run, Lunchbox Productions’ version of The Sound Of Music is a pretty faithful retelling of the Rodgers-Hammerstein stage musical turned Julie Andrews-starring movie classic. However, it’s worth remembering that this is a staging of the original theatre script (specifically Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s 2006 revival where the role of Maria was cast on a BBC TV reality show) and not the movie – although it has been rejigged to include two numbers written especially for the film, I Have Confidence and Something Good. In comparison to the nearly three-hour long film, the script’s pacing does feel a little uneven – dragging when it comes to the songs by Max and The Countess that were excised from the movie, rushed when it comes to the speedy second act where love, marriage, Nazis and the Von Trapps’ escape are all dealt with in swift and rather abrupt fashion.

the sound of music hong kong Carmen Pretorius

Nevertheless, Carmen Pretorius makes for a fantastic Maria; in the wrong hands, this character can easily become a saccharine-sweet goody-two-shoes but Pretorius brings a warmth, fun and sense of mischief to the part – and all with the most beautiful voice that rings through the Lyric Theatre as clear and perfect as the bells at Maria’s abbey. I was less convinced by Mark Rayment’s Captain Von Trapp – he felt a little bland and unyieldingly stiff to me and I didn’t detect much chemistry between the two leads either.

But the children, a rotating cast selected from local schools, more than make up for it. They’re uniformly excellent, executing the musical’s sharp choreography and layered harmonies flawlessly, and making complicated numbers like So Long Farewell, The Lonely Goatherd and show highlight Do-Re-Mi an absolute joy. I also enjoyed Hugh Osbourne as wily music impresario Max Detweiler; providing the show’s more humorous moments, he manages to convey the character’s spineless scheming nature whilst remaining likeable too.

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FINDS x GreenGate afternoon tea – Swedes do it better!

finds hong kong afternoon tea

All the best things come from Scandinavia right? ABBA, Robyn, Lego, Ikea, H&M, The Moomins, Nordic Noir… and that’s just the tip of the Icelandic iceberg.

Well, now let’s add afternoon tea to the list too – as the afternoon tea at FINDS, Hong Kong’s only Scandinavian restaurant, has long been one of my favourites in town. It gets the balance between sweets and savouries pretty spot on and thanks to its Nordic inclinations, usually features a few more interesting and unusual items as opposed to yet another smoked salmon sandwich. Factor in a cute spring makeover via their GreenGate afternoon tea collaboration and it’s a definite must-visit… especially if you love pretty things as much as me!

finds afternoon tea hk

Think of GreenGate as Denmark’s answer to Cath Kidston – namely, highly photogenic tableware adorned with pretty pastels and floral patterns galore. FINDS, located on the first floor of Tsim Sha Tsui boutique hotel The Luxe Manor, is a cushy afternoon tea location anyway (although it lacks a bit of atmosphere on quiet weekday afternoons); its interior, all curvy natural wood surfaces and bright pops of lime green, is inviting, relaxing and comfortable – so the coo-worthy crockery really is the Swedish lingonberry on top!

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Showstopper! The Improvised Musical @ Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts review

showstopper the improvised musical hong kong

If you like laughing and you like musicals (in which case, hey, we should be friends!), then you need to go see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical stat.

Much like a round of Catchphrase, it’s pretty much say what you see regarding the show’s premise – a whole new musical improvised every night based on suggestions from the audience, encompassing everything from the setting, title and plot to musical theatre genres and song styles. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway meets one of those Andrew Lloyd Webber reality TV competitions and you’re almost there… except even funnier.

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Innisfree Rose & Rose Hip Eco Finger Mask review – need a helping hand?

innisfree eco finger mask rose

As regular readers of this blog will know, I suffer from extremely dry hands – a problem that’s mostly kept at bay thanks to the world’s best hand creams. Even so, my thirsty paws can’t resist an extra bit of TLC every now and again, so I thought I’d give Innisfree’s Rose & Rose Hip Eco Finger Mask a try.

Korean beauty brands are like the Willy Wonkas of the sheet mask world, making a veritable pick n’ mix of options for your face, eyes, lips, hands and feet – yep, they’ve pretty much got your whole biology class covered!

innsifree rose finger mask

What makes the Innisfree Eco Finger Mask a bit different from the usual sheet hand masks is that this one is literally only for your fingers – so rather than covering your whole mitts glove-style, you get ten individual thimble-esque pads full of moisturising goodness. This was great news for me as that’s where my hands really suffer, with the pads of my index fingers, thumbs and cuticles often cracked and peeling (being a beauty blogger is really sexy stuff).

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Pierre Hermé Paris Infiniment Vanille Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong review – thriller in vanilla

pierre herme infiniment vanille afternoon tea ritz carlton hong kong

Remember when Phoebe called Rachel “vanilla” on Friends?

It certainly wasn’t intended as a compliment then… but in the case of the Pierre Hermé Paris Infiniment Vanille Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, it most definitely is one!

Banish all thoughts of vanilla being bland and boring –Pierre Hermé’s Fetish Infiniment Vanille collection of exquisite pint-sized pastries is the coolest thing to happen to vanilla since the raps in Ice Ice Baby.

ritz carlton hong kong view cafe 103

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Four Seasons Hong Kong Nail Bar – the most luxurious manicure in Hong Kong?

nail bar four seasons hong kong christina fitzgerald freedom dollhouse

When it comes to manicures, I’m more of a DIY girl (in case you hadn’t guessed from the previous 100 or so blogs); as for the rare occasions where I have brought in the professionals, I discovered my mani manna with The Nail Library and have rarely strayed from them since.

However, when I heard that the Four Seasons Hong Kong was opening their very own Nail Bar, my polish-loving ears pricked up. The Four Seasons is easily one of the best hotels in Hong Kong and definitely one of my personal favourites; everything they do, they do to perfection. So if they were trying their hands (perfectly polished, natch) at a Nail Bar, chances are it was going to be done right.

nail bar four seasons hong kong

If you’re talking first impressions, then the Four Seasons’ Nail Bar definitely deserves a standing ovation. On walking in, you’re immediately greeted by a knockout view over Victoria Harbour through a sweeping wall of windows; in fact, Four Seasons even has sunglasses on hands for when the view gets too blinding – now that’s service! The space itself is small but far from squashed, and the whole place positively screams chic, sophisticated luxury – five plush leather chairs for treatments, gleaming marble surfaces and glowing nail polish bottles displayed in backlit alcoves like treasures in a jewellery box.

nail bar four seasons hong kong nail social afternoon tea

My media partner-in-crime Charmaine and I were booked in to trial The Nail Bar’s signature Luxury Manicure – a divine hour of hand heaven. In fact, since we had the room all to ourselves, the Four Seasons had laid on a special Nail Social for us, complete with afternoon tea and champers. Afternoon tea and nail polish? I’m not sure the day could have been more tailor-made for me unless they’d laid on a litter of cute puppies to cuddle as well. And don’t worry, even if you haven’t booked a Nail Social, the Four Seasons still lays on complimentary beverages for all guests; champagne, cocktails, whiskey, smoothies, wheatgrass shots, fresh juices, tea… you name it, they’ve got it!

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