Hong Kong's Stylish New Hotspots
Published: December 2010
By Jennifer Chen
Asian cities are pushing the design envelope. Here’s where to go in Hong Kong.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.