Live the high life in Hong Kong. View hotels.

Eastern explorations: Enjoy the glamorous life in Hong Kong

There’s a heady mix of ancient tradition and futuristic technology ready to discover in Hong Kong. Bring an appetite for classic Chinese cuisine, cinematic fashions and intoxicating exploration, and you’ll leave with many fantastic memories. | By Paul Oswell | June 30, 2022 (Updated March 6, 2023)

The island of Hong Kong started out as a collection of rural fishing villages, but is now a huge, high-tech hub for international commerce. Modern day Hong Kong is a bustling, affluent destination that celebrates everything from high fashion to storied traditions, and there’s a seductive excitement that continues to wow visitors. Here’s how to make the most of your time in this dynamic territory:

  • Compelling cuisine: From traditional dim sum to molecular takes on classic Chinese dishes, Hong Kong has a full menu of high-end restaurants

  • Evocative glamour: Sip from delicate china cups in an elegant tearoom while wearing a bespoke outfit made that very day

  • Endless exploration: There are so many sides to this fascinating destination, from the affluence of Victoria’s Peak to the antiques of Hollywood Road

Feast on famous foods

Hong Kong locals rarely let a week go by without eating the island’s specialty: dim sum. High-end dim sum restaurants pride themselves on the delicate structure of their dumplings, fresh ingredients and expert steaming techniques. Join the weekend dim sum ritual and try the famed barbecue pork buns at Michelin-recommended Tim Ho Wan, or the shrimp dumpling at the one Michelin-starred Shang Palace — both restaurants located on the Victoria Harbour waterfront.

Such is the devotion to high-end culinary experiences in Hong Kong that there are more than 50 restaurants that have been awarded those coveted Michelin stars. Two of the most highly regarded are 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (three stars) and Bo Innovation (two stars). At 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, the focus is on Italian and seafood dishes, served in its warm, refined dining room framed by a mirrored ceiling. Chef Umberto Bombana is known as ”the king of white truffles” and his white truffle risotto is legendary. Chef Alvin Leung is affectionately known as “the demon chef,” and at Bo Innovation, he approaches Chinese cuisine via molecular gastronomy, interpreting the classics in fresh ways in his typhoon shelter-inspired kitchen. Best of all? Your Conrad Hong Kong concierge can arrange reservations for you at these or any city restaurants, meaning you can just focus on enjoying the experience.

Tea (and fashion) for two

The height of sophistication in Hong Kong is the traditional Chinese tea ceremony. In the VIP room at the beautiful Admiralty Tea House, you’ll feel instantly pampered as you sit among the elegant dark wood furnishings. Your server will guide you through the nuances and flavors of the teas from the prestigious LockCha tea company. The venue is also regarded as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in town.

While exploring Hong Kong, it’s good to strive for a modish, urbane look. A perfect way to do this is to have some clothes made for you by a local tailor. For men, Magnus & Novus crafts bespoke suits that capture that cinematic style, and there’s inspiration aplenty in their chic showroom. Women will love the designs created by Jasmin Pang at JSMP, a local who has clothed many of the city’s biggest stars. Her stylish atelier is on Wing Kut Street, and she specializes in classic, timeless looks.

You’ll want to show off your new ensemble, of course, and there’s no better place to do that than at the opera. The Xiqu Centre (just a quick 10-minute drive from Conrad Hong Kong) in the West Kowloon Cultural District is a purpose-built venue that presents Cantonese opera, as well as other forms of Chinese traditional theater. Relax in box seats in your dashing outfits and take in the show.

Explore the high life

Many affluent locals live in the very exclusive Victoria Peak neighborhood. Known as The Peak, you should explore this elite corner of the city for its cooler climes, the tranquility of its walks and some of the most spectacular skyline views in the whole of Hong Kong. It’s a great spot to watch the Symphony of Lights once the sun goes down. Head for the serenity of Victoria Peak Garden, where you can bask in the panorama that stretches toward the region’s outlying islands. The hillside is covered in a blanket of greenery, with glimpses of the city’s most expensive mansions peeking through. These houses are likely full of priceless antiques, and you can look for some of your own in the many shops on the city’s Hollywood Road.

Antique trading has been happening here for generations, and you can find rare prints at Wattis Fine Art, beautiful terracotta and antique Chinese furniture at Oi Ling Fine Chinese Antiques or precious ceramics at K.Y. Fine Art. Looking for something more contemporary? Conrad Hong Kong is located next to the Pacific Place shopping center, which has one of the largest collections of designer boutiques (in addition to restaurants, a movie theater and more). For a change of pace and a more modern slice of glamour, take a helicopter shuttle to the glittering casinos in nearby Macau — just a 15-minute flight away. Known as the Monte Carlo of the East, you can move between the gaming tables here, sipping cocktails and taking in the ambiance and perhaps even having a flutter yourself before catching a flight home.

Hong Kong offers a dizzying mix of the ancient and the futuristic. Traditional fishing boats sail by, illuminated by the neon lights glowing from the downtown skyscrapers. Whether you’re a gastronome, a style maven or are just looking for an excitingly different vacation, the sights and sounds of Hong Kong will stay with you for a long time to come.

Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer, and has been reporting from all seven continents for over twenty years. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.”

Conrad Hong Kong

We're in the business district on Hong Kong Island, next to the designer shops at Pacific Place. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Maritime Museum, and ferries across Victoria Harbour are within three kilometers. We have six restaurants and bars and a heated outdoor pool. Enjoy our 24-hour health club with sauna, steam room, and massages.

Learn MoreView Conrad Hong Kong hotel website.