City Guide: Hong Kong

Hong Kong Skyline

There may be no city outside Switzerland with a stronger watch culture than Hong Kong’s. When you meet people in restaurants, in offices, and on the street, there’s a good chance they’ll have something interesting on their wrists. The metropolis off the shores of mainland China has long been an important center of business for Swiss watchmakers. In recent years, business may have slowed down due to economic pressures and a decrease in demand from the Chinese mainland, but the city remains one of the bright spots for collecting in Eastern Asia. The main players in the retail scene remain Oriental Watch Hong Kong, Elegant Watch, Prince Watch & Jewellery, Unique Timepieces, and King Fook. With these stores saved on your smartphone, you should be able to find just about any desirable new and vintage watches that you’ve ever dreamed of.

Inside the dining room of the Amber in Hong Kong.

Play: Amber

By Laura Itzkowitz

When you tire of Hong Kong’s ubiquitous Chinese restaurants, book a table at the two-Michelin-starred Amber, ranked No. 24 in the world and No. 1 in China on San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. With its dramatic copper sculpture suspended from the ceiling, the Adam Tihany–designed space inside the Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a fittingly elegant backdrop for Chef Richard Ekkebus’s artful French-inflected dishes. The Dutch chef, who trained under Alain Passard and Guy Savoy in Paris, uses his deft skill to transform the world’s finest ingredients into masterpieces such as sea urchin in lobster jelly with cauliflower, caviar, and seaweed waffle. “There is no compromise regarding quality,” he asserts. “At Amber, we are committed to using the finest and freshest ingredients sourced from all parts of the world.” Great emphasis is also placed on beautiful, creative presentations employing varying food textures and colors.

15 Queen’s Road, Central; Entrées from $115–$306.

A view of Victoria Harbour from the Health Club Pool.

Stay: Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong

Slightly gritty, strategically located, and quickly developing—Kowloon is Hong Kong’s version of Brooklyn, and like the New York borough, it’s upping the ante on luxury hospitality. The just-opened Kerry Hotel is not only the Shangri-La sub-brand’s flagship, it’s also the first new hotel to debut on Kowloon’s waterfront since 1995. Renowned designer André Fu—the man behind Hong Kong’s Upper House and Singapore’s Fullerton Bay—brought a sense of subdued drama to the 546-room property, with sinuous curves, generous indoor-outdoor spaces, and sumptuous materials such as Turkish onyx marble and bronze accents. Don’t miss dinner at the signature restaurant Hung Tong, where chef Ken Yu serves contemporary Chinese cuisine in a space that evokes old Hong Kong. Afterward, slink over to the adjacent bar Red Sugar for a nightcap with jaw-dropping views of Victoria Harbour and the glittering skyline.—L.I.

38 Hung Luen Road, Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon; rooms from $192.

Outside a suite at the Sanya Edition.

Getaway: The Sanya Edition

Leave it to hospitality giant Ian Schrager—the virtuoso behind Marriott’s hit brand Edition—to mastermind the resort to end all resorts. Often called China’s Hawaii, Hainan Island has long attracted the rich and famous with its upscale resorts and white-sand beaches, but now the latest Edition Hotel is giving Hong Kong’s jet-set a new reason to visit. Set on 50 acres of landscaped tropical gardens with—wait for it—a private ocean, the property marries sleek geometric architecture with traditional Asian design, contemporary Chinese art, and plants native to the island. Minimalist rooms feature a neutral palette, Frette linens, and views of the South China Sea. Five bars and restaurants, three art galleries, bumper cars, a lifestyle shop, a spa, and a playland for kids ensure that you never have to leave the property. This is where Zen tranquility meets contemporary culture.—L.I.

100 North Haitang Road; rooms from $245.

Sneakers, Nike, China (counterfeit) (detail), 2010, Archival inkjet print © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian.

Attraction: Gagosian

Art-world giant Larry Gagosian’s airy space inside the 1923 Beaux-Arts Pedder Building sits above a handful of other galleries—literally and figuratively. Don’t miss lauded conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s Hong Kong debut “Portraits and Surrogates,” which unites pieces from three recent bodies of work with a video self-portrait made in collaboration with a Russian news network. On view until August 5.—L.I.

Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central.