With eight million people, the Hong Kong of today embraces enough skyscrapers of astounding architecture to dwarf Toronto and even Manhattan, as well as the world’s largest container port and one of the busiest airports. It’s also an enormously entertaining destination on any budget. The city has more than 60 Michelin-starred restaurants and is home to some of the world’s most luxe hotels, including the revered Peninsula Hong Kong and the new and astounding Ritz-Carlton. Fashionistas line up outside Chanel and Prada, and Cartier and Rolex boutiques proliferate by the dozen. But that’s just one side of the modern metropolis. Bargain hunters, too, can enjoy this intimate city of distinct neighbourhoods that you can walk, touch and feel. Here is a peek at Hong Kong, two ways. FANCY Stay Big spenders will feel right at home at the plush Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the highest-elevation hotel in the world, capping the shimmering, tapered glass tower of the International Commerce Centre. Rates start at $900 for a ritzy room for two, which includes the astonishing experience of swimming on the 118th floor, a half-kilometre in the sky. You could easily drop another $1,000 per day, living the high life at Ritz-Carlton with dinner at a one of the hotel’s restaurants, sightseeing via limousine, a restorative massage at ESPA and lychee cocktails at the penthouse lounge Ozone. Eat The new culinary darling is Above & Beyond in Hotel Icon, which has panoramic views, an airy design by Sir Terence Conran and contemporary riffs on Cantonese cuisine. Delicacies include wagyu beef, abalone with fish maw, lobster with black truffles, barbecued goose, king prawns, foie gras with pineapple and tender smoked Bresse pigeon with oolong tea leaves. Restaurant manager Hugo Cheng brings expertise from Joël Robuchon’s empire and executive chef Joseph Tse from Mandarin Oriental. A gastronomic dinner costs $85 and up, plus wine pairings. The twist is that Hotel Icon is run by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Hotel Tourism Management, so you are taken care of by the best and brightest servers, both professional and interns. Shop The city’s Tatler magazine is 400 pages thick with glossy ads for big-brand cars, jewels and watches. (The hottest timepiece is the Swiss-Italian Panerai, which runs $8,000-$25,000 for most models.) The swish Lane Crawford department store carries high-end French, Italian and American designers. But why not go all-Chinese with good-luck symbols, mandarin collars and calligraphy designs from Hong Kong companies? The chic lifestyle boutique Shanghai Tang carries luxurious cashmere, leather and silk clothes for men and women (figure on $700-1,000 for a dress or a man’s jacket) and home accessories, all with Chinese detailing. Goods of Desire on Hollywood Road is a hipster haven of local creations, such as weekend sweaters and down vests at $100-200 and loft-worthy decor items. Chinese Arts and Crafts has a three-storey collection of treasures, from a slinky $200 cheongsam to a $200,000 museum-quality porcelain vase. Wan Chai, the former red-light district immortalized in the 1960 movie The World of Suzie Wong, is Hong Kong’s upscale “it” neighbourhood, with office towers and condos sprouting like bamboo trees and international indulgences such as l’Occitane Spa from France and The Pawn, a gorgeous, historic colonial-style lounge and dining spot with a regal British accent. Wan Chai’s Star Street is a cluster of hot indie boutiques and Queen’s Road East is a posh decorators’ row with fine Asian fabrics. Spa The sublime Chinese Wellness Ritual at the Four Seasons Hotel Spa begins with an ancient tea ceremony and segues into a soothing rice poultice application, a bracing body exfoliation, a warm rain shower and a revitalizing massage, all done with essences of ginseng, jasmine and green tea. It’s a steep $460, but you’ll feel like a million. Nature It’s easy to forget that Hong Kong, the Fragrant Lagoon, is surrounded by tranquil islands, picturesque mountains and the warm waters of the South China Sea. No one does a high-flying trip to the seaside like The Peninsula Hotel, the colonial-era doyenne of Hong Kong hotels, where a stunning $57-million renovation is adding subtle high-tech touches and a warm residential style to spacious rooms. The Peninsula runs a twin-engine chopper for aerial tours (around $3,000 for four people) of the Hong Kong Geopark, a UNESCO site of unique rock formations near Sai Kung in the New Territories. Geo-tourism is a new gig for Hong Kong and visitors can explore mangrove forests, sea corals and walled villages, built centuries ago as protection against pirates. Tea East meets West at The Peninsula’s legendary afternoon tea served in the splendid neo-Classical lobby. Scones are topped with Devon cream, and Chinese chrysanthemum tea is served on fine bespoke porcelain by Tiffany & Co. Source: http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/10/15/hong-kong-high-low-something-for-everyone-whether-youre-staying-at-the-ritz-or-the-y
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