Destination Guide

Hong Kong

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At first glance, Hong Kong is a Western territory, all shiny skyscrapers and multi-lingual business people. But scratch the surface, and it reveals deep Chinese roots, where superstitions and traditions are solidly embedded. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been part of the People’s Republic of China rather than a British colony, but it retains its distinctive, freewheeling spirit.


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lounge with fireplace and lounge seating with floor-to-ceiling windows in back

The Upper House

The elegant Upper House delivers two details that are rare—and hugely appreciated—in the buzzing metropolis that is Hong Kong: space and serenity.

Exterior View - Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Peninsula Hong Kong

Hotels have been trying to knock the Peninsula off its perch as one of the prime five-star for the best part of a century now—and have not quite succeeded. As others improve, the Peninsula, which opened its doors in 1928 in Kowloon, just gets better and better, ready and willing to embrace new technology and trends, as long as they don’t impinge on the dignity of the venerable property. In 2012 for example, Peninsula Hotel Group launched interactive multi-lingual tablets that enable maximum control over the entire guestroom, from room service and the Do Not Disturb sign to personalized streaming Internet television.

In 2013, makeovers were completed on all 300 guestrooms in both the new tower and original 1928 building. These sleek yet comfortable spaces are high-tech havens, but they maintain just enough chinoiserie to confer a sense of Old Hong Kong. Indeed, the whole property feels homey, hardly surprising given that the majority of staff are long-serving (when you are working at the top of the hotel trade, there is not much incentive to leave). Insist on a harbor room or, even better, a corner suite, where the bathtub has an unobstructed view of Victoria Harbour.

Certainly this iconic hotel boasts some of Hong Kong’s finest dining, including the Philippe Starck–designed Felix, the elegant Gaddi’s, Chesa Swiss and Spring Moon for Chinese fare. A great spot for cocktails is the hotel’s sultry lounge, Salon de Ning, filled with souvenirs from the far-flung travels of Madame Ning, an entirely imagined but nonetheless stylish adventuress. Regulars come here to swig Ning Slings made with Absolut mandarin, lychee liquor, and passionfruit purée.

Peninsula guests can explore beyond these colonial walls by climbing into one of the Pen’s famed Rolls Royce fleet of Phantoms and one vintage 1934 Phantom II, each customized for its needs. Another notable feature is access to the Peninsula Academy’s “Hong Kong Traditions Well Served” program, which introduces guests to the artisans of the city’s disappearing crafts, such as the creators of the bamboo-and-flower displays that adorn the outdoor Chinese Opera theater, shadow-play masters and lion dancers.

A dedicated elevator leads high-flying guests to The China Clipper lounge, lined with aviator collectibles and jaw-dropping views over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. The exit leads to the rooftop’s double helipad where the the hotel’s spiffy Aerospatiale twin engine Squirrel A S355N helicopter awaits to take guests on a 45-minute panoramic jaunt from Kowloon to the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, a collection of eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and northeast New Territories. The excursion winds up aboard The Pen’s yacht for a Champagne lunch on the return cruise.

bedroom at Four Seasons Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Four Seasons Hong Kong

With three-quarters of its 396 guestrooms boasting unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour (known in Chinese as the so-called “Fragrant Harbor”), this hotel commands a distinct location. At 484 square feet, standard rooms are among Hong Kong’s largest and certainly most thoughtful, finished with subtle Oriental touches, extra-wide plasma televisions and Four Seasons essentials like the sheepskin underlay bed.

The hotel’s uninspired exterior does little to distinguish it from the soaring glass office towers that cram the waterfront but inside, indulgence reigns. Foodies flock to the French restaurant Caprice and reservations here even after years are still among the most coveted in town. Cantonese restaurant, Lung King Heen is a regular on world’s best lists. More treasures reveal themselves in the spa, with its calming, blond-wood treatment rooms and aromatic scents. Take a mud plunge in the Rhassoul chamber, a whirl around the vitality pool then dry off in the calming crystal steam room, complimentary for hotel guests even without a spa appointment.

Shoppers, in particular, will delight in the hotel’s direct access to some of the city’s best shopping downstairs in IFC Mall, most notably Lane Crawford, where Barney's meets Neiman Marcus in Hong Kong’s most luxurious large retail space.

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