A Hollywood Insider's Guide to Hong Kong

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Hong Kong

Anthony Bourdain, Oliver Stone and others reveal their favorite places to stay, visit and eat in the city.

Hong Kong is no stranger to top-notch services. It’s home to 86 current Michelin stars, annual events such as Art Basel and the amfAR gala (drawing Liam Hemsworth) and plenty of posh hotels like The Langham Hong Kong, which offers a menu of scented pillows.

“Top-notch hotels are very accommodating and helpful in facilitating the special requests of the executives of the film studios and stars of our movies,” says Chu Chen On, Hong Kong line producer for Ghost In the Shell, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Skyscraper (out in July). Industry insiders give their picks for travel to the autonomous island off the coast of China.

Where to stay:

The Peninsula Hong Kong, which Anthony Bourdain called home during his Parts Unknown shoot, picks up inbound guests via helicopter or one of 14 customized Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantom IIs. 

“Since the hotel opened its doors during the Golden Age of Hollywood in 1928, The Peninsula Hong Kong has been lauded by top talent and executives for our unparalleled guest services that offer VIPs the utmost privacy,” says guest relations director Alice Chan. Its $115,000 nostalgia package includes the Peninsula Suite, private Kowloon Walled City market tour, cooking class with a Michelin starred chef, a Phantom outing and portrait by a star photographer. 

The Upper House is an industry favorite for its discretion, relaxed atmosphere and personalized shopping services (Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly stayed while filming Contagion).

The Mira Hong Kong (from $155) is where Edward Snowden lived after his info leak and where director Oliver Stone resided while filming Snowden. “It’s centrally located in the heart of the city — and comfortable,” Stone tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that there’s a “great terrace for drinks and dinner."

What to do:

Chu recommends helicopter tours and a yacht charter on Victoria Harbour. “Every time I go on a helicopter with the directors, I am amazed by the city view and tightly packed buildings.” Then there is Hong Kong's high tea, in the British tradition, served at The Verandah at The Repulse Bay, near the world’s most expensive real estate. 

Film producer Eric Kopeloff recommends a session at Sam’s Tailor, which has made bespoke suits for David Bowie, Bill Clinton and Richard Gere, “to get a year’s worth of shirts made,” he says.

Where to eat:

A favorite of Nicole Kidman and Paltrow, Caprice offers $1,300-per-50g beluga caviar from Iran, alongside plates that double as works of art. Four Seasons is also home to Lung King Heen, the first three-Michelin-star Chinese restaurant in the world, where “Peking duck is an all-time favorite, and industry guests are also lovers of wine and usually let our sommelier select matching wine for them, which may consist of soju from Korea or wine from Beijing,” says executive Chinese chef Chan Yan Tak. T’ang Court is another three-starred Cantonese hot spot for traditional delicacies (think abalone, bird’s nest, lobster and Kagoshima beef) with $700 Dom Perignon 1998.

A Bourdain favorite is Cantonese neo-diner Happy Paradise helmed by acclaimed chef May Chow. “All of it is truly, stunningly delicious,” he says. Bourdain also treks to fishing village Tai O on Lantau Island for a homecooked lunch of corn and fish maw soup; fried fish maw with dried scallop, dried shrimp and pork; salted egg yolks; crispy pork belly cooked in shrimp paste and yu choy. Says Bourdain, "Tai O is one of the last fishing villages in Hong Kong on the western side of Lantau Island. The families here have made their living from the sea for generations.”

A must for AMC’s Into the Badlands star Daniel Wu is the Soho district’s Kau Kee: “A bowl of beef brisket noodles will cost you around $6.”

Supercasual Kam Wah Café in Mongkok is a favorite with film execs, Chu says, because “you can never find fried egg tart and Hong Kong–style milk tea anywhere that can beat it.” He adds: “It's never the luxurious places that attract directors and producers, because I am sure they have been there and done that. It is the local places where they can enjoy a little more privacy and see things they will not find anywhere else.” 

A version of this story first appeared in the May 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.