Things to do in Hong Kong

I developed a love-hate relationship with Hong Kong after spending four action-packed days there last winter. The city is chaotic and crowded and the weather is humid and muggy, but the wealth of restaurants, bars and activities make it a great stopover for travellers with a few days to spare.

Peninsula Hong Kong

To Stay

The Peninsula – Known as the “Grande Dame of the Far East”, The Peninsula Hong Kong is much more than just a luxury hotel. This iconic establishment is one of the city’s main landmarks, and even those who aren’t staying hope to visit for a photograph or to sample the famous afternoon tea.

The Langham – Centrally located on the Kowloon side of town, this hotel feels particularly grand and luxurious, thanks to the recent 30 million dollar transformation by London firm GA Design. Marvel at the lavish lobby before heading up to your stylish suite. Renowned restaurant, T’ang Court has recently been awarded a third Michelin star.

Caprice Hong Kong

To Eat

Caprice – Caprice was opened in the Four Seasons Hong Kong by a team from the prestigious Le Cinq in Paris and quickly received two stars from the Michelin guide. The outstanding service and immaculate French cooking wows and the tables offer panoramic views overlooking the city skyline.

Lung King Heen – With a reputation as the best Chinese cook in the world, Chef Chan Yan Tak has a lot of customers who visit with high expectations. When the Michelin guide arrived in Hong Kong 8 years ago, his restaurant Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons received the ultimate recognition of three stars, an accolade it has retained ever since. Despite the grandeur of its reputation this restaurant has a friendly feel. Chef Tak’s passion for traditional but creative cooking is very much evident throughout the menus, and his dim sum is unbeatable.

Little Bao – The Taiwanese steamed buns known as ‘bao’ seem to be a worldwide craze. Little Bao in Hong Kong is fun eatery run by chef owner May Chow. Save space for the salt ice-cream with caramel sauce dessert bao.

Din Tai Fung – This dumpling institution originated in Taiwan, specialising in xiao long bao (steamed dumplings). There are branches all over Hong Kong satisfying the crowds with comfort food that tastes seriously good.

Po’s Atelier – A pastry mecca found in the Sheung Wan district, Po’s Atelier is a minimalist bakery selling delicious breads and cakes. Pick up a bag of madeleines at the shop, or head to Deadend cafe around the back to relax with a coffee.

22 Ships – Jason Atherton’s Hong Kong outpost is always busy, serving tasty tapas inspired by the flavours and ingredients of China. Don’t miss the roasted suckling pig with pineapple and piquillo peppers.

Yardbird – Yardbird is a modern izakaya that specialises in yakitori dishes of skewered grilled chicken. This neighborhood restaurant has a food menu created by Chef Matt Abergel who aims to use the entire chicken, grilling the different cuts over traditional Binchotan charcoal. My favourites were the Chicken oyster yakitori and the Korean fried cauliflower.

Tim Ho Wan – This no-fuss diner is known as the ‘cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world’. Get cosy amongst the locals and tick off the items on the menu you want to try. We particularly enjoyed the Baked bun with bbq pork and the Steamed shrimp dumplings. There are several branches but only one has a Michelin star.

Lab Made – This ice-cream parlour serves super smooth gelato, made with the freshest ingredients and frozen with liquid nitrogen. Flavours change constantly, I tried sea salt milk with caramel popcorn.

cocktails Hong Kong

To Drink

Cupping Room – There are now three branches of this speciality coffee shop in town. The stylish interiors encourage guests to relax and the coffee is flavoursome and delicious.

Coffee Academics – This company is known for sourcing top quality coffee beans from around the world, and consequently is always full with tourists and locals needing their caffeine fix. They also run coffee classes.

Quinary – Often listed as one of the world’s top 50 cocktail bars, the Quinary is a well established bar in Hong Kong’s central district. The mixologists create drinks which seek to engage all five senses, try the thrilling ‘Earl Grey Caviar Martini’.

The Woods – This concept bar specialises in artisan liquors and innovative drinks. The bar is magically decorated with woodland themed objects. We tried a ‘Peach Old Fashioned’ and a ‘Chamomile Bees Knees’ with hints of tea, vanilla, honey and lemon.

view of Hong Kong

To See & Do

Peak Tram – For the best views of Hong Kong join the queue of tourists for a trip up in the Peak Tram. This funicular railway has been running since 1888 and attracts more and more people every year. A return ticket will cost around £9 including a pass to go to the Sky Terrace 428, the highest 360 viewing platform in Hong Kong.

Stanley Market – This enormous market in the quaint village of Stanley, on Hong Kong Island’s south coast, is a huge hit with locals, expats and tourists. Wander the stalls and pick up bargain Chinese souvenirs.

Nail Library – The most stylish nail bar in town,  Nail Library is designed to look like a New York loft-style bookshop. There is a huge array of shades and brands to choose from, including Chanel, Christian Louboutin and Dior and the therapists are attentive but friendly while pampering your nails.

Man Mo Temple – Hong Kong’s only Man Mo temple, built in 1847, pays tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and God of War (Mo). It is a magical place, with spiral incense sticks burning on the ceiling and golden urns on the ground. I found the scent is overpowering, but inside it is too beautiful to miss.

tang tang

To Shop

Tang Tang Tang Tang – This is the flagship store of Sir David Tang’s newest lifestyle label. If designer items from Shanghai Tang are out of your price-range this is the perfect place to invest in a similar style of luxe Chinese homeware or accessories. I bought a lovely delicate cashmere scarf, with a striking and intricate blue and white pattern.

PMQ – Located in the hip SoHo area, the PMQ (formerly Police Married Quarters) is a creative hub for local designers. Check our fun shops like Haus Collective and Goods of Desire.

GRANA Fitting Room – This store is a wardrobe of essential garments in every colour and material you could ever dream of. GRANA select the world’s best fabrics and then design simple tailored clothing, which you can try on in this ‘fitting room’ before ordering online.

Visual Culture – A super cool optical boutique for glasses addicts. The store was established in 2008 and stocks unique and special frames from designers all over the world.

Lantau Island

To Escape

Lantau Island – From Hong Kong city centre it is easy to reach both beaches and rainforests for a day trip. We spent a day at Lantau island, one of the largest islands in Hong Kong and home to a range of interesting sites. Be brave and take a journey on the ‘Ngong Ping 360’, one of the world’s longest cable car journeys, before visiting the Big Buddha and stunning monastery. If you have time, Tai O is a lovely village to explore, and you may even get a glimpse of the Chinese pink dolphins!

The Peninsula Hong Kong

Peninsula Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hong Kong, known as the “Grande Dame of the Far East”, is much more than just a luxury hotel. This iconic establishment is one of the city’s main landmarks, and even those who aren’t staying hope to visit for a photograph or to sample the famous afternoon tea. The hotel opened in 1928, as the Peninsula brand’s flagship property, and the majestic exterior and main lobby haven’t changed much since.

The hotel is located on the harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, the perfect place to watch the daily light show over the water and a prime position for city sightseeing. I was delighted to be staying in room 2412, a grand deluxe room with a spectacular view of the harbour. This category of room is spacious and indulgent, decorated in shades of cream and grey with plenty of natural light. The bedrooms feel particularly fresh and modern after the 2013 renovation, with hidden technological additions like touch screen tablets, free international calls and home theatres. Elegant and artistic oriental details are a quiet reminder of the hotel’s history and heritage.

The bed was one best of I have experienced, dressed in the finest Egyptian cotton from Italian brand Quagliotti. The subtle grey and white striped covers were stylish but simple, a nice change from the usual hotel bright white. The bathrooms are state of the art, clad in marble with grand his-and-hers sinks, a large bathtub and separate shower. Toiletries are provided by international designer Oscar de la Renta and special red soap boxes are a complimentary good luck gift for each guest.

The hotel’s seven restaurants are regarded as some of the top eateries in the city. Spring Moon is renowned for its authentic Cantonese cuisine, served in a 1920s traditional Shanghainese mansion on the first floor. I recommend visiting at lunch to sample the signature dim sum, when there is a sophisticated yet lively atmosphere.

For a glamorous night out head to Felix on the 28th floor. This avant-garde space was designed by Philippe Starck and serves Modern European cuisine. I loved the characterful touches in this restaurant such as the chair covers, which feature the faces of distinguished members of hotel staff. Felix opened in 1994 and has been used for many exclusive functions, including a Christian Dior catwalk show! The private rooms and dramatic toilets are also well worth seeing.

The French restaurant, Gaddi’s, is perhaps the most luxurious and romantic dining option at the hotel. The glorious dining room is famous for proposals – and even has a dedicated proposal table, which so far has a 100% success rate. Keen foodies will appreciate the intimate chef’s table in the kitchen that provides a bespoke dining experience.

The Peninsula Hong Kong is also very well known for its afternoon tea, which is served in the lobby. At weekends, visitors queue for hours to sample the beautiful tea, so I recommend visiting on a weekday for a more relaxed experience! I also felt very privileged to meet the hotel’s Maître Chocolatier, Marijn Coertjens in his delicious kitchen filled with immaculate sweet creations.

I enjoyed breakfast in the all-day Verandah restaurant where guests can feast on the elaborate buffet. Here, anything and everything is available, from Chinese delicacies to Italian cured meats and French cheeses. I was happy to enjoy a simpler selection of the flaky pastries, fresh juices and strong coffee.

Every luxury seems possible at The Peninsula Hong Kong. For an extra special occasion the hotel can arrange scenic helicopter flights from their China Clipper heliport on the 30th floor. A 15-minute flight costs $9,995 and offers unparalleled views of the famous cityscape. Alternatively you may wish to book in for a lavish treatment at the renowned spa, after which you can go for a refreshing swim in the impressively opulent indoor pool.

The Peninsula Hong Kong staff will ensure your stay in Hong Kong is unforgettable from the moment you step off the plane. The custom-made Rolls Royce Phantom’s in Peninsula green will transport you from door to door, complete with complimentary wifi and refreshments. The car journey to the airport was the perfect opportunity to upload all my favourite Peninsula moments onto social media, a photo album which would made even the most seasoned traveller jealous.

More information and book a stay at The Peninsula Hong Kong here.

The Langham Hong Kong

I have visited a few Langham hotels around the world and always feel at home in the palatial pink accommodation. The Langham Hong Kong is particularly grand and luxurious, thanks to the recent 30 million dollar transformation by London firm GA Design.

The spectacular sparkling lobby is a welcome contrast to the muggy, crowded streets of the city. Some walk in just to marvel at the beauty of the room and while we were staying a wedding photoshoot was making use of the beautiful backdrop. Visitors can choose to enjoy this area for tea and macaroons (Laduree have designed a bespoke ginger flower variety specially for the hotel) or indulge in a cocktail at the Artesian bar.

There are 498 rooms to choose from including 23 standard suites and 4 signature suites. We felt very privileged to be staying in a Langham Club Room, which offers numerous benefits in the Club Lounge. This exclusive and plush area serves breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapés and cocktails. The service here was personal and attentive, which made me feel immediately at ease.

Every inch of the hotel feels new and glamorous. Our bedroom was pristine and perfect; a regal room decorated in subtle shades of biscuit and beige. Throughout there with accents of pink – a vase of hydrangeas and a handmade pink chocolate stiletto filled with truffles. The huge bed and thick draped curtains gave an extra feel of luxury. The bathroom was slick and chic, clad in white marble with generously-sized Chuan toiletries.

The hotel has a diverse range of dining facilities and T’ang Court is the jewel in the crown. A Hong Kong institution, this much-loved restaurant has been open for over 20 years with chef Kwong Wai Keung always at the helm. This year the eatery gained its third Michelin star, a proud moment for the whole team.

Despite its three star status this eatery has a casual and sociable atmosphere. It is a favourite with locals, and personalised chopsticks sit in a cabinet at the entrance for the restaurant’s most loyal families. Sitting quietly at a table for two I could observe the culinary traditions and group excitement as families were reunited to enjoy their favourite meal.

Accompanied with a pot of hot jasmine tea I enjoyed a wonderful set lunch at T’ang Court. The kitchen prepared a selection of their finest signature dim sum and famous recipes. Stir-fried Wagyu beef with spring onion and wasabi was a highlight, a simple but decadent dish with soft meat in a sweet and salty sauce with a spicy hint from the wasabi. I also really enjoyed tasting the traditional baked fresh egg tartlet for dessert. Not dissimilar to the Portuguese variety, this was a comforting sweet and creamy end to the meal.

The Langham flagship Chuan spa is currently located a short taxi ride away at Cordis Hotel. I spent a morning here admiring the panoramic views and being pampered. The treatments pay close attention to each customer’s needs. Before deciding on the scent of oil and massage type guests are invited to fill out a Five Element Questionnaire. This determines what needs attention in order to harmonise your body and soul. Therapists Jessie and Natalie worked wonders, soothing my muscles and clearing my head of niggling worries. I came in stressed from the busy city and left feeling lighter and brighter. Wherever you are staying this spa is a must for those needing a break from the sightseeing and shopping of Hong Kong.

Whether you are visiting Hong Kong for business or leisure, as a foodie or fashionista, The Langham Hong Kong has something for everyone. The stylish design and faultless cuisine showcase this hotel as the finest in the Langham collection.

More information and book a stay at The Langham Hong Kong here.