HONG Kong is s a destination where East meets West on bustling blocks, a metropolis rocketing towards the future with a population that looks back to celebrate the Chinese and colonial roots that made the place great.
The city is home to famous attractions that have been around for decades – the Star Ferry, Victoria Peak, The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel – but where fads burn bright and fade fast to push the hip restaurant or bar you found on your last trip out of business before your next visit. But don’t fret – something better is sure to take its place.
Hong Kong is shining a spotlight on the arts with Art Central (artcentralhongkong.com) slotted into the March schedule beside the Hong Kong Arts Festival (hk.artsfestival.org) and Art Basel Hong Kong (artbasel.com).
The Symphony of Lights – the nocturnal display that happens at 8pm with lights and lasers illuminating the skyline – is now even more impressive, with LEDs mounted across 118 floors of the ICC tower adding to the display.
PMQ (35 Aberdeen St, Central, pmq.org.hk) – an estate of heritage Art Deco structures built in the 1950s – has become Hong Kong’s new creative hub, packed with restaurants, design workshops and artist studios, galleries and pop-up shops.
Hong Kong’s roster of hotels expanded in the past two years with two notable additions – the Hotel Indigo (246 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chai; ihg.com/hotelindigo) and the Ovolo Southside (64 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Southside; ovolohotels.com).
The Traders Hotel Hong Kong became Hotel Jen Hong Kong last year (508 Queen’s Rd West, Shek Tong Tsui; http://www.hoteljen.com) and renovations to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai; hongkong.grand.hyatt.com) club suites are set to be complete by late this year.
Australian chef Shane Osborn is the talk of the town after opening Arcane (18 On Lan St, Central; arcane.hk) in November and long-time resident Patrick Goubier is combining French technique with Asian flavours at La Table de Patrick (37 Cochrane St, Central; chezpatrick.hk).
The menu at Timon (33 Ship St, Wan Chai; timonseafoodtapas.com) features 85 per cent seafood from nearby wet markets, The Grand Buffet (183 Queen’s Rd East, Wan Chai; thegrandbuffet.hk) is a revolving restaurant on the Hopewell Centre’s 62nd floor, and Jules Bistro (13 Yik Yam St, Happy Valley; bistrojules.com) offers a taste of Paris.
The dai pai dong – vintage open-air stalls where traditional dishes have been prepared by the same family for generations – is making a comeback after being identified for preservation, with Yue Hing and Hup Kee on Stanley St in Central worth visiting.
Alibi at the Langham Palace Hotel (555 Shanghai St, Mong Kok; hongkong. langham placehotels.com) is a lounge serving “smoking’’ drinks, while Caprice Bar is a venue for wine and cheese at the Four Seasons (8 Finance St, Central; fourseasons.com).
Guay (9A Sun Chun St, Tai Hang; guayhk.com) promises a laidback Latin vibe, colonial roots are celebrated at The Envoy (74 Queen’s Rd, Central; theenvoy.hk), and Little L.A.B. (50 Staunton St, Central) crafts cocktails from “Chinese ingredients’’.
Combine retail therapy and a daytrip to Hong Kong Island’s scenic south at Stanley – home to Stanley Markets and Stanley Plaza – and catch a bus from the Exchange Square, near MTR Hong Kong Station, with routes 6, 6A, 6X, 66 or 260 the best options.
Print House (printhouse.hk) at Stanley Markets puts local artists’ designs on T-shirts and G.O.D. (Shop 105, Stanley Plaza; god.com.hk) is a boutique packed with quirky treasures.
“My best-kept secret in Hong Kong is a large fashion showroom/warehouse called Ed1tus (facebook.com/Ed1tus) on the south side of Wong Chuk Hang Road,’’ says Charlie Lin from the W Hong Kong boutique hotel.
“My favourite restaurants and bars include Ping Pong 129 (129 Second St, Sai Ying Pun; pingpong129. com) for its lofty space and gin craftsmanship, Brickhouse (20 D’Aguilar St; Central; brickhouse.com.hk) for Mexican flavours and energetic atmosphere, 22 Ships (22 Ship St, Wan Chai; 22ships.hk) for delicious tapas, and Yardbird (33 Bridges St, Sheung Wan; yardbird restaurant.com) for a modern izakaya-style restaurant.’’
Cathay Pacific (cathaypacific.com) operates more than 70 flights a week between six Australian cities – Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns – and Hong Kong, with seats in the business, premium economy and economy cabins.
Discover Hong Kong (discoverhongkong.com) has more information.