words by Samantha Organ
Electric and energetic. Just two words which describe one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in the world, Hong Kong. With its vibrant atmosphere and never ending social scene, Hong Kong is known as the city that works hard but plays harder, as the cocktails continuously flow and the broad scope of indulgent local and international cuisine never lose their appeal. But all is not lost in this city of sins, as both the local and ex-pat community see health and fitness as an integral part of their daily routine. Gyms including Fitness First and California Fitness can be found throughout the city, whilst if you know where to go, you can find the healthiest places to eat without feeling deprived of the “decadent authentic food” experience. Here are the top three reasons as to why you should not only visit Hong Kong, but how to stay hip and healthy during your visit to one of the world’s most luxurious cities…
Life Cafe is natural, organic and ideal for vegetarians. Starting off with a fresh apple and mint juice, I could immediately tell that alfresco dining was an experience I would be coming back for. With a vast array of dishes to choose from, the sumptuous filo pastry is a must. Containing broccoli, herb roasted potato and feta cheese accompanied by mixed baby greens, I was left feeling super healthy and my hunger, perfectly satisfied. With food options starting at just $105.00, it’s perfectly reasonable too. (That’s a cheap and cheerful £8.45). For me, the sweet roof top terrace sealed the deal! 10 Shelley Street, Central | www.lifecafe.com.hk
Furthermore, located just a few hundred yards away from the hustle and bustle of the central district is Oolaa. A coffee lounge, fine wine corner and full dining experience that ticks all the boxes. The menu encompasses western food including your standard margarita pizza, perfect for the strong hold Brit, whilst the shared Meze platter of cured meats simply goes down a treat. Think relaxed yet soulful, as this popular hangout spot perfectly masters the transition from daily coffee to evening cocktails without losing the buzz and vibe that is Hong Kong. Bridges Street, Central |www.casteloconcepts.com
Having won numerous accolades, Peking Garden is known for serving what is considered to be the best duck in the whole of Hong Kong, and, having tried it, I was not surprised by its excellent reputation. The chef demonstrates just how perfectly the duck is cooked by gently slicing through the succulent yet crispy poultry, as the fresh aroma of out-of-the-oven pancakes quickly get your food senses tingling. As a bonus, duck fat is the healthiest of all animal fat, enabling you to enjoy this dish guilt free! Featuring oriental decor, Peking Garden is the place to go to for a full authentic dining experience and located in the popular shopping mall of Pacific Place, it’s an easy to get to location. Admiralty | tinyurl.com/bkunduk
Where there’s a ying, there’s certainly a yang at I-Spa and as the only spa known for its ‘feng shui’ philosophy, it’s certainly worth a visit. For guaranteed health induced bliss, I-Spa at The Intercontinental delivers. With its friendly beauty therapists, relaxing oriental music and calming decor, each guest is treated like royalty and welcomed with a heart warming ginger tea upon treatment arrival. The perfect treatment for a paradise escape? The Organic Aroma Stone Massage, renowned for its healing powers for the mind, body and soul. Warm and smooth volcanic basalt stones are gently massaged into the muscles with the spa’s exclusive blend of organic aromatherapy oil. Lasting a full 90 minutes, it’s hard to stay awake in such a luxurious setting. Each treatment room is accompanied by a marble jacuzzi, sauna and steam room for ultimate relaxation. And the view? Simply step outside and be greeted by one of the most spectacular sights overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon | hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com
You name it, Hong Kong has it. I’ve already found myself catching the ferry and completing the four hour trek up Lantau Mountain. Exhausting? Yes, but totally worth it! Once at the top, the stunning views over the city and Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddah (known to you and I as ‘Big Buddha’), are breathtaking and sights that absolutely must be seen when hiking in Hong Kong. Dragon boat racing on the other hand is far from relaxed and taken very seriously across the island. For the hardcore fitness fanatic, this is your sport as it works the whole body through a series of movements using the core, arms and legs – the ideal workout for overall body sculpting.
For the more relaxed fitness fads, yoga and Pilates can be found at any gym, such as Pure Fitness and in individual classes throughout the city, such as The Yoga Room. With over 1,000 classes throughout Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei, Pure Yoga (the yoga branch of Pure Fitness) practices a range of different yoga styles from Hatha and Hot Yoga to Ashtanga and Satyanda yoga, providing a style for everyone. As a result, inner strength, clarity and peace are instilled when in the heart of the city. The Yoga room, as well as providing professional Yoga classes from Vinyasa to Candlelight Yin Yoga, holds a series of Pilates classes designed to strengthen the core and straighten the posture whilst creating a sense of balance and vitality. Both Pilates and yoga are the perfect way to start the day, encouraging a central focus and positive outlook through the art of mediation and the fluidity of movement. For those who are unsure, both Pure Yoga and The Yoga Room offer a free session so you can see which style suits you best. No excuses not to give it a go! www.pure-yoga.com | www.yogaroomhk.com
So relax … pack your trainers … and enjoy the pace!