Hong Kong: Luxuriate!

Hong Kong Insider
Christine Van Loo performs at the new IFC (International Finance Centre) mall in Hong Kong’s tallest building. EPA/PAUL HILTON
Christine Van Loo performs at the new IFC (International Finance Centre) mall in Hong Kong’s tallest building
Pamper yourself rotten when you're in Hong Kong; our Insider gives you all the posh tips to ensure you get the royal treatment.

Spa with the stars

The Oriental Spa at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental caused quite a stir when it launched in Central in 2006. The 2300-square-metre spa area claims to have the biggest range of treatments in Asia, and its exclusive memberships sold out before it had barely opened. The word of mouth has been huge ever since. This is the place to see and be seen — just ask any tai tai (the local version of "rich, stay-at-home wives").

The good news is that once you cut through all the hype, they do offer spectacular treatments that are worth the wagging tongues. Think you could handle a foot bath, warm scrub and four-hand massage? Then book yourself in for the 110-minute Oriental Harmony, which is the spa's signature treatment.

Shopping sense

Hong Kong is all about brands, baby. Prada, Gucci, Manolo — you name it, and you'll find it cheaper here than just about anywhere else in the world thanks to the lack of sales tax. Go shopping mid-year or just before Christmas, and the world's cheapest brand-name clothes in the world will be 40-70 percent cheaper, thanks to the generous city-wide sales.

IFC Mall and Pacific Place are two of the best options on Hong Kong Island, while Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui is the best on offer on the other side of the harbour.

If you're looking for bargains then head to Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau (Lee Nam Road), a 15-minute taxi ride on the other side of Hong Kong Island. This is where all the old-season and sample clothes and shoes are sold. You can get free maps in the lobby that will guide you through the 40-storey building.

Sky-high style

The Peninsula is Hong Kong's landmark luxury hotel and is also the only hotel in town with a helipad on its roof. The hotel is currently offering its "Fly and Relax" package, which consists of a 15-minute scenic flight around Hong Kong Island, an afternoon of massages and treatments in ESPA, the hotel's award-winning spa, followed by a light and healthy lunch. This slice of decadence will set you back around HK$7500 ($1500) for two people.

Harbour highlights

Spending time on Victoria Harbour is one of life's true privileges. For an experience above and beyond the cattle class of the Star Ferry, take a 45-minute cruise on the Aqua Luna Junk. This teak junk is the real deal and was built using the original plans of the old-style junks that used to be an icon of Hong Kong's waters.

On-board you can stretch out on large cushioned day beds, and it's a safe bet you won't see another boat like this one anywhere else in the world. Bookings are essential for evenings and weekends, especially for the 7.30pm cruise that also takes in "A Symphony of Lights," the nightly harbour-side show that dazzles the skyline. The best part is that the HK$180 ($35) cover charge includes a free drink.

Got any other luxury ideas or suggestions? Have your say using the comments form below.

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