A few weeks ago, I was lucky to have a short holiday in Hong Kong. Unlike my previous trip, where I had planned every detail down to the last microsecond, this time I was much more relaxed (ok, to be completely honest, aside from booking the hotel in advance, I was basically doing research for the trip on my way to the airport). But since the main point of the trip was for relaxation, I kept reminding myself not to get too worked up about anything and to just go with the flow. You might be wondering, why choose Hong Kong for a relaxing experience? Wouldn’t a more serene location be a more obvious choice? There is method to my madness. One reason that I chose Hong Kong was that it’s incredibly convenient. It’s only about an hour and a half away by plane, and public transportation is incredibly convenient once you are on the ground. Those two factors are ingredients for a relaxing vacation already. And you can find little pockets of serenity in Hong Kong too! Last time, my little slice of peace and tranquility was while wandering around Lugard Road. This time, it was breakfast on the 49th floor of the Upper House, at Cafe Grey Deluxe.
I arrived quite early in the morning, and the entire place was empty, save for a few business meetings here and there. I felt a even stronger sense of being “in holiday mode” when I overheard some of the wheeling and dealing going on in those meetings!
I was fortunate to be seated in one of the window seats, so I had a magnificent view of the Victoria Harbor, and all the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong.
One of the most relaxing parts for me about being on holiday is that I have time to read at breakfast. In my regular life, I read the paper online while trying not to choke on my hot coffee. At Cafe Grey, I read three newspapers, in English. It was heaven. I almost got a little teary eyed while I was doing this, because even though it seemed like such an ordinary, run-of-the-mill activity, it was such a treat for me to read a paper where I could understand all. the. words. Instinctively. And even simultaneously have a few complex thoughts about the words I was reading. I can’t do this when reading newspapers in Chinese (yet). But if anyone asks, I was misty-eyed because the news was so sad that day.
I ordered the “UpperWest Breakfast” which consisted of a choice of Parma ham and asparagus scrambled eggs with brioche, or sunny side up egg, English and American bacon, sourdough, fresh cut fruit and berries, blueberry granola parfait, bircher muesli with wheat germ, roasted hazelnuts, and shredded apples, freshly pressed fruit juice and coffee or tea.
Everything was thoughtfully presented and beautifully cooked.
I found the shredded apples on top of the Bircher muesli to be a little difficult to negotiate in this tiny container~ I finally gave up, lifted it out and just ate it with my fingers (sigh).
My favorite was the granola on top of the blueberry parfait. It was crunchy, and slightly cinnamon-y. I haven’t eaten granola in awhile before this, but now I’m inspired to find a few recipes and make my own.
And of course, the fresh fruit. Watermelon and pineapple are staples in Taiwan. But blueberries, strawberries and especially raspberries are a treat.
The service staff at Cafe Grey are warm, attentive, yet unobtrusive. They thoughtfully brought me all their English newspapers when they saw that I had finished reading the first one. They also refilled my coffee (in a clean cup!) and were friendly whenever they spoke to me. I felt like this service is worth a mention because it was not the norm throughout my trip. This attentiveness and thoughtfulness was really the backbone to a truly tranquil experience at Cafe Grey.
Of course, you can stare at this view for hours. I imagine it’s even more stunning during sunset, or in the evenings. I was gleefully surprised to see that the view was quite stunning inside the ladies room too.
Just off to the side of the Cafe Grey space, there is a lounge with a fireplace. There is also floor to ceiling views available here. I certainly wouldn’t have minded spending some time reading and writing in this lovely spot. I read somewhere that a lot of writers book themselves into hotels for when they have to do serious writing. I might consider doing this the next time I have a serious project coming up.
Information: Cafe Grey Deluxe| Address: Level 49, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong | Phone: +852-3968-1106| Email: email@example.com