Establishment neighborhood
The Opposite House
Building 1, No. 11 Sanlitun Rd., Beijing
Designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the Opposite House is part work of art (the pixilated green-glass exterior looks more like an installation from the outside), part boutique hotel. Known for its minimalist style, the rooms are rather spacious–a rarity for most of the city's hotels, and feature minimal decor mixed with traditional Chinese elements including an authentic oak soaking tub in each bathroom. The staff is incredibly efficient and will arrange for taxis to avoid hailing one on the street (a subtle luxury here). Pro tip: While this can be a great place to escape the city's frenetic pace, the first few floors can get noisy given the proximity to the bars and nightclubs–so it's best to ask for a quiet room on a higher floor.
Capella Shanghai Jian Ye Li
Jian Ye Li 480 W. Jianguo Rd., Xuhui District
Located in the former French Concession neighborhood–a quiet, residential spot with tree-lined brick walkways–this boutique villa hotel is excellent if you're looking for a quieter stay in the city. The grounds are both historic and impressive: the buildings, all of which were built in the 1930's, are of the Shikumen-style architecture distinctive to Shanghai and include elaborate stone gates and brick detailing. Each room is technically a two-story home in which there's at least one bedroom, two baths, and a private patio. The service here is impeccable: a personal assistant contacts you prior to arrival to tailor your stay (say, for gluten-free meals or site-seeing plans), and the staff offers grocery shopping services for longer visits. Given its proximity to the city's stellar food scene, you may want to venture out for dinner, but it's worth booking at least one meal at Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, the hotel's in-house restaurant serving incredible authentic French food.
The Peninsula Shanghai
32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Rd., Waitan Residential District
This classic hotel hails from a hospitality family we've loved forever—and its Shanghai outpost offers all the amenities you've come to expect—solid service, clean design, an over-the-top ESPA spa, complimentary Rolls Royce or BMW airport transfers—plus, drop-dead views of the Pudong skyline. It's the first building to be constructed on the historic bund in Shanghai in the last seventy years, a fact that makes it an attraction in its own right. Each of the 235 rooms feature a tranquil neutral-and-blue color scheme, lacquer cabinetry, leather headboard, and, best yet, a walk-in dressing room. For hungry guests, the restaurants Sir Elly's and Yi Long Court are both Michelin-star gems.
Liu Yuan Pavilion
The Broadway, 54-62 Lockhart Rd., Wan Chai
Recently renovated and located on the third floor of an office building in the Wan Chai District, Liu Yuan Pavilion is known as one of the best Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong (and has a 2017 Bib Gourmand from Michelin to prove it). Don’t miss the dim sum, of course, but it’s also worth trying dishes like their Mandarin fish with sweet and sour sauce or their braised pig knuckle. Because of its popularity and small-ish space, it’s usually very hard to drop in—definitely make reservations in advance.
Tim ho Wan
9-11 Fuk Wing St., Sham Shui Po
Chef Mak Kwai Pui originally opened this casual dim sum eatery as a 20-seat restaurant in Mongkok, which earned a Michelin star in 2010, leading to its claim to fame as the world’s least expensive restaurant to hold one. In 2015, this Sham Shui Po location received a Michelin star, too, and it’s not difficult to understand why—every dumpling is perfect, perhaps the best anywhere. Be sure to try the pork buns, which are equal parts sweet and smoky, soft and chewy; but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The original location closed in 2013, but they have outposts all over, including a recently-opened (and unsurprisingly popular) spot in Greenwich Village. If you want to avoid the crowds, try going in the afternoon.
Afternoon Tea at the Peninsula
Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui
The Hong Kong location in Tsim Sha Tsui is actually the Peninsula's original location (the building was built back in 1828), and considering the highly British-influenced history of Hong Kong, it's no surprise that high tea here is a big deal. To complete the full-on fancy experience, the hotel brings in a string quartet—lovingly called the Lobby Strings—for daily performances, and serves finger sandwiches, pastries, and champagne alongside its Earl Grey.
The Popsy Room
30 Upper Lascar Row, Tai Ping Shan
RISD graduate Jennifer Chung spent her childhood in Hong Kong and Toronto, and began her career as a designer in Paris. The Popsy Room is her experimental art space, which is situated among the galleries and antique dealers on Upper Lascar Row, known as Cat Street. The Popsy Room hosts varied rotating exhibitions that highlight everything from painting and photography to design, sculpture, and music. It also serves as a home for collaborations, workshops and pop-ups—plus a dining space.
The Armoury
307 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder St., Central
In a city known for its dime-a-dozen custom tailors, the Armoury quickly made a name for itself back in 2010 when it started offering bespoke men’s clothing by top craftsman from Spain, Italy, and the UK. The high-ceilinged, dark wood-paneled space serves as a backdrop for an assortment of colorful Drake’s ties and suede Aldens for the modern gentleman. It’s the kind of place you can walk into and leave with a whole new wardrobe that’s tailor-made just for you. Bonus: the concierge-like shop staff is happy to tell you if your sportcoat is too big in the shoulders, or if you can really pull off that double-breasted jacket. The Armoury has a second location in HK on Queen’s Road Central and a US outpost in Tribeca in New York City.
Le Garcon Saigon
12-18 Wing Fung St., Wan Chai
You won’t find traditional pho here, but what you will find are unexpected flavor pairings—green papaya salad with shrimp crisp, cashew nuts and spicy tamarind, fresh veggies and hearty grilled prawn skewers—all served up in a brightly lit, Parisian brasserie-like setting. Vegetarians will be pleasantly sated with the soy-braised tofu and hedgehog mushrooms. If it’s not too hot out, opt for one of the tables outside, settle into one of the roomy wicker chairs, and take in the bustle of the surrounding Star Street neighborhood. Don’t glaze over the wine list—it features an impressive roster of biodynamic French wines rarely seen elsewhere in Hong Kong.