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hong kong new year celebration

Old Oct 16th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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hong kong new year celebration

My partner and I would like to spend five days from 28 of december to jan 1. First time in hong kong for both of us. Deciding whether to stay at the peninsula or the four seasons. We are also looking for a restaurant (or bar??) to go to on new year's eve. Is there something spectacular/must do in hong kong? I know this seems like a dumb question but I am dragging my boyfriend from amanpulo to spend our last five days in hong kong, want to make sure he has great time.
FYI We are in our mid to late thirties. thank you for your help.
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 08:44 PM
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joannenyc_london,

1. check out the skyrail & big buddha
http://www.np360.com.hk/html/eng/front/index.asp
2. the peak
3. the world longest escalator
4. temple street at night

do a search and you will find many helpful posts.
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Old Oct 17th, 2006, 05:57 AM
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Felix at the Peninsula is probably one of the most exclusive & expensive places to go! They just reopened the Mandarin Oriental after refurbishment so that might be another place to go. The Mo Bar (I think that's what it's called - sorry am writing from memory) at the Four Seasons is another place to be seen & the Intercontinental is another great place if the sky's the limit !!!

One place that offers a spectuacular view of HK (if you want the best view choose the Kowloon side) is Aqua on the 32/33?? floor (again not sure)in 1 Peking Road building. It won't be cheap - about HK$800 per head without drinks but has a great view too. It offers Japanese/Italian food & I would try to go there once either for dinner or lunch (cheaper $300 or so per head for set). There is a bar one floor above so a nice place to hang out & you might see some celebs there.

Another place that a lot of models / celebs go to is Dragon-i & not everyone gets in at night. David Beckham & the lads went there when they came to HK. Actually they do a pretty good lunch (Mon-Sat) - all you can order dim sum for about HK$150 which is really good value & served as you order. Book a table & try that for lunch!

Most people go to Lan Kwai Fong & hang out on the streets but it does get really crowded & you have to get there early for New Year's day. No celebrations officially but just a lot of happy people on the streets.

On New Year's Eve crowds also hang out near the cultural centre in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) & at Times Sq in Causeway Bay. There's nothing happening in TST so don't bother - just lots of ppl - families, kids, couples etc. At Times Sq they usually put on a show but the area is very small & you have arrive there about 3 hours beforehand. Definitely avoid unless you love Canto-pop & standing around for hours.

Try to book a place now at a restaurant to ensure you get a great spot & view of the harbour. As I said Felix or another restaurant at the Pen, Aqua or the Intercontinental would be the top choices, followed by Mo Bar & Mandarin.
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 02:09 AM
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thank you for the helpful suggestions! Trying to decide on which hotel to stay. Among the choices are peninsula, mandarin, landmark, intercon(regent), four seasons. looking for great view, good location, and ambience. thank you again
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Well they are all supposed to be top notch hotels! For ambience and history definitely the Pen! You will also be in the hustle & bustle of TST. The Intercontinental will probably offer the best view - it's about 5 mins walk from the Pen. Not sure how the Mandarin shapes up after renovations but the building is nothing to write home about. Don't know about the Landmark and the Four Seasons is pretty new and nice but no history. For a great view - definitely a hotel on Kowloon side!!!
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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No view from the Landmark MO.
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Old Oct 19th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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I live in Hong Kong. IMO, the Penn, the Four Seasons or the Mandarin are all great hotels and you would not be unhappy at any of them. The Intercon is a very good hotel and is great if you get the right room. The Landmark has no views, as noted above, unless you want a view of the office building next door or want the office workers to see right into your bathroom (which I donít think you do). Personally, the decision for me would be between a room on a high floor at the Penn (preferably one of their corner suites) and the Four Seasons. I like the Intercon, but it involves too much walking from the ferry, and I like the pool and spa at the Penn better.

Now here is the thing: you are going to do most of your sightseeing, most of your shopping and, if you know good food, most of your eating on the Hong Kong side. However, the Penn and Intercon have THE view that really make you sit up. Taking the Star Ferry is extremely fun and beautiful and cheap, but for 5 days do you want to do this twice or more a day? (There is a subway but that is the same question and worse as there is no view and involves long walks to and from in most cases.) And this is complicated by New Yearís Eve. Where do you want to spend it, and do you want to have to trudge home across the harbour at 2 am? So, thatís the dilemma.

Perhaps (and I am not an advocate of moving hotels within a city, but since you have 5 days), but perhaps you could stay at BOTH the Penn and the Four Seasons. Decide where you want to spend New Years Eve, and stay on that side for that night and a night or two, and then the rest on the other side. (Perhaps leave most of your luggage with the bell captain at one and pick it up on your last day.)

I personally avoid Times Square, Lan Kwai Fong and the Salisbury Road area on New Years Eve. Salisbury Road would probably have the least drunken people and is certainly the least claustrophobic. Times Square is tiny, tiny (do not let the name confuse you with the real thing in NYC), a long way from anything, you wonít be able to get a cab and you wonít want to walk back out from it and you wonít want to be crushed on the MTR with the rest of the mob. You are almost the right age for Lan Kwai Fong, but that is essentially an outdoor frat party for a bit younger crowd and gets so packed with people that it is actually dangerous, it is built into a hillside and a few people were actually killed one year from the crush when others spilled on the wet pavement (wet from spilled liquor). Now they have lots of police there to try to control the crowd, but still it is not my idea of a good time. If itís yours, dive right in. Jello shots man.

A good area if you want restaurants and bars is the Soho area in Central, this is a bit older crowd and has better restaurants. I can recco some, if this would interest you, my list is pretty long at this point. This is an area of mainly pedestrian streets full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and the occasional temple; it is a great place to go any night of the week and the main source of good restaurants in Hong Kong. It would be festive, but not overwhelming like you may find Lan Kwai Fong to be.

As mentioned above, many of the more expensive hotel restaurants will be offering set meals and places like Felix in the Penn will have bands, which can be fun. On the Kolwoon side, Felix, Spoon and the Intercon, any of the restaurants at One Peking Road (Aqua, Hutong, etc), would be offering these. On the Hong Kong side, the new restaurant on the top floor of the Mandarin, Caprice at the Four Seasons, Totts at the Excelsior (operated by the Mandarin) would be offering meals and music.

Felix: http://hongkong.peninsula.com
Spoon at the Intercon: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com
One Peking Road: http://www.aqua.com.hk
Totts at the Excelsior, and restaurants at the Mandarin: http://www.mandarinoriental

My other recco which I think would be preferable to the hotel restaurants would be the China Club. This is theoretically a private club, but any of the hotels you are staying at should be able to get you a table. It is on top of the old bank of China building and has an old-colonial Shanghai decor. The have a nice bar and a library with a little terrace and view. The food is good. A good place for a celebration, IMO.

The China Club
13th Floor, Old Bank of China Building
Bank St
Central
Tel: (852) 2521-8888

If you want a great meal, try M at the Fringe (m-onthebund.com/at_the_fringe) or Gaia (gaiaristorante.com , they have a very nice terrace), they may be offering meals/celebration. A place I hesitate to recommend because I have had some good and then some just OK meals is Bo Innovation, but it might be fun on New Years and then you could walk up to Soho for a drink (boinnoseki.com).

Finally, you might try the newest restaurant on the Peak, the Pearl on the Peak. This is a branch of the Pearl restaurant in Melbourne. I went to the soft opening on Friday. I thought it was good, but it was literally their first night, so they still need to work so things out. I donít know what they will do for New Years. They donít have a website yet, it might be worth calling. The views are stunning and the decor and ambience are very nice. Could be a pain getting back at night, you should probably pre-book a taxi.

Pearl on the Peak
Level 1, Peak Tower
128 Peak Road
tel: 852-2849-5123

The bar in the Four Seasons is called the Blue Bar. Its a little small and there is no view to speak of (and the night view is too low to really be any good IMO, it looks right into the pedestrian walkway to the ferries); up to you if you want to spend New Yearís there.

So, once you pick your place for New Years, you probably want to stay on the same side as where you will be celebrating. Otherwise, it may take you a while to get back either by ferry or MTR. If you decide on Felix, for example, you might want to stay in the Penn. You could stroll out onto Salisbury before or after just to get a feel for the crowd and take in the view. If you stay at the Four Seasons, you can walk up to Soho on the pedestrian escalator and not have to deal with taxis at all, and you could walk to other parts of Central easily as well, you could even walk to the China Club (or walk home).

If you stay at the Four Seasons, ask for a room on a high floor, 25th floor or higher, rooms at 35th or higher are best IMO. Even those views are not the ďright sideĒ of the harbour, or the prettiest part of the harbour (as they look toward the container port area), but they are kind of interesting and at night are pretty. Views from the 40th floor and above toward the Peak side are actually quite pretty. The hotel has two outdoor pools (one is a lap pool) and a very large pool deck and a nice outdoor restaurant that is only for guests and health club members and is a great place for lunch. There are heaters all around the pool so you can use the outdoor area even in the winter (pools are heated too).

The issue with the Mandarin is that they while they are open, they are still actually finishing the redo on about 75% of the rooms, and I would not stay there right now for that reason. They should be done by January but one never knows. I am taking a tour in November so have not seem the rooms yet, but have been to eat there and weirdly, they have not redone the lobby at all, it even seems they literally put back the same sofas. They did redo the first floor restaurant and moved access areas to the shopping and redid that area, and have redone all the restaurants and the health club, but it is very very weird to walk into the lobby and it is exactly the same, when the hotel looks totally different on the outside. Otherwise, location is great, views are not so much though.

Note that on New Yearís Day things like the Peak will be jammed and many restaurants as well. Book early if you want to do a brunch, consider taking the bus rather than the tram to the Peak, and/or taking a good walk or hike in other areas or less crowded Peak areas. A good bit of the shops will be closed on New Years Day, but there is lots of other stuff to do, and you will find some things open as well.
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Old Oct 21st, 2006, 10:18 AM
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Thank you for your insight. ALthough I really would like to stay at the peninsula, you make a good point about getting back each evening (esp. NY eve)after dinner. We are so used to hopping into a cab after a night out that taking the ferry after drinks sound all that appealing. One thing which concerns me about the four seasons is its location. financial district? hope it's not like ny where it's rather creepy after dark..
Have you been to Kee club? What do you think about spending new year's there?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2006, 06:06 PM
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The "Financial District" is really a misnomer. It is nothing like Wall Street, which is a main street anchored by the NYSE and lined with banks and securities firms; this does not exist in Hong Kong. The main business district is called Central, which is very small, however, the stock exchange is in an anonymous office tower and Citibankís headquarters isn't even in Central. I think the term was dreamed up by the Four Seasons to disguise the fact that they are not located in Central (they are just over the border in the next district), as no one here uses the term to describe that area of town. The hotelís location is in fact very convenient for going to places like Soho or Hollywood Road, you just walk up the pedestrian escalator, or take a cab for about 5 minutes. Itís not bad for the Star Ferry, itís a little walk along an elevated pedestrian walkway.

The Kee Club is a good idea for New Years I think, itís on the Hong Kong side, and would be walkable from the Four Seasons, who should be able to get you in. (Itís also allegedly a private club, but really if you are willing to buy a bottle at a price itís like those NYC bars with those insanely priced bottle policies; but if you are not with a member I do believe you have to be on the guest list and the Four Seasons should be able to do this.) They probably have a minimum on New Yearís Eve, but it canít be much more than paying for something like dinner at Felix. You could have dinner in Soho and then go downhill to Kee Club.

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