A Rare Glimpse Into China’s Elite
Hong Kong’s Private Networking World
The resounding opulence of Hong Kong is impressive to even the most discerning sophisticate. Amid the glittering shopping malls filled with luxury brands and traffic jams of glistening silver Mercedes Benz sports cars, the immense wealth of this international port city is unmatched. From the sheer scale of its buildings – including the second-tallest in the world, the 118-floor International Commerce Center in Kowloon – to the immaculate surroundings and outstandingly efficient MTR transportation system, everything shines and sparkles with an exciting radiance that is mirrored in the faces of its people.
While the signs of luxury can be seen everywhere, including designer handbags and fancy accessories, true Hong Kong affluence is exuded in the exclusive inner circles of its local elite. The city’s many private clubs hold onto the heritage of its imperialistic British roots, while providing a platform for high-society networking. These clubs are off-limits to tourists – the inside track is reserved for those with aristocratic roots.
The China Club is one such place, opening its doors to well-connected expats and their guests. For a taste of what is inside these clubs, the China Club is a great place to begin. Located on the 13th through 15th floors of the Bank of China Building in central Hong Kong, the old-world elements and artwork are reminiscent of 1930s Shanghai, with table fans, warm lighting, and period décor. The food is just as impressive as the opulent surroundings. The restaurant serves traditional Hong Kong Chinese food and dim sum, haute cuisine and western-influenced Asian selections – offering something for every palate and mood.
The main dining room is located on the 13th floor. The 14th floor houses private rooms and the Long March Bar. Private mahjong rooms and a library of several thousand books on China and Chinese culture are located on the 15th floor. We were lucky enough to take in the view of central Hong Kong from the rooftop cocktail garden above it all. The service staff was with us at all times, ushering us back downstairs in time for Kung-Fu tea service by a man wielding a long-stemmed tea pot, expertly pouring it into tiny cups in front of the astounded crowd.
12/F, The Old Bank of China Building
Bank Street, Central
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Dining With the Stars at Four Seasons Hong Kong
Dining at the three-star Michelin-rated Caprice restaurant overlooking stunning Victoria Harbour is an experience that brings guests to the Four Seasons Hong Kong from all over the world. Lunch is the favorite meal for the local set, and of course only the best will do. Caprice is one of two restaurants in all of Hong Kong to receive three Michelin stars – the other is Lung King Heen (View of the Dragon), which offers contemporary Cantonese cuisine. Not surprisingly, it’s also located within the hotel.
Caprice’s sixth-floor entrance overlooks the entire Kowloon Peninsula and greets guests with massive, gleaming Czech crystal chandeliers. A glass runway with baroque embossing runs through the center of the restaurant, telling the story of the city’s cinematic roots. A show of service and cuisine soon follows. Diners watch in awe as dish after dish appears from the surprisingly silent open kitchen. There, a culinary team of 25 chefs led by Chef Vincent Thierry creates exquisite French cuisine with a touch of Hong Kong flair. Only true insiders and dignitaries are invited to enjoy the special vantage point at the chef’s table behind the massive kitchen. Amid hundreds of wine bottles from premier vineyards in Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the New World, thousands of glinting crystals represent the opening to the real show in the private dining room. The treasure here is a secret door to the Caprice Cellar, which houses something other than wine – a large selection of artisanal cheeses specifically selected for the restaurant. Most likely, this is the largest selection of cheese found in one place in all of Hong Kong.
The Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, with its meticulous service, opulent lobby, infinity pool, spa suites, and proximity to the luxury shopping and business district of the International Finance Center (IFC), provides a glimpse into Hong Kong’s sumptuous heritage. The hotel’s two dramatic ballrooms overlooking the harbor host 250 weddings each year. This is a place where every possible desire is indulged.
Caprice at The Four Seasons Hotel
8 Finance Street
Central, Hong Kong
Victoria Harbor’s Light Show & Aqua Spirit
The large scale and Technicolor vibrancy of Hong Kong is presented in a larger-than-life fashion each evening at 8 p.m., when Victoria Harbour is illuminated by a symphony of lights and sound that interplays among the many tall buildings dotting the city’s harbor. The choreographed light show is set to music, illuminating each building one by one and sending huge green lasers into the sky from the tops of the tallest towers. Jetsetters can watch the show above the crowds through a five-story glass façade while enjoying a cocktail at Aqua Spirit. After drinks, continue to enjoy the bar’s sultry atmosphere in a private room, or head downstairs to dine on delicious Italian cuisine or sushi. Aqua Spirit is located at One Peking Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong.
1 Peking Road
Macau: Asia’s Answer to Las Vegas
Just an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong is Asia’s version of Las Vegas. For Jetsetters, a 15-minute helicopter ride will do just fine. Macau offers luxury and style on a grander scale than most entertainment destinations outside of Asia. The island city cut in half by “The Strip” boasts the second-largest building and largest casino floor in the world at its flagship Venetian Hotel Macau. If you want to feel truly lucky, the “wealthiest” place to seat yourself is not at the thousands of tables within this cavernous space but at the Bar Florian, in the middle of the action. From the painted ceiling to the inlaid marble floor, the circular space offers a 360-degree view of the casino floor and is the most “expensive” area, with curved escalators above giving the feeling of a grand staircase. Providing a touch of intimacy to the space, a smaller cupola is adorned with chinoiserie-style panels with gilded artwork overhead.
Bar Florian is located at Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança
S/N, The Cotai Strip
On the MTR train, speeding silently toward Hong Kong International Airport, the brilliant vibrancy of Hong Kong fell away on the horizon. I had travelled farther away than I ever thought possible, and entered a world that was more brilliant than I could have imagined. A place where the sheer scale of the buildings surpassed anything I’d ever seen or experienced. A place where every detail was meticulously labored over and each action was rehearsed in an effort to create a perfect experience. I knew without a doubt that I would return as soon as possible.