Where to Go in Chic Hong Kong
Joanna Preysler-Francisco gives us the lowdown on her favorite haunts in Hong Kong—giving us a checklist of recommendations on her favorite places for the hippest restaurants, coolest retail, and cultural spaces in Asia’s luxury hub
Fashionistas have always considered Hong Kong as an extension of Manila when it comes to travel and leisure. The idea of making a quick trip to Hong Kong to relax, shop, and sometimes, even dine, has been in the collective consciousness of many.
It comes easily due to Hong Kong’s very nature of being a chic, cosmopolitan city. It is Asia’s luxury hub, home to the region’s biggest luxury brands—Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermès, Givenchy, Celine, Tiffany & Co, as well as the LVMH group. It’s also the center of fine jewelry and watches—holding fairs such as the Jewellery & Gem World, Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, as well as Watches and Wonders Haute Horlogerie, among others.
Likewise, art is also thriving in this city—it has some of the best auction houses in the world from Christie’s to Sothebys and Phillips, while it’s home to major contemporary art galleries and museums such as the just-opened M+ Museum, the Herzog and de Meuron-designed space that could rival the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
We want to show the thriving energy of the city through the eyes of one of the country’s tastemakers and most stylish women—Joanna Preysler-Francisco. She is the Marketing Director of Provenance gallery and Othello, she is also a fashion designer, which was why Hong Kong is close to her heart as she often travels to Hong Kong for work and for play.
The last time she was in Hong Kong was right before the pandemic hit, sometime in December 2019.
“Raul [Francisco, her husband] and I were frequent visitors of Hong Kong, as we had business dealings there, and would visit one of our dearest friends who resides there,” she says about her relationships with the city.
“What I love about Hong Kong is the energy, the vibe, the juxtaposition between the ultra-modern and the presence of tradition. It is a sophisticated city of lights, yet ancient customs still hold,” she says.
“In one place, you can find Frederic Malle… right beside it, you will find remedies of herbal oils and dried leaves for aches and pains!,” she adds.
WHERE TO EAT:
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Road
“My favorite! Located at the Peninsula in Hong Kong, which is a lovely destination to begin with, Spring Moon serves classic Cantonese cuisine at its finest. FINEST!,” she enthuses. “I don’t think I’ve ever tasted better XO sauce, steamed grouper, and other items that they serve that are delicious and so clean-tasting,” she adds.
Some of the specialties of Spring Moon include seafood and their dimsum, which features favorites such as barbecued pork puff and steamed lobster, shrimp dumpling with lobster bisque, and steamed Sicilian shrimp and minced pork dumpling. There are also 30 varieties of tea to choose from!
Shangri-La Hong Kong, Supreme C. Rd, Central
“Located at the Island Shangri-La, Summer Palace serves Cantonese cuisine that we all love. Their dimsum is amazing, and the restaurant is well-designed and built,” she says.
Because Joanna is a big health and fitness buff, so she’s quite health conscious. One restaurant you can consider in Hong Kong is 1-Michelin star-rated Arcane by Shane Osborn, which is known for its quality ingredients, some of which come from the restaurant’s herb garden.
They’re quite well-known for their vegetarian menu, such as this vegetarian starter—capeletti of broccoli and cevenne onion with garlic and pine nuts, and spinach purée. The dishes are always a medley of flavors, and they look so pretty, too!
Standard Chartered Bank Building, 4-4A Des Voeux Rd. Central, Central
Now a global brand, Mott 32 first opened in Hong Kong before expanding to Vancouver, Las Vegas, Singapore, and soon Bangkok, Dubai, and Seoul. It has a menu that incorporates Cantonese, Szechuan, and Beijing cuisines. At its helm is Chef Lee Man Sing, who got his first Michelin star back when he was working in Mandarin Oriental's Man Wah.
As one of Joanna's favorite haunts, she loves their food and ambiance. "It has the best Iberico pork, duck, and the best ambiance, too!"
WHERE TO SHOP:
3205 Level 3, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City
For fashion, it has the best in top high fashion brands, but it also has the cult labels that are not available in the Philippines like Dion Lee and Moncler. Plus it has a lot of beauty finds, things that would be hard to find anywhere else like Révive, Augustinus Bader, Ilāpothecary, and Franz Skincare.
IFC Mall, Podium 3, 8 Finance Street, Central
“Fashion, cosmetics, perfumes, accessories for myself and for my home—what’s not to love,” says Joanna. Lane Crawford is a shopping institution in Hong Kong, founded in 1850, and has continued to stay relevant to retail because of its shift to becoming a specialty department store.
Lane Crawford is known for its carefully curated collections from womenswear, menswear, shoes, accessories, jewelry, beauty, and home and lifestyle.
Some of its most interesting brands for fashion include Acne Studios, Alice + Olivia, Isabel Marant, Sacai, The Row, Thom Brown, and iconic brands such as Prada, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Bottega Veneta. For home, it has Baccarat, Fornasetti, Missoni Home, Ginori 1735, and more.
“I like to stick to my good old reliable stores, and also love to check the little shops along the ways,” shares Joanna of her shopping habits. As a designer always seeking inspiration, she appreciates the energy in the big shopping areas like Central and Tsim Sha Tsui with their independent stores.
She appreciates all the sights and sounds that exploring and shopping can bring.
“Part of being in a vibrant city like Hong Kong is enjoying the local shops and brands, and small restaurants where locals shops and eat… it’s where you get the pulse of the city—the real, non-tourist view, which I love in Hong Kong,” she says.
WHERE TO STAY:
8 Peking Rd. Tsim Sha Tsui
“I love The Langham! This is where we stay. Even the smell as I enter the hotel fills me with such a happy feeling, like I’m automatically relaxed and all is well in the world,” says Joanna.
Plus, it’s right in the middle of the shopping district on Canton Road, and is surrounded by the luxury flagship stores and is also minutes away from the historic Star Ferry at the Victoria Harbour.
Did this make you want to shop, eat, and travel to Hong Kong? Do include Joanna’s recommendations in your itinerary when travel to Hong Kong resumes.
For more luxurious and indulgent experiences in Hong Kong, visit Discover Hong Kong to find out more.