Your highness in Hong Kong
If you’re out for a duck or a dumpling and in for a stay amongst the stars, Helen Flanagan has the answers.
Two stops on the Airport Express, an escalator ride and short stroll and voila there’s the W sign dazzling in front of us. What a location with Kowloon Station underground and the very ritzy Elements lifestyle mall below the reach-for-the-stars hotel, with its bubble lift and Living Room aka lobby on the 6th floor. The glass-cornered fit-for-an-emperor suite frames the early morning glow of Victoria Harbour and the last vestiges of the world’s largest pulsating light show which shoots out from 44 of the city’s skyscrapers. As a backdrop to a champagne breakfast it’s the height of decadence.
Now let’s not waste a moment. We’re here for great time not a long time.
Set a leisurely pace avoiding the touts on the crowded pavements of Nathan Road; be tempted by eight floors of well-known labels at Times Square; see Ann and Agnes for pearls at the Jade Market; stop for a coffee and hang the expense at the stately 1920’s built Peninsula; and head to the wholesalers in Paterson Street’s Hang Lung Centre, starting on the14th floor, then descend via the fire stairs to the 8th, for a huge variety of European and Asian women’s fashion - designer or quirky. Shopping deals and where many of the locals go, is called Ladies Market in the Mongkok District. And never fear, men, it’s also a mecca for electronics.
Take the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island and ride on the Peak Tram that ascends straight up the side of Hong Kong’s highest mountain to 552 metres above sea level. Not for the faint of heart. Ride on the right side for the best views, hoof along the paths scented with jasmine and shaded in clumps of bamboo and appreciate the jaw-dropping spread of Hong Kong below.
There are 11,000 places to eat of every variety including one with three Michelin stars and Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung who’s thrilled diners at Noosa’s International Food & Wine Festival, baffles and thrills diners with his ‘X-treme Chinese’ at Bo Innovation. Take a more laid-back vibe, be spoilt for choice at the lavish mega-sized Elements which has the highest indoor observation deck in Hong Kong, sky100, while keeping good company with the likes of bvlgari, Cartier, Hermès and Prada are lunch faves such as beers and bento boxes to go, from 7-Eleven, fried crab with chilli at Sala Thai, or just around the corner past the most irresistible chocolate shop you’ve ever seen is all-you-can-eat dim sum at Sing Yin, a Cantonese restaurant on the ground floor of W. Don’t forget to check out the banquet menu for dinner. Dishes such barbecued suckling pig, braised lobster soup, lychee wood-fired crispy chicken and wok-fried scallop with black truffle and pan fried bean curd were taste bud ecstasies.
For something different, venture to the creative heart of Sheung Wan, a 10-mnute walk from Central along Hollywood Road, Hong Kong’s unofficial antiques district, up a gravelly steep lane past food stalls, Chinese herbalists, coffin shops and bric-a-brac markets to the Press Room. The packed brasserie proudly shows off hams that have been matured at the in-house affinage along with fresh produce and the steamed mussels Provencal and frites with champagne was worth getting blistered feet.
High decibel bar buzz is definitely happening at Ozone on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton which claims it is the highest bar in the world and the Senses cocktail is well-named while according to W’s Brisbane-born general manager Peter Hildebrand, Wet on the 76th floor boasts the highest outdoor pool and poolside bar in Hong Kong.
The allure of Hong Kong is undeniable – an exhilarating contrast been yin and yang, the perfect balance between glitz and glamour in the city that never sleeps.
If you go:
W Hong Kong www.w-hongkong.com
Ride on the right side for the best views, hoof along the paths scented with jasmine and shaded in clumps of bamboo and appreciate the jaw-dropping spread of Hong Kong below