Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Céline, …
You’ll probably wonder: why would one start a blogpost about Hong Kong with a list of famous French luxury brands? Well, I can tell you that you will not see this many luxury stores together in one big city e.v.e.r again. I stopped counting when I passed my 36th Rolex store, just to give you an idea.
Luckily there’s much more to HK than fancy Ferrari cars and (a million) unaffordable shopping malls – although a couple of them are quite impressive, so please do visit a few for some exquisite window shopping – .
Let me begin with one of my thoughts about Hong Kong after spending my first 48 hours in the city: “New York, you’ve got yourself a worthy Asian competitor!” The similarities are obvious: a vibrant big city life full of billboards, taxis, high skyscrapers, crowded streets and artisty SoHo / BoHo areas. Absolutely love this Asian Manhattan.
The city is divided into two parts by the Victoria Harbour. You have the Kowloon side and Hong Kong Island, sometimes also called Central, with its beautiful skyscraper skyline. To get from one side to the other, you can take the subway, tunnel or – my personal favourite – the Star Ferry, that gives you a great view on both sides of the harbour. Other well-known view points are the Victoria Peak Tower (Central) or the Tsim Sha Tsui star promenade (Kowloon).
People often wonder which side to pick for their hotel, but honestly I think either sides have their advantages. A plus of staying in Kowloon is that you get to see all the Skyline lights at night, whereas staying in Central saves you time in the evening when you come home from dinner. You’ll notice that in my opinion, the best foodie areas – at least the kind I like to go to – are located in Central.
This stay, we booked a room in the ICON hotel in Kowloon, a modern design hotel, – with a rooftop pool- that offers every guest a free smartphone with cityguide and 3G internet to take with you in the city. Turned out to be very useful! Tip: if you have some time left, have a drink in the ICON hotel lobby bar and enjoy their immense vertical garden wall.
ICON HOTEL – 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
When it comes to exploring HK, here’s my advice: put on a pair of decent – and stylish, you’re in one of the coolest cities of the world, remember – sneakers on and take a warm sweater with you – because damn that inevitable air conditioning can be freezing sometimes – and start wandering around the city.
If you want to follow my footsteps and discover the old and new, hip and happening or typical and traditional places I liked visiting in HK, read on in one of the following blog posts: