Hong Kong is undoubtedly a great city for shoppers. Where Western designs hang alongside Asian, in air-conditioned malls, local markets, art exhibitions and shoeboxed sized boutiques. We traversed them all to bring you this round-up of the best shopping the city has to offer.
Soho, as the area south of Hollywood Road in Central is known, is filled with unique boutiques selling a selection of goods favoured by their eclectic owners. Interspersed with hip cafes, bars and cupcake bakeries this hillside area reminds me of a Hong Kong version of Notting Hill. There are far too many beautiful boutiques to write about them all but these are a couple that caught me eye:
Fang Fong Projects
Fang Fong Projects is the Peel Street baby of Hong Kong designer Lai Fan Wu. It houses her gorgeous retro-inspired designs made from fabrics she sourced on her international travels, along with an accessories collection she stocks to accompany them. (I got the chance to speak to Lai Fan Wu about her work and inspirations – watch out for an interview post coming soon.)
(G/F, 69A Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong)
Somewhere In Time
Tucked into a tiny corner of Peel Street is this emporium of vintage jewellery and accessories where you can pretend to be a duchess for the day.
(63-63A Peel Street, SoHo, Central)
Just north of Hollywood Road the boutiques of Soho mingle with the antique stores of Cat Street. On Upper Lascar Row is a street market selling everything from kitschy souvenirs to jewellery, jade and antique lamps. There are also a few places purveying tea, cake and clothes around here that are worth visiting.
Teakha caught my eye because of the number of chic young people sitting outside sipping iced tea and eating green tea cheesecake. Inside I learnt that Teakha serves a wide range of Asian tea and only sells coffee once a week (how novel!)
Lock Cha Tea Shop
Speaking of tea, you can learn the art of Chinese Tea Appreciation at a free class hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in association with Lock Cha. The class is held at the Lock Cha Tea Shop in Hong Kong Park on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 5pm, but if you can’t make that you can enjoy a private tea tasting at the Lock Cha Tea Shop in Sheung Wan. We enjoyed tasting a range of delicate green, white and black Chinese teas with a true expert.
(UG Floor, 290B, Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan)
Ms B’s Cakery
I had to fight the crowds in Ms B’s tiny Gough Street cakery to get a close look at her creations. Ms B bakes cakes that look like works of art and guarantees love at first bite. Well known Ms B, aka Hong Kong Chef Bonnae Gokson, has just opened her third cafe in Harbour City to cater for the demand.
(39 Gough Street, Central)
(Photo Ms B’s Cakery on facebook.)
When 2 Swedish designers got together, one making watches the other shoes, squarestreet was the resulting workshop/boutique hybrid they built. In their own words (as found on the website): “The shop in office environment creates a link for the customers between the end product and it’s origin, inviting them to view and take part in the creative process that drives squarestreet’s individuality and uniqueness.”
(G/F, 15 Square Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong)
Causeway Bay is like Hong Kong Island’s version of Oxford Street, and Bond Street and Regent Street… It’s a manic area of massive shopping complexes but there are a few places you should focus your efforts on.
SOGO is the biggest and most popular Japanese department store in Hong Kong. Spread over 12 stories it is a maze of designer clothing and beauty products. It also seems to be a popular meeting spot for shoppers, so make sure you know where to find your friends again amongst the crowds.
(SOGO Causeway Bay, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay)
Island Beverley is a 4 floored mall filled with over 100 boutiques no bigger than a shoebox! There is a bigger range of designs of offer here than on the high street, mainly by local, Korean and Japanese brands. The clothing is reasonably priced, with many shopholders offering 10% discount on the spot, but beware these designs tend to come in very small sizes and not many of the shops have fitting rooms. Also check out Laforet just behind Island Beverley for more of the same set up.
(Island Beverly Center, 1 Great George St, Causeway Bay)
Eslite is the largest bookstore chain in Taiwan and the store in Causeway Bay is its first overseas branch. The 41,000-square-feet bookstore offers an extensive selection of Chinese books and a decent selection of English titles too.
(Eslite, 8-10/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay)
Like a miniature version of the Ladies Market in Mongkok, Jardine’s Crescent is not what you expect to find in Causeway Bay. Stalls sell cheap (and sometimes tacky) underwear and jewellery, along with umbrellas, which came in handy during our visit. Look out for the shops lining the crescent that sell costume jewellery at bargain basement prices.
(Jardine’s Crescent, Causeway Bay Station Exit F, entrance next to Forever 21)
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is the perfect mix of discount stores and designer malls. The chaotically signposted roads are interspersed with dim sum restaurants and Pacific Coffee cafes. There is a whole host of shopping on offer and we’ve tried to narrow down the best.
A sparkling new high-end shopping mall which overlooks the Kowloon Harbour towards Hong Kong Island. Here you will find a generous children’s section with everything you need to dress your kids top-to-toe in designer togs, the candy pink Barbie shop is sure to delight princesses of all ages. In total, Harbour City has over 450 shops open from 10am to 10pm Monday to Sunday – that’s more shopping than even we could handle!
Hong Kong is known for speedy, good quality and reasonably priced tailoring, something that Sam has been doing since 1957. His humble shop has dressed both royal and Hollywood celebrities, although Sam is usually invited to their private suite to do the fittings!
(Ground Floor K&L, Burlington Arcade, 90-94C Nathan Rd)
Billed as the world’s first Art Mall, K11 blends local and international fashion boutiques with international art. The Mona Lisa made of toast by Maurice Bennett currently on display in the lobby caught my attention, not least for the fact that she seems to be tweeting.
Granville Road is lined with bargain-priced outlets of stock similar to some of the things I spotted in Island Beverley. The prices are fixed but you may be able to take advantage of a special discount if takings have been slow for the day. Customer service is of the active approach here, verging on pushy in some places, so be prepared to stand your ground about what you will and won’t buy. Also found on Granville Road is a branch of Australian owned Cotton On, including a Typo concession, and the brilliant salon who blinged up my nails for me. (See Shop of the Month: Nail and Tail.)
See previous post for more information on Hong Kong’s vibrant local markets as well as guest blogger Sophie Gallagher’s tips for the Ladies Market. Also worth visiting is the Temple Street Night Market, especially for the atmosphere and fortune telling birds!
Where To Stay
Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Shui is the 5 star The Mira Hong Kong, a member of Design Hotels’ collection. Looking stylishly fresh after a multi-million dollar refurbishment, The Mira even has its own shopping mall, meaning you can travel from room to shops in less than 3 minutes. The Mira helps their guests stay fully connected whilst exploring the city by offering a Smartphone Solution which includes unlimited international and local calls, an informative city guide, as well as 3G data and Wi-Fi tethering capabilities. (We need never get lost again!)
After shopping your way around Hong Kong you will no doubt be in need of some rest and relaxation which will come via a visit to the MiraSpa – they have a soothing room full of floatation beds especially for this purpose. The infinity edge swimming pool is surrounded by cosy couches and you’ll find a jacuzzi alongside the steam and sauna facilities in the changing rooms. The hotel’s big breakfast buffet offers an array of Western and Asian specialities, along with a tempting spread of freshly made cakes and bread, and for lunch you can treat yourself to some Michelin starred dim sum at the hotel’s Cuisine Cuisine restaurant. Be sure to book a table though; this place is as popular with the locals as it is with hotel guests.
Special Offer: save up to 30% off room rates and get a guaranteed upgrade to a higher room category until 11 Sept 2013 when booking through the Mira Hotel newly relaunched website. Visit www.themirahotel.com for more information.
For more information on Hong Kong please visit www.discoverhongkong.com.
Cathay Pacific flies five times daily to Hong Kong from London Heathrow with prices from £629 in Economy and £1159 in Premium Economy. To book your flights visit www.cathaypacific.co.uk
Thanks to the Hong Kong Tourism Board for inviting us to explore the shopping opportunities of their city.