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48 hours

Featured Lifestyle

48 Hours in Hong Kong: The Pearl of the Orient

A home away from home, Hong Kong is one of my favorite places to spend a few days. Whenever I get the chance to enjoy a layover here, I take the opportunity! I feel like it would take a lifetime to see all that this beautiful region has to offer.

The next time you’re heading off to Beijing, Tokyo, or anywhere else in the region, try to schedule in a few days in Hong Kong and learn why this destination has become known as the “Pearl of the Orient.”

Stay in the Heart of Hong Kong

Given the short amount of time you have in Hong Kong, I recommend staying in a hotel as close to the city center as possible. Some of my absolute favorites in terms of luxury and service include the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental.

While the Four Seasons boasts a well-earned international reputation, an amazing view of Victoria Harbor, and spa services to die for, the Mandarin Oriental offers a more local brand of sophistication. As Mandarin Oriental’s flagship location, it features a world-class spa and a fabulous view of the downtown skyscrapers.

Whichever hotel I stay in, I love to indulge in a massage to ease the stresses of travel before enjoying a healthy breakfast to start my day off reinvigorated.

Take a Stroll Down Cat Street

Don’t let the name fool you! Iconic Upper Lascar Row, better known as Cat Street, is actually a shopping district that specializes in antiques of all kinds, from the kitsch to the classic. If you happen to be a lover of antiques, you may find something as unique as a Qing vase or Ming furniture. After all, this shopping neighborhood has been in existence for 100 years, and some amazing items have yet to sell!

At the end of the street, simply turn right onto Hollywood Road to discovery the majestic Man Mo Temple, created as a tribute to Man, the god of literature, and Mo, the god of martial arts. While the exterior complex looks as urbanized as the rest of the city, the temple itself features a breathtaking design dating back to the mid-19th century.

Nurture Your Artistic Eye

Stop in at Gagosian to take in some amazing contemporary art, including works by such innovators as Urs Fischer, Howard Hodgkin, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Walter De Mari. With galleries all over the world, Gagosian has become a well-known name in the visual arts, but this Hong Kong-based location offers a delicious glimpse into local flavor with many artists inspired by regional events and locales.

Just across the street is the fabulous Hanart TZ Gallery, founded by Hong Kong native Tsong-zung “Johnson” Chang. With an Asia-specific art practice dating back decades, Chang’s eye for the visionary and breathtaking ensures a gallery experience completely unique to Hong Kong. Past exhibitions have included works by Luis Chan, Chimmedorj, Chen Beixin, and Xu Longsen.

Dine in Style

For a visual experience almost as gorgeous as the pieces at Hanart and Gagosian galleries, enjoy a delectable dinner at the exquisite SEVVA. Each of their meals is a work of art in itself, with a beautiful taste experience to match. Plus, after all that walking, you’ll have earned one of their signature caramel crunch cakes!

For breakfast, brunch, or lunch, head to the nearby China Tang for sumptuous Chinese cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. For those of us who just want to sample every item on the menu, I highly recommend an early afternoon meal of dim sum—a series of bite-sized portions offering a whole array of delicacies.

For a dinner gathering with friends, or just some late-night drinks, head to Cipriani Hong Kong, the city’s answer to innovative Italian food and cocktails. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach to savor every delicious bite of their huge multi-course meals.

Remember for a Lifetime 

Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world. It seems like every place I visit in the region boasts a gorgeous mixture of natural beauty, urbanity, and authentic Chinese culture. For example, the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden allows visitors willing to venture a bit farther north the opportunity to interact with exotic birds in a classic Chinese garden setting, all within the atmosphere of a busy shopping area.

With 48 hours, you have just enough time to revel in the wonders of Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient. Let me know about your adventures!

 

 

 

Featured Lifestyle

Switzerland, City by City: 48 Hours in Zurich

Although I feel like a child of the world in many ways, Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart. After all, there’s no place like my home city of Zurich to learn about Switzerland’s rich cultural history, eat like a queen, and get in some shopping while you’re at it!

While one could literally spend a lifetime exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer, I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for a busy but fun 48 hours in Zurich—filled with all of my favorite spots!

There’s no better place to begin your acquaintance with Zurich than the chic Bahnhofstrasse fashion district (more on that later!)—complete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. Treat yourself after your shopping spree at one of these delightful restaurants: Rive Gauche in the heart of the city, George Bar & Grill sailing high above the rooftops, and Hiltl vegetarian restaurant in Sihlstrasse—famous for being the longest-running vegetarian restaurant in the world. Finish off your whirlwind 48 hours with coffee and macarons at the decadent Spruengli.

There’s plenty more to see and explore in this luxurious city—voted one of the wealthiest and happiest places in all of Europe! In between the top spots listed above, take your pick of the entertaining activities below to make the most of your two days in Zurich.

Breakfast on the Limmat River

Take in the local scene and the gorgeous Swiss sunrise at an open-air restaurant along the Limmat River. Then, enjoy a sweet treat from one of the many food carts along this striking and breezy river. The bustling pedestrians and bikers combined with the Limmat’s fresh breezes are the perfect welcome to Zurich!

While I highly recommend one of the Limmat River cruises if you’re in town for more than a couple days, walking the length of this river and along Lake Zurich—which feeds the Limmat—can make for a rich experience and a perfect taste of this city’s wonders.

Build an Unbreakable Love at the Muhlesteg Bridge

There’s no time like late morning to revel in love—your early morning sleepiness has dissipated and the day still feels fresh, new, and full of possibilities. After your river stroll, cross the deeply romantic Muhlesteg Bridge with your beloved, one of several love-lock bridges found across Europe. While this bridge serves the practical purpose of taking you to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping district, it gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate your romance along the way!

Bring a padlock with you to act as a symbol of your love. Together, walk this bridge before offering a sweet kiss to one another and the lock before affixing it to the railing. Then toss away the key (in a waste bin please!) to symbolize your love’s eternal nature.

Shop the Luxurious Bahnhofstrasse Promenade

There’s nothing like a little shopping to bring a smile to my face—especially when traveling! I love opening my suitcase after a trip abroad to discover the lovely pieces that I brought home with me. Each item carries with it the memories of the location I visited!

Bahnhofstrasse, the Swiss German word for “station street,” provides the ultimate shopping experience in Zurich with everything from well-known luxury brands to chic local boutiques.

Plus, did I mention that Bahnhofstrasse is both gorgeous and pedestrian friendly? With numerous benches and parks, the promenade provides a welcoming and awe-inspiring outdoor environment. I recommend starting at the Laderach Chocolatiers on Banhofplatz and following the promenade all the way to Tiffany and Co. on Borsenstrasse—a mere 1 kilometer stroll with a well-deserved lunch detour in Altstadt (Old Town).

Rejuvenate in Altstadt

German for “old town,” Altstadt and its architecture date back to before the middle ages—this small area encompassed the entire city up until the late 1800s. With winding streets, local shops, and street side cafés filled with international delights and local delicacies alike, Altstadt offers a Swiss heritage site replete with national and global significance.

Enjoy classic Swiss cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants before taking in the historic buildings, graveyards, hills, and fountains. Visit St. Peter’s Church to see the largest clock face in the whole of Europe—installed in 1366—before returning to Bahnhofstrasse to continue your fabulous shopping spree.

Grossmunster Church

Local legend says that the breathtakingly beautiful Grossmunster Church was founded when Charlemagne came upon the graves of Saints Felix and Regula. This Romanesque architectural marvel, erected in 1100 AD, is just a short walk across Munsterbrock Bridge from Bahnhofstrasse.

With astounding twin towers, Grossmunster may be the most recognizable feature in all of Zurich—its ancient peaks tower above the skyline, embodying the timeless grandeur of this historic city. Wander the church grounds to find architectural delights in every nook and cranny before stopping in at one of the local eateries, popular among University of Zurich students, for a quick bite.

The Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery

Featuring art by such internationally-acclaimed painters as Monet, Chagall, and Picasso, as well as hundreds of local artists, the Kunsthaus Zurich is the foremost art collection in Switzerland and one of the most renowned in all of Europe. Whether you enjoy ancient or contemporary works, or any art period in between, the Kunsthaus is sure to blow you away.

Conveniently located next to a Zurich tram system stop, this gallery is also extremely accessible. Take in the museum’s grand exterior, designed by famed architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, before entering. Then, once you’ve explored every exhibit, simply hop on the tram to return to your hotel after a long day of walking and wonder. You may even choose to dine at the elegant and gourmet Kunsthaus Restaurant!

For Art Lovers 

For those of you who are art lovers like me, be sure to also check out Galerie Peter Kilchmann and the Rietberg Museum—and drop into the Starkart Art Gallery in the evening for some amazing contemporary urban art exhibitions. You could fill an entire day just with art!

Plus, if you just happen to be visiting in the fall, consider coordinating your trip with the Contemporary Art Fair Zurich, a stunning display of contemporary art which typically takes place over a weekend in September or October.

Stay for a Day or a Lifetime

While I recommend taking at least a week to roam all of my gorgeous Zurich, this lovely city can also make for a truly romantic (and very busy!) 48 hours. It offers a wonderful glimpse into the whole of Switzerland with highlights in art, history, and cuisine. I can’t wait to hear what you think!