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Business Travel Guide: Hong Kong

Hong Kong Cityscape
Hong Kong Cityscape


At the edge of China, its still nominally Communist neighbor, Hong Kong remains a bastion of capitalist competition. Making money and spending it tops the list of how residents and visitors spend their time here. The pirates and opium trade that jump-started HK are long gone. In their place are investment bankers, telecommunications entrepreneurs, manufacturing mavens and real estate barons willing and eager to work around the clock. When you do spy them weaving and snaking their way through the HK streets in bespoke suits and handmade couture stilettos, expect to see a luxury brand shopping bag or two in their well manicured hands. As for those who wonder about the true flavor of the once British territory (now that it's had time since the 1997 Handover to become China's window on the world), it's a complex combination of East and West, where some of the world's most iconic skyscrapers overshadow alleys filled with dim sum and astrologers. The most dramatic change, as far as corporate life is concerned, has been the invasion of businesspeople from mainland China, which makes Hong Kong today the ideal place for foreign investors looking for their gateway to the mainland.


Facts to Know Before You Go — Hong Kong


Currency: HK Dollar

Hong Kong maintains autonomy over its currency, the HK dollar, which has been fixed since the early 1980s at HK$7.8 to the U.S. dollar; rates in other currencies can be calculated off their U.S. exchange. Notes are issued by three banks (each has its own design). There are numerous exchange outlets at the airport and countless ATMs throughout the city that dispense HK currency.

Smart Card
Octopus

A multipurpose transportation payment card that looks like a credit card and fits into your wallet just as handily, Octopus eases anyone's way around Hong Kong. This being ultra efficient Hong Kong, what started as a time-saving way to pay fares for public transport including the swift underground MTR (www.mtr.com.h) has expanded to include small-value payments in select retail outlets. Find out more at www.octopus.com.hk

The Octopus Card makes getting around Hong Kong easy with these transportation payment cards

Transportation:

Your arrival will likely be via Hong Kong International Airport, swooping over rocky outcroppings in the South China Sea. HKG, on Lantau Island, serves as a major gateway to southern China as well as destinations across Southeast Asia. From here metered taxis are plentiful — flag fall is HK$18, and the cost to the Central District is about HK$400. But the best option for travel into town is the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Airport Express. It takes less than half an hour; we suggest you purchase a round-trip pass at HK$180, good for one month and available from a counter and automated machines just after visitors clear customs in the airport arrival hall. In addition, check with your hotel, as most offer free shuttle or limousine service from the airport. Once in town, MTR is easy to use, and unlimited use day passes are available. If you need to take a cab, keep this in mind: red taxis serve most destinations throughout Hong Kong, green taxis serve New Territories and blue taxis serve Lantau Island.

Information:

Map of Hong Kong | Map by

For daily local and international news, Hong Kong's English language newspapers are the South China Morning Post and The Standard. The International Herald Tribune is also widely available. There are also local TV and radio stations in English. To find out what's going on around town each week, check out the free What's On — Hong Kong (available from the Tourist Board, www.discoverhongkong.com) and Time Out Hong Kong (www.timeout.com.hk) which maintains the most comprehensive and authoritative listings of what's worth doing around this town.

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Where to Stay in Hong Kong


east Hong Kong
29 Tai Koo Shing Rd.
Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong
852 3968 3968

Swire Hotels' second Hong Kong property, east Hong Kong, boasts modern rooms with high-tech amenities for the business traveler

This sleek business hotel is located near Hong Kong's Cityplaza and TaiKoo Place in Island East, close to the hundreds of local and international businesses that have moved east from Central's ultra-pricey business district. Stylish modern spaces here start at the top with a chic rooftop lounge for entertaining — Sugar Bar+Deck+Lounge — located 32 stories up. Feast (Food by EAST is the hotel's inviting and industrial chic café, offering a copious and delectable breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a variety of freshly made takeaway items in a casual setting on the first floor. All rooms are stocked with the latest technology, including an iPod Touch, an iHome player and complimentary Wi-Fi, in addition to a 37" HD LCD TV with satellite and i-cable channels, walk-in rain shower, cool contemporary art, mini bar and safe. Rooms are designed with floor-to-ceiling windows (with views of Hong Kong's busy harbor), natural limestone, and bamboo flooring. Property amenities include an outdoor lap pool and a 24-hour fitness facility, cleverly named Beast (Body by EAST), with personal trainers and a juice bar. The friendly and efficient service staff is an added bonus, as is the instant access to the MTR directly below.


InterContinental Hong Kong

18 Salisbury Rd.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
852-2721-1211

The waterfront InterContinental Hotel overlooks Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour

The InterContinental Hong Kong takes its business hotel status seriously while providing plenty of out-of-the-office indulgences. This waterfront hotel designed around the principles of feng shui has a contemporary look and lots of business perks. These include 24-hour business services, the largest ballroom in HK, and harbor view meeting rooms. Of the 503 guestrooms and 87 suites, the nine Superior Harbor View Rooms with Patio on the third floor offer guests the indulgence of harbor-facing deck with cushy loungers for resort like respite amidst Hong Kong's madness. One notable amenity is the Club InterContinental Executive Lounge — with all the freebies of a typical corporate level lounge, it doesn't require you to stay in a corporate level room. You simply sign up and pay a fee for the privileges. The food, dedicated concierge and meeting rooms here are among the best, and the Presidential Suite with its outdoor infinity pool is arguably the city's finest — available by the day or for a half-day event. Guests and others on expense accounts flock to the hotel's restaurants SPOON by Alain Ducasse, Nobu and Yan Toh Heen, plus their in-house Steak House with an excellent wine list, wonderful wait staff, fantastic salad bar, enormous American strip steaks and stupendous desserts.


The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

International Commerce Centre
1 Austin Rd. W. (Lin Cheung Rd.)
Kowloon, Hong Kong
852-2263-2263

Enjoy spectacular views of the city and Victoria Harbour from The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, the tallest hotel in the world

With the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, new records were set ... for the tallest building in Hong Kong, for the tallest hotel in the world, and for the highest swimming pool in the world. Superlatives aside, this swanky hotel inhabits the 102nd to 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon. All 312 Orient-accented guest rooms and suites on floors 106 to 118 feature Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations and flat-screen TVs, as well as expansive windows overlooking Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Telescopes in the 50 suites enhance these panoramic South China Sea to skyscraper views. The six food and beverage venues include upscale Chinese and Italian plus the café where the Chocolate Library afternoon tea has made quite a splash with heavenly marble cheesecake and chocolate raspberry tart, washed down with liquid white chocolate shots. The highlight is the rooftop al fresco bar OZONE, serving Asian-style tapas and out-of-this-world desserts. The rooftop is also the site of the indoor pool, which literally drifts among the clouds. Also of note is 116th floor ESPA, where floor-to-ceiling windows in every treatment room make it one of the most memorable spa experiences on the planet, especially around 8 p.m. when the harbor transforms for Symphony of Lights, a Guinness Book of World Records award-winning sound and light extravaganza.

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Hong Kong
15 Queen's Road Central
Hong Kong
852-2132-0188

The sleek, sexy and surprisingly intimate The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Hong Kong

More intimate than its much larger sibling, the original Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong just across the street, this clubby alternative offers only 113 rooms and suites, but all boast sleek lines and sexy curves so it's no wonder that categories sound like luxury car models. Average room size here is 540 square feet making them some of the island's roomiest, while workspaces are equally generous and well equipped. Generous limestone baths make dramatic focal points in the ultra-modern bathrooms, but do draw the curtains given this hotel's prime location in the center of Hong Kong's business district. Staff provides excellent service on par with Hong Kong most established top-of-the-line properties. The duplex 21,000-square-foot Oriental Spa deserves it stellar reputation as the island's most restorative urban escape, especially the vitality pool's powerful massage jets to pummel away tension; Ashtanga yoga classes have developed a cult following; and the new Bastien Gonzalez Pedi:Mani: Cure Studio is one of the world's finest for hand and feet pampering. Lunch in the street-facing MO Bar draws shopping bag-laden ladies while after work, bespoke suited bankers trade market tips and dance with brand clad glamour girls.


Find more great Hotels in Hong Kong

Where to Dine in Hong Kong


Alba
Cubus Building
1 Hoi Ping Rd., 10th floor
Causeway Bay
852-2890-6693

 

Just east of Central, in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Causeway Bay, American chef Bryan Nagao impresses with his Japanese-inspired dishes like black codfish in saikyo miso, guanciale, fennel, hijiki and carrot orange sauce. Large tables and three private dining rooms for up to sixteen people make this a good choice for business dinners while the low lighting and gilded finishes add elegance to the ambience. Alba’s 120-label wine list consists of Champagne, sparkling, white, red and sweet selections. Like the cuisine, the options are global, culled from old- and new-world regions, and range from easy drinking-level wines to those for the connoisseur.


Bloom
LKF Tower
33 Wyndham St., 5/F & 6/F
Central
852-2810-6166

 

The raw bar at New York-style speakeasy and brasserie Bloom in Hong Kong

Seeking a bite in the wee morning hours? Head to dark and sultry Bloom. Inspired by early twentieth-century American speakeasies and pre-World War II supper clubs, the sexy bar known as Lily welcomes patrons with an inviting wood paneled lounge space with iron grills and glass chandeliers. Forgotten classics fill the well-researched cocktail menu, like the Raspberry Sidecar. When appetites flair, head downstairs to Bloomfor geoduck clams in kaffir lime, lemon grass and chili, then go for a creative oyster shooter in Champagne with tarragon and lavender oil.


Felix
The Peninsula Hong Kong
Salisbury Rd.
Kowloon
852-2315-3188


View of the Philippe Starck designed Felix restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong

Über-designer Philippe Starck made his name in Hong Kong with this eye-popping penthouse dining room of zinc cylinders, aluminum walls, curving glass façades and even a tiny disco. Elevator lights dim to set the mood as you ascend to the 28th floor of the Peninsula Tower. Begin at the bar for first-rate fruit martinis and unusual riffs on bellinis. Then head to the dinner table for contemporary Gallic-inspired fare from the kitchen of French-trained Japanese Chef Yoshiharu Kaji, who entertains palates with items like pan-fried goose liver with rhubarb and apple in port reduction, and citrus and yuzu pepper crusted Boston lobster with tomato-veal sauce.


Hugo's
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon
852- 3721-7733
 

Indulge in old school Euro fare amid genuine Ming vases at Hugo's, a classic Hong Kong institution
A Hong Kong institution originally opened in 1969, this classic European restaurant earned its reputation as a favorite of Western expatriates and visiting business travelers who return often to take advantage of the well-priced three-course executive lunch Monday through Friday, or to celebrate a professional milestone with exceptional sips from the 400-plus label cellar. French chef Renaud Marin commands the shiny open kitchen while the dapper, knowledgeable wait staff silently prepares dishes from tableside trolleys. Start with a selection of Brittany rose and Irish oysters. Mains cater to carnivores like the organic Welsh lamb loin with sautéed potatoes and mint peas, peppered steak or roast Australian Black Angus rib. Those who prefer surf to turf should order the flambé prawns. Hugo's is famous for its old-school desserts, particularly the crepe Suzette and chocolate bonbons, served with a theatrical flourish on billowing dry ice.

The Krug Room
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
5 Connaught Rd.
Central
852-2825-4014

 

Expect an ever-changing 12-14 course menu at The Krug Room at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Love Champagne? The Krug Room at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong boasts one of the largest collections of Krug Champagne outside of France, and dishes (with names like "Golden Caviar, Black Cod and Rain" and "Bath Time") are designed to complement the bubbly. The eatery's singular table seats just up to ten who enjoy a prime view of the kitchen where six sous chefs work their magic under the tutelage of German executive chef Uwe Opocensky, a protégé of Alain Ducasse who honed his skills also at elBulli. Limousine service is available to deliver lucky diners to and from this ultimate gourmand’s picnic.


The Principal
9 Star St.
WanChai
852-2563-34444

 

Treat your associates to clever European-leaning dishes and a vast wine selection at The Principal in Hong Kong
Located on the ground of a former school where the co-owners mother served as principal, this chic eatery keeps its interiors to the academic theme with plaid banquettes and private rooms named The Study and The Library. Wines here are a global geography lesson with around 700 varieties from the expected as well as up and coming wineries in Slovenia and Turkey. Chef Jonay Armas arrived in Hong Kong with a distinct advantage over many of his 'classmates' having cooked for legions of local fans of the iconic resort chain Amanresorts. His European-leaning dishes will remind no one of school cafeteria fare but do demonstrate his cleverness in the kitchen, particularly the free-range 63°C egg, cooked just one degree below its solidification point. The Iberico suckling pig is cooked for 12 hours until the mouthwatering meat falls off the bone then served in a tart lemon puree with sautéed red endives in a pomegranate reduction. Armas' seven-course Sunday brunch menu offers a rare opportunity in Hong Kong to spend most of the day focused entirely away from the office.


Off the Clock in Hong Kong


OZONE
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre
1 Austin Rd. W. (Lin Cheung Rd.)
Kowloon
852-2263-2263

Sip Dragontinis 1,607 feet above sea level at OZONE in Hong Kong

Impress your colleagues at the world's highest bar topping off at 1,607 feet above sea level. OZONE is not for the vertiginous, but others quaff the signature Dragontini made with vodka, yuzu and raspberries while admiring captivating Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour views. These are accompanied by Japanese-inspired bites like the addictive mini Wagyu burgers and chocolate tartlettes, which will remind anyone how close they must be to heaven.

Happy Valley Racecourse
1 Sports Rd.
Happy Valley
852-2966-8111
www.happyvalleyracecourse.com

Partake in Hong Kong's favorite sport at Happy Valley Racecourse

Good luck finding a sport more popular in Hong Kong than horse racing. It's a must-see cultural event, particularly at the Happy Valley Racecourse, where the first race was run in 1846. Today the track is a modern marvel, with enormous video screens, computer betting and room for 35,000 spectators. In season (September through June) you can mingle with locals in the standing room only section, or flash your passport — and pay a small fee — for access to the exclusive Hong Kong Jockey Club Members' Enclosure. Races happen on Wednesday evenings and the occasional Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Hong Kong Global Geopark of China
www.geopark.gov.hk

Hong Kong isn't all skyscrapers and stock markets. More than 40 per cent of HK is made up of nature parks including this one designated a UNESCO Global Geopark. Eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region showcase Hong Kong's oldest and youngest rocks, ranging from 400 million to 65 million years old. Hong Kong's high flyers hop aboard a helicopter (www.skyshuttlehk.com) for private tours over High Island Reservoir, before continuing on to Devil's Fist on Bluff Island and the steep shale rock cliffs and finely layered mudstones of Ping Chau Island, once a hideout for opium and gun smugglers. For a closer look at these rock stars, join a walking tour of the Park, taking in the Qing Dynasty Tin Hau Temple to the Sea Goddess where modern fishermen still make offerings before heading off on the South China Sea (www.walkhongkong.com).

BESPOKE SHOPPING

Sam's Tailor
Burlington House Ground Floor
94 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon
852-2367-9423
www.samstailor.biz

Tailor to everyone from former U.S. President Bill Clinton to former NBA giant Yao Ming, Sam is actually Manu Melwani, famous for impeccably tailored suits and speedy turnaround.

Shanghai Tang
G/F 1 Duddell St.
Central
852-2525-7333
www.shanghaitang.com

Go native with a tailor made Mandarin collared suit or cheongsam from Shanghai Tang in the highest quality silks embellished with brocade. Cigar smoking icon David Tang snagged the island's finest fingers when he launched this world famous brand so you know your Chinese-inspired couture will contour to your curves and musculature like no other.

Elissa Cohen
209 Hankow Centre
5-15 Hankow Rd.
Tsim Sha Tsui
852-2312 0811
www.elissacohen.com

Finish off an Eastern or Western look by making an appointment to select the ultimate Hong Kong souvenir with jeweler to the tai-tais, Elissa Cohen. The Hong Kong born bling queen maintains a world class selection of precious stones and China's finest pearls. Choose from classic styles, her eye-catching collections, or work with her to come up with your own designs.

For more information on Hong Kong, contact the Hong Kong Tourism Board


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