Philipp Engelhorn

Asian cities are pushing the design envelope. Here’s where to go in Hong Kong.

Shops

In Hong Kong’s fast-gentrifying Sheung Wan neighborhood, 1960’s fashion is the inspiration at men’s-wear shop Moustache, where New York City transplants Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye use high-tech Japanese fabrics for their bright knit sweaters and piped pajamas. A 10-minute walk away, Fiona Kotur Marin—another former New Yorker—showcases her snakeskin, shell, and silk brocade clutches at Kotur (by appointment only), which has earned a following by the likes of Renée Zellweger and Tory Burch. Fashion editors and stylists flock to Kanchan Couture (by appointment only), nearby in the Central district, for feminine frocks and separates made with bright Indian textiles. Head east to lively Wan Chai to find Kapok, which stocks a mix of inventive accessories (look for neon wristwatches and silk-screened totes). In fashionable Soho—South of Hollywood Road—Forest Bird displays a fashion-forward selection of clothes and handmade jewelry from small European and Japanese labels. Need a lift? Refuel with espresso and macarons at the boutique’s tiny café. Unique housewares can be found along Gough Street in burgeoning Noho. Green-minded Ecols carries colorful dinner platters made from wine bottles, while Homeless sells ceiling lights inspired by brass cooking pots as well as whimsical prints by local illustrator Carrie Chau.

 

Scene

 

Lan Kwai Fong, the city’s nightlife epicenter, is where you’ll find the speakeasy-like Lily & Bloom (drinks for two $30), a moodily lit, wood-paneled brasserie and bar. Start downstairs with oyster shooters at Bloom before heading upstairs for cocktails at Prohibition-inspired Lily. Try the popular Old-Fashioned made with aged Zacapa rum. A five-minute cab ride away lies Republik (drinks for two $35), in Sheung Wan. It’s also split between two levels: bankers and media types unwind in leather rockers in the ground-floor bar, while DJ’s spin tunes in the wood-floored upstairs lounge. One of the newest alfresco bars is Sugar (drinks for two $25), on the 32nd floor of the East Hotel on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island. Join the beautiful people on an overstuffed ottoman on the sprawling outdoor deck.

 

Food

 

At the 16-seat counter at the industrial-chic Liberty Private Works (dinner for two $154), diners watch Jean Georges–trained chef Makoto Ono prepare a seven-course omakase meal in an open kitchen. The seasonal menu is devoted to Japanese-inflected French cuisine—think hamachi tartare, with daikon and grapefruit-ginger jelly, and wasabi-spiked poached salmon. Inside Hollywood Road’s equally pint-size TBLS (dinner for two $120), chef-owner Que Vinh Dang, who has worked for Rocco DiSpirito and Geoffrey Zakarian, injects playful Americana into his set menu with riffs on alphabet soup and sloppy joes. A more rollicking crowd can be found at 208 Duecento Otto (dinner for two $150), in Sheung Wan. Babbo alumnus Vinny Lauria serves hearty Italian standards—beef carpaccio; bucatini all’amatriciana; Neapolitan-style pizza—against a backdrop of toile-patterned walls and solid walnut floors. It’s a five-minute ride across the harbor on the Star Ferry to Kowloon’s Nanhai No. 1 (dinner for two $70). Try Cantonese classics such as tea-smoked chicken and barbecued pork belly in the sleek, harbor-facing dining room.

 

Rooms

 

Skyline views are a key attraction at Hullett House Hotel (suites from $567), a 10-suite property located in an 1881 colonnaded building, the former headquarters of the maritime police. No two rooms are the same, from the contemporary art–filled Casam Suite to the 900-square-foot Stanley Suite, which evokes Hong Kong’s past with delicate murals of bamboo forests and birds on celadon walls. Just north of Sheung Wan, along the water, Italian mosaic tiles and custom-designed furniture by French interior designer Andrée Putman lend a Continental touch to the 50 blue-and-white suites at the year-old Great Value Le Rivage (suites from $160). Design literally reaches new heights in March with the much anticipated opening of Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong (doubles from $577), which, at 1,600 feet, will be the city’s tallest hotel. Designed by cutting-edge firms including Japan’s Wonderwall, the 312-room hotel is sure to be a showstopper: the top-floor infinity pool will have a ceiling of LCD monitors showing the sky outside in real time.

 

Airport News

 

In January 2010, Hong Kong International Airport unveiled a 16,500-square-foot ferry terminal with high-speed links to six cities, including Macao and Guangzhou. Other recent additions include a pay-by-the-hour lounge in Terminal 1’s East Hall, with Wi-Fi, a spa, and private suites with showers ($53 for two hours), as well as the glass-and-steel North Satellite Concourse, near Terminal 1, designed to accommodate more than 5 million passengers.

Sugar

Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

This 1,600-foot-tall design juggernaut claimed the title of world's highest hotel when it opened on floors 102 to 118 of Kowloon's International Commerce Center in March 2011. Designed by cutting-edge firms including Singapore's LTW Designworks and Japan's Spin Design Studio and Wonderwall, the 312-room hotel is a showstopper: the top-floor infinity pool has a ceiling of LCD monitors showing videos of the sea and skyline, the Lounge has sparkling crystal firepits, and 8,500 bottles of wine line the walls of the Tin Lung Heen Cantonese restaurant. The clean-lined chocolate and cream furnishings in the 312 rooms keep the focus on the views, which you can observe from between  600-thread count sheets or through complimentary telescopes. When you've had your fill, the Blu-Ray players, iPod docking stations, and 42-inch LCDs in the bedroom and 17-inch ones in the marble baths might distract. The more than 9,000 square-foot futuristic ESPA spa on the 116th floor marries Western and Eastern techniques for treatments like Jade Stone Eye Treatments and hot lava shell massages. Also on the upper floors? Local favorite bar for a see-and-be-seen scene, Ozone, the highest in the world.

Hullett House

In a city that prizes all things modern, Hullett House gives a nod to the past. At the tip of Kowloon's Tsim Sha Tsui district—not far from the high-end retail shops that line Canton Road—a colonnaded 19th-century building that once served as a marine police headquarters has been transformed into a 10-suite hotel. Half of the guest rooms (the smallest of which is 800 square feet) riff on a different era in China, whether it's Shanghai Art Deco or the country's edgy 21st-century art scene (a triptych of Chairman Mao blowing bubble gum). The coup de grâce? Views of Hong Kong's skyline from each suite's balcony.

Le Rivage

Moustache

In Hong Kong's fast-gentrifying Sheung Wan neighborhood, 1960's fashion is the inspiration at this men's-wear shop, where New York City transplants Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye use high-tech Japanese fabrics for their bright knit sweaters and piped pajamas.

Kotur

Fiona Kotur Marin—a former New Yorker—showcases her snakeskin, shell, and silk brocade clutches, which have earned a following by the likes of Renée Zellweger and Tory Burch.

Kanchan Couture

Fashion editors and stylists flock here for feminine frocks and separates made with bright Indian textiles.

Kapok

With interiors that channel Scandinavian aesthetics, this concept store is the epitome of urban cool. On the shelves are a host of it-brands from around the world, from Sweden's Sandqvist to Hong Kong's Nudité. The store also collaborates with the likes of Mismo and Teddyfish for an exclusive range of backpacks and totes. Keep an eye out for the adjacent Kapok outlet that sells last season's wares at a deeply discounted price.

Forest Bird

In fashionable Soho—South of Hollywood Road—Forest Bird displays a fashion-forward selection of clothes and handmade jewelry from small European and Japanese labels. Need a lift? Refuel with espresso and macarons at the boutique’s tiny café.

Ecols

Green-minded Ecols carries colorful dinner platters made from wine bottles.

Homeless

The shop sells ceiling lights inspired by brass cooking pots as well as whimsical prints by local illustrator Carrie Chau.

Lily & Bloom

Lan Kwai Fong, the city's nightlife epicenter, is where you'll find this speakeasy-like lounge, a moodily lit, wood-paneled brasserie and bar. Start downstairs with oyster shooters at Bloom before heading upstairs for cocktails at Prohibition-inspired Lily. Try the Not Even Mary, a fresh take on the infamous umami cocktail using wasabi shrubs and goat cheese as garnish.

Republik

Bankers and media types unwind in leather rockers in the ground-floor bar, while DJ's spin tunes in the wood-floored upstairs lounge.

Liberty Private Works

At the 16-seat counter at the industrial-chic restaurant diners watch Jean Georges–trained chef Makoto Ono prepare a seven-course omakase meal in an open kitchen. The seasonal menu is devoted to Japanese-inflected French cuisine—think hamachi tartare, with daikon and grapefruit-ginger jelly, and wasabi-spiked poached salmon.

TBLS

At this pint-sized restauarant chef-owner Que Vinh Dang, who has worked for Rocco DiSpirito and Geoffrey Zakarian, injects playful Americana into his set menu with riffs on alphabet soup and sloppy joes.

208 Duecento Otto

Babbo alumnus Vinny Lauria serves hearty Italian standards—beef carpaccio; bucatini all’amatriciana; Neapolitan-style pizza—against a backdrop of toile-patterned walls and solid walnut floors.

Nanhai No. 1

Try Cantonese classics such as tea-smoked chicken and barbecued pork belly in the sleek, harbor-facing dining room.

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