1st July 1997, a helicopter takes off, bearing away the last British governor, tear-stained amid jubilant fireworks from the mainland. His departure ended 156 years of British colonial rule. Two decades on, much has changed, but a surprising amount remains the same: this Fragrant Harbour retains its own independent legislature based on English common law; it holds democratic elections; and remains one of the world's most important economic centres. This Special Administrative Region has, some would argue, been instrumental in providing a blueprint for the future of the entire People's Republic.
- Cantonese & English
THE STAR FERRYActivity
As one of the most iconic excursions of Hong Kong, the Star Ferry is definitely worth the ride over. Transporting people from either side of the Victoria Harbour (from either Central or Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui) since the 1880s, the Star Ferry offers unrivalled views of Hong Kong’s cityscape from its two decks. The ride takes five minutes, and priced at only 0.20 GBP per trip, remains the most cost-effective way to take in the city’s striking skyline.
- Address: Tsim Sha Tsui
- Phone: +852 2367 7065
- Website: http://www.starferry.com.hk/tc/home
ASIA SOCIETYArchitectural Sight
Sprawled above a lush forested canopy, the Asia Society’s Hong Kong outpost acts as a balcony over the city. The former British military buildings have been repurposed to host a variety of art exhibitions, including rotating displays of the Rockefeller collection of Asian art. Soak in the views on the marble and glass terraces, tour the featured exhibitions, and enjoy cocktails with a blend of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine at Ammo, the in-house restaurant and bar.
- Address: 9 Justice Dr, Admiralty
- Phone: +852 2103 9511
- Website: http://asiasociety.org/hong-kong
Situated away from the bustle of the city centre, Tuve Hotel’s position in the quiet neighbourhood of Tin Hau magnifies its sense of understated luxury. A thoughtfully designed, 66-room boutique hotel, Tuve champions warm, raw materials in its decor, such as gold-flecked concrete and dark wood panels across its walls. The property’s most striking feature, however, is the design of its lobby: natural light spills into the space, casting ethereal beams across the marble flooring.
- Address: 16 Tsing Fung St, Causeway Bay
- Phone: +852 3995 8899
- Website: http://www.tuve.hk
OMOTESANDO KOFFEECoffee Shop
Starting life as a tiny specialty coffee bar in a small cube space in Tokyo, Omotesando now enjoys a global reach, and opened its first international branch here, in the heart of a residential complex in Wan Chai. The duplex space retains the signature cube interiors, and the staff remain unwavering in their devotion to the quality and ceremony of coffee-making.
- Address: Shop No. 24-25, G/F., Lee Tung Ave, No. 200 Queen's Rd East, Wanchai
- Phone: ＋852 2601 3323
- Website: http://www.ooo-koffee.com/hongkong.html
The clean wood-panelled interiors of Elephant Grounds, flooded with natural light and flecked with green houseplants, make for a restorative space to enjoy their well-rounded brunch and specialty coffee menus. A favourite order among locals is an espresso with one of their signature ice cream sandwiches, handmade in small batches every day. With five locations dotted throughout the city, you will never be too far from the Elephant Grounds.
- Address: 8 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2253 1313
- Website: http://elephantgrounds.com
Serving bao filled with stacks of Szechuan fried chicken, or lamb tartare with tofu chips, Little Bao’s culinary creations are as playful as their neon signage and American diner interiors. Save room for dessert – it’s a favoured part of the meal here, and incorporates ice cream sandwiched between two fried baos, sweetened with condensed milk.
- Address: 66 Staunton St, Central
- Phone: +852 2194 0202
- Website: http://www.little-bao.com
Yardbird is regularly packed to the brim, and often has a waiting time of up to two hours. Yakitori small plates is the specialty here, with a diverse selection of chicken skewers, ranging from the expected cuts of breast or thigh, to the more unusual heart, ventricle or neck. Paired with a selection of beers, cocktails, and sake, this lively spot is sure to be worth the wait.
- Address: 33-35 Bridges St, Sheung Wan
- Phone: +852 2547 9273
- Website: http://yardbirdrestaurant.com
22 Ships – named after its location of 22 Ships Street in the Wan Chai district – serves an amalgam of delicious tapas from a mixed menu, including seafood paella with fava beans, and ceviche served with yuzu and Chinese radish. With stools stretching out onto the pavement, lining a low kitchen bar, 22 Ships offers a relaxed, laid back setting with a neighbourhood feel.
- Address: 22 Ship St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2555 0722
- Website: http://22ships.hk
ONE HARBOUR ROADRestaurant
One Harbour Road at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong offers Cantonese cuisine such as wagyu beef, crab claw, and dim sum, served on mismatched porcelain and steam baskets. Floor to ceiling glass windows overlook Victoria Harbour and the iconic city skyline, presenting a sophisticated backdrop to the dining room.
- Address: 7-8/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2584 7722
- Website: http://hongkong.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/OneHarbourRoad.html
VIA TOKYOIce Cream Shop
From matcha to hojicha, this dessert shop specialises in tea-based ice creams for those unbearably hot summer days. Order a cone straight up, or garnish with a selection of fruit, mochi and popped rice. Via Tokyo uses the highest grade matcha from a prestigious Kyoto tea house with over 150 years of experience – but if green tea isn’t to your liking, pop by on ‘Reverse Wednesdays’ for hojicha and royal milk tea flavours.
- Address: Shop 1A-1B, G/F, Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay
- Phone: +852 2895 1116
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/viatokyocafe
LATITUDE 22NPorcelain Shop & Studio
If typical tourist souvenirs aren’t your thing, hop on the MTR and journey to the end of the Island line to Latitude 22N for a rare studio and shop experience. Pioneered by Jesse Mc Lin and Julie Progin, the cerulean blue and mint studio feels more like an artist’s home than a warehouse. From porcelain pendant lighting to intimate noodle bowls, their designs pay homage to the history of Chinese porcelain, whilst remaining mindful of the modern home. Ask Jesse for a tour of his work station for the option of purchasing one-off experimental pieces. The studio opens by appointment only, so call ahead before you visit.
- Address: Unit 16 B, Man Foong Industrial Building, Cheung Lee St, Chai Wan
- Phone: +852 2480 1182
- Website: http://www.latitude22n.com
Tucked away behind the alleys of Wan Chai’s Star Street, Delstore is a hidden gem of menswear and accessories comprising a select range of brands, including Engineered Garments, Nigel Cabourn and Yuketen. The interior is artfully constructed to offer more space than what appears from the outside, while the second floor acts as an ever-changing pop-up space hosting a range of other brands.
- Address: 3 Schooner St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2528 1770
- Website: http://www.delstore.co/information.php
KAPOKLifestyle & Fashion Shop
Kapok is undoubtedly one of the better boutiques in Hong Kong, and carries an array of lifestyle and fashion brands. Opening its doors in 2006, the shop’s merchandise range from sought after international labels to a list of niche magazines and even coffee brands – one of the two Kapok brick and mortars doubles as a café. Situated in the peaceful neighbourhood of Star Street, its two locations are a stone’s throw away from each other, so when you’re done with one, you’re able to skip right on down to the next.
- Address: 5 St Francis Yd & 3 Sun St, Wan Chai
- Phone: +852 2549 9254
- Website: http://ka-pok.com
THE PULSEBeach Plaza
For a quick getaway from the city, head south to Repulse Bay. The Pulse is perched on a long strip of beach where residents and tourists alike come to sunbathe, relax, and take in the enchanting presence of the sea. The shopping complex includes a group of restaurants, cafes, and a yoga and fitness studio.
- Address: 28 Beach Rd
- Phone: +852 2815 8888
- Website: http://thepulse.com.hk
INNOVATION TOWER AT POLYUArchitectural Sight
‘Minimal’ isn’t often a word used to describe Hong Kong, but the Innovation Tower goes against the grain in this regard. Designed by the late Zaha Hadid, the tower rises above the brick-coloured tiles of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. For those who appreciate the clean, modern lines of contemporary architecture, the concrete and fluid white walls here are a breath of fresh air from the otherwise dense urban landscape of the city.
- Address: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon
- Phone: N/A
- Website: http://www.sd.polyu.edu.hk/en/j.c.-innovation-tower/visit