By Kate Springer
This story originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
Evolved from a sleepy fishing village, Hong Kong is now a commercial and culinary mecca. In the western district of Central and Sheung Wan, hilly lanes are peppered with polished restaurants and trendy cafes, while southern Wong Chuk Hang has become synonymous with private kitchens and warehouse art galleries. Your credit card will get some exercise no matter where you go: Hong Kong is teeming with stores like Chanel and Balenciaga, mega malls and micro malls—not to mention an indie design scene in the Tai Ping Shan and Star Street neighborhoods. Visit in the autumn when crisp air makes it all the more pleasant to hike to The Peak or ride the Star Ferry across the iconic Victoria Harbour.
A two-Michelin-starred affair, and ranked 39 on our Top 100 Restaurants list, Amber resides in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. Helmed by chef Richard Ekkebus, the artistic French menu aims to inspire each of the five senses of taste—sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. The 10-course degustation menu changes with the season, but always includes caviar and a wine list of 980 artisanal bottles.
Serge et le Phoque
A glorious little French restaurant in the middle of the Wan Chai market, Serge et le Phoque draws design lovers and gourmands alike. Eclectic surroundings set the tone, while Le Chef’s Menu could include 45-year-aged wagyu, monkfish with blood orange, a plate of Parisian cheeses—not to mention natural wines and homemade desserts.
A favorite for both power lunches and romantic dinners, Duddell’s stretches across two levels—a light-filled dining room on the first; and the salon, a more intimate bar, lounge, and garden terrace upstairs. Though best known for its fine-dining Cantonese cuisine, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant also hosts screenings, cultural lectures and a stunning art collection by emerging Hong Kong artists.
Dim Sum Library
This neo-Cantonese wonderland transports diners to an Art Deco era, with bird cage-inspired bar stools and gorgeous brass details. The menu is just as pretty, full of inventive dim sum—think shrimp dumplings with black truffle, seared foie gras with osmanthus-smoked eggs, and a long list of tea-infused cocktails to elevate the experience.
This speakeasy might look like a posh umbrella store, but a retro British watering hole awaits behind the facade. Nightly live jazz, an old-school martini cart, leather armchairs and even a 1940s jet engine make this bar one to remember. A series of secret rooms, which open with the pull of a book or the twist of a lampshade, can be reserved for private parties.
New-to-town Employees Only opened in June, bringing with it exquisite cocktails in an Art Deco setting. Sip on a signature EO Gimlet (made with kaffir lime leaves),while enjoying a plate of bone marrow poppers, truffled grilled cheese and hand-cut steak tartare. Ask about “Lovers’ Corner,” a quiet nook, for added intimacy.
Helmed by decorated Hong Kong mixologist Antonio Lai, Quinary jump-started the city’s cocktail craze. Lai takes cues from molecular gastronomy, crafting eye-catching concoctions such as the Earl Grey Caviar Martini. This Instagram star comes crowned with a mountain of tea-infused foam and boba-like beads that burst with bergamot.
THE RITZ-CARLTON SUITE
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
The indulgent Ritz-Carlton Suite exudes style and sophistication, thanks to an enviable perch on the 117th floor of the International Commerce Centre. A stay in this 3,930 sq ft haven strikes the perfect balance of technical wizardry and personalized
service. Expect Rolls-Royce airport transfers, personal shoppers, monogrammed bathrobes and complimentary daily massages at the top-floor spa.
THE PRESIDENTIAL SUITE
The InterContinental Hong Kong
The five-bedroom Presidential Suite at the InterContinental Hong Kong stretches across 7,000 sq ft, making it the largest in Hong Kong. Upstairs, a 2,500 sq ft rooftop includes an outdoor Jacuzzi, infinity swimming pool, and front-row seats to Victoria Harbour. Ask about a private dinner from Michelin-starred Yan Toh Heen, Nobu or Rech by Alain Ducasse. Another perk? Roundtrip Phantom VI Rolls-Royce or Bentley transfers.
THE UPPER HOUSE PENTHOUSE
The Upper House
The Andre Fu-designed Upper House hotel is home to two Penthouse suites, each 1,960 sq ft. Located on the top floor, these spa-like sanctuaries bring together minimalist decor, soothing lavender accents, and wraparound harbor views. Tailored experiences include in-room spa treatments, candlelit private dinners and champagne—plus fashion perks from partnerships with Christian Louboutin, Mr Porter and Diptyque.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Just an hour’s ferry ride west of Hong Kong, Macau is alive with futuristic hotels and Portuguese colonial history. For a heritage run, spend time exploring the 17th-century Ruins of St Paul’s cathedral, hilltop Guia Fortress, seafront A-Ma Temple and nearby Mandarin’s House (a 19th-century Chinese mansion). Down south, Coloane village is like a mini Portugal with a clutch of chapels, alfresco cafes and cobblestone piazzas.