A Prayerful Retreat at Four Seasons Hong Kong
Since last year, even before the Hong Kong protests and the pandemic, I’ve been setting aside most of my Saturdays to spend with God. We all love Saturdays, don’t we? For most of us it’s a day free from work or school, and we can do whatever we want! Sleeping in, brunch, hiking, reading, staying in bed all day watching Netflix, going out for a fancy dinner...there might be some budget concerns and whatnot but generally the possibilities seem endless. After a busy week, it feels good to relax. While I enjoy all of the above, rearranging my schedule so those things fall on other days has become important. In this season, because I have more flexibility, I want to give God my favourite day.
It’s not that God’s told me I have to give up Saturdays for him. Simply, I want to. There are commitments every other day of the week but Saturdays come with uninterrupted hours that can be spent just waiting on him and following the Holy Spirit. Some Saturdays involve praying and journaling for hours straight. Others involve praying and reading the Bible or new books, or praying and listening to podcasts while going for a long walk. Others, honestly, involve pouring out my heart while crying. No matter what, I always come out of these times feeling refreshed and satisfied. There’s just no greater joy than spending a lot of time with our Father.
If you’re thinking this is a bit extreme, you’re not the only one. Honestly, I get some weird looks even from Christian friends. But this is what’s right for me in this season. Since I was fourteen or so, I’ve always had suitors. And the last time I was single as an adult, I probably prayed / whined about it to God for the entire time haha. Now I feel more rooted in God’s truth than ever and am learning and praying about what it means to live a Matthew 6:33 life in this current single season, believing in faith it’s laying a solid foundation for when I transition into marriage and motherhood.
Whatever season we’re in, we could probably all find ways to honour God with more of our time. (Even with these Saturdays, I think I could do it better. Less time on my phone!) What do you think - are you in? If you’re even a little curious about these Saturday sessions with God, comment below or send me a message! Would love to swap tips and testimonies.
Four Seasons Hong Kong
Recently I had the opportunity to have a Saturday session in a different location than my studio apartment. During the COVID-19 period, I felt God nudge me to start working on some things. And now I’m in the thick of preparing. While luxurious hotel stays aren’t necessary for the preparing work, they sure are lovely and I said a short prayer one day asking for one. If God wanted it to happen, it would; if not, I’d be OK. A week or so later, I was at a media tasting for a new restaurant and an editor mentioned that a lot of hotels were offering staycations. She graciously passed me some of her contacts, I pitched a story (the piece will be up on Foodie soon), and then days later found myself checking into the absolutely gorgeous Four Seasons Hong Kong. Joy!
For many, the Four Seasons Hong Kong is the gold standard with its perfect service, central location, Michelin-starred restaurants, and luxurious rooms and amenities. The package I reviewed was the Summer Escapade (on until 31 August) which includes:
20% off the room rate
Late check-out until 4:00 pm
Daily breakfast for two at The Lounge or through in-room dining
Complimentary upgrade to a harbour-view room or upgrade to a suite for $900
20% off purchases in The Lounge and in-room dining
Add a Masters of Craft experience – private culinary, mixology and wellness classes with Four Seasons’ experts – for an additional fee
I checked into a Deluxe Harbour-view Room with a king bed (a two double beds version is also available). Upon entering, I ran to check out the view and then ran to check out the bathtub - two things I don’t have at home and was definitely going to enjoy during the staycation! Everything was tastefully luxurious from the furniture, to the (softest) sheets, to the L’Occitane products. There’s also a pillow menu for those who like trying out new options.
Lunch at Lung King Heen
Another sign of God’s grace over this situation was that of all the hotel’s restaurants, the PR team offered to book me in for lunch at Lung King Heen. It’s legendary, holding 3 Michelin stars for twelve years straight. Locals are rightfully proud of the restaurant with Chef Chan Yan Tak being a born and bred Hong Konger, and the first Chinese chef in history to be awarded 3 stars. But the reason I’ve wanted to try it for ages is because my Pastor once compared it to, um, marriage lovemaking ha ha (aka the gold standard).
It was wonderful to finally try some of Chef’s signature dishes in the Executive Lunch Set 1 with some additions like the Baked Barbecue Pork Bun with Pine Nuts. Indeed it was all delicious, with the buttery abalone puff being especially unforgettable.
Private Mixology Class with Lorenzo
After lunch, I headed to the Caprice Bar for a Master of Craft mixology lesson with Lorenzo Antinori, the Four Seasons’ affable Beverage Ambassador for Asia Pacific. We talked through the components of a great cocktail and then I learned to make one of the classics; a whiskey sour since I love cocktails with egg white. Alas I didn’t shake the shaker hard enough and the egg white didn’t foam at all. Oops.
Next it was time to try making a signature cocktail. Feeling experimental, and somewhat safe as Lorenzo said I could pick from whatever ingredients were on display, I chose apricot liqueur and lavender. This was combined with apple, grapefruit and lemon juices and then shaken profusely by me (I bruised my hand!) ... and the end result was surprisingly tasty. I think Lorenzo was a bit shocked!
Sometimes we get these opportunities to try things outside of our comfort zone. May we not worry about looking silly but enjoy the experience.
Quiet Time Spots
How gorgeous is this infinity pool. I quickly snapped this photo after mixology class and before my nap. Sadly it was raining on the Saturday of my stay, so I had my usual Saturday session in my room.
It was a lovely treat praying, reflecting, and doing the preparing work while soaking in the bath, sitting on the window ledge and staring at the view...
My last meal was this gorgeous in-room breakfast spread. The staff, set up and presentation were excellent, as was the food itself. In addition to a la carte options, there are five sets: Continental, American, Hong Kong, Japanese, and Well Feeling Start. Craving cod, I went for the Japanese Breakfast and selected the following options: fresh orange juice, miso soup, congee, pickled vegetables, egg custard and Japanese tea. I also added the Trio of Dim Sum (shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, Shanhainese pork dumplings) because when on staycation…
This is also the first season where I’ve enjoyed dining alone. It’s a great opportunity to pray and reflect, as well as slow down and really appreciate the food.
A Grateful Heart
The past year has shown me that while we might be waiting on some areas, God is moving in others. Some prayers might seem like they’re taking forever but keep praying, start praying about more things and watch how God answers. If you’re feeling discouraged, I pray this post rekindles your hope. I’m just like you, sis! Not a gazillionaire with endless dollars to spend on hotels but a daughter of God full of confidence she can approach her Heavenly Father with anything. (If you are though, bless you! Perhaps book yourself in for a retreat and gift one to friends?) How blessed we are to know him as our King and as our friend. I pray we learn how to prioritize God as number one in our lives and follow wherever he goes. We might go through some tough seasons but relief will come as we stay close to him and trust his perfect timing. And when his blessings come, may we thoroughly enjoy them and give thanks.
Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance St, Central, +852 3196 8888