December 30, 2012

High Tea at The Peninsula Hong Kong

Any time is good to indulge in The Peninsula's high tea, but the best time is during the month of December, when the whole hotel turns into a living fairytale thanks to the astonishing decorations to commemorate the festive season. The Peninsula is Hong Kong's most iconic hotel, with a startling lobby that no other hotel in Hong Kong can possibly beat. The Peninsula is elegance and style at its very best. Its beautiful old colonial style reminds us of the British Hong Kong, and where better, then, to treat oneself to the typical English High Tea? 


At HK$598 + 10% service charge for a tea set for two, this is Hong Kong's most expensive high tea. The Festive Afternoon Tea I had at the Four Seasons was a bit more expensive because of their dessert buffet, but there is no other venue to charge such a high price just for the three-tiered set. Astonishingly enough {or not} The Peninsula is always crowded at tea time. Since they don't provide reservations, expect to queue for at least an hour during weekends in order to get a table. Weekdays are better, although some lining up is usually also the norm.

The quality of the food and the tea was very good, everything was delicious, and the macarons are the best I've had in a high tea set. I would still rank the Mandarin Oriental's high tea top one food quality wise, and The Peninsula would go in second. This doesn't mean the Mandarin Oriental's high tea is overall better than The Peninsula's, because the latter beats the former in other aspects such as venue ambience. I had this tea set four years ago, and had been looking forward to go back. I waited until December because the hotel is at its very best, looking splendorous with all the Christmas decor, and it was oh-so worth it! 

Live band at The Lobby during tea time

Visited on: December 29, 2012
Overall Quality: 5*
Price: HK$598 + 10% service charge for a set for two
Value for Money: 4.5*
Would I recommend it? How could I not? This is Hong Kong's most renowned afternoon tea, and it is so for a reason! The Peninsula's magnificent lobby makes for the best high tea atmosphere in town. 

December 27, 2012

Maison Eric Kayser - The newest restaurant in Harbour City

French master baker Eric Kayser has honored Hong Kongers by opening up a restaurant and bakery in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. The restaurant opened its doors on Saturday the 22nd of December, and there I was on the 25th, Christmas day, to try it out.

Eric Kayser defines his Flagship in Hong Kong as a "Fast Gourmet restaurant", meaning fine dining in a relaxed/non-fancy atmosphere. The menu is short, with not much to choose from {about 3 starters, a soup, and 3 main dishes}, but you're bound to find something you like. By the way, don't be too hard on the staff, you'll quickly realize they're a bit lost but hopefully it will get better as days go by...

J had the Christmas set lunch (HK$228) while I had a couple of dishes a la carte. The dishes were real delicacies, everything was exquisite! Such delicious food so reasonably priced is hard to find, so you better keep this restaurant in mind! Our food was accompanied with different kinds of bread from their bakery.

I started with a caprese salad (HK$98) that turned out to be the best one I've had in Hong Kong. The buffalo mozzarella melted in my mouth and it was accompanied with sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, pesto sauce and olive bread, a mix made in heaven! I followed with the truffle soup (HK$78), which was one of the best I've ever had too.
J had the truffle soup as a starter and grilled chicken as main dish. The set lunch included a dessert as well, to choose from a Lemon Tart or an Apricot & Pistachio Tart, so he chose the lemon tart and we shared! It was very yummy.

Right beside the restaurant is Eric Kayser's Bakery, featuring several different kinds of traditional breads, pastries and brioches.

Visited on: December 25, 2012
Overall Quality: 4.5*
Price: HK$444
Value for Money: 4.5*
Would I recommend it? Yes, it's most certainly a must try.

December 22, 2012

Festive Afternoon Tea - Four Seasons Hong Kong

Beware because this might just be the most gorgeous post {pictures wise} in my afternoon tea series. Last Sunday Chloris and I went to the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong for their amazing Festive Afternoon Tea. This special set is only served on the weekends and public holidays of December (1st of January included), to commemorate the festive season. 

The set is special in that it includes a regular three-tier stand high tea set, plus a breathtaking dessert buffet. The buffet includes Classic Tiramisu, Red Velvet Lollipop, Christmas Yule Log, Panettone Pudding with Custard Sauce, Crispy Chocolate Truffle Cake, Gingerbread Cake, Warm Christmas Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Christmas Cupcakes, Assorted Festive Cookies, Mini Mince Pies, Mont-Blanc Cheesecake, Stollen Cake and Panettone, and Christmas Macaron.

The afternoon tea starts at 2.45pm, when the cooks start preparing the buffet in the big table in the middle of The Lounge. Around 3pm, the buffet is all set up, and that's when I started taking pictures before anyone took a single bite! I have to say I enjoyed this festive afternoon tea very very much. Everything looked gorgeous, and it was yummy too! I had very high expectations for the Four Seasons, because many people claim it has the best afternoon tea in town. I wouldn't go as far as that, mainly because the food quality is better in other places such as the Mandarin Oriental, but I certainly would be glad to go back!

The high tea set. The scones were delish!

The Four Seasons has the best service I've ever come across during a high tea. The waiters are extremely polite and I didn't have to ask for a hot water refill on my tea {Four Seasons special blend} not even once. They kept refilling it for me, as well as pouring the tea on my cup, and after a while I totally lost track of how much tea I drank, and had a hard time sleeping that night!

Cute pic taken with Chloris' instant camera

Visited on: December 16, 2012
Overall Quality: 4.5*
Spending per head: HK$310 + 10% service charge 
Value for Money: 4*
Would I recommend it? Definitely! This festive afternoon tea is served on very few days, and it's difficult to get a reservation. Here is my inside: The Lounge only accepts reservations two weeks in advance, so call exactly two weeks before the date you want the reservation for to make sure to get a table.

December 19, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: some of my favorite wedding blogs

As a bride-to-be I find myself browsing the internet in search of wedding-related inspiration all the time. On blogs, pinterest, instagram, you name it. All I know is my brain processes more wedding information in a day than I ever thought possible. 
I love pinterest and instagram because of their catchy images that somehow get immediately stucked in my head. But I love blogs even more, because every beautiful image is accompanied by an equally beautiful story. Here is a list of some of my favorite wedding blogs, sources of inspiration that never fail to amaze me.

Probably the wedding blog I follow more closely. Its owner and I have similar taste, and I can easily picture any of her ideas in my wedding. I love that on her Wedding Wednesday posts, the author allows other bloggers to feature their wedding-related posts. I always put a link to my own Wedding Wednesdays :)

My favorite thing from this blog is its Real Wedding series, gorgeous weddings from all over the world. Yours can be featured too!

Everything wedding... French style! Chic! (in French)

The best thing from this blog are its wedding tips. There's so much to learn!

The official blog of my wedding venue (in Catalan). I love every single picture taken in that gorgeous place. Of course my favorite post will be the day they feature my own wedding! <3

Last but not least, my best friend's wedding blog (in Spanish). A 3-months old blog that will certainly become a must read for Spanish speakers. Her posts are detailed and beautifully written.

Do you have any good wedding blogs to recommend?

December 12, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Our Wedding Venue

I'm beyond excited for today's post because I'm finally showing you our wedding venue! We're getting married at La Garriga de Castelladral, in Catalonia, Spain. Castelladral is a tiny town 17 km away from Manresa, the city were I was born and where all my family lives. La Garriga de Castelladral is a house from the 15th century, now completely reworked by the nice family who owns it, and turned into an 8-room hotel and wedding venue. The house overlooks the famous Montserrat mountains, and with these views is how we will get married.

Finding the wedding venue is probably the first thing to do when planning a wedding, so I didn't waste my time and started looking for our wedding venue as soon as I could. Browsing the internet I came across hundreds of wedding venues in Catalonia, but there was just one to meet all our requirements {style, outdoor wedding ceremony, size, location}, and it's the only one we had to visit, because I felt it was the one as soon as we stepped in.


Before getting engaged, I had heard stories from brides-to-be saying they felt "something" when visiting their wedding venue for the first time, and just like that, they knew it was the one. I can now assure you this is TRUE, because it happened to me too. In fact, this happened not only with the wedding venue, but also, and way stronger, with J. Back in 2008 when we first saw each other, he took my breath away. Literally. I couldn't breath for a couple of seconds and I didn't know what was going on. Now, looking back, I realise my soul somehow knew he was the one for me, and finally seeing him must have been a shock. These are life changing experiences, that some will not believe. But I don't care, all I know is what I felt and what life finally gave me, and it all makes sense to me.
All these gorgeous images are via the official blog of La Garriga de Castelladral.

December 11, 2012

Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong

I had been wanting to try the burgers from the Hard Rock Cafe in Hong Kong for a long time. During these four years in Hong Kong {time flies!} I've come across some really yummy burgers as I explained in my Main St. Deli post. I nonetheless thought I couldn't do a proper burger ranking until I had tried the ones in Hard Rock Cafe. The reason why is the burgers from the Hard Rock Cafe in Barcelona are my favorites in town, and I was expecting the ones in Hong Kong to be just as good.

Last Sunday we arrived to the ferry pier in Central after our weekend getaway, and the timing was perfect for us to finally hit the restaurant. To my bitter disappointment, the "Legendary Burgers" at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hong Kong where not even close to the ones in Barcelona. While I have to admit the beef quality was extraordinary, the rest of the ingredients didn't help to make of this a burger I'd be happy to order again.

J had the Legendary 10 oz. burger (HK$150) while I had the mushroom and caramelized onion one (HK$160). He upgraded his set to onion rings {+ $38} and they were delish! {The ones at Main St. Deli are still better though}.

Visited on: December 9, 2012
Overall Quality: 3*
Price: HK$380 for two HUGE burgers with fries and onion rings
Value for Money: 3*
Would I recommend it? Unfortunately not. The burgers were not up to my expectations and they are oh-so pricey!

December 9, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Ocean Spring Resort in Zhuhai, China

We're just back from an unforgettable weekend getaway to celebrate J's birthday. We were planning on going last weekend but by the time we wanted to book the hotel, it was fully booked! A 1000-room hotel fully booked on a regular weekend?! Yes, nothing unusual in China. 

We've been to the Ocean Spring Resort in Zhuhai, famous for its hot springs. Zhuhai is the city in mainland China bordering Macau, and to go from Hong Kong you only need to take a 70 minutes-long ferry ride. The resort had three hotels: an inn, a 4 star hotel, and a 5 star hotel {ours!}. I loved our huge business room with sea view. The resort is famous for its hot springs but it also has a very decent amusement park! 

We spent our Saturday afternoon in the hot springs and both of us LOVED it. They are really worth a visit. My first {and until this trip, only} experience with hot springs was in South Korea in January 2011, where the outside temperature was below zero, so you can imagine the adventure for a first time at the hot springs... This time in Zhuhai has been completely different. The weather here was more like a sunny autumn day than a winter one, with pleasant temperatures above 20 degrees Celcius. I never imagined the hot springs at Ocean Spring Resort would be as amazing as they actually are. I was very positively surprised by many things. First, the hot springs were not crowded as I had feared {this is China after all!}. Second, there were many many different spaces to explore: Turkish style, European, Chinese, etc. And third and my favorite: there was an area with about 20 pools in which each of them had a different herb or substance inside {chrysanthemum, mint, tangerine peel, ginseng, green tea, thousand Chinese herbs, milk, coffee, red wine, etc.}, with a description explaining what that herb or substance was good for and the benefits it had on your body. I guess the total number of pools was around a hundred, most of them outdoors but some indoors as well. I obviously couldn't bring my Canon camera inside, but here is a pic I snapped with my iPhone!

After the hot springs both J and I agreed our bodys felt great and our skin even softer than usual! That's saying a lot, because J and I are naturally soft :D After the hot springs we watched a nice 80 minute acrobatic show called "Memory of the Sea", performed by Russian and Chinese actors.

Today we took some pictures around the resort and then spent a while in the amusement park, where unfortunately most of the amusement rides were closed :(

Have you ever been to hot springs? Isn't it just awesome? :)