I just came back from Hong Kong, my first trip to the Far East (insert gasp!), and even though it was technically vacation, I could not help checking out a few of the newest and greatest spots. There's just something about this city—a feeling/vibe that's hard to put into words. Here's a quick rundown:
- The new W Hong Kong's nature-inspired design courtesy of Glamorous and Co. in Japan and Australian firm g+a definitely ups the ante (butterflies hang in the lobby living room, the restaurant is dubbed Fire, and the glass elevator is backed by tree branches) . What I couldn't get over were the views of the harbor and the Hong Kong skyline—that were everywhere. From floor-to-ceiling windows in the guestrooms, fitness center, and Bliss spa, to the pool (infinity edged) situated on the 76th floor.
- Another place that is all about the views is Sevva (pronounced Savour) in Hong Kong. Located on the top of the Princess Building, its wrap-around terrace is a perfect spot for sunset cocktails and watching the city's "Symphony of Lights" show (at 8:00 pm each night, the city's buildings light up in various colors as though they are almost teasing each other). Dining inside is just as much of a treat thanks to owner Bonnie Gokson and designers Calvin Tsao and Team HC. There are five areas, each with its own personality (from glam to modern). My favorite: the lounge, with its living vertical garden wall.
- And I had to see the view-of-all-views: the Felix at the Peninsula. Philippe Starck's white minimalist design from the mid-90s hasn't aged a day (and is truly Starck), and the floor-to-ceiling windows (even with the blinds) didn't disappoint. But in my opinion, the best views in the house were from the relaxation room at the breathtaking spa, designed by Henry Leung. For more on the hotel's newest addition, basement boite Salon De Ning, also by Leung, check out the September issue of HD.
- And yes, in Hong Kong, there are quite a few great places without views. Take French fine dining restaurant Cepage, for instance, first Chinese outpost from Singapore-based Les Amis Group. Dining there is an intimate experience not only for the quaint size of the space (even though it is three stories, each story is modest in size) in the stylish Starstreet precinct, but also thanks to the French villa-inspired design by Tan Kay Nee (you guessed right: wood paneling, crystal chandeliers, rich colors). The only view at Pawn—a restaurant and bar housed in four Guangzhou-style balcony shophouses in Wanchai—is a view out on the trolley carts on the street. But here everything that is new is old again in Stanley Wong and Idiom's creation, from the distressed wood, worn leather furniture, old Pawn Shop signs, and even the roof garden. And even though Zuma in the Landmark is a year-old, Super Potato's glowing, stone-filled space is one to see—and be seen. The best part (besides the fantastic sushi) is the curved, illuminating center staircase, that hangs by cables and connects the upstairs bar and lounge to the downstairs dining room.