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Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00

Hong Kong

Written by  Maxine Albert

It’s not surprising that the Wall Street Journal recently hailed Hong Kong as the world’s top travel destination. Business travelers frequenting this thriving financial hub in close proximity to China, and leisure visitors enjoying the amenities of this cosmopolitan gateway to Asia, have created an enormous influx of international guests. Having just visited this bustling metropolis, it’s not hard to understand Hong Hong’s appeal. A veritable foodie and shopper’s paradise with hopping nightlife, eye popping high rises, great sights and stunning Victoria Harbour where east meets west in the most glamorous ambiance, there’s easily something for everyone.

Hong Kong is all about food, every kind of food, including every type of Asian cuisine. In a town with superb French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Indian Restaurants galore, I stayed with the mouth watering Asian cuisine. It was fantastic. For the authentic dim sum experience, eat where the locals go at Lin Heung. For those who are not so adventurous, Maxim’s Palace and Luk Yu Tea House are superb. I relished a standout Cantonese meal of beef tenderloin, fish with ginger, seafood dumplings and other delectable edibles at Michelin-starred Man Wah in The Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

With every top luxury brand from around the globe in super-posh malls like Landmark, Prince’s Building, Chater Road and Kowloon’s Canton Road, fashionable Hong Kong is arguably the world’s ‘it’ shopping destination. Brands are actually used to give street directions, as in turn left at Prada. And there’s no sales tax to boot. Men of course head to the famous Hong Kong Tailors. Bring an extra suitcase; you’ll need one.

Art and Culture
Exciting news for art and cultural enthusiasts: The world’s premier international art show, Art Basel’s newest addition takes place in Hong Kong this May. Over half of the participating galleries will showcase works from Asia as well as from all over the globe.

Take a leisurely walk down chic Hollywood Road lined with Hong Kong’s best antique stores, art galleries, jade shops, trendy restaurants, cafes and local designer boutiques. Nearby is the magnificent Man Mo Temple with giant hanging incense coils where you can light a stick for good fortune. Ride the funicular to Victoria’s Peak for breathtaking city and harbor vistas, most enchanting at sunset. Don’t miss a 10 minute jaunt across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon, aboard the iconic Star Ferry with dazzling waterfront and skyline views.

There’s no end to luxurious pampering that the Asians do so well. Whether at an extravagant day spa or a quick stop to rejuvenate weary feet at one of the many Chinese reflexology salons, such as the legendary Happy Foot Center, Hong Kong will not disappoint. Highly regarded are the spas at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental and it’s sister, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

In a city with many 5-star hotels, here are my favorites. I stayed in both during my visit as they each offer different yet equally outstanding luxury experiences.

Landmark Mandarin Oriental: Ideally located in the heart of the Central District, this swanky hotel with 113 rooms sits atop the posh Landmark Mall, steps from A list shopping. It is the essence of understated luxury. Elegant and glamorous, the property boasts a stylish lobby with rich wooden cabinets, art books and brass lamps, two Michelin-starred gorgeous Amber Restaurant and award winning The Oriental Spa. Spacious, beautiful suites are sleek with stunning contemporary décor. Serving as centerpieces for generous bathrooms, huge, deep round tubs that call out for bubble baths are among the lovely creature comforts. The hotel delivers an intimate and exclusive luxurious ambiance.

The Mandarin Oriental: Situated in the Central district, just blocks from its sister the Landmark, this opulent property with glorious views of Victoria Harbour has 501 rooms. The legendary Mandarin Oriental is the epitome of old world grandeur and exquisite luxury. With a lavish lobby, the hotel boasts sumptuously decorated spacious suites with plush fabrics, posh décor and striking artifacts. With ten outstanding restaurants, including two with Michelin stars, the renowned Mandarin Spa, Salon, Mandarin barber and breathtaking harbor views throughout, guests want for nothing.

Eastern Journeys, the ultimate China specialist, will customize itineraries for your high-end client.

Cathay Pacific offers daily non-stop service to Hong Kong from New York (JFK), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and from March 1st 2014, New Jersey (EWR). Additionally it has connecting flights in Hong Kong to other parts of Asia. Cathay Pacific is renowned for its premium service, and having experienced it first hand, it’s easy to see why. Business class offers the ultimate in comfort and amenities which make a huge difference on long flights. Super spacious seats were turned into supremely comfortable, roomy lie flat beds with soft pillows and plush duvets for utmost relaxation and sleep. The food was excellent with a choice between Chinese favorites and International cuisine. I loved my tasty dim sum appetizer and scrumptious bok choy. The entertainment system offered something to every taste, with many new movie releases. Attendants were friendly and helpful. You can be assured that you will arrive at your destination well rested. 

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