While in Hong Kong recently on a work trip, Sara Caverley – the Sydney-based founder and creative director behind footwear label Sol Sana – was caught off-guard by the city’s dynamic “mixture of old and new, East and West – it truly is a one-of-a-kind city.”
“I could write a 10,000 page essay explaining why I love Hong Kong and what keeps drawing me back,” says Caverley, whose accessible contemporary label has found fans in Jessica Alba, Olivia Palermo and Candice Swanepoel and stockists in Tuchuzy, The Iconic and David Jones locally, as well as Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Shopbop internationally.
“Everything you could possibly want from a city is here: restaurants, nightlife, culture, views to die for, beaches (yes, beaches) and shopping – literally malls connected to malls, from high end to high street and some pretty cool local stuff in between.”
Below, Caverley generously provides GRAZIA with a guide to where to stay, shop, eat and play in the (other) harbour city close to her heart.
“My top hotel choice would be The Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui, a pretty eccentric hotel with themed room inspired by the Dadaism art movement of the 20th century. For a high-end feel, try The Upper House in Central for a sleek, high end feel. They have a secret rooftop garden that offers free yoga on a weekend and Pacific Mall is directly underneath the hotel.”
“As far as shopping goes there are a few malls that are a must: IFC Mall and Harbour City. Hours can be spent getting lost in these malls. Hong Kong is also home to some of the world’s best department stores: Lane Crawford and Joyce – the best mix of high end labels you will find in one place. For something a little different check out Island Beverly, a four storey indoor market with local, Japanese and Koran fashion stores. There’s also a similar mall called The Rise Shopping Arcade over on the TST side.
“If outlets are more your thing, then head over to Horizon Plaza. It’s a little bit off the beaten track, but worth it if you can get your hands on a pair of Saint Laurent pumps at 60% off. Chloé, Lane Crawford, Joyce, Marni, I.T, Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs all have outlets here; there is also a Prada outlet a short taxi ride away. You will need at least a day to hit up all the hotspots listed above, and luckily everything is Hong Kong is super convenient and easy to get to. The MTR train network is unbeatable and much faster than catching cabs and sitting in traffic.”
“The list here is endless. Some of the best eateries and bars in the world can be found in Hong Kong, from Michelin star dining to street food all on the same block. One of the best restaurants for dim sim, Tim Ho Wan, just happens to be the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world and is a must try. You may have heard of Din Tai Fung? Well this is where it all started – the original and the best. This is always my first pit-stop when I land in Hong Kong.
“For tapas that are out of this world, I go to 22 Ships – a small, fast paced restaurant that serves up the best bite sized plates that look too good to eat. For a true Hong Kong eating experience, you need to hit up the open air food stalls that’ll have you drinking Tsing Tao and eating salt and pepper squid or steamed fish with black bean sauce all in a buzzing outdoor setting right in the middle of the Temple Street Night Market.”
“All the best night life can be found in the Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Soho areas. There are some unmissable roof top bars scattered across Hong Kong complete with breathtaking views. One of my favouritess is Eyebar, which is a great option for cocktails and views on top of the iSQUARE Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. SEVVA in Central is another happy hour hotspot with great food that also mixes a mean cocktail. Yu Bar and Lily and Bloom are both great options for a cool setting and great drinks.”
“For a full view of Hong Kong from above, head to The Peak or take the ferry to see the cross harbour view, which is breathtaking. Tsz Shan Monastery in Tung Tsz, Tai Po district, is a must visit if you need to find your inner Om. It’s one of the most expensive monasteries ever built (and it shows). Few know about this hidden spot in Hong Kong where you can find tranquillity with a view to boot. The temple admits a limit to the number of visitors per day, so make sure you pre-book before you travel.
“There are also some pretty good beaches in Hong Kong if you want to get away from the city for a day or a few hours. Repulse Bay is about a 45 minute trip from the city but is lined with beach side restaurants and bars. Limewood comes highly recommended.”
Tile and cover image: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images