winter wonderland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2007, 12:00am

Dancers and acrobats, music, food, Christmas trees and lucky draws, Santas and snowmen

HongKong Land continues its yearly tradition of displaying the holiday designs of Jim Marvin on its buildings throughout Central. The Landmark will be treating the public with the amazing aerial acrobatics of The Conedancers, a gravity-defying romance between a boy and a girl expressed through harnessed performers leaping and somersaulting on an eight-metre cone to an original score and LED lighting (December 17, 22, 23 at 1pm, December 18-21, 24 at 1pm and 6pm).

InterContinental Hong Kong will be showing you how to amaze friends with your culinary skills this season. The hotel is hosting the second of its two Holiday Chocolate Dessert demonstrations by renowned chef Alain Ducasse from 10am to 12.30pm at Spoon tomorrow (HK$688 per person), but call ahead to check availability. Pastry chef Christophe Grilo will be revealing dessert recipes for chocolate/gingerbread lollipops; coconut, white chocolate and lime 'snowballs'; and his 'Star in the Sky' style chocolate and chestnut cake. A box of homemade chocolate truffles, a box of assorted macaroons, and your very own Spoon apron is included in this festive demonstration. For a five-hour crash course on successful entertaining, don't miss the Holiday Entertaining Seminar (HK$2,888 per person) hosted by executive chef Laurent Andre, executive pastry chef Pascal Schwalm, and beverage manager Cadition Law on December 15 from 10am to 3pm. Apart from learning how to make canapes, desserts, mulled wine, and a special holiday cocktail from the three experts, the events team will also be giving tips on the essentials of holiday entertaining - everything from table decorations to music selection. Included in the demonstration is a light breakfast and lunch with wine, and you'll also be walking away with an Intercontinental Hong Kong apron, a box of Spoon chocolate truffles, the recipes for the showcased dishes and your very own certificate.

Harbour City is the place to go for a 'Blissful Christmas' this year - a fantasy land full of Christmas trees decorated in gold and silver, with tiny snowmen and snowflakes hanging from the branches. Step up for a photo opportunity with the 15-foot tall giant snowman at the Ocean Terminal forecourt.

IFC Mall will be the first in Hong Kong's Christmas history to levitate a giant tree. A larger-than-life Christmas tree will be suspended over the Oval Atrium this season, as basis for the theme 'Chandelier of Christmas Inspirations'. From now until the end of December, shoppers who spend more than HK$6,000 in a single day will receive two pairs of festive cutlery. For those tired from all that shopping, Imago brings its amazing acrobatic show to the mall. The performances are free of charge, and open to the public from December 13 to 26 (with December19 off) three times a day (shows at 12.30pm, 3.30pm, 6.30pm).

Langham Place Hotel has The Place all set up for Christmas festivities. A pink Santa Claus and Santarinas are giving out pink Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve, and Santa's mailbox will be set up for children to send special Christmas wishes. Each North Pole bound letter will then be entered in a lucky draw, and Santa himself is in charge of announcing the three winners at 8pm on Christmas Day.

The Royal Garden decks its atrium halls with boughs of holly this Christmas, and is treating its guests to a festive season of rhythm and music. A seven-piece musical group will be bringing their native Filipino flavour to the scene on December 24, 25, and 31, and on those same days, a Broadway dancing sensation will wow audiences with their dazzling performances. For the young and restless, Martini Bar will play host to Christmas parties on December 24 and 31.

Plaza Hollywood will be home to the Gingerbread Man this Christmas. 'Santa Ginger Town' showcases a 30ft ginger Ferris wheel with ginger deer and horses, flying next to the ginger merry-go-round. On the other side of Ginger Town is the 40ft ginger tree, decorated with more than 2,000 gingerbread ornaments. It will be set up alongside a 12ft capsule toy machine, which dispenses ginger candies and capsule toys to shoppers who have spent the required amount in the mall.

The Peninsula is participating in the worldwide charity programme The Trees of Hope, and visitors can hang their purchased ornaments on the hotel's Christmas tree, with proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thirsty guests may also order 'Teas of Hope' at the Lobby Lounge until December17, and from December 27 to 31 (HK$268 for one person, HK$398 for two), or the 'Tree of Hope' cocktail (HK$108, HK$88 for mocktail), with 20 per cent of the proceeds going to the foundation. Music lovers will enjoy Rhythm and Harmony, a nine-piece band performing hits from the '70s to the '90s at the Lobby from December 24 to 31.

Times Square gives us the Australian Super Being Stilt dancers, who are returning from December 21 to 26 (shows at 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm). The Rockettes show is also in the line-up, showcasing the talents of the dance troupe that has entertained New York audiences for years. See what all the fuss is about tomorrow and on December 15, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Shop, win prizes, and help out a good cause with Times Square's special offer. Shoppers who spend HK$800 or more can, with a HK$20 donation to the End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation, bring home a cuddly Christmas bear that comes with a Christmas T-shirt affixed with a Swarovski crystal For the artist in you, a limited edition Jimmy 2008 calendar designed by Jimmy Liao, the Taiwan illustrator, is available for the same deal from tomorrow. Children can satisfy their sweet tooth at the Christmas Carnival Village from December 14 to 25. A coupon to play 'Catch your Prize' and 'Turn 'n' Win' games is awarded to those who spend HK$800 or more in the mall, while enjoying free popcorn and cotton candy.

Pacific Place will be transformed into New York's Fifth Avenue this season. Garden Court will feature street-level window displays complete with special effects. Until the end of December, shoppers can take advantage of the offer and bring in receipts totalling at least HK$5,000 from a day of shopping at two or more stores, to redeem a festive set of candleholders and enter the lucky draw.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong closes on January 1, so this will be the last opportunity to enjoy its annual festive events before it reopens in Kowloon in 2010. The Teddy Bear Tea will be held on December 22, with Mr and Mrs Claus as guests of honour, of course. The roly-poly couple will be busy reading stories, while Ritz-C bear makes a special furry appearance and a magician will be dazzling audiences with mind-blowing tricks and mystifying illusions. The Teddy Bear Tea will take place from 3pm to 5pm, priced at HK$388 for adults and HK$358 for children. Meanwhile, ballet-lovers may want to check out the Nutcracker High Tea from December 15 to 24. Held at The Chater Lounge, from 3pm to 6pm, you can watch the little toy soldiers and sugar plum fairies perform the Nutcracker ballet at 5pm (HK$278/adult, HK$198/child).

InterContinental Hong Kong has a special festive menu for children during the holiday season. From December 15 to 26 (excluding the 24th), children can feel all grown-up at the Nutcracker pre-ballet dinner at the Spoon (HK$488/adult, HK$318/child), where they can sip a special mocktail with their dinner, which also comes with a free Nutcracker ornament. The Lobby Lounge is also serving up a special Nutcracker pre-ballet lunch and dinner, on December 15, 16, 22 and 23, where children can indulge in a four-topping pizza, drink some of the hotel's signature hot chocolate, and finish off their meal with a scoop of ice cream with toppings. They will also receive a Nutcracker ornament (HK$290/person).

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong offers a Festive Family Stay, treating children and adults alike to a taste of luxury. While the parents sip chilled champagne and nibble on traditional minced pies upon arrival, the kids will no doubt be fighting over the X-Box, which is provided in every room, and their choice of movies from the in-room entertainment system. This Christmas package is priced from HK$6,000, and is available from December 22 to 27.

Hong Kong Disneyland is the place to be for children and grown-ups this Christmas. Sleeping Beauty's Castle will be transformed by Maestro Mickey Mouse into a dazzling light spectacle, as thousands of lights covering the castle glitter against the backdrop of the evening sky. Four ice sculptures in the form of Disney princesses stand next to Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, ready to attend the royal ball. Guests can sing along to rocking versions of Christmas classics with their favourite Disney characters in the 'Let It Snow' Christmas parade, while a shower of snow will fall on Main Street. These Christmas festivities extend to January 2, and guests staying at the two Disney hotels can enjoy the benefits of the 'Stay and Play for 2 Days' offer - two days' admission for the price of one.

Renaissance Kowloon Hotel Santa buddies up with a clown and a magician during dinner at the hotel's restaurants on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The trio will be hitting the Panorama (HK$888/person), Patio (HK$408/adult, HK$258/child), the Lobby Lounge (HK$318/adult, HK$198/child), and Dynasty (HK$588-988/set dinner) with entertainment for the children.

Island Shangri-La gives you and your children a lasting memory of your festive visit to the hotel, complete with a caricaturist's sketch at the dinner buffet in Cafe Too (HK$798/adult, HK$548/ child) on Christmas Eve (first seating: 5.30pm to 8pm, second seating: 8.30pm to 11pm). And don't miss the chance to get your picture taken with Santa Claus, who will be stopping by with party favourites for everyone.

Grand Hyatt Hong Kong has a generous Santa giving away presents at the lunch and dinner buffet in the Grand Cafe, Grissini, Tiffin, and Kaetsu on Christmas Day. Kids will enjoy the lunch buffet at the Grand Ballroom (HK$770/adult, HK$420/child) where there will be a children's show and entertainment (11:30am to 3pm), and where Santa can also be found handing out gifts.