Tea time in Hong Kong

Tea tasting class at Homeland Tea Garden with May Chan - photo by Rob McFarland

Tea tasting class at Homeland Tea Garden with May Chan – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Nov 24, 2018

As someone who grew up in England, I’m no stranger to tea. The Brits take their tea seriously, using it as a national remedy for almost any stressful event (Lost a leg? You’ll feel better after a nice cuppa). However, they are mere amateurs compared with the Chinese, who’ve elevated the relatively simple act of infusing hot water with tea leaves into a beautiful (and often bewildering) art form.

As one of Asia’s most Western-influenced cities, Hong Kong is caught in the middle. It has experienced the same coffee-culture explosion that’s happened in almost every capital city during the past decade, but it’s also resolutely clung on to its tea-drinking heritage. This is good news for visitors, because it means you can get an insight into this ancient tradition but still find a decent flat white when you reach your lapsang limit.

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Six of the best hikes in Hong Kong

Beach on Lamma Island in Hong Kong - photo by Rob McFarland

Beach on Lamma Island in Hong Kong – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Aug 25, 2018

1. LAMMA ISLAND
A 30-minute ferry ride from Central, this car-free oasis offers hikers a rewarding montage of beaches, history and gourmet seafood. Start with a poke around the stores in the laid back township of Yung Shue Wan before following a meandering seven-kilometre trail that offers sweeping coastal views as it passes the white sand Hung Shing Yeh Beach and the city’s first commercial-grade wind turbine. Finish up with a tour of the fish farm at Sok Kwu Wan before tucking into a seafood feast at one of the bay’s many excellent waterfront restaurants.

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Review of The Murray hotel, Hong Kong

Bathroom at The Murray hotel, Hong Kong - photo by Rob McFarland

Bathroom at The Murray hotel, Hong Kong – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – June 30, 2018

THE PLACE
The Murray, Hong Kong

THE LOCATION
A prime spot opposite Hong Kong Park in the heart of Hong Kong Island’s busy Central district.

THE SPACE
A modernist masterpiece, The Murray building housed government offices for more than 40 years before being transformed by award-winning architects Foster + Partners into the city’s newest five-star hotel (it opened in January). They’ve kept the building’s grand arches and distinctive recessed windows, cleverly angling each room to make the most of the views over Hong Kong Park and Victoria Harbour. The design of the public spaces is minimalist with extensive use of black and white marble, but colourful artworks and elaborate flower arrangements help soften the mood. A striking rooftop glass pavilion houses the hotel’s signature restaurant, Popinjays, and there’s a spacious wraparound verandah with mesmerising views over Central and the harbour. Throw in a state-of-the-art gym, a soon-to-be opened indoor lap pool and a lavish spa with a steam room and sauna and you might never want to venture outside.

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Six of the best Hong Kong speakeasies

Making a cocktail in The Old Man speakeasy - photo by Rob McFarland

Making a cocktail in The Old Man speakeasy – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – June 23, 2018

THE OLD MAN
In less experienced hands, The Old Man would be just another yawn-inducing addition to the long list of bars dedicated to writer Ernest Hemingway. However, the man behind this upscale establishment is Agung Prabowo, who previously managed the highly-regarded bar at the Mandarin Oriental. The menu features seven cocktails named after Hemingway books (Death in the Afternoon anyone?) plus a selection of the writer’s personal favourites, which includes the surprisingly feminine White Lady (a mixture of gin, Cointreau and lemon juice). Look for the unmarked flight of stairs leading down from Aberdeen Street in Central.

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W Hotel in Hong Kong

Kitchen restaurant in W Hotel Hong Kong

Kitchen restaurant in W Hotel Hong Kong

It’s the age-old question when flying back from Europe: to stopover or not to stopover? Do you utilise precious time that could be spent in your destination on a night somewhere along the way that may or may not leave you feeling less zombie-like when you arrive home?

Until recently I’d always subscribed to the straight-through theory don’t muck around with all the hassle of getting to some anonymous airport hotel just hunker down, grin and bear it. And then I stayed in the W Hong Kong.

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