Filmart: Five Luxury Getaways Within Easy Reach of Hong Kong
From the jungles of Bali to the casinos of Macau, The Hollywood Reporter offers an insider guide to no-stress destinations once the dealmaking is over.
After the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and the stress of dealmaking at Filmart, a short break to relax and recharge the batteries might be in order. Ideally located in the heart of Asia, Hong Kong offers almost limitless options for minibreaks covering everything from the beach to the jungle and everything in between.
The Hollywood Reporter has picked out five special places that offer rest, relaxation and a touch of luxury all within a few short hours of Hong Kong.
An almost 5-hour flight might seem a bit excessive, but a visit to Bali is worth every minute spent on a plane, even if its two to three days. From the crystal blue waters and sandy beaches to jungle and mountain treks, Bali is as relaxed or as action packed as you want it to be. Ubud, a small jungle town set among the rice terraces, is a little more off the tourist track and the perfect place to lose yourself in nature.
Stay: The Hanging Gardens of Bali is a breathtaking jungle resort set on a hillside that is sure to make your trip to the island memorable. Located 9 miles from Ubud, the resort is a feast for the eyes with a spectacular pool that is suspended above the trees, and opulent villas surrounded on three sides by lush nature. The food at the hotel is top quality too, with the feng shui designed Three Elements restaurant offering authentic Balinese cuisine.
Eat and drink: Ubud is awash with culinary options, from cheap street food to fine dining. If you're feeling adventurous then street food staples such as terang bulan (meat skewers), nasi jinngo (meat and rice wrapped in banana leaves) and martabak (a savory pancake) are must-tries. At the higher end, Blanco Par Mandif is widely considered the best restaurant in Bali and offers ultra modern Indonesian cuisine.
See: Nature is everywhere in Ubud, and the standout attraction is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The vivid green of the tegalalang rice terraces is worth a visit for striking Instagram shots. The beautiful Saraswati Hindu temple will give visitors an insight into the history of the area.
At just over two hours away, Cambodia — and Siem Reap in particular — is a popular weekend getaway for Hongkongers of all stripes and budgets, and the country’s rich history and culture keep people coming back again and again.
Stay: Amansara is the effortless blend of ancient Khmer tradition and contemporary international luxury hospitality, complete with private plunge pools, gardens and courtyards. In a word: decadent.
Eat and drink: Don’t leave without trying amok, a curried fish wrapped in banana leaf and topped with coconut cream; bamboo sticky rice, delicately flavored with coconut and grilled; and, of course, the king of street breakfasts, bai sach chrouk (scrambled eggs and pork on rice).
See: Obviously, Angkor Wat. Amansara guests are afforded the added privilege of heading into the site before dawn and before the other tourists for an unspoiled experience, followed by an optional breakfast with a local family in a Khmer village house. If you simply must shop while you're in Siem Reap, then there are markets aplenty but also luxury shopping to be found at the rather large DFS there.
Admittedly, Sri Lanka is a more than a short hop away, but direct flights go to Colombo and a shiny new road down the country’s west coast drops you at Kalutara in a little over an hour. It’s ideal for switching off and dropping out.
Stay: Anantara Kalutara Resort, a stunning example of tropical modernist architecture designed by the master himself — Geoffrey Bawa. It’s five-star all the way, with a stellar spa.
Eat and drink: Sri Lanka has become cool in recent years for good reason. The people are hospitable and ready to shake off 30 years of civil war, and you absolutely cannot get a bad cup of tea anywhere. The hotel’s Spice Spoons will organize a trip to a local market, and the executive chef will teach you some Sri Lanka favorites like pol pani, palm sugar and coconut crepes.
See: If you’re relaxing at Anantara for a few days, you’re staying at the town’s greatest attraction, but Bawa’s Lunuganga Estate is a tuk-tuk ride away and well worth a tour.
Perhaps your time in Asia is limited, affording you only a day or two at most to take a break. In which case, Macau is a wonderful, and brief, distraction. Yes, there are gaudy casinos aplenty and busloads of tourists, but pick the right spot and you can find world-class hotel rooms, food and service for incredible prices.
Stay: The Banyan Tree resort is worth the one-hour ferry ride over to Macau alone. A part of the enormous Galaxy complex, the Banyan Tree offers guests indulgent comfort, with huge suites and a fully loaded spa. Poolside is another highlight with cabanas and the world's largest wave pool.
Eat and drink: Trying the local Macanese food is a must and there are plenty of places that come highly recommended, but if there's availability make sure to visit A Lorcha, Fernando's and Riquexo. If it is world cuisine you're looking for, Macau's casino's boast restaurants that fit every budget and there are a bewildering number of fine dining options. If you're looking to splurge, then make a reservation at Robuchon au Dome.
See: If postmodern architecture is your thing, then Macau's casinos are a wonder to behold. Much like Las Vegas, Macau is geared towards keeping visitors entertained so expect to find concerts by big international acts and the big shows such as House of Dancing Water, Crazy Paris Show and Cabaret and Abracadabra continue to pack them in night after night. If there's time and you really don't mind crowds, then the old town is worth a visit, too.
If you're already in Hong Kong, then why not see more of it? There are plenty of reasons to hang around Hong Kong after Filmart, not least because the humidity is bearable at this time of year. March is brimming with events that will appeal to everyone from culture vultures to foodies. For art lovers, there's Art Basel, Art Central and the Asia Contemporary Art Show; for rugby fanatics, there's the Hong Kong Sevens; and for budding gourmets, there's Taste Hong Kong.
Stay: The brand new Rosewood Hong Kong. The latest addition to the city’s five-star hotel landscape, sitting on Victoria Harbour, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox with interiors by superstar Tony Chi and is poised to have two of the SAR’s swishest lounges: the throwback Holt’s Café tea house and the enigmatically monikered bar DarkSide.
Eat and drink: THR's list of seven new Hong Kong eateries is a good place to start. Also check out the trinity of Statement, The Chinese Library and The Dispensary, located in the repurposed heritage building Tai Kwun, that check all the boxes for modern British or classic Cantonese dining and drinks to follow.
See: Where to begin? There are breathtaking views from The Peak; the beaches and relaxed island life of Lamma; the hustle and bustle of Mong Kok; the luxury shopping in Central; and the world-class dining in Soho. The list is endless.