Hong Kong is the gateway to doing business in China. It’s a city like no other – a hot, humid, multicultural mix where East and West collide. Gleaming skyscrapers house the corporate headquarters of global giants such as Morgan Stanley and Infiniti, while only minutes away locals grab stools to feast on fresh-from-the-wok noodles at roadside dai pai dongs.
Hong Kong’s compact size is part of its charm – the main business district, malls, bars and restaurants are within walking distance of one another. Make use of the brilliant above-street-level walkway system that connects the major buildings in the CBD to travel between meetings (a real bonus when it’s pouring with rain in summer).
Coffee pit stop
Shop 3023, IFC Mall, Central
With five slick outlets in key business hubs, Fuel Espresso is the go-to place for a caffeine hit. The IFC branch is a reliable meeting spot with its tucked-away location on the fourth floor of the mall.
Shop 3023, IFC Mall, Central
On the top floor of one of Hong Kong’s chicest five-star hotels, Café Gray Deluxe is polished, discreet and has stunning views of Victoria Harbour. Breakfast is served from 6.30am until 10.30am and the menu has plenty of options, from Bircher muesli to truffle scrambled eggs.
Level 49, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway
The impeccably designed Duddell’s is part restaurant and bar, part art gallery. Lone diners should bypass the third floor restaurant and head for the airy, elegant lounge area on the fourth floor with its relaxed, colourful armchairs, convivial bar and a charming plant-filled terrace. The menu is authentic Cantonese and the dim sum topnotch.
Level 3, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central
The supremely comfortable Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill & Bar has soothing neutral tones and a deeply luxurious vibe. Tables are well-spaced and oversized duck-egg-blue velvet dining chairs sit at white- linen-clad tables. The food is delicious and beautifully presented and the service is faultless. The club-like bar area off the restaurant is ideal for pre-dinner drinks.
5 Connaught Road, Central
Drinks with clients
Sevva is a swish, sophisticated cocktail bar and restaurant in the penthouse of the Prince’s Building. The drawcard is its huge wrap around terrace with sweeping 360-degree views of the city, panning from the harbour across to the lush greenery of Victoria Peak. The best time to visit is dusk, when you can watch the city magically light up in front of your eyes.
25th Floor, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central
If you have a couple of hours…
Discover some of Hong Kong’s most vibrant areas by riding the world’s longest covered escalator. Starting in the IFC Mall, the 800-metre Mid-Levels Escalator climbs through the city’s heart, including the hip SoHo precinct.
If you have half a day…
Victoria Peak is the highest point on the island and although it can be clogged with tourists, it’s worth a visit just for the incredible views. The Peak Tram takes you to the top in a heart-stopping eight-minute ascent. You can skip the viewing platform at the wok-shaped Peak Tower and, instead, go on the circular 3.5-kilometre walk, starting at Lugard Road, which circumnavigates the Peak and looks out over the city and South China Sea. To lose the crowds, head to the tranquil Victoria Peak Garden, a hidden gem at the summit of the Peak. If time allows, join the sunset harbour cruise aboard the beautifully restored Aqua Luna junk with its billowing scarlet sail for an enchanting way to end the day.
If you have a day…
Hong Kong has hundreds of kilometres of inviting walking trails in its country parks, which cover 40 per cent of the island. One of the most accessible (and captivating) is the 8.5-kilometre Dragon’s Back on the quieter south side of the island. When you’ve finished the walk, head to the white sandy beaches of Shek O for a refreshing dip in the sea.
If you have a weekend…
Macau makes for a fascinating weekend jaunt and is one hour by hydrofoil from Central. There are two distinct sides to this former Portuguese colony: the gambling mecca (the only place in China where it’s legal) with flashy hotels and crowds of mainland tourists and the territory’s historic areas with their rapidly disappearing heritage. For the latter, seek out Senado Square, in the centre of Macau, and the surviving façade of St Paul’s College, one of its most famous landmarks. Book dinner at Restaurante Fernando, a local institution.
1. A restorative foot rub is a Hong Kong tradition and it’s quite common to see business execs popping in for a quick break. Foot Reflexology & Acupressure in Central has soothing low-lit contemporary interiors and comfortable reclining armchairs.
2. Peaceful Hong Kong Park in the heart of the business district is an oasis of calm surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers. Find a bench near one of the ponds or waterfalls and relax.
3. The ride on the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon is an utter delight. With mesmerising views back to the island and beyond the harbour to the container ship-strewn South China Sea, the place to be is on the ferry’s upper deck.
The best co-working spaces
With its elegantly pale Scandi-style interiors, The Work Project (theworkproject.com) in the heart of Causeway Bay is a good choice for meetings. A day pass costs $HK350 and a private office, including meeting rooms, is $HK5600 per month. The Hive (thehive.com.hk) is more casual and has eight locations across town. Day passes are $HK300, full-time booth desks $HK6500 per month and meeting rooms $HK300 per hour.