Over the last 12 years, Alice McCall’s eponymous label has earned itself a place in stylish wardrobes across Australia, thanks to its flirty, feminine, folky, and faintly futuristic aesthetic. But it’s not only local customers that are charmed by McCall’s playful pieces. The designer has just set up shop in Dalian, China. “Our Chinese customer base has grown significantly in the past five years. Over 10 per cent of our e-boutique visitors are reading the website in Mandarin. The Chinese customer is very much as fan of the brand, they love our occasion playsuits and are drawn to the brand’s sense of colour,” says McCall.
Since her label’s inception in 2004, business has taken McCall to Hong Kong three times a year. “It’s definitely the most frequently visited city I have been to,” she says. “I mainly travel there for work, sourcing fabrics and looking for inspiration.” These trips aren’t all work and no play, though. This is how the fashion heavyweight suggests you spend time in Hong Kong, a humming metropolis brimming with culture and contradictions.
Stay at The Upper House, Hong Kong
“I love The Upper House, Hong Kong. I have stayed there a number of times, and although it is such a cliché to say this, it is honestly the best hotel in the world. Located in Central above the sleek Pacific Place mall, this boutique hotel feels removed from the rush of the city. The rooms themselves are spacious and sophisticated, fitted out with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a five-star hotel: a deep bathtub, ornate detailing and a flat-screen TV, which comes in handy if you’re jet-lagged or just need to wind down. Then, of course, there are the sweeping harbour views.”
Start your day with breakfast at Café Gray Deluxe
“If you are staying at The Upper House, you have to try their breakfast at Café Gray Deluxe. It’s table service, so no battling with the lines of a buffet. They also offer high tea here, with a selection of amazing pastries and teas. The cranberry tea is particularly delicious. And being located 49th floor of the building, it brings new meaning to the concept of ‘high’ tea!”
Shop up a storm at Lane Crawford
“You can’t miss Lane Crawford. It is shopping heaven. With the likes of Givenchy, McQueen and Alexander Wang under one roof, Lane Crawford has an impeccably curated selection of fashion, jewellery, shoes and homewares to splurge on. I find I have brought a lot of my favourite accessories here, from a limited edition Kenzo handbag to my Robert Clergerie clogs. My most recent purchase: a gold Céline bracelet that I can’t bring myself to ever take off.”
Refuel at Nan Fun Place yum cha
“If you’re in Hong Kong, you have to try a local yum cha. There is one in Nan Fung Place that I really liked – the best traditional yum cha I’ve had so far. The place is quite modern, there is a fantastic East-meets-West atmosphere and the food is presented beautifully. I love how the Asian culture manages to turn everything into art – fashion, food, everything. Try all the classic yum cha dishes; spicy pork dumplings, chicken spring rolls, et cetera. If you’re after a main meal, I loved the sea bass in Champagne sauce.”
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Unwind over drinks at Ozone
“The Ozone Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, is on the 118th level of city’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre; it’s the highest bar in the world. Needless to say, the view is phenomenal. The interiors are extremely luxe, with futuristic details – think gilded wood, a marble bar and cutting-edge installations – that make you feel like you’re stepping into a watering hole in a galaxy far, far away. The cocktails are remarkably unique – try the Camomile Bubble Martini – but you wouldn’t expect anything less from Hong Kong.”
Get some fresh air
“Kam Shan Country Park is very picturesque. If you stick to the trails you will definitely see some very cute wild monkeys. There are also a number of beautiful gardens throughout reserve. Although I mainly visit Hong Kong for work, I have always wanted to take my girls here.”
“After a long day of shopping and touring, you have to visit a Happy Foot Spa. There is one on just about every corner – you can’t miss them with their flashing neon signs. They use reflexology to treat tired feet, which I find to be incredibly relaxing and effective after, say, a 12-hour day walking the fabric markets.”