Hong Kong - Luxury Travel Magazine
|By: Danika Houghton, Issue 43 – Winter 2010|
|(Shopping in Hong Kong) |
|HONG KONG IS A DIE-HARD SHOPPER’S PARADISE AND AS DANIKA HOUGHTON FOUND OUT, A MUST-SHOP DESTINATION FOR DISCOUNTS DURING THE HONG KONG SUMMER SPECTACULAR SHOPPING FESTIVAL. |
|Lights, camera, action. Well that was the scene that greeted me as I stepped out of my private car at the W Hotel Hong Kong. The cameras weren’t for me though, much to my disappointment. They were there capturing the perfectly sculpted bodies of the Calvin Klein underwear models that were strutting around the foyer for the launch of the Calvin Klein X Underwear range. |
This event however did set the scene for my three days in Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Summer Spectacular (formerly the HK shopping festival), which is full of fabulous shopping, food, bars, giltz and glamour.
Flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Hong Kong was the way I started my shopping holiday. With the champagne flowing freely all the way from the lounge to my seat, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class knew how to put me in a holiday frame of mind. It’s also the perfect place to rest your legs before you hammer them with three days of shopping.
Choosing to stay at the W Hotel Hong Kong is a strategic one if you want to make the most of your shopping experience as its location on the Kowloon side is right in between the key shopping districts. It’s also a great choice if you prefer a more modern style of luxury to the more traditional luxury hotels styles that tend to dominate Asia. W Hotel Hong Kong is just as much a place to be seen as it is a place to sleep. It also has an element of fun highlighted to me when Harry Potter brought my bags to my room. Well, it was actually one of the porters playing the childrens’ book hero just for fun on that day.
On the first day before hitting the shops I made a stop at Wong Tai Sin Temple where I juggled some joss sticks and had my fortune told. I asked the important questions like, “Are there bargains to be found this weekend?” Luckly the signs were good so the next stop was Citygate Outlets.
If you’re after a bargain then Citygate Outlets, located in the heart of Tung Chung, is the place to go. With over 80 international brand names offering year-round discounts of 30 to 70 per cent off, you’re sure to bag a bargain. I could have spent an entire day at Citygate, (where I picked up a few things from Bally and Max Mara), but the high-end designer stores were calling.
If you, like me, are from Australia the great thing about high-end designer stores in Hong Kong is that they stock the entire range from that season’s collection. You can get that Miu Miu swallow-print silk dress you saw in a magazine in every colour Miu Miu made. The other big advantage is that the prices are less expensive. On a full price item you’ll save between five and ten percent off the Australian price and then during the sales that are on for the Hong Kong Summer Spectacular from June to the end of August, the savings can be as much as 50 per cent.
Sticking to the Kowloon side, the next stop for the day was the Harbour City, one of the area’s largest shopping complexes. This complex has a more youthful feel with a mix of high street and high-end, with shops like Club Monaco, Massimo Dutti, MNG, Miss Sixty and Steve Madden on the inside of the complex, while the more traditional designers in the complex such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermés have their shopfronts on Canton road.
If you want to venture out of Harbour City you can cross Canton road to the new 1881 Heritage centre where you’ll find jewellery stores, a Shanghai Tang and a Vivienne Tam, who is a very hot designer in Hong Kong at the moment.
On the other side of 1881 Heritage is Nathan Road and its famous “Golden Mile”. It bustles with shoppers day and night with a dazzling array of brightly lit, neon-decorated shops. This is where you go if you’re looking for jewellery or a tailor. The tailors will be hassling you as you cruise down the street so they’re not hard to find. You’ll find all that you want on Nathan Road but it’s worth taking a detour down a side street or two where you’ll find more local shops full of the bright, colourful and unusual.
As you head up Nathan Road to Mong Kok (you may want to get a taxi) you can check out the Langham Place shopping centre which has a good mix of shops. You’ll find practically everything there; all the best high-street stores, cosmetics and more.
Mong Kok is the place to go if you’re looking for audio-visual, electronic or telecommunication products and cosmetics.
The other areas that are well worth checking out if you want to find unusual accessories or more local designers you may not have heard of are Shantung Street and Dundas Street. Here you’ll find rows of boutiques selling Japanese and Western fashions and accessories.
Monk Kok is also home to the Ladies Market. Located on Tung Choi you can find bargain-priced clothing, accessories and household knick-knacks. The array of iPhone covers here is truly amazing. On this trip I was there in the early evening at around six o’clock, but I’m told that it really gets busy around eight. After a full day shopping it was time to head back to base, W Hotel Hong Kong. Sitting in the jacuzzi on the hotel’s pool deck on a balmy Hong Kong evening, I could see the laser show that lights up the city every evening at 8.00pm.
For my second day of shopping I headed over the harbour from the hotel to Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong’s Central district has an astonishing array of glamorous buildings dedicated to high-end designer stores. You can spend all day shopping the stores of big name brands, designer stores and exclusive high-end designer boutiques in The Landmark, The Galleria, Prince’s Building, Alexandra House and ifc mall.
But on this day I went exploring the side streets where I stumbled across the cutest boutiques. My favourite was On Lan Street, on the left as you head up Pedder Street. Here I found the sweetest Christian Louboutin store I have ever seen and a great D-mop store where the staff were very helpful in bringing me clothes to try on from the trendiest local and European designers. Wellington street was also fantastic for boutique shopping. My favourite was Lu Lu Cheung.
I also ventured into “The Lanes”, Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West where I found an amazing array of stalls and boutiques selling everything from inexpensive clothes, watches, costume jewellery, luggage and shoes.
If I had a little more time I would have ventured to Causeway Bay and to the Pacific Place shopping centre in Admiralty, but after hours of walking and shopping the Bliss Spa back at my hotel was calling. With a night out on the town planned for that evening a manicure and pedicure was on the cards, but first a full body massage to work out all those shopping kinks.
There is no better place for drinks and dinner than Sevva on a Saturday night in Hong Kong. Here you can enjoy an apéritif on the balcony and take in the view. The staff were on hand to take my order and bring me my bellini. The atmosphere was vibrant and the bar was full of smart and sophisticated clients. Dinner that night was at Sevva’s Harbourside, where the mixture of eastern and western cuisine is delicious.
If you want to keep the night going you can chance it and head to Lan Kwai Fong, the main party district where you’ll find a carnival-like atmosphere as people spill onto the streets from the bars. Or you might choose to dance the night away at Dragan-i, the hottest club in the city.
Day three and I decided to spend this my last day of shopping taking it easy at the ELEMENTS mall which is attached to the W Hotel Hong Kong.
Shopping in this mall was much more relaxed although just as glamorous as other shopping destinations throughout the city. All the top European designers are there including Valentino, Lowe, Mulberry, Vivenne Westwood and Jimmy Choo. I was also delighted to find some of my favourite designer stores including BCBG Max Azria and Diane von Furstenberg alongside Zahra and H&M.
After three days of non-stop shopping and bags that were pushing the limits of the Upper Class baggage allowance I was happy to be relaxing in Virgin Atlantic’s Club House lounge waiting for my flight. My airport shopping, however, was stopped short by restrictions on liquids imposed by the Australian Government on all flights entering Australia. So no duty-free perfume or Champagne for me.
By the time the plane took off I was ready to slip into my sleep suite and catch a few zzzs to dream about all the shopping, the fun, the food and the glamour of the cosmopolitan city that is Hong Kong.
|Hong Kong Summer Spectacular (formerly the HK shopping festival) runs from June, 11 to August, 31. It is an annual event that focuses on the diversity of Hong Kong’s shopping and dining and offers discounts city-wide. |
|GETTING THERE: |
|Virgin Atlantic flies daily from Sydney to Hong Kong. |
|WHERE TO STAY: |
|W Hotel Hong Kong |