Couples will experience a bustling, sophisticated metropolis where East and West collide beautifully in vibrant Hong Kong.
Visit Hong Kong for one of the many festivals, the bars where live music pumps out all night, the designer shopping or quirky one-off stores. Alternatively just go and luxe out at some of Asia’s best urban hotels, luxury spas and Michelin-recommended restaurants.The best way to enjoy Hong Kong is to stay for several nights and leave enough time to explore both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon properly. However, if you are on a stop-over and time is an issue, here are our highlights to help you discover the most of this unique city:
Kowloon:Temple Street Markets are probably the city’s most famous street markets. Open from 2 to 11 each day (although they don’t really get busy until it is dark. Expect to find just about everything from knock-off designer handbags to fortune tellers. Temple Street,Yau Ma Tei.
Hong Kong Island:Western Market was renovated in 1991 and this Edwardian-style building is Hong Kong’s oldest surviving market building.Western Market is great for arts and craft, or go to observe the heritage building and grab some dim sum and perhaps witness a tea dance.The big draw card is the fabric market which houses merchants who used to sell their wares from the old alleys of Central.The quality and the range of fabrics are both great.
323 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan, +852 6029 2675, westernmarket.com.hk/eng
Kowloon:The biggest mall this side of the harbour has to be the Langham Place at Mong Kok.With more than 200 shops you will find the typical high-street stores such as H&M and Levis, with a Vivienne Westwood and one or two other high-end labels. langhamplace.com.hk/en/
Hong Kong Island: One of the biggest malls this side is IFC, but if you have a hankering and the budget for exclusive luxury labels, head to Landmark where you will find Louis Vuitton’s flagship Asian store and Michelin-starred restaurants. landmark.hk
QUIRKY OR BESPOKE SHOPPING
Kowloon: Visit the city’s flagship store for its first budget independent street-wear label – Double Dog ‘designed in Hong Kong’. Decked out in a cool New York loft-style theme, you’re sure to grab a unique piece of clothing. 1/F, 71 Granville Rd,Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong Island: For a fashionable souvenir you will not only treasure but wear for years to come, visit Linva Tailor – Hong Kong’s most famous purveyor of cheongsams. 68-year-old tailor Sifu Ching-Wah Leung is a master of this dying art and will guide you through the process, discussing the various options in style. From the flamboyant to the classic, you will leave with a cheongsam that is distinctly you. 38 Cochrane Street, Central, +852 2544 2456
EAT & DRINK … WITH A VIEW!
Kowloon:You’ve got to take advantage of any opportunity to indulge in a view while in Hong Kong – there is a reason that the harbour is said to be one of the most picturesque in the world. And Felix, at the city’s landmark Peninsula Hotel, serves up some of the best views this side of the harbour. Designed by Philippe Starck, this is where the city’s chic-set eat and drink and the place you go to to see and be seen.The mouthwatering food and innovative cocktail list alone ensure it will be a night to remember.
Phone (852) 2920 2888 to make a reservation.
Hong Kong Island: It’s all about the views again – this time looking back toward the Harbour and Kowloon, with Happy Valley and Wan Chai sparkling below.We loved the outdoor lounge area of Wooloomooloo’s Rooftop Bar – an absolute must if you are on the Island.There is also a restaurant here just below, but we were happy to enjoy the New Zealand pinot noir and the atmosphere at the bar (no bar food). Arrive early for the sunset, stay until 8 for the light show. You could easily miss the entry. Floor 31 & Rooftop,The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road,Wan Chai
KOWLOON: The ultimate place to call home in Hong Kong – the Grand Dame of the East,The Peninsula Hong Kong. Opened in 1928, the hotel has attracted movie stars and dignitaries who visit for the unmatched service and ambience. Rooms underwent an upgrade, and now boast the most technically advanced offerings anywhere in the world.The ultimate honeymoon location. peninsula.com
HONG KONG ISLAND: Situated in happening Wan Chai, Mira Moon is a unique boutique hotel that is big on style and design, and reasonable (for Hong Kong – we are not saying it is cheap, we are saying it is good value!) on price.This 91-room property boasts trend-setting interiors that were directed by Wanders & yoo. Boasting a gorgeous, almost whimsical, theme, the design team reinterpreted traditional Chinese style and gave it an urban edge (including free-to-use iPad minis in every room). miramoonhotel.com
While in Hong Kong, be sure to do one or two ‘touristy’ things, such as taking the tram to The Peak where you’ll get the ultimate bird’s eye perspective of this teeming city, and take a Star Ferry from Kowloon to the Island at night to see Hong Kong’s more seductive side (the cheapest way to enjoy the famous views).
WORDS Tanya Joslin