New and Old Discoveries – Hongkong Escapades

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Asia, Hong Kong, China

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Hong Kong to me back then, was synonymous for shopping and eating. I never really paid much attention to its cultural heritage or artistic scenes because there was not much time – prioritising the shopping marathons ahead of everything else.  But as I became a parent and Yes… as I got older, tangible items became less relevant to me.  Rather, I preferred to appreciate surroundings for my kids to absorb and learn.  My travel objective has evolved from trophy goods into a collection of experiences. These were the kind I shopped, and shared with my children during this recent trip to Hong Kong.

The Langham Hotel

‪#‎TheLangham‬ was a nice option in Kowloon. Right by ocean terminal, Hullett House, across the Mtr and a few paces from Nathan, Cameron and Granville roads 😉 it was so easy to drop off stuff by the hotel as we resumed our “marathons” 👯👯 Thanks @ngdaisy ! My mom liked it too!

We stayed in The Langham for 3 nights.  The hotel is sophisticated and spacious. The staffs have shown their hospitality at the superb level – attending to our needs immediately given any time of the day.   The room is really luxurious with an Elegant European look. The hotel is also situated in a prime location of Kowloon district just a few paces from the famous Nathan Road and within short walks to many shopping malls surrounding the area including DFS T-Galleria duty free underneath the hotel and Harbour City across the road.  Its accessibility put us at ease, allowing the teens to explore around on their own.   Commuting was painless from the hotel as well.  The entry to the MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station is just across the road with 5 mins walk and you can easily take the ferry to Central by treading a few blocks to dock as well.

http://www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/hong-kong/overview/

Hullett House
I loved how this Heritage Building was revived back to its glorious “Victorian” Age.  It is such a refreshing contrast from the busy mob of shoppers across the street.  The first two floors exhibit a sophisticated array of noteworthy brands and there’s always a feature by the courtyard – delightful for the whole family – depending on the occasion or season.
“Housed in a magnificent colonial building dating back to 1881, Hullett House is a celebration of Hong Kong’s rich “East meets West” heritage. Guests can stay in a Chinese Imperial suite with hand-painted Qing dynasty murals and a bed fit for an Emperor, an elegant English pastoral suite decorated in restful greens with 26 hand-painted native songbirds or a vibrant China pop-art suite. There are ten individually-designed suites, each with its own terrace and modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, rain-head showers and surround sound. The bespoke Hong Kong experience extends to the dining table with the House’s five fine restaurants including St. George with its dining room reminiscent of a 19th-century gentlemen’s club and fine French cuisine.”

Hollywood Road

Antique Street and Cat Street

I’ve always been curious about this place but no one wanted to venture with me.  Antique shopping was the least of their priorities – as if I could afford the selection here as well.  Hollywood Road, according to my local friend is more of a tourist trap for those seeking to buy quick souvenirs.    Residents really know where to source good, authentic antique pieces at fair prices.  Nevertheless, it’s a treat to walk down one of HK’s original streets – a memory lane bringing you back to when this place was a fishing village where traders used to barter their merchandise.

Great timing while the little one was napping! Catching up over coffee and light dessert in ‪#‎CornerKitchenCoffeeShop‬ 🍰a Filipino Run Coffee Shop along ‪#‎HollywoodRoad‬ ‪#‎HkCentral‬ 👍

Apart from the row of antique shops to check out, some savvy bars and cafes have sprouted, bringing in the trendy crowd to frequent the area. The vibe around the neighbourhood has actually progressed from mature to somewhat chic and hip with lots of yuppies and young families strolling.

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Cat Street was a flight of stairs down an adjacent street from the main Hollywood.  An alley of more affordable Chinese memorabilia, that would have been an afternoon of Heaven for me! Unfortunately, with my two girls (one heavy toddler on a stroller) in tow, I will have to save that for another day – alone!

The girls had their fixes of eye catching murals, intricate window displays and transition of Chinese architecture – from Dynasty, Art Deco to Modern structures along the same lane.  Though physically enduring, as we made our way uphill, It was an opportune way for some Art Appreciation.

PMQ

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Pushed a stroller 70 stores up hill in my leather pants and cubana heels 😜just to see what this ‪#‎PMQ‬ (corner Hollywood and Aberdeen Rd) ‪#‎HkCentral‬is all about. I am always amazed with repurposed buildings with a hip vibe Most of the funky stores feature up and coming ideas. It’s an inspiring venue. And 😍 that my teenager appreciated it. For all the effort!

It’s a classic Hong Kong story: huge, heritage-filled building in a prime location becomes vacant, followed by extended governmental indecision over what exactly to do with the site, leading to a building worth millions of dollars lying dormant for years and years on end. In a nutshell, this is the story of PMQ, formerly the less sexily named Police Married Quarters.

The new incarnation of PMQ as a home for ‘create-preneurs’ opened its doors in 2014 with the objective to provide a base to ‘nurture local designers’ and a stage for ‘creative happenings’. The old accommodation units have been rented out to over 100 different locally based designers at a discounted rate, for a maximum lease of two years, in order to give them a chance to create their own, viable businesses.

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On top of that, there is The Cube – a huge exhibition space that links the two buildings, as well as a glass-covered courtyard, around five restaurants, one floor given over as a communal lounge and meeting area, plus several commercial spaces on the lower floors, which will help to subsidise operation costs. There are a handful of rooms for invited, live-in ‘designers in residence’, which will increase dialogue between local and international talent, plus units reserved as ‘pop up’ spaces. What’s more, the foundations of the old Victoria College are accessible via an atmospheric underground tunnel in the central courtyard, giving extra gravitas to the heritage of the site.

We wandered around in fascination with this burst of creativity.  Adi was just basking in all the pretty ideas – cool redefined items – genius products! I couldn’t help but recount (with disappointment) our heritage buildings back in glorious Old Manila that have gone to waste.  Can we not save some and help our own “create-preneurs”  ? Rather than sulk in comparison, we further revelled at the range of innovative possibilities here.

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