A moveable feastPlan a DIY food tour around Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on its new hop-on, hop-off sightseeing
bus, which launched yesterday. There are 18 stops on the two-hour circular route, which wends its way from Sorrento, famous for its vanilla slice, to Portsea for a pint in the Portsea pub’s scenic beer garden and down to Point Nepean National Park, where former PM Harold Holt disappeared. There are cellar doors and hot springs on the route and plenty of suggested walks to compensate for the abundant
crop of too-cute village cafes. The open-top double-decker bus runs 365
days a year, from 8am to 6pm. A 24-hour ticket costs $35/$20,
adults/children, or $60/$35 for a three-day pass. See
The suede persuader
You’re the girl-about-town who needs to keep her hands free for hailing taxis, making canny shopping buys and shaking on a deal with the locals. But you’re just not into backpacks. The roomy Ellie Satchel stashes all your kit into a stylish swag with plenty of internal pockets, and its detachable cross-body strap sets you free. Available in six coloured suedes including black, a blue peacoat and coffee bean (pictured), for a quintessentially Australian look. Available in Ugg Australia stores, including the new Sydney Arcade location. Costs $219.95. See uggaustralia.com.
Rate and review
Know your tour before you pack your bags and head into the great unknown with the new website from travel giant Trafalgar. The tour company, which has over 230 journeys on its books, now includes feedback from past guests, who have reviewed and rated their experiences on the independent feedback behemoth feefo.com. One to watch is the reception of its new boutique
Hidden Journeys, which aim to show the secret side of some of our best-loved destinations, including Hong Kong and France, as well as Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and the little-explored Newfoundland coastline in Canada. See trafalgar.com.
Now that football fever has calmed down, and before the hype of the 2016 Olympics, it’s time to slip under the sheets with the Brazilian beauties Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Lovely Luxe guides promise to show you the real deal with the two new city guides. Expect Rio’s beautiful boutiques, secret shopping finds and back-door walking tours. Sao Paulo needs a little work to discover its beauty, they’ll admit: let the guides walk you through great street art and smoking hot chefs’ tables. The compact guides will cosy up easily in your back pocket. Cost $12.99 each. See luxecityguides.com.
Kids get wings
The newest frequent flyer club on the market is aimed squarely at kids. Tigerair’s new Junior Captain’s Flyer Club rewards kids on the move with a club badge when they fly five times with the budget airline. Kids can get a crew member or captain on duty to sign their log book, which is included in the new Toby Activity Case, stuffed with maps, games, trivia cards, pencils. The case costs $15 for sale onboard, and another $4 will score a kids’ snack-pack from its summer inflight menu, which has vegan, gluten-free and end-of-day options (read: wine and cheese). Tigerair flies between 12 Australian cities and into south-east Asia via Perth. See tigerair.com.
DIY space exploration
Aspiring astronauts, your how-to handbook has arrived. The newest round of kids’ titles from Lonely Planet includes ‘How to be a Space Explorer,’ which will help your eight-year-old negotiate the freezing temperatures of deep space and navigate black holes. It’ll also help parents who are hazy on such concepts as gravity, light years and rocket-ship propulsion. Other new titles include three activities and sticker books aimed at kids three and above, ‘Adventures in Busy Places’ (think Dubai shopping malls), ‘Adventures in Cold Places’ (Sweden and Peru) and ‘Adventures in Wild Places’ (Kruger National Park). ‘How to be a Space Explorer’ costs $24.99 with an eBook also available on iBooks and Amazon. ‘The Adventures In…’ books cost $12.99 each. lonelyplanetkids.com.
Islander people in the Australian Constitution has just been boosted into the
skies as Qantas adopts the RECOGNISE logo on its new QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 aircraft.
Qantas Ambassador and Australian of the Year Adam Goodes says he is thrilled by
the new livery and urges Australians to sign up to the movement at
recognise.org.au. “It’s so important
that every one
of us plays
our part in
campaigning for this
referendum and securing
a resounding YES vote,” he says. Qantas is adding a RECOGNISE
logo to all its 31 Q400 aircraft flying within Australia and to PNG.
who shop. The girls-only trips are tailored for women over 30 and include
preening beauty sessions, insider info on the best fashion boutiques and
red-carpet entrances into A-list events fashion and sporting events, from the
races in Hong Kong to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Broadway shows. The
tours are also timed to hit the sales, including New York’s Black Friday sales and private shopping events at Hong
Kong’s Lane Crawford.
Led by self-confessed bagaholic, perfume tragic and organisational queen
Justine Weller, the very first glamcation, Tropics Shopaholics Honolulu, gets
underway in September 7-15, $4299, followed by Fully Loaded Hong Kong (October
5-12, $3995) and Glam Apple New York (November 22-30, $4499). Excludes
airfares. Phone 0414 753 767, see glamaramagetaways.com.
of the island’s iconic destinations, Cradle Mountain and Freycinet Peninsula.
Tasmanian Expeditions’ two new family trips are run in the school holidays, both
departing from Launceston. The Freycinet adventure includes three days’ easy
coastal walking around the officially beautiful Wineglass Bay, whereas the more
challenging Cradle Mountain journey sees you touch highs and lows, up to the
mountain’s summit and underground in Mole Creek Karst National Park. Accommodation
is in multi-share cabins, with savings for bigger families and includes
professional walking guides, park permits, packed lunches and hot dinners for
hungry hikers. Costs $1095 for adults, $895 for kids under 16. Phone 1300 666 856,
from Kikki-k. Its new ‘Adventure Awaits’ range includes leather passport
holders, cosmetics bags and onboard bags that manage cables,
paperwork and tablets, all neatly packed away. Printed with the cheeky line,
‘I’m ok, carry on’ the sturdy clear plastic ziplock bags – ideal for carry-on
liquids – might even get a smile out of the Customs crew. The pink and navy
range has just hit the shelves. Canvas luggage tag, $12.95. Canvas onboard bag,
$34.95. Plastic pouches (2 pack), $9.95. Call (03) 9645 6346, see kikki-k.com.
easy on the eye, with a seven-inch screen and free lifetime map updates. The new
EZY GPS is Bluetooth handsfree, lists blackspots and landmarks including service stations and has logbook capabilities, helpful for tax
calculations. It also lets you search by keyword, rather than requiring an
exact address and is pre-loaded with Australian and New Zealand maps. European
maps can be bought outright or rented for 30 days from $25. The EZY270LMT GPS
costs $279. Phone 1300 628 626, see navman.com.au.
and west India for a cultural and epicurian feast: admire Rajisthan’s Kumbhalgarh
fort and the ruined city of Mandu in Madhya
Pradesh, eat street food in Ahmedabad or taste a menu specially designed by
Christine and and the chefs of Mumbai’s top restaurants. The 15-day luxury journey
includes leopard spotting in Jawai and shopping textiles made by women
in charitable trusts. Manfield has had a love affair with India for more than 20 years and this is her eighth tour of India with Epicurious Travel. There are 10 places on
the tour, which runs February 2-17, 2015. Costs US$15,980 ($17,200) a person. Phone (03) 9486 5409, see epicurioustravel.com.au.
arrival of the Water Blob, a new rocket-shaped
floater on Fiji’s Sigatoka River. Slip on a life jacket and blast into
the river, bouncing off the giant Blob. It’s the brainchild of Australian Jay
Whyte, owner of the Sigatoka River jet boat and village safari, who says the
Blob is a way to fly and play in the Fijian way. A three-hour Blob session
costs F$59 a person (over 10 years). See waterblobfiji.com.
Airbus or 50. The Dubai-based Emirates airline has just received its 50th A380,
cementing its position as the world’s largest international airline. New destinations
connected by A380s include Kuwait and Mumbai this month, with Frankfurt,
Dallas, San Francisco and Houston coming online in the next five months. The
airline expects its cache of A380s to increase to 90 by late 2017. Emirates is
also adding three new European destinations to its network –Oslo and Brussels
in September and Budapest on October 27. 1300 303 777, emirates.com/au.
with Donald Trump. No, really. The five-star Trump SoHo New York’s Young
Entrepreneurs program is open to hotel guests from 3 to 17 years as well as Manhattan
neighbourhood kids. Previous events including Children’s Museum of the Arts
film screenings, business and cooking classes as well as downtime in the spa
(for those busy kids, not you). They’ll
also get business cards, free meals and a quarterly newsletter about NYC
family-friendly events. Kids get a monogrammed robe, candy buffets and
cocktails, local maps from a pint-sized point of view and free rollaway beds. A
new partnership with phil&teds lets you use their strollers and baby
backpacks during your stay. The NYC Family Getaway package costs from $687 a
night. +See trumpsohohotel.com/kids.
hiding in the ship’s galley when she stars on her third Murray River celebrity
cook cruise. The PS Murray Princess paddlewheeler cruises the river while Julie
conducts three cooking demonstrations and hosts a three-course dinner for 120
guests on the four-night cruise between Mannum and Blanchardstown, SA. The
stately paddlewheeler journeys past redgum forests and limestone cliffs and
also pulls in to historic ports, a sheep station, a vineyard and a cellar door.
Departs March 9, 2015, but book early, she’s a lady in demand. Costs from $1229
a person, twin share. (02) 9206 1111, captaincook.com.au.
|Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, Turkey|
doors on Turkey’s south-eastern coastline, 30 minutes from beautiful Bodrum on
the Turkish Riviera. Each of the hotel rooms – the creation of Italian design powerhouse Antonio
Citterio -looks out over the Aegean, with terraces
and decks primed for sun soaking. The suites have plunge pools and
outdoor showers. Set on the waterfront on Cennet
Koyu (Paradise Bay), the hotel has 109 rooms and suites with a spa and
10 restaurants and bars. The Discover Paradise Bay opening offer
costs from $2587 for three nights,
and includes $215 credit to spend in the spa or restaurants, available until
December 31. Phone 1800 123 693, see mandarinoriental.com.
|The Toby iMail laptop
Casual Messenger slung over a hardened traveller’s shoulder some time soon. The
new range from Australian design company Zoomlite will be released in late
August, with the Jackson coming in olive, khaki or navy. The heavy-duty washed
canvas bag (25x32cm) features a vintage leather trim with a cross-body strap, leaving
your hands free for adventure. Keep an eye out also for the Toby iMail laptop
bag, for those who don’t need to shriek geek. The vintage-leather bag comes in
camel or deep brown and its padded section lets you truck a 13-inch laptop with
discretion (29x35cm). Jackson Casual
Messenger, $69.95. Toby iMail, $229.95. zoomlite.com.au.
|Designer Kash O’Hara|
mainland cousin, Shenzhen, with Sydney fashion stylist and designer Kash O’Hara.
Kash will do a style analysis and help write your shopping list beforehand. She’ll even help you
design pieces that are then tailored in Shenzen. But it’s not all hard
shopping. The tour includes high tea at The Peninsula hotel, a swish dinner and
guided tours. “It’s partly a holiday,
partly a shopping trip,” says Kash. From $3630 a
person, twin share. Includes international flights, four nights’ accommodation
in Hong Kong and one night in Shenzen. Departs October 1. Phone 0411 166 623,
Face painting, Teen Idol and mini discos need to be balanced with
adult playrooms – and the swim-up bar and massage pods at Phuket’s two
Sunwing resorts, Kamala Beach and Bangtao, do the trick. Sunwing’s
Happy Baby Studios are designed for families with babies: the
ground-floor rooms have enclosed terraces and locking gates and all the
accoutrements, from pots to cots, baby recliners and unsmashable
crockery and cutlery. Happy Baby Studios cost from $138 a night,
off-peak (until October 31). sunwingphuket.com.
It’s festival season in Adelaide, with WOMADelaide and the
Adelaide Festival top of the list. Save $20 on a stay in BreakFree
Directors Studios, from $99 a night, or a studio at BreakFree Adelaide
from $268 for two nights, saving 15 per cent, until April 30. 1300 987 602, breakfree.com.au.
Save 10 per cent on World Expeditions’ Japanese adventures,
such as the five-day Kii Hanto Pilgrim Hike along mountain trails to
ancient Buddhist and Shinto shrines. Book by March 31 for travel July
1-December 31. Costs $1791 a person. 1800 567 2216, worldexpeditions.com.
Bright lights, big cities – save 25 per cent on US and Canada
journeys departing by June 30, such as the 23-day Best of America trip,
from New York to Nashville and New Mexico, finishing in freewheeling
San Francisco. Book by March 31. From $2471 a person, save $824. 1300 797 010, intrepidtravel.com.
Pet-friendly Mavis’s Kitchen is 10 kilometres from Murwillumbah on
the NSW north coast. Save $94 and get breakfast for two, a bottle of
organic bubbles and Devonshire tea. Sundays to Thursdays until April 28.
Costs $199 a night, two people. (02) 6679 5664, legendarytweedvalley.com.au.
Do the city in style with a B&B package at the luxury
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui. Book on the Kowloon hotel’s
website by April 30 and get breakfast for two, free internet access and
2pm checkout. From $365 a night. See hongkong.tsimshatsui.hyatt.com.
Check into the Vibe Hotel Melbourne, on Little Collins
Street, and get perky. Choose two perks, including 24-hour Wi-Fi, valet
parking, in-room movies or $25 credit at the hotel bar. Valid from April
1 to June 30. From $220 a night. (03) 9622 8888, vibehotels.com.au.
This small-group Tauck Roman Holiday raises you up above the
crowds, with an after-hours private tour of the Vatican museums and
Sistine Chapel, a reception in Rome’s Cinecitta film studios and five
nights at The Westin Excelsior. Departs October 18, from $5982 a person.
1300 950 622, traveltheworld.com.au.
Forget boring black, the new Heartland range, in stores this month,
comprises 80-litre ($249.99) and 40-litre ($199.99) four-wheel
hard-shell upright cases with a slot for the laptop and an internal
Lock in the teen-queen look with a matching beauty case
($49.99). (03) 5261 0022, ripcurl.com.au.
|Cable Beach, WA.|
Go west, to where camels roam the beaches and French champagne comes on ice. Yes, it’s Broome. Or ski Japan, swank up to the Gold Coast or take a textiles tour through England and France. You know you want to, with this week’s international and domestic travel deals.
Get away in February to Pinctada Cable Beach Resort in Broome
and save $200. Book a Honjin courtyard suite for two nights and get
French champagne, chocolates, bath oils and airport transfers. Costs
$528, two nights. Phone (08) 9193 8388, see pinctada.com.au.
Catch the last of Hakuba’s snow season with mates and save up
to 40 per cent staying at The Lab’s six-share dorms. Five-day lift
pass, breakfast daily and airport transfers. From $670 for seven nights.
Phone (02) 9905 6162, see ski-resorts-japan.com.
Stay three nights at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and get one
ticket to Disneyland Hong Kong and airport transfers. Book by March 17
for travel May 4-17, May 14, Aug 31-Sep 13. $619 adults, $95 children
two to nine years. Phone 1300 301 711, see creativeholidays.com.au.
|QT Gold Coast|
Glam up on the Gold Coast at QT Gold Coast with a room
upgrade to an ocean-view king room, free breakfast, discounts in the spa
and midday checkout. Book by March 15 for travel until March 31. From
$229 a person, two nights, twin share. Phone 1300 019 130, see studentflights.com.au.
Book your London stay by February 28 and stay six nights for
the price of five, or 12 nights for 10 at Citadines “London Apart”
hotels in five locations including Trafalgar Square. For stays April
1-August 31. From $341 a night. See holidaystoeurope.com.au/specials.
Go bush in style at El Questro Homestead. Stay four nights,
pay for three when booked before February 28 for travel April 1-October
25. From $5907 a room, three nights, includes meals, transfers from
Kununurra, some tours. Phone 1300 863 248, see elquestro.com.au.
|Citadines London ‘Apart’|
UK & FRANCE
Join tapestry artist Cresside Collette on a journey from
London to Aubusson discovering mediaeval tapestries, artists’ studios
and a four-day workshop at the Manoir du Bost. There’s also a daytrip to
weaving heartland Aubusson. The tour, from September 1-20, is $6699 a
person, twin share. Phone 03 9557 5898, see tapestrytour.blogspot.com.au.
And as the afternoon deepened into evening, the beautiful aperitifs crowd pranced in for sunset drinks. The dress code is ‘easy glam’ (they request no singlets, tattered t-shirts or sooty runners: that’s right, no sooty runners).
Oh, and Sevva serves MsB’s incredible cakes.
See, you think you’re reading yet another royal baby story, but you also learn one of the best places for sundowners in central Hong Kong. Thanks for persevering.
Ms B’s Cakery: 39 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong
|Hong Kong kids do masterclass|
Everyone loves a bargain, even if the transport to your resort is a luxury speedboat. It’s the Maldives, of course. Or why not swim with whales in the Kingdom of Tonga? As you do… it’s all here in this week’s travel deals.
With the MacDonnell Ranges as your
hotel’s backdrop, there’s no mistaking you’re in the Territory. The Alice in the Territory hotel is close to
the airport and 2km from town, with a complementary shuttle bus to Todd Mall.
There are also free in-house movies and a kid-pleasing pool, where we white
southerners can show off our office tans. Normally $165, costs from $110 a
night until August 31, 1800 002
Arts in across the state, with the massive South Australia Living Arts (SALA)
visual arts festival running from August 3-26. Oaks Embassy, in downtown
Adelaide, is throwing in free breakfast when you stay two nights or more.
Normally $194 a night, a one-bedroom apartment, which includes use of the pool,
gym, sauna and spa, costs $139 a night until August 31, two-night minimum stay,
|Victoria’s Yarra Valley|
glistens in winter, and its chief drawcards – cellar doors, art galleries and
country walks – are perfect cold-weather activities. Overlooking Healesville, hip
little hideaway Mt Rael’s winter special knocks $100 off two-night midweek stays
(Sun-Thurs) until August 31. Normally from $175 a night, costs from $250 for
two nights, (03) 5962 1977, www.mtrael.com.au
|Cape Lodge, Margaret River|
Dripping with awards, including best boutique hotel in
Australia, the five-star Cape Lodge has the best neighbours: Margaret River, Voyager
Estate (with its new wine room) and the whale-filled Indian Ocean. Surrounded
by vineyards, it has just 22 fabulous rooms, a stand-out restaurant and top
cellar doors nearby, but bless, you can still do a twilight kangaroo safari. Normally
from $475 a night, book before August 26 and pay from $349 a night on midweek
stays, 1300 130 485, travel.com.au
|Peppers Ruffles Lodge|
Peppers Ruffles Lodge & Spa, which is set on the hills overlooking this
magnificent stretch of Australia’s coastline. Peaceful and lush, the new one
and two bedroom owners’ villas’ midweek special includes gourmet breakfast, a
fruit basket and nightly turn-down service with chocolates and port. Normally
from $750 a night, costs $1318 for two midweek nights until end September, 1300
987 600, peppers.com.au
a perfect plume of wine (aka: spitting) on a weekend away in Mudgee. Trelawney
Farm is throwing in six bottles of Logan’s wine for guests staying the weekend in
the 1880s farmhouse. Set 4km out of Mudgee on 25 acres, each room in the Coach
House and Barn End Cottage has its own style, and is
kitted out with home theatre, open fireplaces and linen. Costs $2500 for two-night
weekend for up to 10 guests. Or stay three, pay two nights on midweek stays
(Sun-Thurs) before December 15, costs $1600 for three nights, 0423 330 833, www.trelawneyfarm.com
Tanote Beach, a quiet corner on happening Koh Samui. Comprising 53 rooms and
villas, the resort is celebrating with opening specials. A superior pool view
room costs from $58 a room a night, including breakfast, until October 31, +662
101 1234, centarahotelsresorts.com
getaway at the SkyCity Marriott Hotel, on Lantau island, near Hong Kong
Disneyland and the Giant Buddha. Kids can do a junior masterchef or master
housekeeper class (help with the housework!), and the hotel is adding $60 of
dining credits, 10 percent off spa treatments and 6pm checkout. Costs from $250
a room (2 adults, 1 child), 1800 251 259, hongkongskycitymarriott.com
Getaway from August 16-19 with a poolside breakfast, side-by-side hour massage
or perhaps a chocolate facial for the kids, and a dance party at the resort’s
SOS Supper Club, one of the most happening hotspots on the island. Those with
kids will get a half-day free babysitting and daily ice cream. Save $180 (and
get a whole lot of extras) costs from $ 1,239++ a room for three nights, +62 361
737 773, anantara.com
you’re up for the great American roadtrip, kick off with Contiki from LA on the
Southern Adventure, and cross the country from California to Louisiana. The
13-day tour ticks off the Grand Canyon and Vegas, baby, and shows how they do
barbies in Texas and cruise in New Orleans. Book 6 months in advance, save $105, costs
$2034, book 12 months in advance, save $209, costs $1930 a person, contiki.com.au
tiny islands of the Maldives have got it all: white sand beaches, tropical
palms, baby blue lagoons. Stay seven nights at the Taj Exotica Resort &
Spa, and pay for six. Fifteen minutes by luxury speedboat from Mali airport,
the hotel is located on its own private island, naturally. The deal is also laden
with extras, including a romantic beach dinner, a la carte breakfast, a sunset
cruise and 15 percent of spa treatments. Travel until November 30, book by 15
November, costs from US$5223 (A$5097) for seven nights. (02) 9957 4511,
|Snorkelling with whales, Tonga|
Perhaps it’s because you thought you never could. The Kingdom of Tonga is a
favourite hang for the massive mammals between July and mid-October. Like many
humans, they are lured by the warm waters for romance, using it as a stopover for
love on their migration from Antarctica. Stay one night at the Scenic Hotel
Tonga, in Nuku’alofa, six nights in the Puataukanave Hotel, Vava’u, and have
two day’s whale watching with the chance of getting up close and personal. The
tour also includes four dives over two days including all diving gear, return
airport transfers and a guide. For travel between August 14-21 and September
4-11, costs $2003 a person, twin share, 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au
|The InterContinental Kowloon|
IT’S ONE of the world’s eternal stand-offs: Hong Kong Island versus
Kowloon. The two sides of the city face each other over the gorgeous
Victoria Harbour, each with its own personality – HK Island sniffs and
says it’s sophisticated and fun, while Kowloon’s just for the tourists.
Yet Kowloon’s makeover, with the glamorous international
ocean terminal and Elements shopping and lifestyle complex, has sent it
on an interstellar flight far from street markets and dodgy basement
As Kowloon’s buildings are lower than those on HK Island,
this is the side to watch the nightly light show, Symphony of Lights,
with laser beams shooting out from 44 of the city’s skyscrapers. “It’s a
conversation between Kowloon and HK Island,” says my friend, Hong Kong
Either way, either side, grab a seat at one of
the best bars and dining rooms on high.
HONG KONG ISLAND
Looking to Kowloon
|Felix restaurant and bar.|
Hip to the eyeballs, Cafe Gray Deluxe is
on the 49th floor of The Upper House hotel in the Admiralty district.
Stop in to eat Gray Kunz’s celebrated one-Michelin-star fare – ask for a
corner table for the best views – then move to the bar for late-night
cocktails. In fact, go straight from customs to this bar. The harbour
views from the gorgeous loos are jaw-dropping.
For exciting contemporary Spanish, FoFo is
a tapas bar at the back of Central. Sadly, the rooftop bar is only for
private parties. But the views of HK Island’s Mid-Levels from the dining
room are expansive. Snack on 36-month-old Iberian ham, beef cheek
cooked with banana and passionfruit, or crispy suckling pig dished up by
Barcelona’s Alex Martinez Fargas and married with one of FoFo’s many
marvellous tempranillos or the house’s Sexy Sangrias. Open for almost
two years, it’s already a Bib Gourmand – meaning you can score a quality
three-course meal for less than $HK300 ($37) – in the HK Michelin
Isola, in the IFC Mall in Central,
doesn’t have to be a night-time gig. In fact, we’d recommend slipping
into its little rooftop terrace bar for a lunchtime pizza, as Maria
Sharapova has been known to do. Set right on the harbourside, it’s the
spot to watch the Star Ferry slosh by.
For a late-night option with the same views, head to the glass-cube G Bar (Podium Level 4, IFC Mall).
Super-chic Sevva has a “lazy type of
glamour”, somewhere to have your divine cake and eat it in divine
surroundings presided over by HK-Australian fashion and cake maestro
Bonnie Gokson. Get the elbows and knees out to bag a terrace sofa and
gaze at the best of Hong Kong architecture, from the old Legislative
Council to the Norman Foster-designed HSBC Building. The clientele
ranges from Hong Kong tai-tais (ladies who lunch) to cigar-chewing VIPs
(complete with bodyguards). An arty party set descends at sundown and
Fridays are deservedly manic. Dress code: fabulous.
You wouldn’t think Hotel LKF would have any decent views
but the little boutique hotel set in the Mid-Levels is built up the
hillside leading to the Peak. So when you ascend to Azure restaurant on the 29th and 30th floors, you’ll also find the swankiest, most secretive little bar with the worst name – Slash.
Pitched at the indie-design set, it doles out cocktails until 1am most
nights and 3am on Thursdays to Saturdays, with a daily three-hour happy
hour from 5.30pm.
ToTT’s is on the 34th floor of the four-star business hotel The Excelsior, in Causeway Bay.
It’s easy on the wallet, with cocktails below $HK90, but
uneasy positioning means it’s not the best place for the Symphony of
Lights. However, the revamped rooftop bar is the place for a
post-shopping restorative bevvy – the hotel is just minutes from the
late-closing Causeway Bay shops. Ask for the Moonlight Lychee Blossom, mixing Aviation gin
from Oregon in the US with rose water, green lychee liquor and brut
The Harbour Grand is breaking new ground in the eastern HK Island locale North Point. The five-star hotel’s cheesily named Le 188°
indicates just how far the views span, encompassing both harbour
entrances. BBQ in the Sky starts in September, with seafood barbecues
every weekend until 1am. The best way to get there is via Exit A of the
Fortress Hill MTR station.
Wooloomooloo is best known for its
steakhouses but the Wan Chai branch includes a chic rooftop 32 floors
high, plus 360-degree views. You can just about stretch out and touch
the Peak up above. The meat here is 120-day Australian Black Angus, with
set lunches from $HK138. Beloved by meat lovers and naughty Hong Kong
ladies whose husbands don’t like heights.
M bar at the Mandarin Oriental does dark
and moody to a T. Renovated last year, the 25th-floor bar whispers the
secrets of molecular cocktails but the staff still remember how to do a
good old-fashioned one. Hot tips: wrap your lips around a Hong Kong Legend, a mix
of vodka, lychee liqueur and kuei hua chen chiew, a Chinese wine that’s
almost a health drink, dammit. We also love the elegance of the Earl
Grey Mar-tea-ni (geddit?). And if you’re hunting for a HK banker, this
is definitely the place to prowl.
Of course, there’s a pool at the Grand Hyatt’s open-air Waterfall Bar,
a teensy 36-seater in the heart of Wan Chai, by the convention centre.
Cuban-cigar lovers will relish the alfresco puffing and city views and
the rack of booze is as smart as the dress code (which reads “smart”,
not “smart casual”).
Looking to Hong Kong Island
“Hong Kong Island’s skyline at night yanks New York’s
shorts down and whups its butt, hard,” say the saucy scribblers of Luxe
The biggest news on the Kowloon side of town is the opening of the Ritz-Carlton and its OZONE bar on the 118th floor, which it claims is the highest bar in the world. You can eat and dance here and, of course, there’s a
signature cocktail, the Senses, which blends Hennessy VSOP with vanilla
syrup and blackberries.
There are no reservations, so get in early to
grab a prime table by the windows. Without a swanky name, the Lobby Lounge
at the Intercontinental could be dismissed as another dreary hotel bar
but it’s not. And Kowlooners agree it has the best views of the light
show. This great HK staple is also blessed with a gorgeous Mariage
Freres afternoon tea, jazz at 6pm and crooners at 9pm. The drinks to
drink are the Nine Dragon cocktails (all $HK120), ranging from the
Dragontini (kuei hau chen and Jagermeister) to the non-alcoholic Green
We suggest you wear white when you visit Aqua Spirit
so your friends can see you in the sultry darkness. Key spots are the
glam curtained alcoves and the drink de jour is the Aquatini, which
swirls Ketel One Dutch vodka, Chambord, lychee liqueur and, because it’s
Hong Kong, gold leaves. Otherwise, order a One Peking, which blends
jasmine tea, peach schnapps, saffron and elderflower cordial.
Felix is the restaurant atop Tsim Sha
Tsui’s iconic Peninsula Hong Kong and atop the restaurant is a little
bar designed by Mr Fabulous, Philippe Starck. Take your drink to the
window and look across to Victoria Peak, HK Island and down on Victoria
Harbour. Otherwise, men can head to the glass urinals to wow while they
wizz. Avoid if your wallet is dieting: this is one to visit if you’re
hell-bent on impressing.
There are plenty of bars we haven’t got to yet: RED bar and Barcepage wine terrace on HK Island; Living Room in Kowloon’s W Hotel; the Sheraton’s Sky Lounge in Tsim Sha Tsui …
We’ll leave you to it.
Aqua, 30/F, 1 Peking Rd,
Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 3427 2288, aqua.com.hk.
Cafe Gray Deluxe, Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, upperhouse.com.
Felix, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2315 3188, peninsula.com.
FoFo, 20/F, M88 Building, 2-8 Wellington St, Central, 2900 2009, fofo.hk.
Harbour Grand Hong Kong, 23 Oil St, North Point, 2121 2688, www.harbour-grand.com.
Isola, Level 3, IFC Mall, Central, 2383 8765, isolabarandgrill.com.
Hotel LKF, 33 Wyndham St, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 3518 9688, hotel-LKF.com.hk.
M bar, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Rd,
Central, 2522 0111, mandarinoriental.com.
Lobby Bar, Intercontinental Hotel, 18 Salisbury Rd,
Tsim Sha Tsui, 2721 1211, intercontinental.com.
OZONE, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, 2263 2263, ritzcarlton.com.
Sevva, 25/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Rd, Central, 2537 1388, sevva.hk.
ToTT’s, The Excelsior, 281 Gloucester Rd,
Causeway Bay, 2894 8888, mandarinoriental.com.
Waterfall Bar, Grand Hyatt, 1 Harbour Rd, Central, 2588 1234, hongkong.grand.hyatt.com.
Wooloomooloo, 31/F & Rooftop, 256 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, 2893 6960, wooloo-mooloo.com.