After celebrating my birthday at the Louis Vuitton family home last year, I thought it was going to be difficult to top that. However, I had the BEST day ever, starting with a half-day spa package at the famed Peninsula hotel, Mexican dinner and drinks with friends and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival at the lantern festival in Victoria Park.
The Peninsula Spa is literally the best spa I’ve ever been to in my entire life. My day went like this: swim in their pool, steam/sauna and relaxation room, 30-minute exfoliation, 90-minute aromatherapy massage and then 3-course meal poolside. Before this session, the best spa I had ever been to was the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. This blew it out of the water.
Since I went earlier in the day, I had the WHOLE PLACE TO MYSELF. No one else in the pool, no one else in the steam, sauna or relaxation room. It was like JACKIE’S PALACE! I truly believe this is the most magical place in the world. If a unicorn and a leprechaun had popped out and starting walking down the halls, I would not have even blinked. That’s how magical it was.
The attention to detail was incredible. My masseuse, Charlie, was very considerate to my needs since I have severe skin allergies and she had a table of about seven different oils, each with a different purpose. The table that I got my treatment on was fully adjustable and heated. When I took a shower to wash off the exfoliation treatment, I stepped outside and the floor and my towel were both heated. I wanted to live there. I told Charlie that this was the best day of my life. She chuckled; I don’t think she realized the seriousness of my statement.
The lunch was great because everything was super healthy and light. You choose an appetizer, main course and dessert. The meal came with a fresh fruit juice (I chose watermelon) and coffee/tea. It was the perfect meal because I didn’t want to be too full with my dinner plans in a few hours. On top of that, they surprised me with a candle with my dessert AND gave me a really nice bag as a birthday gift. This weekday half-day spa package is worth every single cent. If you are a HSBC Premier member, you do not have to pay the 10% service charge (huzzah!).
For dinner, my friends met me at one of my favorite restaurants, Brickhouse (20A D’Aguilar Street). Brickhouse is hidden down a dark alleyway just off of Lan Kwai Fong and they serve amazing cocktails and high-end Mexican food. My favorites are the fish tacos, watermelon feta salad and Mexican corn. They don’t take reservations, but I would highly recommend Brickhouse even if you have to wait!
It was completely fortuitous that my birthday fell on the same day as the Mid-Autumn Festival. The holiday changes every year because it’s based on the lunar calendar. Traditionally, Chinese people celebrated this holiday by making food and wine offerings to the gods and expressing gratitude for a full season’s harvest. Today, we celebrate by gazing up at the full moon and eating mooncake with our friends and family. During the week of September 14, Hong Kong held the Lee Kum Kee Lantern Wonderland at Victoria Park. For the actual Mid-Autumn Festival on September 19, there was a special Mid-Autumn Urban Carnival at the park.
The park was PACKED! I had fun traversing the crowds and watching all the kids delight in their paper lanterns and glow-in-the-dark toys. There were tons of different lanterns and stalls set up with food and games. The centerpiece of the festival was a dome lantern titled “Rising Moon,” which was created and designed by local architects. The Rising Moon was made of polycarbonate plastic bottles and sat on a reflective pool. When you look at the reflection on the water, it looks like a full moon!
I could not have asked for a better birthday. I think back on everything that has happened in the past year. I lived in Paris. I had an amazing internship in Hong Kong. I visited 13 cities in 10 different countries. I graduated and got my MBA in International Luxury Brand Management from ESSEC. It’s been a huge year.
As I think about the upcoming year, I’m filled with excitement about the things to come. I can’t wait to see what happens next and look forward to updating you on my blog!