Hong Kong might be one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It’s full of skyscrapers, luxury hotels, some of the best restaurants in the world, over-the-top designer shopping and, of course, people. It’s a bit of sensory overload as there are retail windows and restaurants filling every piece of real estate on every street. A world-class fine dining restaurant can be right next to a mom and pop noodle shop that’s been there for decades, while a designer fashion store is next to a 7-Eleven.
Old Town Central
When walking around Old Town Central, it’s hard to miss the Western Market, due to its unique architecture. The four-story building is in Queen Anne Revival style, which was popular in the British Empire during the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods. The Kwong Fuk Ancestral Hall, a small red building occupying a street corner where family members go to honor their dead relatives, is free to enter and a sobering experience–the incense burns strong, as there are hundreds of incense coils hanging from the ceiling. Nearby is the Man Mo Temple, a tourist hot spot, and another incense-filled structure, but unlike Kwong Fuk, this is a place where people come to pray, worship and ask for assistance.
Hollywood Road was the second road to be built when the colony of Hong Kong was founded. It’s a fun place to stroll and explore the street art, find boutique retail therapy and discover the best happy hour spots. If craft beer is your thing, Craftissimo is a beer shop that has tons of different beers, including local Hong Kong craft beers. Another intimate setting with a back alley seating area is teakha, a place for tea, baked goods and conversation. And, for something completely unexpected, visit Reserva Iberica, a premium ham shop from Barcelona.
Eating Out–from Formal to No Reservations Required
It’s not hard to get overwhelmed when it comes to dining in Hong Kong, as the options are endless, but, luckily, the luxury hotels are always a great place to start. If Italian fine dining is on your mind, Tosca, at the Ritz-Carlton has an innovative menu, which features improved favorites and exciting interpretations of the region’s notable cuisine presented through an open kitchen for a theatrical dining experience. Over at the Langham Hotel, Bostonian Seafood and Grill provides a “shipyard chic scene.” The seafood restaurant was recently reimagined and now includes a craft brew bar as well as a private champagne room. A great brunch scene is over at the W Hong Kong at their modern bistro, KITCHEN, where the endless seafood buffet is impressive.
For walk-in restaurants visited more by locals but still providing top quality dishes, explore Old Town Central. Lee Lo Mei has traditional Chinese food with a funky cocktail menu. Posto Pubblico offers a one-of-a-kind meatball sandwich as well as perfectly prepared pizzas. And, Brickhouse will help with that Mexican food craving–the margaritas are expertly made and will not disappoint.
Where To Stay
The highest hotel in the world is the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, and if you aren’t afraid of heights, it’s beyond incredible. Their dining options, spa and famous Ozone Bar are more than enough reasons to visit, even if not staying there. The Four Seasons has a rooftop pool with incredible views of Victoria Harbour in a prime location on Hong Kong Island. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, situated directly in the midst of the world’s best shopping, features newly-redesigned luxurious rooms and suites–all with oversized soaking tubs. And, of course, there is The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, created in 1928 and known as the legendary “Grande Dame of the Far East.” A stay here permits guests to relive the glamour of travel of yesteryear while exploring the many antiques and artifacts on display throughout the hotel.