One flight down, one (or two) to go, and a swift one-day stay in The Fragrant Harbour to spare? This hyperconnected super city – with its ultra-efficient Airport Express that’ll whisk you into the heart of Central in an impressive 25-mins – is the perfect pitstop for globe strutters looking for a quick cultural or culinary hit en route to their final destination. And who better to help you navigate the city, than LUXE Hong Kong?
With futuristic skyscrapers squished next to centuries-old temples and Michy-spangled fine-diners jostling for the limelight with no-frills yum cha outlets, bustling Hong Kong is packed with myriad sights and delights. Here’s how to see and sample the very best bits in a 24-hour stopover. Mh goi!
First things first. Nomads who would rather use their layover to flop than frolic will love stylish big-hitters Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental, both centrally located and equipped with mod cons, luxurious swimming pools (in this scorching heat, you may well need it) and plenty of choice on-site eateries so that you’ll barely need to lift a finger.
If you’re of the latter persuasion, however, and just need a chic central spot to dump the trunks while you hit the city, opt instead for a suite at The Pottinger, boasting an equally convenient posi and 68 elegant, teched-out chambers complete with king beds and spacey marble ensuites.
Early birds looking for somewhere to grab brekkie or a cup of Joe before they take off for the day will be spoiled for choice with plenty of options within walking distance. For a real-deal java hit, amble down to the Cupping Room where HK’s original baristas serve top brews n’ brunch (yes, they do a mean eggs Benny). Or, join local residents at charming Luk Yu Tea House (24-26 Stanley St, Central. +852 2523 5464) which kicks open its doors at 7am to hungry visitors who come a-flockin’ for specialty dim sum and cha.
Appetite sated, now you have options. If you’ve never ventured up to Victoria Peak (and it’s a clear day) it’s a worthwhile jaunt for wowza panos of the city, harbour and mountains beyond. Go early to avoid queuing for the Peak Tram, or attempt the glute-busting hike along the scenic Morning Trail, which starts on Hatton Rd – allow 2-3 hours for a round trip, or hail a cab to the top and opt for a more leisurely stroll back down.
For a more intimate snapshot of the city, take a relaxed amble from Central, the gleaming financial hub onto neighbouring Sheung Wan, which is crammed with historic shophouses and narrow alleyways now housing cafes, shops and boutique galleries aplenty. Along the way you’ll weave through the atmossy inner pockets of SoHo, NoHo and PoHo, so use the LUXE Hong Kong guide to spot ace retail opps and cultural treasures, such as heritage hottie PMQ, historic Man Mo Temple and character-packed market lane Upper Lascar Row.
By now you must be hungrier than a ghost on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, and if you’ve timed it right, you’ve made it just in time for the last seating (around 2-2.30pm) at Maxim’s Palace City Hall. This old dolly draws the hordes at lunch with traditional dim sum and tasty cantonese tidbits served via old-school pushcart, but you’ll be equally wowed by the diner’s impressive locale, a vast grand ballroom bedecked with OTT crystal chandies and the like.
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Feeling the post-carb slump? Once you’ve had your fill of xiao long bao (that’s soup dumplings to you, Prue!), you’ll be in need of an invigorating rub (or snooze). Okay, so Hong Kong needs another foot massage parlour like it does 50-storey skyscraper, but with its leather recliners and hushed atmos, divine Ten Feet Tall is a notch above your average reflexology dive.
Restored, put those trusty trotters back into motion and follow the elevated walkway down to IFC mall, towards the Central Harbourfront to hop aboard the Star Ferry. Not only is this beloved tradition one of the most efficient means of crossing the harbour, you’ll also be rewarded with some of the best angles of the skyline as you sail across the water. Views are best at sunset, so if you’ve got time to kill on Kowloon before heading back to the island, stop for a cheeky snifter and catch a first glimpse of the famous illuminations from panoramic Lobby Lounge, or sky-high perch Aqua Spirit, both a short distance from the port.
Is it that hour already? After disembarking at Central, make a quick dash back to The Pottinger to spruce up (tresses in tropical heat = help!) before heading to your pre-booked table at Mott 32. Opt for the cavernous main floor for maximum buzz and send tastebuds into overdrive with succulent apple wood-roasted Peking duck and elevated renditions of Cantonese, Sichuanese and Beijing specialities amid sultry, Chinoiserie-dappled environs.
Updated November 2018.
Wanting more? Of course you do.