Hong Kong… What a place! I had visited the city once before in 2011 and wanted to go back ever since. When Justine and I first started dating (almost 4 years ago) we both agreed that we should visit Hong Kong together one day. Partly because Justine had never been to Asia before and also because my dad’s family all came from Hong Kong once upon a time. So from that moment on, a plan for our dream trip was set in motion. We began collecting Aeroplan miles from our travels, signed up for Aeroplan visa cards to help speed up the process and even started doing research into blogs such as Viva Manilena for travel insurance, to cover any damages or losses of luggage. It wasn’t long before we could book our flights, but obstacles kept popping up in our calendars and we were also trying to tack on a second destination, like Thailand or Bali. Long story short, we could never find or commit to a time to go and so our trip continued to sit on the back burner. Until now. Earlier this year, Aeroplan approached me to partner with them on a collaboration that would send me on my dream trip anywhere in the world using Aeroplan. It was a perfect match and immediately, I knew that Hong Kong was calling! What I love about Aeroplan is that it’s so easy to collect miles and equally easy to redeem your miles for travel, entertainment or merchandise. I’ve been an Aeroplan member almost my whole life and if you know me, you know how much it.
So Hong Kong was finally happening! Justine and I were so excited for this trip. Through Aeroplan, we were able to book 2 business class seats on one of Air Canada’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, ensuring a luxurious journey overseas. I mean, what better way to spend 14 hours in the air?
The new business class seats on Air Canada are spacious and also very private. I definitely enjoyed the large TV screen and the food was better than some places on land!
In Hong Kong we stayed with one of our favorite hotel brands, Shangri-La. When traveling through Asia, there is nothing better than Shangri-La and we were in for such a treat. Our first two nights were spent at the classically luxurious Island Shangri-La on Hong Kong Island. Located right in Central, the 5-Star property boasts unparalleled views of the city. Our room was located on one of the Horizon Club floors, 53 storeys up and featured a floor-to-ceiling window that stretched from wall-to-wall. We could see over most neighboring buildings and right across the water to Kowloon and beyond.
Upon arrival, we were immediately whisked up to our room for a private in-room check-in and hotel orientation. There was also a pot of hot, welcome tea and fresh fruits waiting for us in the room- a Shangri-La touch that I always appreciate.
A perk of the Horizon Club level rooms is the use of the top floor lounge, which serves breakfast and afternoon drinks and canapés everyday. Justine and I were both quite excited at the sight of the dim sum and I was very impressed by the abundant selection of fresh, tropical fruits. Not to mention, the exquisite plates and cups!
For lunch, we dined at Restaurant Petrus, Island Shangri-La’s elegant, Asian-French fusion restaurant. It was absolutely delicious and beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of our lunch, because I was too busy capturing video footage for my Hong Kong travel vlog – which will be coming out very soon – so stay tuned for that!
After lunch on our first day, Justine and I set out to explore Central. We didn’t cover as much ground as we might have thought we would, because it was so much hotter and humid than either of us had anticipated. No complaints though. It was so nice to be in a tropical climate! We did get to meet up with my cousin, Royal who is currently living and working in Hong Kong. We got to check out his office in Central and plan meeting again for dinner later that evening.
The Island Shangri-La has a gorgeous outdoor pool adjacent to its health club on the 8th Floor. While it is of course extremely inviting during the day, it looks even more incredible at night. With a clear view of the glowing, iconic, Bank of China building.
On our second morning in Hong Kong, we woke up to clearer skies and the view from Island Shangri-La became even more epic! We decided to try breakfast at Restaurant Petrus that day, which included a mix of dim sim, pancakes for me and congee for Justine.
The view from our room, once the clouds parted:
Even though it’s in the heart of the city, Island Shangri-La has plenty of tranquil spots where you can go to relax, unwind and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Hong Kong streets. The library and rooftop garden were two of the places that Justine and I enjoyed discovering in the hotel.
For nights 3-5, we moved across the harbour to Shangri-La’s newest property, The Kerry Hotel in Kowloon. The Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong opened its doors just six weeks ago, the third property in the Kerry Hotel portfolio (the first two are in Shanghai and Beijing) offering an urban resort environment; a tranquil oasis amongst the concrete jungle. The majority of the rooms at the hotel face the water and feature unobstructed views of Hong Kong Island and beyond, all the way to the ocean. The rooms are very spacious at Kerry Hotel, a luxury that’s usually hard to find in Hong Kong. The aesthetic is modern, yet warm and welcoming.
After checking in at Kerry Hotel, we headed a few blocks west to the Kowloon Shangri-La to meet up with my cousin and a couple of our Hong Kong-based friends for an epic afternoon tea buffet! Naturally, gluttony ensued… It was amazing.
That night, my cousin took Justine and I into Mongkok and we checked out the Temple Street markets, famous neon lights, street performances and of course, ate a classic Hong Kong waffle (which again, you will see in my video soon!).
Justine brought a few disposable film cameras on the trip, which were super fun to use. Here’s one of the shots on film + see the rest in her travel diary here:
Another day, another dim sum. This time, we went back over to Island Shangri-La in Central to try their Summer Palace, 2 Michelin Star dim sum restaurant. And oh was it ever good! The steamed bao were seriously next level. I don’t think I’ve ever had a char siu bao as good as the ones at Summer Palace. We also tried their signature soup dumpling with diced pork and abalone, served in a young coconut. Exquisite! This spot is an absolute MUST if you visit Hong Kong. It was possibly my favorite meal of the trip. (Again, I sadly didn’t take any photos of the meal in favor of capturing video, but I promise you’ll enjoy seeing the food in action more!)
Here’s my outfit that day. Why I chose to wear a belt before eating copious amounts of dim sum is still in question-
After lunch, our friends suggested riding a tram across the city to the far west end of Hong Kong. It was a great way to see more areas of the city that we wouldn’t have otherwise ventured into. At the end of the line, we got out to explore Kennedy Town, a quiet neighborhood with a laid-back, coastal vibe. We picked up some iced lattes at a super cute coffee shop and took a stroll around the boardwalk.
Here’s another shot from Justine’s disposable camera:
From Kennedy Town, we hoped on the MTR underground to fast track our way back to Central, where we boarded a ferry to take us across the harbor back to the Kowloon side. This stretch of public transit seriously gives you one of the best views of the city. The ferry ride is only a few minutes and just like that we were back across the water.
A few snaps from Harbour City, with the Hong Kong Island skyline in the background:
With our friends Mitchell, his girlfriend, Melissa and my cousin, Royal!
That night, the five us met up with some of my family friends for an amazing dinner at Peking Garden Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui. We had all kinds of delicious dishes, including a classic Peking Duck and special “Beggar’s Chicken“. (Thank you Wilson for this special treat!)
Below, you can see Justine taking a crack at breaking open the Beggar’s Chicken:
After dinner, we came out of the restaurant to see THE view of Hong Kong Island by night:
On Day 4 of our trip, Justine and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous rooftop infinity pool at Kerry Hotel. We had the pool to ourselves all morning and it was so nice to get a bit of R&R in after the action-packed past few days we had.
For lunch, we tried Kerry Hotel’s signature Chinese restaurant, Hung Tong. Here, classic dishes are updated with a modern twist. My favorites were the dumplings, crispy tofu and char siu bao. Reflecting the food being served at Hung Tong, the decor of the restaurant also has a classic meets contemporary feel. Heritage design elements from the local area’s history were used to evoke a nostalgic mood to old world Hong Kong. It reminded me a lot of the movie “In the Mood for Love”.
Adjacent to Hung Tong is Red Sugar, one of Kerry Hotel’s bar and lounges that opens up to an outdoor terrace, overlooking the harbor. Definitely a soon-to-be hot spot in the area for evening and/or late night drinks.
On our last night, we met up with my cousin and our friends again for one last meal together. We rode up the legendary outdoor escalators to the mid-levels, where we explored a bit of the Soho neighborhood and ate at Little Bao. I had the Szechuan Fried Chicken Bao and we all shared the Truffle Fries- absolutely delicious!
We had one more morning at the pool before flying home in the afternoon. Now back home in Toronto, Justine and I are both having Hong Kong withdrawal. Missing the energy, the weather, the company and of course, the food! It was exactly the dream trip we had planned and we are already collecting our Aeroplan miles so we can go back soon.
Special thanks to Aeroplan for helping Justine and I finally take this trip together and to Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts for your generous and warm hospitality!!!
*Our flights were sponsored by Aeroplan and our accommodations were sponsored by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.