24 hours in Hong Kong

One of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Asia, Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan jungle, with a show-stopping skyline, a legendary kitchen, a wild coastline and beautiful countryside. High finance and high fashion collide amidst the soaring skyscrapers of this culture capital, and charming colonial sights and exotic nightlife alike are dotted throughout the city. Here’s how to make the most of a 24-hour visit, leaving you wanting more and more…

hong kong

Places to stay

Ritz Carlton – Situated on the 103rd floor, in one of the World’s tallest buildings, on Hong Kong’s Kowloon side with spectacular views over the city and Victoria Harbour the Ritz Carlton certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Facilities on site are spectacular, including the World’s highest swimming pool and seriously sexy spa with Harbour View treatment rooms. Dining options include Michelin-starred Chinese and Italian restaurants and the rooftop bar, Ozone, is one of the city’s most popular due to its location on the 118th floor.

Upper House – The Upper House is a slick, sexy property with some of the best views from the Hong Kong Island side. Interiors are the work of Chinese designed Andre Fu and the overall effect has a distinctly boutique minimalist feel, but with a homely warmth and charm. The exquisite rooms and suites are decorated in the best quality materials, and the clever design maximises space. Such luxuries as complimentary mini bars, cosy seating areas and a library enforce the company’s ‘house’ philosophy.

Landmark – Located in the heart of Hong Kong’s business and fashion districts, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. This sleek urban hotel, set above the Landmark Mall exudes style, sophistication and serenity, and is famed for its impeccable customer service. Dazzling dining options are on offer at the contemporary French restaurant, Amber, and trendy Mo Bar, one of Hong Kong’s hottest dining and drinking spots.

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Where to eat

Mott 32 – Located in the basement of the Standard Chartered Building, you are transported into an unexpectedly chic and refined space.  The menu consists of delicious and unique dim sum combinations, and some of the crispiest and best suckling pork you’ve will have tasted. And for those who didn’t sample enough in Beijing, they also serve the best Peking duck in the city.

Otto E Mezzo – Located inside the fashionable Landmark shopping arcade, Otto E Mezzo serves some of the best Italian food in the city.  The atmosphere is sophisticated, and it is a place where both businessmen and Hong Kong socialites alike gather for a late evening meal or drink at the bar.

Lung King Heen – Executive Chef, Chan Yan Tak was the first Chinese chef to receive 3 Michelin stars.  Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, the restaurant is elegant but still has the energetic buzz of a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong.

Peninsula Hotel – Any first time visitor to Hong Kong will want to indulge in the afternoon tea at this Hong Kong landmark.  Although this means that the queues are long, and the lobby is full of well-healed tourists wanting to partake in this tradition, it is a magnificent experience and one not to be missed!

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Shopping

The centre of town boasts some of the best shopping in the world, or there is spectacular antique shopping on Hollywood Road. On the far side of the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui are a further range of boutiques, department stores and other retail outlets, all handily grouped under a single roof in Harbour City. After dark, the rowdy Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon comes alive with ample stalls selling weird and wonderful foodstuffs, counterfeit goods and obscure potions. Have your fortune told, listen to opera singers busking and watch games of Chinese chess played out with intense concentration.

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Culture

Hong Kong has a dynamic cultural scene as well, which is traced back to its Chinese roots, colonial connections and the contributions of its home-grown talent, and the intertwining of all three elements. From Asia’s top film festival to Tai Chi at dawn, or reading the couplets of a local poet to the drumbeat of a dragon boat. Soak up indie music by the harbour or Chinese opera in a bamboo theatre, or watch one of the thousands of shows staged year-round at the city’s many museums and concert halls.

dragon boat

The best time to visit is during October or November when it isn’t too hot, and there is less chance of rain. Once you’ve spent 24 hours in Hong Kong, you’ll definitely want to come back!

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel.

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