Hong Kong has long been one of our favorite destinations in the world, so much so that we have rated it as our fourth best destination of a lifetime in our article “Best Travel Destinations of a Lifetime“, right after Paris, London and New York.
Hong Kong boasts a population of more than seven million people, largely concentrated in what is certainly one of the most densely populated districts in the world, the north side of Hong Kong Island and the southern tip of the Kowloon peninsula. Hong Kong is so full of life in that universe of skyscrapers, commercial districts and apartment buildings that it may well overwhelm the first time visitor with its exotic, stimulating, intoxicating sights, sounds and smells. I first traveled to Hong Kong as an international business executive in the late 1980’s, when British Hong Kong thrived as the gateway to a newly opened China market.
I have returned dozens of times since, and have witnessed the many changes to this magnificent territory, now an autonomous part of of China. Hong Kong is still a very convenient entry point for China with lots of flights to all parts of the Chinese mainland by its highly rated airlines, Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines, as well as by all the major airlines from mainland China. Hong Kong also remains the one place in the world where the best products of China seem to congregate, as does the best that the West has on offer. Hong Kong as a destination of choice for cheap products has been replaced by Hong Kong as a destination of choice for the best products. This haven of luxury shopping is also home to an incredibly large number of luxurious hotels, world class restaurants and a myriad of exotic sights and experiences, and, unlike some of the new luxury destinations in other parts of the world, Hong Kong remains to this day a safe destination for Western tourists. This makes Hong Kong an ideal and preferred luxury travel destination. If you have not yet been there, we highly recommend that you put Hong Kong at or very near the top of your bucket list. You may well find it a life changing experience!
To help you plan your luxury getaway to Hong Kong, we have put together a suggested four-day itinerary:
We will be spending two nights at The Peninsula Hotel at the southern tip of the Kowloon Peninsula. There are several reasons to make The Peninsula Hotel your first stop in Hong Kong. The Peninsula is one of the most legendary hotels in the world, the most iconic and historic five-star hotel in Hong Kong and it has undergone extensive renovations and upgrades just a few years ago to maintain its status as a state-of-the-art luxury destination. The hotel is famous for its fleet of Rolls Royce cars which are available for your transfer from and back to the airport, a thirty minute drive, as well as for transportation around the city. What better way to start your luxury stay than to arrive at your hotel in a Rolls Royce?
One of the few requirements of a visit to Hong Kong is to book a hotel which can offer you a room with a harbour view. Harbour views here are nothing short of spectacular, whether looking towards the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island or from the island towards the skyline of Kowloon. All of the most luxurious hotels offer rooms with harbour views, at a premium of course, and The Peninsula Hotel is no exception. We recommend the Deluxe or Grand Deluxe Harbour View suite.
Keeping in mind the 13- to 16-hour time difference with the USA (6 to 8 hours time difference with Western Europe) and the 15- to 16-hour flight time from the continental US, some rejuvenation time upon arrival is in order. The The Peninsula Spa offers just what you need with its Half-day De-Stress Spa Journey!
Fresh from your full body massage and intensive facial, you can then head up to the China Clipper Lounge on the 30th floor of The Peninsula Hotel to prepare for your “Luxury Peninsula Moments by Air, Land and Sea” afternoon program. Boarding The Peninsula Hotel helicopter on the rooftop helipad, you will be whisked away eastward to the Sai Kung peninsula, a mountainous park area which accounts for 40% of the land in Hong Kong.
After landing on a beach in Tai Long Wan Bay, a speedboat will take you to a luxury yacht moored offshore for a short boat ride to Millionaire’s Beach in Nam Fung Wan, where a full lunch banquet has been set up for you right on the beach by The Peninsula staff.
After your leisurely lunch on the beach served with panache, you will again board your yacht and spend the afternoon sailing along the picturesque eastern coastline of Hong Kong back into Victoria Harbour and the pier of the Star Ferry in Kowloon, where your Rolls Royce is waiting to drive you the few blocks back to The Peninsula. A quiet dinner at Felix, featuring high windows with awesome views of Victoria Harbour and the skyline of Hong Kong Island and one of the seven restaurants of The Peninsula, will provide a perfect ending to your first day.
Make sure that you have booked your window table well in advance through the concierge of the hotel and that you are seated by 8pm, when the Symphony of Lights show begins. This multimedia show lasts for about 15 minutes as 44 of the Hong Kong skyscrapers around Victoria Harbour participate in this dazzling display of changing lights and fireworks.
Hopefully, you will have had a restful night of sleep. However, if you do wake up during the night thanks to jet lag, you have only to draw the window curtains open for an extraordinary view of the illuminated night skyline of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour. Perhaps this mesmerizing experience will calm you and soothe you back to sleep.
In the morning, after a full breakfast, take a taxi to the Hong Kong Museum of History, which opens at 10am (closed on Tuesdays), is free of charge to the public, and is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, a short taxi ride away from The Peninsula Hotel. This museum features a large “Hong Kong Story” permanent exhibition which, over the course of several hours, will provide you with an impressive introduction to the city’s fascinating history.
At the end of your visit, take a taxi or hotel car from the museum to Hong Kong Island and the Peak Tram Lower Terminus station. Since 1888, the Peak Tram provides a memorable 7-minute steep ride up to the highest peak of the island.
The views from the top of Victoria Peak are what memories are made of.
Take a break for a Dim Sum lunch at Lu Feng restaurant in the Peak Tower.
After taking the Peak Tram back down to the Lower Terminus station, hop on the Peak Tram bus (15C) which will bring you to the Central Star Ferry Pier, for your ferry ride back to Kowloon. However, the Peak Tram bus will first make a stop along the way at Two International Finance Centre where, time permitting, you should get off the bus for some of the best shopping in the world at the IFC Mall and surrounding areas.
A network of enclosed elevated walkways crisscrosses the Central district of Hong Kong Island and you can simply walk from the International Finance Center to the Central Star Ferry pier by taking the Central Elevated Walkway. Taking the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour is another must-do experience and make sure you have your camera with you!
The Classic Afternoon Tea in the Lobby of The Peninsula Hotel, from 2pm to 6pm, is one of the best afternoon teas in the world and also a not-to-miss experience. The fact that there are often long waiting lines for the tea, as only hotel guests can reserve in advance, is another great reason to stay at The Peninsula Hotel. Reserve in advance through the hotel concierge, preferably for about 4pm, and make sure to specify that you want a table away from the waiting line crowd.
There is time to pay a visit to Sam’s Tailor, nearby on Nathan Road, the most famous tailor shop in the world. Royalty, celebrities, politicians and almost all business executives, men and women alike, find their way to Sam’s Tailor sooner or later for some 24-hour bespoke suits or formal wear.
This evening, walk to the Hong Kong Cultural Center just across the street from The Peninsula Hotel for a heart-warming and moving performance of Chinese music by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hong Kong Ballet also perform at the Hong Kong Cultural Center.
On the morning of the third day, check out of The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon and move into the luxurious Island Shangri-La Hotel on Hong Kong Island. Book a Horizon Club Harbour View room to get stunning views of Hong Kong from a totally different perspective than the view from The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, both from your room as well as from the famed Horizon Club executive lounge of the hotel.
For lunch, head to the Summer Palace Restaurant of the Island Shangri-La Hotel, a Michelin 2-star eatery with an extensive Dim Sum menu.
When it comes to buying souvenirs for family and friends, the very touristy Stanley Market on the south east side of Hong Kong Island is one of our favorite spots. While there is a large outdoor market with many traditional Hong Kong souvenirs and crowds of bargain-hunting tourists, there is also an indoor market with art galleries full of local art, both prints and originals. We have always managed to happen upon some interesting finds there. Plus, half the fun in shopping at Stanley Market is the ride there and back. Tell your driver to take the route via Repulse Bay and come with your camera for the beautiful views.
Since we will have a late evening, we need to make some time for relaxation and massage at the Spa of the Island Shangri La Hotel.
Throughout our many travels to Hong Kong and to China over the years, the Horizon Club of the local Shangri-La Hotel … there are nearly 50 Shangri-La Hotels in mainland China … has been our favorite refuge for afternoon tea or evening cocktails. Stop by the Horizon Club of the Island Shangri-La for afternoon tea, or a drink and some conversation complimented by awesome harbour-watching before heading out for the evening.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening, the place to be is the Happy Valley Racecourse for an evening of horse racing. Have the hotel concierge book you a window table well in advance at the Moon Koon Restaurant to combine fine dining and a superb view of the races.
Today, we will take a day trip to Macao, which is an easy 55-minute ride by TurboJet from the Hong Kong Island ferry terminal.
The size and splendor of the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel and Casino is on a grandiose scale. Expect to be awed by the the biggest casino in the world! Your mission today is to enjoy yourself while you hopefully make enough money at the casino to have money to burn at the 850 luxury duty-free shops and at least one of the 150 dining choices. But eat lightly, as dinner will be extraordinary …
After returning to Hong Kong from Macao by TurboJet in the afternoon, what better way to end our trip than a dinner at the first Chinese food restaurant to receive a 3-Star rating from Michelin and possibly the best Cantonese food restaurant in all of China, the Lung King Heen restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel! Enjoying the “Taste of Traditional Canton” tasting menu will leave you with a strong desire to return quickly to Hong Kong, the “Pearl of the Orient”.
For more information when planning your trip to Hong Kong, consult the Hong Kong Tourism website at Discover Hong Kong. You may also enjoy watching the Hong Kong video “Tasting Hong Kong with Chef Bombana”, which has received close to 2 million views in the past few weeks alone:
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