New properties have been springing up in the Mid-Levels over the past few years, a prime location in easy reach of exclusive entertainment and dining outlets.
12:30 pm | PMQ
Starting at PMQ, formerly the Police Married Quarters, its vibrant design and arts scene is made up of an exciting range of home-grown design shops, studios and dining outlets.
My art adventure starts on the ground floor at the HKTDC Design Gallery, a label founded by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in 1991, where a series of eclectic and innovative products are on display.
Another highlight of the creative hub is confectionery shop Alice Wild Luscious, with a list of cookies, cakes, ice-creams, coffees and chocolate truffles on offer. Perched on the second floor, a fashion accessory shop called Stars & Tart blends quirky illustrations of animals and nature with accessories.
If you’re looking for hand-made accessories, look no further than 794729 metalwork, a silver accessory workshop founded by local accessory designer Ivan Keung. The name 794729 is derived from the periodic table of chemical elements, for which No.79 stands for gold, No.47 for silver and No.29 for copper. Then we have the inviting 513 Paint Shop up on the fifth floor, bringing the concept of designer paint shops from the West to PMQ.
The revitalised site is also a great learning hub for food and handcraft lovers. Located on the first floor is ABC Cooking Studio, offering a variety of cooking, cake making and bakery classes. The studio also has another branch at K11 in Tsim Sha Tsui.
I wrap up my visit at Aberdeen Street Social to grab a bite. The two-storey restaurant is set over a secluded garden at the sprawling complex with a nice alfresco area for drinks.
35 Aberdeen St, Central
14:00 pm | Antique Street
With my hunger subdued, I stroll down to Hollywood Road for a treasure hunt. The avenue is lined with a range of antique shops with a bewildering array of Chinese arts, handcrafts, collectibles and curios on display. Time flies if you have a close look at every store.
Hollywood Road, Central
15:00pm | Tai Kwun
Then I power on to the Mid-Level Escalator to indulge myself with a foot massage. Along the way to Iyara Day Spa is the Central District Police Station, adjacent to the former Central Police Station, former Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison, all declared monuments in Hong Kong.
The heritages have been closed for a revitalisation project which will see them transform as a new heritage hub for art, culture and leisure under the new name Tai Kwun. Unfortunately, the redevelopment programme has been halted after a wall at the former Central Police Station collapsed last month. Passers-by can only take pictures from the outside and hope for the day it reopens – only who knows when.
Central District Police Station
10 Hollywood Road, Central
16:00 pm | Iyara Day Spa
To make the most out of this tour, I decide to recharge my body with a nice foot massage, and there’s no better place than Iyara Day Spa.
Established in 2008, the beauty salon offers facials, pedicures, manicures, waxing, body scrubs and all kinds of massages. You can also find therapeutic and clinical massages here performed by rehabilitative massage therapists Anthony Chong and Naresh Kumar, a yoga instructor who also specialises in sports massage.
Visitors can wind down in its home-away-from-home ambiance and loosen up in its serene and peaceful atmosphere. If you are looking for a tranquil escape, look no further than Iyara Day Spa.
26 Cochrane Street, Central
17:35 pm | Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge
Cocktails don’t get much better than at Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge. Claiming to be the one and only Polynesian bar and restaurant in town, the lounge is completed with an abundance of bamboo and wooden finishings which crave a tropical appeal to echo its wood-themed alfresco area.
Much attention has been paid to the presentation of its drinks which are served in tiki mugs and coconut shells. But the food here is so so. I order the chicken skewers, but the meat is a bit over grilled for my taste.
52 Wellington Street
18: 00 pm | Leaf Dessert
Walking off the beaten track to Elgin Street you can find a dai pai dong that has been quietly serving traditional Chinese desserts to Hong Kong people for a 100 years.
You can find almost every sweet treat, even selective street food in this little old school stall – from the basic red/green bean soup, the chewy rice ball with sugar coconut sesame to the famous beef tenderloin over egg noodles. But prepare to queue: this stall has a reputation for long waiting lines because seats are scarce.
2 Elgin Street, Central
18:30 pm | Peel Fresco Music Lounge
My day tour is wrapped up at this cosy music-centric bar-lounge, a home of relaxing live jazz and Renaissance art in the Soho district, a paradise for musicians to jam and music-lovers alike to just mingle.
The interior puts floor-to-ceiling Renaissance paintings at centre stage, adorned with a selection of guitars hanging on the wall for display.
I try to order some food for dinner as the canapés here are widely praised. But the past few hours of my beer marathon have filled me up. So I just let myself slouch in the velvet stool, dazzled by the smoothness of the heartfelt jazzy melody and hope it will last forever.
49 Peel Street