Four Seasons Hong Kong: Within Walking Distance Set out on foot to discover the culture and tradition of this modern global city.
1/7 The world’s greatest commute and a landmark for well over a century, Star Ferry offers open-air seating or rail-side standing on two levels. Ply the waters of Victoria Harbour, connecting the tip of the Kowloon peninsula with Hong Kong Island’s Central District. The short ride is much more than transportation; it is a cruise among the sights and sounds of this busy port, and the best way to take in the waterfront splendour of both sides. Very close to the Hotel and operating every 8 to 12 minutes from 7:30 am until 11:00 pm, it is an absolute must for every visitor.
2/7 Much of Kowloon’s once famous shopping district along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront has been overrun by street pedlars hawking cheap tailoring and fake watches, but immediately outside the Star Ferry terminal are several notable sites. The Avenue of Stars is a waterfront promenade modelled on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Along the walk you’ll see Jackie Chan’s and John Woo’s handprints as well as a memorial bronze statue of Bruce Lee. From here you can watch the nightly Symphony of Lights display, the world’s largest permanent light and sound show, spanning 44 buildings (every evening at 8:00 pm). Also located near the terminal are the relatively new Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Space Museum.
3/7 Hong Kong cuisine means one of three things: dim sum, seafood or roast meats. When it comes to the latter, no restaurant in the city is more famous than Yung Kee, where roast goose, the house specialty, is legendary. As many as 300 whole birds are served each day. The restaurant’s focus on goose dates to 1938, and it has been in its present Wellington Street location since 1944. So many regular Hong Kong visitors over the years have stopped in on their way to the airport to pick up a to-go box for their trip that the dish earned the nickname “flying roast goose.”
Photography courtesy Yung Kee Restaurant
4/7 Traditional lunch or brunch in Hong Kong means dim sum, and City Hall Maxim’s Café is one of the most popular and timeless choices, one of the few that still features classic pushcarts delivering an ever-changing array of small plates to your table—dim sum is the original “tapas” style of dining. Maxim’s, for short, is immense and always packed. Here you’ll find an authentic Hong Kong scene complete with a cacophony of ordering, dining and fast-paced conversation. The spot is popular with locals but welcoming to tourists. Carts are adorned with circular metal steamer trays full of har gow (translucent shrimp dumplings), char siu bao (roast pork–stuffed doughy steamed buns), blocks of glutinous steamed sticky rice stuffed with assorted meats, and dozens of other traditional dim sum specialties.
Photography courtesy City Hall Maxim’s Café
5/7 Retail therapy is a way of life in Hong Kong, a totally duty-free port known for fair prices and very high quality. Here you’ll find every major international luxury brand represented, countless high-end boutiques, tailors and fine watch salons at every turn. The best of the many malls is the IFC (International Finance Centre), directly connected to the Hotel. It houses Asia’s always jammed flagship Apple store and dozens of the city’s finest retailers—you won’t see stand-alone boutiques from Vacheron Constantine, Jaeger Lecoultre or luxe cell phone maker Vertu in many malls elsewhere on the planet. The IFC also has Hong Kong’s best gourmet supermarket, City'super, which is a great spot to pick up gifts or souvenirs like decadent XO sauce.
6/7 Designer David Tang has spent the past two decades transforming his fashion brand, Shanghai Tang, into Asia’s most famous, with stores around the globe. When his original shop lost its long-time home in the Pedder building, it was reborn as the nearby Shanghai Tang Mansion. The new flagship store, the largest in the world, spans three storeys and is as much an experience as a place to shop. The entire front is glass, and the interior features cutting-edge contemporary Chinese design, with intricate inlaid floors. Shoppers can browse the vast assortment of signature 1920s and 1930s East-meets-West ready-to-wear fashion and casual clothing (think dress shirts with Mandarin collars), housewares, fragrances and even a bespoke tailoring section.
Photography courtesy Shanghai Tang
7/7 D’Aguilar Street is calm by day, but when the sun sets it turns into a block party, Hong Kong’s answer to New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street, lined with bars for all ages and budgets. If you have trouble finding it, that may be because the locals call it Lan Kwai Fong, or simply LKF. One sophisticated choice around the corner from the frenzy is Tastings Wine Bar, located on the bottom floor of an office building at 27 Wellington Street. Tastings features 160 high-end global wines such as Harlan The Maiden and Chateau Talbot, all served by the glass from perfectly maintained Enomatic wine-dispensing machines.
Photography Stephanie L S Cheng
No longer British but not yet fully Chinese, Hong Kong is completely unique, both physically and culturally. In this city of islands and coast, the presence of water is felt everywhere, but so is the sky above, as Hong Kong has soared rapidly upwards in recent years; its skyline is now full of towers. Aerial pedestrian walkways connect much of downtown Hong Kong Island and create a second city superimposed over the first—a city of luxury shopping malls, offices and trendy new restaurants. At street level below, Hong Kong remains a frenetic, action-packed
mélange of traditional restaurants, antique shops, hawker carts and bustling daily life. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong connects you to both layers, and whether you leave the Hotel at ground level or take the overhead route, there is much to see and do within close walking distance.
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Four Seasons Magazine Current Edition
The best of luxury travel, style and culture from thought leaders and tastemakers
Issue 2 2014