Category Archive for Hong Kong + Macau

Hong Kong Causeway Bay shopping guide & fashion maps! New travel TV & Vietnam food tour.

causeway bay hong kong colorful signs

Oh, the eye-popping energy of Hong Kong! If you only have a day to explore, then I encourage you to see Causeway Bay. This district is home to my favorite shops and malls, which sell cute character toys, streetwear and smoosh-faced pet cats.

Read on for a shopping guide to Causeway Bay (including maps), and a whole lot of “maooo!”

hong kong fashion magazine, visual kei hair, china gothic, goth punk fashion hong kong,

But first… let me give you a head’s up about my next trips. I’m thrilled to be in Hong Kong again, for one of the biggest TV jobs of my career. For now, all I’m allowed to tell you is that it’s a travel TV show, for a major American network. Once the program is ready to air, I can fill you in on the details and cast — and it’ll be worth the wait, I promise you!

In addition, my friend John Skeleton (above) and I will be adventuring in a new destination…

ciao vietnam travels, tour

Vietnam, at last! We’ve teamed up with Ciao Travel, a local tour company that offers bespoke journeys all over Southeast Asia. Since you gave great feedback on my recent food coverage, I’ll be continuing down this path — and sharing their unique Vietnam Food Tours with you.

vietnam food tour, hanoi halong bay

John and I will be eating our way around Hanoi and Halong Bay:  cooking classes, market tours, local village visits, and other authentic experiences. I’ve heard so much about the famous street food in Vietnam, and can’t wait to try it for myself. As always, if you have travel tips for us, please let us know in the comments or on my social networks (@lacarmina on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more).

(Above two photos by my friend Joey Wong, who went to Vietnam in 2011.)

hong kong taxi cabs, street traffic

Whenever I’m in Hong Kong, I pay a visit to Causeway Bay for a shopping haul. It’s easy to get here. Hong Kong’s iconic red taxis are cheap, so you can hop in and tell your driver to drop you off at Causeway Bay station, or one of the major malls such as Times Square or Hysan Place.

The MTR subway system is also clean and convenient: simply ride to Causeway Bay station on the blue island line, and exit out of D3.

batmobile, batman display

Taxi drivers almost always speak English in Hong Kong (a former British colony), so we had no trouble asking ours to let us off at Times Square Mall (home to Lane Crawford and other luxury stores).

The entrance plaza usually has a funny themed display for people to pose with. Remember when John saw the One Piece exhibit, featuring a big pirate ship and life-size anime characters?

batman museum, exhibition

On this last visit, there was a Batman exhibition. Look up: someone in a mask is keeping close watch on Gotham City.

times square hong kong mall

People could pose with the comic book walls for free. Yukiro seems to be one of the illustrated characters, cackling “Muahahaha”.

hong kong fashion blogger outfit

How cool to see Batman art over the years. The glass display had cute “chibi” versions of The Dark Knight.

I’m wearing a black and white skull dress from Gladnews Tokyo. The shoes are Yosuke, from Marui Shinjuku. My white purse is from Baby the Stars Shine Bright.

arm scarification, sigil magic symbol

Unlike in Japan, anything goes in Hong Kong culture. Want to sit on the Bat-cycle? Take photos inside stores? Go for it, nobody will stop you.

causeway bay shopping map, store guide

I created the above shopping map for you.  Save or print a copy: it’s my ultimate guide to Causeway Bay’s coolest and cutest stores.

As you can see, most locations are near the subway station (the white symbol in a red circle). Essentially, if you drop by my favorite malls — World Trade Center, Sogo, Laforet, Hysan Place, Times Square — you can’t go wrong.

island beverley, sogo hong kong mall

I usually start with the Japanese malls, which are all next to each other: Sogo, Laforet, and the smaller Island Beverley. As you can see above, this is a popular shopping destination with a crazy cross-street like in Shibuya, Tokyo.

nozomi and friends pirate shirt

Ride the escalator in Sogo department store, and you’ll find all sorts of kawaii Japanese goods. Ironically, many of these aren’t found in Tokyo: such as “Nozomi and Friends” pirate shirts, and the Kilara Hello Kitty clothing line.

ans hello kitty accessories

Hello Kitty is as popular here as in Japan. ANS makes accessories with more “adult-oriented” Sanrio designs, like these chic keychains and wallets.

hello kitty stuffed toys hong kong

Sogo’s Sanrio shop has a wall of stuffed toys, including plush Tuxedo Sams, Bad Badtz Marus, and special edition Hello Kitties. The one with the raised paw is a “jinmao,” the Chinese version of the lucky maneki neko.

my melody paper shredder

Some items veer towards weird, like this My Melody paper shredder labelled “Let’s Shred!”

miffy Garfield astroboy

I love shopping for character goods in Hong Kong because prices tend to be better than in Japan, for the same or similar items. Miffy, Garfield and Astroboy — who is your favorite? (You know the answer, for me… Miffehhhh.)

lockhart road hong kong, causeway bay street

John and Yukiro get spooky beneath the stacks of signs on Lockhart Road. Lots of great stores on this road, including the makeup chain SaSa (look for the pink logo).

my melody makeup eyelash glue

I can’t take a trip to Hong Kong without ducking into SaSa. You can find affordable, only-in-Asia items here like My Melody eyelash glue…

japanese eyelashes makeup

… and Japanese false eyelashes, cosmetics and more for lower prices than in Tokyo.

cat pet store hong kong

Look above, and you’ll see this adorable awning. The Chinese name that translates to “Purebred paradise, dragon cat playground.” (Address: 527 Lockhart Road). But locals call it the “squish-faced cat shop” because that exactly describes what you’ll find inside…

smoosh faced exotic shorthair cat

Cats with flat faces, for sale! This smooshy-faced fellow is an Exotic Shorthair.

scottish fold kitten for sale hong kong

There was a grey Scottish Fold kitten, cleaning his squishy-face with his paw.

cute kitten breeder china

Part of this store sells “dragon-nosed” cats (how amazing is this Chinese term?) The other part sells toys, food and other pet supplies. I got my Scottish Fold, Basil Farrow, a moving toy that looks like a panda.

silver metallic sneakers

Onward to Laforet, a building dedicated to Jpop fashion (which is why it shares the same name as the Harajuku department store). However, the similarities end there. Laforet is a jumble of little independent stores, housed side by side.

Each carries a variety of mostly no-name brands, meaning you can find Japanese street styles for a fraction of the price (such as a sailor-style dress for $90 HKD). Look out for the Marie Antoinette shoe store, featuring a display window of towering, glittery shoes.

jinmao chinese lucky cats

The “kawaii” shops are excellent for picking up character goods at discount rates. There are quite a few cat-tastic little shops in there. This one contains nothing but feline objects, like this row of lucky cats wearing golden bells (jinmao).

Ginger tshirts 服裝店

This is Ginger (服裝店), a designer t-shirt and streetwear shop with a number of locations. They do collaborations both with indie artists and major mascots, like Garfield.

chinese robots exhibit

“We are the Robots.” By now, you can tell that funny-cute-bizarre displays are big in Hong Kong.

銅鑼灣 hong kong wtc mall

Some of Causeway Bay’s malls (like Lee Garden, Fashion Walk and Hysan Place) contain mostly international brands (Hollister, Valentino, etc), which don’t interest me. I prefer the offbeat Chinese street style in World Trade Center. Sugarman x Little Twin Stars encapsulates the type of streetwear you’ll find here.

sugarman chinese streetwear

In Hong Kong, you’ll see a lot of “borrowing” in character design. The Sugarman duck looks like the rubber ducky, and the mushroom creature has a Super Mario feeling.

miffy cartoonn, chinese shop

WTC is also home to my happy place… the Miffy Shop! This white, expressionless bunny is a Dutch character, but her “kawaii” look makes her popular in Asia. China’s TwoPercent fashion brand has a branch 100% dedicated to Miffy.

miffy bunny sneakers

All of the clothing features the rabbit in a creative way, such as silky tops with her face, or shoes decorated with her stuffed head.

miffy clothing boutique

Prices are reasonable and the quality is high, such as $200 HK ($25 US) for a bunny-eared hoodie.

hong kong sneaker street shops

Forget the Mongkok sneaker street shops. You can get the funniest custom sneakers right here.

miffy rabbit tshirts

You can’t find the Miffy store outside China, so put this on your must-see list.

miffy balloons

If you purchase a few items, you’ll get a gift or discount at checkout. I bought a black and white purse, and we walked away with these free Miffy balloons! (Remember how we made Miffy drink wine at a restaurant?)

causeway bay map, shopping malls

I hope you find my Causeway Bay store map helpful. Let me know if you were able to easily find these spots, or have any to add!

chinese fantasy girl anime

Isn’t Hong Kong shopping the best? I’ve been blogging about this city for years, so for more travel tips, check out my previous Hong Kong posts.

And let me know if you have Vietnam travel advice for my upcoming trip. I’m getting ready to eat a lot of pho!

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There’s a La Carmina room at Hotel sáv! Hong Kong boutique hotels, Floor of Love art theme rooms.

la carmina themed hotel room

Remember when my team and I went to Hong Kong twice, to participate in the opening of Hotel sáv? At last, I can unveil the colorful fruits of our labor:

1) We decorated a La Carmina themed room at the hotel, featuring original paintings by First Mate Naomi Rubin!

2) And our video about Hong Kong’s most colorful travel attractions — from the Big Buddha statue to Miffy stores — is out. Watch it above, and published on Business Insider.

I’m constantly amazed at the opportunities that come up from travel blogging. Decorating my own room at a boutique hotel is a new milestone, and I was honored when Hotel sáv asked me to take part in their “Floor of Love” project.

hong kong interior designer, bedroom

In a nutshell, artists from around the world are selected to create a themed room on the 22nd floor. We visited last year before the hotel opened, and our room (#2219) was a blank canvas

The team at sáv gave us free reign to decorate the room however we wanted — as long as it fit with their message of love, community and charity. 

hong kong empty apartment, kowloon

Hong Kong is a compact city, and hotel rooms are inevitably on the small side. However, sáv’s modern materials and large windows gave the space an airy feeling. Artist Naomi says, “It was from those initial views that the ideas for these paintings began.”

black white gothic shoes

Our room had a vibrant view of the Hung Hom, Kowloon surroundings. I balanced on the ledge in my black-and-white Steelground Shoes – aren’t the metal heels and buckles marvelous?

blogger designing decorating room

The theme of “love” could take on many different meanings — where to start? I knew I wanted the room to represent the universe seen on this blog — the love for travel, Japan, alternative culture, and wild creativity.

I brought in my First Mate Naomi Rubin, who I run La Carmina & The Pirates with, to put this vision onto canvas.

hong kong hotel construction

In September 2014, the hotel was still under construction — only the bare skeleton was in place. My filmmakers captured the tremendous “before and after” transformation, in our new video.

nails on big wood cross

Leave it to me to find something Gothic, even on a construction site.

(Photos and videos by Borderless Media.)

floor of love, hotel sav

When we returned in February 2015, what a change! The building had blossomed into a stylish, contemporary boutique hotel.

The special 22nd floor looked like a gallery, with beautiful theme rooms and hallways lined with paintings.

tactile art for blind people

Some of the pieces were by artists with disabilities. This one had tactile elements, for a blind person to enjoy.

la carmina bedroom door

So exciting… the placard on 2219 marks our “Love the Dream” room. (Yes, you can request to stay here when you visit!)

la carmina decorated hotel room

And here is what the La Carmina x Naomi Rubin decoration looks like! (Can’t believe this started out as a bare room, as seen at the top of the post.)

The hotel’s website says: “In this room, Naomi and La Carmina jointly created a different perspective that we have never seen through imagination, sub-consciousness and dreams. To spice up the décor, they created 5 paintings based on what they explored during their stay in Hong Kong.”

hong kong art design hotel

I’ll show you more photos from our room later in this post, but first, let’s see some of the other artists’ designs. 

Hotel sáv brought in creative talents working in a variety of genres, from all over the world. It was inspiring to see how they all did their own unique riffs on the “love” theme.

sav floor of love rooms

In this room, Sarah Tse displays her pencil drawings and papermaking, inspired by her childhood memories and dreams. She included shelves of nostalgic found objects throughout the room.

chocolate rain, chinese artist room

Room 2201 – Love the Memory

Remember when we visited the cute character studio, Chocolate Rain in PMQ? Creator Prudence Mak filled her room with her handcrafted, smiling pieces. Her works range from postcards to bedspreads to a giant statue, all evoking the wonderland feeling of childhood.

e herder artist china

Room 2202 – Love the Planet

I spread my wings in this room designed by E Herder, a contemporary artist living in Beijing. His “circles” are reflections on life and connectedness, drawing influences from Zen Buddhism. Meditate on these circles, and you’ll notice unexpected materials like artificial fur pressed into patterns.

janine claase south africa painter

Room 2203 – Love the Community

Hailing from South Africa, Janine Claase hung up works that reflect on our interactions in social media and “real” life. She explores human connections and how modern media can either help or hinder our ability to create communities. 

hong kong hotel room

How did we go about, decorating our own room?

Naomi prepared two circular acrylic paintings, which she cleverly framed with the skeleton of a clock. She brought these works to Hong Kong — and with the help of Eric’s arm, we figured out the best locations to hang them on the walls.

hanging painting on wall

Now that’s what I call “using man-power!”

sav hotel hong kong rooms

Once we had finalized the location of the artworks, Hotel sáv called in a maintenance team to nail them in place.

How many people does it take to hang a painting? 

naomi rubin artist naomiyaki

In this case, a minimum of six!

travel blogger hotel room

“La Carmina Room” #2219 – Love the Dream

And here you have it: our finished room! Of course, we chose purple pillows and lights as our color scheme. (Each room at Hotel sáv comes with a remote, which lets you change the color of the lights in your room.)

hong kong artist exhibit

Artist Naomi Rubin writes: “Floor of Love can be interpreted in many ways, but because the Pirates live on travel, I wanted guests to feel like they could venture out, even while back in their own hotel room. Both pieces explore things we pirates love about travel from different views: one is up in the clouds and the other is grounded, with an aesthetically detailed view of a community.”

naomi rubin painting

She adds, “The framing of the two paintings was chosen to make the pieces feel like additional windows in the room: portholes that would add to the view of the Hong Kong skyline.”

The circular paintings are acrylic on paper, and the Honk Kong drawings are ink wash with pen.

hong kong people sketches

It was Naomi’s first time in Hong Kong. She says, “Above the bed are 5 pieces that I did while in Hong Kong during the hotel Sáv opening. These show a more personal record of how I absorb some of those same elements of travel shown in the window paintings: people, family, fashion, and the balance of nature with human architecture.”

goth steampunk shoes art
“While both porthole paintings feature imagery based on the things that La Carmina & the Pirates focus on when traveling, the Window Community piece goes a bit deeper, drawing from Japanese and neo-victorian fashion and buildings. There is even a reference to one of the Pirate’s favorite Tokyo late-night eateries in the background.”

(See more of Naomi’s art on her Naomiyaki website.)

cool unique hong kong hotels

If you’re coming to Hong Kong, wouldn’t you like to stay in the La Carmina room? Well, you can! Just book Room 2219 via the Hotel sáv website.

Best of all, you’ll be making a contribution to charity. When you stay on the Floor of Love, 15% of your fee will be donated to “Make-A-Wish Foundation” and “Arts with the Disabled Association” in Hong Kong. After a year, all of these art pieces will be auctioned to raise funds for charitable organizations.

miffy cake 東海堂

If you need more reason to stay at Hotel sáv, then watch our travel video about the many cool attractions nearby.

These include Arome Bakery, who make the infamous Miffy cake!

stuffed plush miffy toys dolls

Walk down the street from the hotel, and you’ll find Wonderland. This store that sells every character good imaginable, even pirate Miffy.

blue colorful flowers

This nearby flower shop sums up the “color journey” of the hotel. Sav’s philosophy is that colors can inspire and elevate a guest’s stay, and encourage positive action in the community.

Their name sums it up: S is for style, A for attitude, and V for vision.

hotel sav staff team

Thank you to the staff for inviting us to take part in this artistic love-in! Find out more — and book a stay in the La Carmina room! — through the Hotel sáv website.

cute lion dancers, chinese new year

And please take a moment to watch our travel video here. Wouldn’t you like to visit Hong Kong for yourself? (Above is a joyous memory from the hotel’s Lion Dance, one of the Chinese New Year celebrations that we experienced.)

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H0les prism sunglasses in Hong Kong! Italian restaurant Nom, Linguini Fini, Check-In Taipei.

hong kong fashion blogger, blog

I’ll never get tired of writing about Hong Kong — I discover something new, every time I visit. The above image sums up the eccentric energy of the city, especially in the Central district. I was trying to take an outfit photo, but this dapper old Chinese man stole the show!

Read on for my favorite memories from HK: including food, fashion, lucky cats, and Miffy galore. 

cyber rave sunglasses, makeup

First, my outfit of the day. I’m looking out from the balcony of my suite at Hotel Sav in Kowloon. (Remember how I celebrated Chinese New Year with this new hotel?)

I adore my Black Milk leggings, which have an Art Nouveau print by my favorite artist: Alphonse Mucha. (You can also galaxy printed leggings from BlackMilk here.)

I’m also wearing wood sunglasses by Moat House Eyewear, and a blue coat by Alice’s Pig.

h0les prism crystal round sunglasses

And what are these prismatic marvels on my forehead! Round, trippy, kaleidoscope glasses from H0les Eyewear Lady Gaga and others are fans of these light-refracting sunglasses. I wore them as forehead goggles, since I can’t actually see clearly through them (everything shatters into a prism).

black milk leggings, street fashion

My cyber-kitty look fit with the colors and chaos of Hong Kong. In the Central district, be prepared to walk uphill and on uneven steps.

purple pink hair color

My Pirate crew and I had lunch at NOM, which stands for “Not Only Meatballs” (Address: 1-5 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, HK)

John Skeleton gives it five stars: “NOM lived up to its name by serving up one surprising twist on rustic Italian comfort food after another. ”

nom restaurant not only meatballs

Chef Fabrizio Napolitano told us that he wanted NOM to be the kind of place you go with family and close friends to enjoy an intimate atmosphere. With each dish, the chef personally came to our table to tell us about the story and inspiration behind each dish, including some of his own grandmother’s recipes.

red cocktail with herbs

“We tasted an array of cocktails, my personal favorite being a red beet whiskey concoction with hint of thyme.”

burrata cheese salad

I could have eaten five plates of NOM’s burrata (cheese) and tomato salad. What appears to be simple ingredients are chosen with the utmost care.

meatballs, central hong kong restaurant

The classic meatballs lived up to their name: nom, nom, nom! Chef Napolitano only purchases beef from family businesses in New Zealand and Australia, which take an ethical approach to raising livestock.

mini burger sliders

The sliders were also a hit, and a perfect example of how the chef brings modern interpretations to heritage flavors.

shredded coconut paleo dessert

We lapped up every bite of the caramelized banana/ginger/sesame seed dessert topped wdith goat milk gelato. I also adored the lemon tart, and ordered a second scoop of the cardamom gelato. (You can order this for yourself, at NOM in Central.)

homeless furniture store hong kong

We walked down the street to visit an interior design store, Homeless. Look who is peering from the window… Miffehhh!

miffy toys, homeless central

This lifestyle store sells a wide array of modern furniture, lights, home decor and gifts… Such as these fat-faced Miffy bunny toys.

cat ears hairstyle, holes sunglasses lady gaga

Their ears look a bit like my horns hairstyle, which is the work of Stephanie Hoy at Stratosphere Hair in Vancouver. (Can’t get enough of these prismatic H0les Sunglasses.)

miffy lamp, interior design store

John Skeleton ponders the Mr. Maria Miffy XL lamp. (Remember I have one in my room?)

hong kong modern furniture

The Netherlands lighting designer also has a smiling child and bear lamp, both carried in the HK Homeless store.

year of goat statue pmq

We continued our walk to PMQ, a constantly changing hub of artist studios and shops. (I wrote about PMQ in this post, with tons of photos from inside.)

heavy metal hand pose

Posing in front of the deconstructed, meat-like Year of the Goat statue.

year of sheep decorations

It was inspiring to see how artists created modern works that celebrated Chinese New Year. This one strings together gold origami to form a giant sheep.

pmq sheep bicycles

On the cute and weird side… There was a sheep-carousel that let children pedal tricycles in a circle.

elizabeth lau, refinery hong kong

We stopped by to see our designer friend Elizabeth Lau at The Refinery HK. (Remember we filmed at her shop last time?)

video games print dress

The Refinery always has something quirky on the racks, such as this Nelson Blackle dress with a retro video game motif.

check in taipei food

Time to eat again (that’s what locals do, in Hong Kong!) I was intrigued by Check-In Taipei, a new restaurant that takes inspiration from Taiwanese street food. (Address: G/F, 27 Hollywood Road, Central)

My Pirate team and I sampled the Chinese New Year “lucky menu”. We were impressed by the creative dishes, like purple yam mochi balls served on a Ping Pong platter. 

creative hong kong cocktails

John writes: “I have to admit that I wasn’t all that aware of what kinds of dishes defined Taiwanese cuisine, but after checking out of Check-In Taipei, I felt like I had taken a grand tour of the country’s finest. Everything is taken one step beyond to elevate each aspect of the dining experience. The pearls in the bubble tea are not just handmade every day, but they are also only kept for a few hours before being replaced in order to ensure that every single one has the right texture and consistency.”

modern taiwanese fusion restaurant

I enjoyed hearing the folktakes that inspired the “lucky” dishes. Braised Pork Nachos are mixed to symbolize success, pepper pig ears remind you to “listen and learn,” while barbeque prawns encourage you to “laugh out loud.”

John recommends the chicken and waffles, which is “elevated to haute cuisine here. The chicken is marinated in an array of spices, and pineapple chutney joins the waffle to create a satisfying combination of texture and flavor.”

tiramisu dessert cocktail, check-in taipei

Don’t leave without trying the “Tea-Ramisu” cocktail. John says, “The Taiwanese are apparently known for their hospitality, and Check-In Taipei certainly takes that to heart, as I left with a full stomach and a warm feeling that told me it wouldn’t be long before I checked in again.”

central hong kong stairs, graffiti

It’s a good thing that you walk a lot in Hong Kong… because we seem to eat nonstop here! As you probably gleamed by now, the hottest new restaurants are usually in the Central district.

(Photos by Naomiyaki, Eric Bergemann, Melissa Rundle and La Carmina.)

hong kong italian restaurant, linguini fini

We had a cozy meal together at Linguini Fini (49 Elgin Street, Central). John writes: “Home-style Italian cooking is the name of the game here, and judging by the packed seating and lively atmosphere that we experienced, it’s definitely a hit with the locals in Hong Kong.”

“Linguini Fini keeps it simple and casual, the perfect place to relax with a group of friends and share a few slices of mouthwatering brick-oven pizza and a bowl of pasta. The Radiatore alla Vodka was particularly memorable, with the vodka adding an unusual but surprisingly delicious touch to the mix of homemade pasta, ‘Nduja, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil.”

lucky waving cat gold statue

I’ll leave you with photos of “fortune cats” in Hong Kong. This one was guarding the back of our taxi.

maneki neko lucky cats

Manek nekos aren’t only popular in Japan. You’ll see them everywhere in Hong Kong, waving their paws to bring in luck.

hello kitty christmas lights

Hello Kitty is also huge in Hong Kong. Literally: this light display took up the front of a building.

big cat statue tsim sha tsui

Yet another “maoo maoo”, towering over pedestrians in Tsim Sha Tsui. Love the random-ness of HK.

steampunk clockwork nail art, chinese new year nails

I leave you with my two latest nail art designs, by Glam Nail Studio. Chinese New Year and sakura blossom nails, with my Scottish Fold cat raising his paw. Currently, I have steampunk Gothic nail art… in time for my trip to England and Iceland!

rupaul battle of seasons tour poster

And I just confirmed… I’ll be reporting from the RuPaul’s Battle of the Seasons extravaganza in Reykjavik! These all-star drag queens will be heating it up, in the land of ice. Can’t wait to cheer on my favorites like Sharon Needles and Bianca del Rio (who I saw in San Francisco).

You too can see the ladies in the UK, Iceland and Barcelona during their world tour, happening now. Join me and pick up tickets on the RuPaul BOTS World Tour site.

I’ll be interviewing the performers backstage — got questions for your favorite drag queen? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to keep track of my Iceland adventures on my Instagram @lacarmina.

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Lion dance & lanterns! Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebrations at Hotel sáv, Kowloon.

hong kong lion dance

What’s it like to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? Loud and colorful, with fireworks and lions!

In February, Hotel sáv flew us in to ring in the Year of the Sheep (or Goat), and soft-launch their new hotel in Kowloon. We even got to decorate our own “La Carmina room” inside!

chinese new year lion dancing

Even though I’ve traveled to Hong Kong over 20 times, I’ve never been here for “Gung hay fat choi” festivities. Thanks to sáv, I saw the rituals up close… maybe too close, since I got attacked by a hungry purple lion! 

hotel sav, kowloon hong kong

The newly-opened hotel has a lifestyle philosophy that connects with me. They want guests to have an elevated stay: connecting them with local art / culture, and enriching the body / mind.  

(Hotel Sav address: 83 Wuhu Street, Hung Kom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. See map and Chinese directions.)

sav hong kong, boutique hotel

Sav’s modern lobby reflects the “Color Journey” approach. Each shade represents qualities such as creativity, peace and vitality. To give guests a personal experience, every room has a different color.

china lion dancers

Sav hotel brought in lion dancers, to celebrate the Year of the Sheep (or Goat – both are used interchangeably in Asia).

watch lion dance, hong kong

Color, energy, inspiration — these qualities make the hotel stand apart.

grand opening hong kong new hotel

I worked up the courage to pet the furry pink lion…

girl eaten by lion

Unfortunately, the purple lion got jealous. He raised himself on his hind legs… and swallowed me whole! 

(These Goth buckle shoes are by Steel Ground Shoes. I adore their alternative designs — check them out if you’re looking for edgy new footwear.)

chinese traditional musicians

When you see our video, you’ll know this was a raucous performance. Musicians banged on traditional drums and symbols, while the lions twirled and danced.

lion dance climb pole

The yellow dancer scurried up the bamboo pole, a feat that requires expert coordination. The music built up a crescendo… and finally, the lions released confetti and a scroll from their mouths. (The Chinese characters express the wish that “everything will be better than you expect.”)

chinese new year ritual offerings

Everyone cheered, and the Sav hospitality team cut the roast pig down the middle. This offering of food and incense is a classic good luck ritual, in China.

chuang's company, sav hospitality team

Cheers to the Hotel sáv team. We see them working long hours each day, ensuring that every detail is in place for the guests.

hong kong coolest hotel

Their hard work has paid off. The lobby design is remarkable: the lights and logos are constantly changing colors. 

sav hong kong review, lobby

Since it was Chinese New Year, I wanted to wear something with red (the lucky color). My dress is by Hong Kong designer Spider — it has a carnival, festive feeling that matches the occasion. The lace black cape is from Black Milk ClothingMy cat-ears hairstyle is by Stephanie Hoy of Stratosphere Salon, Vancouver.

kowloon hotel patio lounge

The hotel is now open to guests, but some of the amenities are still being finished. I can’t wait to see the completed patio and bar, equipped with an impressive sound system.

playing bongos guitar

The indoor lounge bar, Amplitude, will also open soon. The space will offer specially created cocktails, and can be rented for private events.

hong kong hotel bar

I don’t actually know how to play the bongos, but I did my best. (Photos by Naomiyaki and Melissa Rundle. In the next post, I’ll show you how Naomi made art for our custom room!)

palette restaurant, hong kong

We looked forward to eating at Palette Restaurant every day. Their motto is that “Food should do two things: it should taste completely delicious, and it should contain things that do your body good.”

sav hotel breakfast buffet

Palette’s chefs source local and seasonal ingredients, to make a global menu. No MSG or grease here. (I personally recommend the Singapore laksa, fish balls and vegetables soup, steamed shrimp dumplings, and Thai curry.)

Even if you’re not a guest at Hotel Sav, you can come to experience the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. Save room for desserts!

rainbow cocktails, colorful drinks

Decisions, decisions… Which drink to try first? Sav makes some of the healthiest cocktails around, using fresh fruit such as strawberries rolled up to resemble a rose.

rainbow colored cocktails

True to the theme, each hand-created fruit cocktail corresponds to a color. The lime/rum and orange/honey were my favorites.

goat rings, silver gothic jewelry

How else did we celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? John Skeleton dropped by, with his new goat-head rings.

hong kong chinese new year fireworks

Hong Kong puts on a stunning fireworks display every year. I don’t recommend going to the Tsim Sha Tsui harbor to watch, since you’ll get crushed by the crowds. My friends and I watched them from my uncle’s apartment on the Kowloon side. We also got lucky red pockets filled with money — one of the best rituals of the season!

year of the sheep lanterns

On a different night, we dropped by the TST waterfront to see the Chinese lantern displays. Above is more proof that cuteness reigns in Asia.

tsim sha tsui harbor lanterns display

Rows of gigantic lanterns, featured smiling and waving sheep.

petting lion, chinese celebrations

Are you familiar with Chinese New Year celebrations? Ever see a lion dance?

Next, I’ll take you inside our custom-decorated Hotel sáv room, and show you more of Hong Kong!

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