Business or leisure? In Hong Kong, you can do both

Dec 01,2015

Between appointments in Hong Kong? You don’t have to spend your free time in your hotel room. With world-class dining, myriad shopping options and an exciting nightlife, there are plenty of opportunities to mix business with leisure. Here’s to you, the bleisure traveller.

Network over drinks at an iconic bar

Hong Kong runs at a frenetic pace, and it’s very easy to fill a day with back-to-back meetings. But as any seasoned business traveller can attest, the real deals are struck over drinks, and this is a city that embraces its drinking culture.

Select from a range of bars in Soho

Whether visiting a cocktail lounge, a hidden dive bar or grabbing a 7-11 beer on the street, the epicentre for after-hours networking is Soho, in the central part of town.

This designated entertainment area is where corporate high flyers and locals mix after the working day is done. Located at the base of Victoria Peak, Soho is renowned for the giant escalator that transports people up the steep incline and deposits them outside countless bars.

Drink in a submarine

If somewhere a little more exclusive is desired, try Salon No. 10. Hidden away from the main tourist strip, this upmarket bar has been fitted to look like a retro submarine. With design elements including portholes, well-stocked bookshelves and luxe furniture, it’s the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine reimagined as a cocktail dispensing fever dream and is the perfect place to entertain clients who have a taste for the unique.

Hit the latest nightspot

Anyone in town for few nights and looking to expand their horizons should head to Sai Ying Pun. Conveniently located a couple of subway stops away from Central Station, this historic neighbourhood is the up-and-coming epicentre of Hong Kong cool, with new bars and restaurants popping up all the time. Visitors can start the night at Ping Pong, an upmarket gin bar, before exploring the surrounding laneways.

Take in the local sights

Besides a vibrant nightlife, Hong Kong also offers plenty of wonder for the business traveller seeking an occasional escape from the office – whether in the form of natural beauty, shopping or entertainment.

See the city from the top

Whatever type of business brings travellers to Hong Kong, visiting Victoria Peak summit on a rickety tram is a must for first-timers. Avoid the crowds and enjoy a late dinner at the Peak Lookout restaurant. The views from the summit allow visibility of the entire harbour, and the accompanying photos will make the colleagues back home green with envy.

Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Shop for souvenirs and collectibles

For the best choice of trinkets and souvenirs to take home and hand out to work colleagues, Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon is the place to visit. This market is a chaotic but organised mix of bargains, knock-offs, food stalls and other knick-knacks, and also paints a picture of the quintessential Hong Kong street scene.

Go all out with retail therapy

For something a little more upmarket, visit Times Square in Central, the home of one of Hong Kong’s largest shopping malls. Here, you can find a wide selection of designer boutiques and brands, surrounded by smaller local boutiques. If expenditures on the corporate account are allowed, the prestigious Landmark mall is the place to go for everything from Louis Vuitton to Harvey Nichols.

Network at the races

Relationship building is crucial in any industry, and Happy Valley Racecourse is a great place for that. The midweek horse races in this local institution offer a unique party atmosphere and it’s the perfect respite to long days at the office. The track dates back its beginnings to 1845 and is surrounded by towering skyscrapers – talk about old meets new.

Indulge in world-famous Hong Kong cuisine

Hong Kong is renowned for its culinary offerings. Whether you’re after cheap and cheerful street eats between meetings or to celebrate a new partnership at one of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, Hong Kong is a city where there’s no lack of options.

Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Dim sum for any occasion

A proper dim sum meal is almost mandatory in Hong Kong, and one of the best spots to satisfy that craving is Maxim’s Palace at City Hall. It’s both chaotic and a little kitsch, but the food speaks for itself. Grab a table alongside the locals and wait for the trolley ladies to come past with a huge selection of mysterious delights.

Alternatively, join the queue for Michelin-starred dim sum at Tim Ho Wan in Mong Kok. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant earned the coveted Michelin star in 2010 and has been serving award-winning food ever since. The place does not take any bookings, so it’s best to arrive early if there’s a business dinner planned.

Meals to impress

For Cantonese specialties in a beautiful setting, New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel’s Tao Li is a good choice. Feted as one of Hong Kong’s top wine-pairing Chinese restaurants, you can bet this venue will satisfy even the pickiest oenophiles. It’s also perfect for large groups, with its 180 seats and five private rooms.

For something a little more nostalgic, the China Club is a private members’ lounge renowned for its retro 1930s decor and British-inspired menu. This is a very exclusive, members-only dining institution, so good local connections could help with obtaining that elusive reservation.

Taking the time to venture through the city during a work trip can bring some surprising finds, and of course help you relax when the day is done.


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