Where To Eat, Drink, and Shop in Hong Kong

Marie France Van Damme

Marie France Van Damme

Marie France Van Damme, the woman behind the eponymous line of luxury resort wear, will be opening her first store in Hong Kong.  This Hong Kong-based globe-trotter store will showcase resort wear, ready-to-wear and accessories collections in a sanctuary that draws inspiration from Marie France’s travels and immerses clients in her global aesthetic. Originally from Montreal, Marie France has lived in Hong Kong for over 20 years and to celebrate the opening of her store, she’s also happy to share her knowledge about what to do, see and eat while visiting her dynamic city.

Here are her fine tips!

Restaurant recommendation:

Yin Yang.  Located in the heart of Wanchai, it only accommodates 30 seats. All dishes on the menu are created by Chef and founder Margaret Xu Yuan, an ex-interior designer. They get their produce on a newly acquired organic farm and create their own fruit wines. A true farm- to- table Chinese cuisine.

http://www.yinyang.hk/www.yinyang.hk/Welcome.html

 Where To Get A Drink:

The Intercontinental. If you go at sundown it’s beautiful. It’s actually where I met my husband- whenever my single friends complain about not finding someone – I tell them to go for a drink at the Intercontinental.

 http://www.hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com/

Best Hidden Gem:

The beach. From Sai Kung Street you can take a Sampan (a boat) to nearby deserted beaches. Many people do not realize that 70% of Hong Kong is protected, so there is a lot of green space and deserted beaches.

 http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g294217-d2050638-r117017614-Sai_Kung-Hong_Kong.html

Favorite Place To Shop:

Shanghai Street is fantastic for home goods- they sell understated porcelain pieces that are great for dinner parties or decorating the home.  I love to get little trinkets here, many of these pieces when situated correctly can add an understated elegance to any home. IFC is a fantastic mall to go to if you are shopping for clothes. Stanley Market is next to the beach and is in the oldest part of Hong Kong. It is an outdoor flee market, great if you are looking for deals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Street

Best Place For Tea:

Teakha located in Sheung Wan, is a small, hidden spot where you can sit on the terrace.  It has good pastries and treats too.

 http://teakha.com/

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Melanie Brandman is… The Travel Curator

She’s something of a 007 in heels… ready to hit the tarmac. She possesses that rare blend of friendly, fierce, and intelligent. And, of course, if she’s going to advise luxury hoteliers, she must also be lethally… stylish. She is… The Most Interesting Travel Curator in the World. She is… Melanie Brandman. Yes, anyone who’s anyone in the luxe travel world knows this stunning powerhouse and she’s always fascinated us for a variety of reasons. Namely, we admire women-on-top who carry-on a smile with business savvy to boot.
An eighth-generation Australian, Brandman spent her childhood in Melbourne and Sydney and, although she’s been calling NYC home for a number of years, she began her 20+ years of public relations experience with positions at Vogue Australia, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts,  Sydney and London. Eventually, she settled in New York City where, in 2001, she established The Brandman Agency. Today, her agency counts itself as one of the major competitors in the global luxury travel market.

La Mamounia - Marrakech

Now, Brandman brings passion to her latest project and one that gets our attention… a travel website called The Travel Curator, for the traveler who craves exciting, unique experiences. The site – Melanie’s virtual diary of sorts – is designed to cut through all of the clutter of your average travel website; instead, giving people who love travel all of her tried and tested favorites, as well as word-of-mouth travel tips and favorite must-do’s. She’s all about what’s new and what’s now, places to go, and where to go once you’re there. This upcoming month The Travel Curator will feature London and each month in the Salon Section, a celebrity or influencer will be interviewed.

Melanie Brandman - The Travel Curator

So we asked Melanie: Out of your impressive client roster, what are some of  your favorites?

La Mamounia in Marrakech — Perhaps the most iconic hotel in Morocco, La Mamounia re-opened in late 2009 after a magnificent 3-year makeover, under the direction of star designer Jacques Garcia. There are two things that I love most about this hotel:

1) It’s historical significance. Since its original debut in 1923, La Mamounia has hosted the “who’s who” of international royalty, politicians, celebrities and the jet set

2) The design. The hotel fits perfectly into it’s surroundings, thanks to its contemporary Moroccan design. The breathtaking mosaics and moldings make you feel like you are in the city center (yet surrounded by peace and privacy).  The hotel has expanded with 136 guest rooms, 71 Suites, and three incredible Riads. Their spa is something like 27,000 sq feet, every inch of it divine, as is their iconic pool, which I love for people watching. I would, and often do, recommend this hotel to anyone in search of the very best.  www.mamounia.com

Villa San Michele - Florence, Italy

Villa San Michele in Fiesole, Italy — Once a Franciscan monastery, this flagship Orient-Express hotel is located on an ancient hilltop and features facades done by Michelangelo himself. It has perhaps one of the most epic views of any hotel I have ever stayed, a rare bird’s-eye view of Florence (one of my all-time favorite cities). It’s tranquil, it’s sophisticated… the service, the gardens, and white-glove room-service (especially for breakfast) are impeccable. www.villasanmichele.com

InterContinental Hong Kong's Superb Rooftop

InterContinental Hong Kong – Everything about this hotel is dramatic, in all the right ways. When I stay at this hotel, I feel as though I am right on top of the water, like being on a yacht in the middle of one of the world’s buzziest cities. The Presidential Suites, if you can sneak a peak, are not to be missed. The service and the butlers and the staff in general are beyond accommodating. And you don’t even need to leave the hotel to eat or drink, if you so choose — Nobu and Alain Ducasse’s Spoon are two of many superb dining options on property. http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/hongkong

So there you have it, straight from the 007 of bespoke travel. For more of Melanie’s insider travel picks and monthly interviews with top designers and celebs, check out her website, The Travel Curator, it’s one to watch.

www.thetravelcurator.com

Hong Kong: Your Hotel & Hot Spot Cheat Sheet

Part III, the last of Jaunt Contributor, Victoria Yanakos’s Asia Series, is a special little treat. Your Cheat Sheet to a weekend around Hong Kong.

From decadent restaurants with sweeping city views to all-night bar hopping, this is the perfect city to satisfy every lavish Eastern craving. By Victoria Yanakos

A great way to start your jaunt is to check into the sumptuous Shangri-La Hotel. Excessive elegance, from the ubiquitous chandeliers to the world-class dining at Nadaman and Petrus, this hotel is the personification of five star. You must check out the pool on the 8th floor for an afternoon dip surrounded by the towering skyscrapers of the financial district.

Island Shangri-La
56/F Pacific Place,
Supreme Court Rd
Central, Hong Kong
http://www.shangri-la.com

Petrus – amazing views, impeccable service
852 2820 8590

Nadaman -life changing sushi
852 2820 8570

Another option is the hip LKF hotel located in the busy Lan Kwai Fong area. A modern boutique hotel with big soaking tubs and easy access to Hong Kong nightlife, this hotel can be a great jumping off point for a tastefully boozy weekend.

Hotel LKF
33 Wyndham Street
Lan Kwai Fong,
Central, Hong Kong
http://www.hotel-LKF.com.hk
(852) 3518 9688

Just outside the LKF hotel you are surrounded by dozens of upscale restaurants, galleries, bars and a slew of ex-pats ready to party. A few places to check out are….

Zee Stone Gallery
43-45 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
http://www.zeestone.com

Wagyu – lounge, restaurant
No. 3 G/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street
OR 3-5 Old Bailey Street
Central, Hong Kong
wagyu@biznetnigator.com

Tivo Wine Bar
G/F Yu Yuet Lai Building
43-55 Syndham Street
Central HK

Vino Restaurant
G/F Egin Building
41-43 Elgin Street
Soho, Central Hong Kong
(about a 10 minute walk from LKF area)

Outside of the central district, two other awe-inspiring restaurants are Pearl and Aqua. Both with spectacular city views and food to match, they submerge your senses in the addictive energy that is Hong Kong.

Pearl
1F Peak Tower
128 Peak Rd
The Peak, Hong Kong
852 2849 5123

Aqua
“addictive cuisine”
“uber glam bar”
29=30 Floors, 1 Peking Rd
Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
852 3427 2288
http://www.aqua.com.hk

And after the night out, be kind to your liver and throbbing head, and make a stop at the Flying Pan for eggs and other hangover helpers. With three locations, stumbling to one of them should be relatively easy.

The Flying Pan
Central- G/f 9 Old Bailey St
Wan Chai – 85 Lockhart Rd
Discovery Bay- The Plaza
http://www.the-flying-pan.com

From the sushi at Nadaman to the views at Aqua, the cocktails in LKF and shopping in Kowloon, finding an outlet to let go in Hong Kong is easy and well worth the trip. When it comes to shopping in Hong Kong, it’s as prevalent as the hangovers. For art and antiques, check out the area along Hollywood Road.
For designer wares, the Landmark Mall is a predictable option (both of these are in the Central District). For more interesting and varied shopping, head to Kowloon across the river. Check out the Aberdeen and Harbour at night by taking a cruise or hit Repulse Bay which offers a popular beach. Hopefully, it won’t be too messy from the excessive littering left over by the visitors over the weekends. Victoria Park, which was built in 1888, also leads to Victoria peak which is 1350 ft above the sea level, and here you can get that awesome panoramic view of the city.

For more nightlife suggestions, the editors at Jaunt Magazine recommend checking out:

http://www.hiphongkong.com
http://www.hkclubbing.com
http://www.lifestyle.hk

And, if you really want to get in the mood, Layla Revis, our trusty Editor-in-Chief says (with a wink), “I once had a crush on Hong Kong Fever. If you don’t know who he is, I have two words for you. Notorious. MSG.”