International Photo Credit: Luciano Mortula

5 Ways to Kick Back and Relax in Busy, Bustling Hong Kong

The frenetic megalopolis of Hong Kong has always been about business, but these days it’s also getting serious about putting the oasis into the urban.

Trust us: Hong Kong still hums with excitement 24/7, but a recent trip exposed a new, more relaxed side. Hotels, which used to be only of the massive tower variety, suddenly look like beach resorts. People are hiking—in the city! And healthy food is everywhere. Hong Kong is getting deep into wellness—and here’s where to find it.

The Kerry Hotel (Photo: Michael Weber.)

New Digs

Thanks to the land scarcity, local hotels are known for their compact take on luxury, but the Shangri-La’s new concept, the Kerry Hotel, feels downright expansive. The 3.9-acre property sits on a residential stretch of Kowloon shoreline—60 percent of the rooms have Instagram-worthy harbour views—and it’s one of the few hotels in this tropical town where residents will lounge by the pool and seriously wind down. But it’s still just a short jaunt from bustling Tsim Sha Shui or a subway ride to Hong Kong Island.

Sam the Local
Jardine’s Lookout (Photo: Wing.)

Take a Hike

While parts of town are no doubt a concrete jungle, even more parts are a jungle jungle. Less than a kilometre from the busy Happy Valley Racecourse is the trailhead to Jardine’s Lookout, a 6.6-kilometre hike that is Hong Kong’s Grouse Grind. There’s some decent elevation gain, you’ll likely have the trail to yourself on a weekday, and your efforts will reward you with a 270-degree view of Hong Kong and the harbour. It’s doable on your own, but you can also snag local outfitter Sam
the Local
, who’ll set you up with a guide.

Rech (Photo: Pierre Monetta.)

Fishy Business

No one ever called Cantonese cuisine “light,” so in between epic dim sum feasts, a spot for light fare is a necessity. Enter the legend—Alain Ducasse—who’s just opened a second outpost of his acclaimed Rech in the Intercontinental Hotel. Expect the same raison d’être as the Paris original: the freshest fish, simply prepared. And if you’re feeling energized post-meal, the hotel has an on-site tai chi master who’ll gladly help you right your chi. Or you can have a glass of Champagne, which works too.

Tai Pan Reflexology (Photo: Paul Arps.)

Locals Only

Every hotel in Hong Kong worth its salt scrub has a spa, but those expecting a break from North American prices will be sorely disappointed. But since navigating the sea of local joints is not for the faint of heart, we’re here to help. Tai Pan Reflexology is in the heart of Kowloon—there are 19 places to buy a Rolex within 100 metres—and it’s only slightly dodgy and cheap like borscht. Congratulations—we’ve now ruined it for our next visit.

Cathay Pacific

Arrive Alive

As the glow of Canada 150 fades, we feel we can be frank about that other great reason to fly west: ditching our national carriers for an airline that you actually look forward to boarding. But the best reason for those interested in wellness to opt for Cathay Pacific? The chance to fly on the new Airbus A350, with its extra-wide seats and carbon fibre fuselage, which allows the cabin to be pressurized to only 6,000 feet (that’s 25 percent less than normal), translating into less jet lag on arrival.

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