The small, 426 square mile territory of Hong Kong is an incredibly futuristic feeling city, set amongst the stunning green landscape and towering hills. Central Hong Kong is mainly separated into two sections: Kowloon and the Island. Both offer just as much to travelers, and we have stayed on both sides. Hong Kong is incredibly easy to travel around in with its sophisticated metro network, so you can’t really go wrong.
While there has been a lot of coverage in the news around Hong Kong’s unrest, we did travel in December 2019 and had an incredible experience. This was our second time in the city. It’s always best to check your government’s travel restrictions and the Hong Kong travel advisories, but we are basing this off our recent experience in Hong Kong, where we experienced nothing less than incredible people, culture and luxury.
Hong Kong has incredible options for luxury hotels on both Kowloon and the Island sides. We chose our hotels simply based on which properties were our favorites as you can’t go wrong on either side. We found traveling around to be so easy and therefore stayed on the Island side at the Island Shangri-La. Accommodation rates range dramatically based on season, day of the week and what events are happening around city, and 5-star hotels seem to be around $300-500 per night. In our experience, upgrading to the club level at the Shangri-La is worth the expense because you really feel like you’re taking part in a classic, luxurious experience – and it includes breakfast, snacks and evening snacks and champagne. Many hotels in Hong Kong offer this club level, including the Hyatt Centric, which was also 100% worth the upgrade.
Transportation is incredibly easy in Hong Kong. The public transportation is accessible, inexpensive and appears to exist absolutely everywhere. Several times, we experiences much quicker travel via public transportation than a taxi. The metro costs about $1 per person per way.
Taxis are available as well, as is Uber. Uber is the easiest for travelers and many uber cars are Teslas as they are subsidized by the government.
Hong Kong is known for its world-renowned food scene. There are quite literally over 200 restaurants in the Michelin guide in the small city of Hong Kong. Our favorite is Restaurant Petrus. Lobster Bar is another fabulous spot and their bar is the 44th best bar in Asia.
Whether you’re looking for a quick $1 bite at a local hole-in-the-wall or a $300 wine and food pairing, you can find it all in Hong Kong. If you’re looking for the best views of Hong Kong, be sure to head to Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton.
If you’re looking for luxury goods, Hong Kong has it all. From Chanel, to Gucci to boutique Asian brands, you can find them all and then some. Hong Kong is also known for its jam-packed markets, our favorite being the Ladies Market. The Ladies Market is your typical fake goods, jewelry, electronics and clothing shops.
Note that haggling is expected and completely acceptable. We found that if you negotiated with the shopkeepers, you’d land somewhere between 50-75% of the original quoted price.
Hong Kong is a wonderful mix of western and eastern culture. People in Hong Kong are kind, respectful and live very healthy lives. There’s an eclectic mix of colonial architecture and ultra-modern buildings all around, giving the city such an eclectic energy.
In the markets, negotiation is definitely acceptable, and encouraged. Shop keepers are kind and really want your business. As we were there in December 2019 (amidst the lack of tourism due to the political issues), people were so happy just to see Americans, frankly. Bartenders and wait staff were super service-minded and attentive.
Bespoke service, elegant decor and bottomless Veuve Clicquot perfectly describe this Shangri-La property. There are so many incredible choices in Hong Kong if you're looking for luxury - check out this post to learn more about what to expect.
As with most major cities, everything will cost money: transportation, lodging, meals, etc. When booking hotels, the majority of the rates do not include breakfast. There are a number of hotels in Hong Kong with incredible lounge upgrades that can cover a great deal of your meals and alcohol, so worth considering.
Otherwise, you’ll find anything from $.25 per person street food up to 3-Michelin starred restaurants with higher price tags.
Typical food & beverage costs range depending on how high-end the hotel brand is, but we typically budget $300 per day for food & alcohol. Transfers to & from the hotel to the airport range as well, but we typically budget $30-40. The Victoria Peak Tram costs you approximately $6.
Dry winters and wet-hot summers are characteristic of Hong Kong. The best times to visit are October-December, when weather is at its mildest (aka least humid). The wettest times are May-September.
Check out some of our favorite Hong Kong hotels and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
Hong Kong is an incredible city that has so much to offer in terms of luxury and a city escape. Kind people, excellent dining and great service make this a perfect getaway for a business or leisure stay.
As you start to plan your trip, consider your top priorities: are you looking for the shopping malls? Are you hoping to go explore the cultural sites outside the downtown area? Depending on your needs, one location may be better than the other. Central is the perfect home base for travelers looking for exceptional dining, easy access to shopping and Victoria Peak. Kowloon is most known for its nightlife and markets.