Hong Kong and me - love-hate in its purest form: Professionally, I had already been to this pulsating, constricting and bustling Asian metropolis a few times and was always quite amazed at how many tourists voluntarily came to this city to discover the Special Administrative Region on the South China Territory. Hong Kong was always one thing before me: jetlag, luxurious hotels with tiny rooms (at this price range you would reside in a suite in New York), sultry heat, stressful days and an even more stressful nightlife. Because, for those who didn't know, Hong Kong is known by insiders for arguably the most buzzing nightlife on the entire Asian continent. Full Moon Party in Thailand can pack it in. And although Hong Kong and just the thought of this gigantic megacity always stressed me out, I was always happy when I had to / was allowed to go there on business.
Last year, no - we are already in 2021 -, so: the year before last I came in the beautiful "need" to urgently redeem my miles, otherwise they would have expired: Too many for "just" a city trip in Europe and yet not enough for two weeks of luxury holidays for two. The noble solution: My partner always insisted on wanting to see Hong Kong - and so the year before last, I gave her an extended romantic weekend in this Asian metropolis as a surprise. On the way from the airport to the hotel, she began to marvel: at the crowds and the traffic chaos that pushed through the narrow skyscraper canyons in equal measure, at the scorching heat and the almost unbearable humidity, at the various smells, a combination of sewage, spices, sweat and spicy food, at the noise on the streets and the shouting of the businessmen and traders. I could already see it in her eyes: she didn't like it.
Then we reached the hotel - as a special surprise I had chosen the Peninsula, which had just at the time particularly attractive (not cheap!) Room rates offered. She was amazed when the taxi took the driveway to the Peninsula. Then an employee of the hotel and opened the car door and a load of humid, almost stifling heat thundered around our ears. The previously described mix of sewage, spices and food was omnipresent and for a brief moment I thought my partner was about to pass out. The 10, maximum 15 meters to the front door of the mighty hotel seemed to us like an eternity.
And then they were opened to us, the huge sliding glass doors of the hotel. Right as the very first impression, a mighty pinch of neroli wafted around our noses, coupled with the soothing coolness of the air conditioning. As soon as we entered the pompous entrance area of the hotel, the whole burden of the long flight, which was still in our bones, even though we had travelled in business class, the extreme smells and the scorching heat of the big city, vanished in an instant. We found ourselves in a luxurious, nay, exclusive microcosm, surrounded by attentive staff and only the finest scents. Neroli dominated as we entered the hotel, but we noticed something else in addition to this incredibly soothing freshness: beautiful, freshly cut lilies stood all around the entryway and we were handed ice-cold Earl Grey tea, the secret of which is intense bergamot. After we checked in and the friendly lady at the front desk said she would upgrade us since the actual room category was fully booked, we were escorted to the room by another staff member. In the elevator we still had that wonderful smell of neroli, lilies and bergamot in our nostrils and my partner praised the iced tea, which was not too sweet and not too bitter. At the same time, I noticed that she must have put on some musky perfume in the duty free, because this scent suddenly began to captivate me extremely. Before I had never noticed this fragrance, but all of a sudden it was hard to imagine without it.
The room smelled, like also the endless corridor with the thick carpet, which had swallowed all our steps immediately, after Neroli. And here too, along with an incredible view of Kowloon Bay and the Hong Kong skyline rising behind it, I found lilies. On the table was a fruit basket with sliced oranges and mandarins, and next to it were two cold refreshing towels that smelled of the delicious Earl Grey iced tea with bergamot. The air conditioning was on full blast and the towel gave me the last breeze of refreshment that had been missing for a perfect freshness ecstasy after such a long flight. The room was luxurious and classy, furnished with the finest cedar wood and beautiful Italian marble that gave off such a beautiful, almost detached coolness never thought possible in Hong Kong.
18 Shades of Bigarade is exactly the olfactory experience described above. An excellent copy of Le Labo's Bigarade 18 fragrance, it is exclusive to Hong Kong and couldn't be a better fit for this city, or this city. Durability and sillage are absolutely unbeatable in 18 Shades of Bigarade and this fragrance is guaranteed to be my companion on my next travels - not only to Hong Kong, but to all cities where a humid tropical and sultry climate awaits me, be that Singapore or Nairobi.
Dua has once again outdone himself and I can really recommend this fragrance to anyone who is looking for the perfect summer scent and not just come to Hong Kong to Le Labo Boutique.
Blindbuy strongly recommended!
And how did it continue with our city trip to Hong Kong?
The vast majority of time we actually spent outside the hotel, I showed my partner all the corners that I find so fascinating in Hong Kong: SoHo, Victoria's Peak, Kowloon and of course we also constantly took the ferry across the Bay. But most of all it was nice to discover new things together: Hong Kong's best sushi, Montane Mansion or a natural beach not half an hour from the city.
But there was one ritual we had every morning and every evening: we always had breakfast and dinner brought to our room and sat at the large table that was right in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, from which we gazed at the passing container and cruise ships on Kowloon Bay, behind which the incomparable Hong Kong skyline reared up.
Today, when I applied 18 Shades of Bigarade and let my girlfriend sniff it afterwards, she said wistfully:
Take me back to Hong Kong!