city guides & travel

Take Me Away | City Guide № 2 : Hong Kong




Hong Kong, a magnificent city of brilliant lights, culture, beauty, magnetic energy, and possibility . . . Part of the People’s Republic of China, this labyrinth is situated on China’s south coast, encompassed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea. Hong Kong is renowned for its incredible harbour, expansive skyline and its easy accessibility. It is also known for its glamour, as a shopping destination, as well as for the ever-growing sights to see [both new and historical], things to do, exciting views, and emerging design.


Though considered younger than Shanghai, there are over 5,000 years of Chinese tradition in Hong Kong, set in beautiful contrast and communion with the western world. As a city, it is divided into four main areas : Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories, and the Outlying Islands [there are 236 in total]. Kowloon, and the New Territories are both located on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland, on the northern side of Victoria Harbour. While Hong Kong Island is on the southern side of the harbour facing Kowloon, the city itself is centred around the world-renowned and breathtaking Victoria Harbour.


To offset the ever-growing population of nearly seven million people , the city has taken shape vertically, making for a striking vision of fascination and wonder. And with a multitude of things to see and experience, places to visit, and so much to take in, a visit to Hong Kong is most certainly a must . . .



Famed are the many, many markets of Hong Kong—bursting with color, smells, tastes, and sounds, where one can find nearly anything, from antiques and delicious food [the lychee is especially enticing during summer months] to pets just waiting for a home. Indeed, from the beautiful array of birds that can be discovered in ‘The Bird Garden‘, with many proudly prized pets shown off by locals in their intricately carved cages, to the ‘Mong Kok Flower Market‘, with its lovely plants, [some are quite exotic] to ‘Goldfish Street/Market‘ as it is fondly referred to as, and even a ‘Ladies Market’, with fashion and accessories abound. And whether or not you intend to purchase, the markets are certainly a site to see, and are often open to the public daily, from morning to evening. On the itinerary would also be a visit to the incredible gardens of Hong Kong, wondrous Victoria Peak with its famed views, the Tsim Sha Trui waterfront, the art galleries, and many, many other must-visit spots.



One could get rather lost in this vast city, with its layers upon layers calling explorers in to shop, history waiting to be explored, and culture to be experienced, and but is the people, with their warmth, inviting visitors to be a part of their world that is most memorable; and so, won’t you join us today, as we take you away to this stunning city . . .



01 | Island Shanghai-La Hotel

An incredible, graceful hotel that is located in the city’s Central district, the Shangri-La towers above Hong Kong’s Pacific Place [a wonderful shopping destination], with spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. With its glistening chandeliers—771 in total throughout the hotel—not a single detail has gone amiss in this prestigious hotel. Indeed, for the Island Shangri-La even hosts the world’s largest Chinese silk painting, beautifully displayed and spanning an overwhelming 16 storeys within their atrium. While staying, [in one of their 531 guest rooms or 34 expansive suites], guests can enjoy the finest in luxury, with carefully selected Asian-accented European furnishings, complimentary wi-fi, a 24-hour health club, solarium, massage, and many more features and things to do. Whether staying here or just stopping by for lunch, a visit to Shangri-La is certainly a must.


02 | The Peninsula

Considered to be one of the finest hotels in the world, The Peninsula exudes glamour and has a strong reputation for outstanding service. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, at Victoria Harbour, guests can enjoy the lovely courtyard, with harbour and Kowloon views. At first glimpse of the grand entrance and lobby, one could certainly be overwhelmed with the incredible molding work, extravagant gilding, pillars upon pillars, and delightful decadence. There are 300 spacious suites with elegant marble baths, satellite televisions as well as 24-hour room and valet services. Beyond the guest rooms, the hotel hosts an array of fine cuisine, from French and traditional Chines to the famous Afternoon Tea in The Lobby. As the oldest hotel in Hong Kong, [1928], with its many, many amenities, attention to and impeccable service, The Peninsula is classic grandeur at its finest and so entirely inviting and intriguing, it almost a world in itself.



03 | W Hotel

The vibrant and ultra-chic 5-star W Hong Kong is located in a slightly quieter area of the city, making it a truly stylish getaway. With 393 guest room wonderfully designed with furnishings and artwork created by local, up-and-coming artists, as well as lovely toiletries and the latest in technology. After a full day of sightseeing and exploring, guests can enjoy different spaces throughout the hotel, including ‘the living room’—as it is fondly referred to—a comfortably decorated and inviting lounge area of sorts, that offers board games, internet access, snacks, and a full bar. Beyond the hotel walls lies the famed outdoor pool—one of the world’s highest rooftop swimming pools—located on the 76th floor. Spectacular views wonderfully frame the experience, as soft sunlight reflects off of the signature dramatic and whimsical mosaic wall.

[a few additional accommodations to note : the four seasons /// the mira /// the upper house /// a fabulous loft to rent … & for more places to stay, visit the {this is glamorous} city guides]




01 | Azure

With soaring ceilings, a sweeping alabaster staircase, custom cabinetry, glittery mirrors, and floor to ceiling windows, Azure is entirely enchanting, with its beautiful mix of traditional furnishings in warm hues and bits of rich blue reflecting the dusky night sky. The menu offers a lovely twist on more classic European cuisine, artfully presented. Previous guests have noted the most delicious six-layer blue crab salad, with layers of blue crab, avocado, smoked salmon, crispy pancetta, tomato, mesclun greens, and Dijon vinaigrette, as well as the lobster fettuccine with black truffle. Indeed, a meal at Azure promises not only fine dining and a lovely experience, but also an exclusive view from the top two floors of the luxurious LKF Hotel. Beyond the bar and main area of the restaurant, there are also a couple of private rooms available.



02 | Island Tang

Highly rated as one of the top restaurants in the city, Island Tang is a warm welcome to Cantonese cuisine. With a gently lit, inviting ambiance, designed by Sir David Tang, understated luxury reigns. Antique chandeliers and mirrors, rich wood tones and splashes of yellow add a look that almost reminds one of a bygone era, complete with antique condiments trays and silver teapots. As for the food, one can look forward to enjoy Chinese haute cuisine at its finest, with Cantonese dishes prepared in a classical manner, with an incredible cellar of some of the finest wines and some exceptional vintages. Though perhaps not as large and commercial as many other restaurants, this gem is certainly a favorite.



03 | Zuma

Located on level five and six of the Landmark, Zuma is a wonderful new addition and a must while visiting Hong Kong. Originally created in London, but more recently brought to other cities such as Hong Kong, Zuma offers a contemporary update on the more traditional cuisine of Japan, embracing the izakaya style of eating and drinking, yet in a sophisticated and chic environment. The interior has been crafted from a great deal of natural materials, such as timber, stone, glass and steel, open and airy throughout.
Beyond the main dining area, there are additional spaces, including a lounge and saki bar, sushi bar, robata counter bar, and a lovely terrace. But truly, most spectacular is the spiral staircase that connects to the lower level where the restaurant and outdoor terrace are located. Noted is the extensive and impressive beverage selection [the wine cellar contains over 2,000 bottles of wine from world-wide premier wine growing districts] and the incredible cuisine—from the zuma-style nigiri : toto and truffle, hotate and pomelo, tako and yuzu unagi and plum, wagyu beef and caviar, to the gindara saikyo-yaki : miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf; a treat for even the most discriminating of guests.


*** for a more comprehensive list of places to dine, including a michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, visit the {this is glamorous} city guides



[a couple of additional places to stop in : sevva, above [& another, stunning glimpse here], and island gourmet for the most incredible desserts]




Hong Kong is truly a fashion and style mecca, and in some cases, calls visitors throughout the world for the shopping alone. For packing purposes, one can count on lovely weather for the most part of this sub tropical climate, ranging from 15 °C [59 °F] during the winter months to warm summer months, which can rise up to 32 °C [89.6 °F]. If traveling to Hong Kong in the months of January to August, assemble an array of things well-suited for rain, sun and cold. The weather is often unpredictable, so carrying a light jacket or trench, scarf, or longer sleeves is most ideal for the ranging temperatures . . .



A few additional things you might enjoy
: if you are a chocolate fan, be sure to stop in at the famed Vero Chocolates for a box of chocolates /// for boutique shopping, we highly recommend Initial, Monocle & Shine /// for the evening, stop in at Ozone, claimed to the highest bar in the world, with a stunning interior and views /// for a bespoke suit, stop at the famous Sam’s—your suit will be ready in just 24 hours



[images: photography by peggy wong for wayfare magazine /// menu via paris hotel boutique /// high tea at the peninsula via find my wonder /// hong kong city line photography by damiano migani for national geographic /// pastries in case at sevva via /// lara stone by mikael jansson for vogue paris 2012 /// louis vuitton shopping bag via miss elen /// all other images, photography by alix of the cherry blossom girl : one /// two /// three /// four /// cake from sevva]

Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.

18 Notes
  • I was born in Hong Kong and go back every couple summers to visit, this was a lovely post, added to my excitement of going home again in May!

    (and I walk by Nice Garden every day from my dad’s apartment to a tea and macaron shop I get breakfast from! Strange coincidence.)

  • Sarah, another wonderful post. Hopefully I’ll be heading to Hong Kong soon. xx Have a great week.

  • Would looove to go to Hong Kong!

  • those are some amazing photos. i’ve never really wanted to go to HK, but it looks so pretty and nice in these pics :)

  • Thank you for featuring Hong Kong, my hometown! It is a beautiful post~

    The Peninsula is indeed a fine hotel of grandeur and elegance. Yet, I’d rather recommend visiting their lobby in the evening for drinks and desserts (with live band performance) rather than in the afternoon for tea. The long queues (and noise) can spoil the supposedly relaxing atmosphere of the reputed afternoon tea. For a crowd-free afternoon tea, I would recommend the Verandah in the Repulse Bay (also operated by the Peninsula group)instead.

    Just wanted to also say Sabrina’s recommendation of above is a practical guide for girls to pampering, dining and shopping experience in town.

  • Absolutely stunning and so luxe!
    Laura Casey

  • So funny that I should stumble on this today as I’m leaving for HK on Sunday! I was there last summer and experienced quite a bit but I’m booking marking this and adding a few to my to do list over the next few weeks. The pictures are lovely and I can’t wait to see it again in person!

  • I adore this series! And this post swept me away. x

  • love your photos. very inspiring xx

  • Sarah-
    So much beauty and inspiration in one place.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy Friday.

  • what a gorgeous post for a gorgeous city EXCELLENT job

  • i must go there <3

  • I’m from Hong Kong and that was beautifully written – thank you (:

  • HI! I live in Hong Kong (originally from the US) and love your blog! Such a nice treat to see my city as a featured destination. Be sure to also check out S.Nine dresses, Sheer Lingerie, and The 9th Muse for amazing jewelry finds! Button Hole in Soho is a great place for designer goods at a fraction of the price (factory seconds!). Also, is the girl’s guide to what happening in HK!

  • Sarah & Roseline, this is just so brilliant. If I were going to Hong Kong I would follow your advice exactly. Lovely photos and lots of inspiration going on here. xx’s

  • A gorgeous post Sarah………….your take me away series is fabulous. XO

  • This city looks amazing! Just a few weeks ago I had a closer look at Hong Kong since I had to illustrate about! It’s such a vibrant city with an amazing skyline! Great job on the post! :) Have a great Friday!

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