|The Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok is very colorful and one of the best places to shop for clothes for the whole family.|
Shoppers across the spectrum, be it the couture “clutchers” or bargain boasters, will find solace in Hong Kong’s retail scene. Visitor spending surpassed $25.4 billion for the first time last year due to increased tourist arrivals, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Up 32 percent from 2009, the official tally of visitor spending for 2010 weighed in at $27 billion, with shopping taking the lead as the top tourist activity and pulling in $14 billion.
Keeping travelers in the know: Shoppers love Hong Kong because of its tax-free status. What’s more, the Hong Kong Summer Spectacular, held June through August, is a city-wide sale. Translation: Never pay full retail for anything, including—besides shopping—accommodation, dining and entertainment. The majority of department stores and shopping districts lure consumers with wow-worthy bargains, while restaurants and hotels work to match the competitive rates.
Hong Kong is packed with shoppers’ paradises. On Hong Kong Island, the top shopping districts include Causeway Bay, which is peppered with department stores, small boutiques and bargain stalls. Youth fashion and shoes predominate this region, and some of the most popular shopping malls include Fashion Walk, Island Beverly, The Lee Gardens, Lee Theatre Plaza, Times Square and World Trade Centre.
Another popular Hong Kong Island shopping hub is Wan Chai, which is both historical and shopper-friendly. Stroll down Queen’s Road East for your furniture needs, all of which can be sent back home to the U.S.
Luxury shoppers won’t want to miss the Admiralty district, which is famous for the labels on display. Visit Pacific Palace, with over 140 outlets.
In Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui is one of the most famous shopping areas and Granville Road is the main artery, lined with department stores and shopping centers. Harbour City is another prime destination for some retail therapy, spreading out over 2 million square feet in four buildings. It is the first and largest shopping mall in Hong Kong with over 450 shops, 50 food and beverage outlets, two movie theaters and three hotels.
Designer junkies should make a stop at Canton Road, near Harbour City, to peruse the high-end labels from both local and international designers (think Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Gucci and Louis Vuitton).
If it is street markets that your clients are after, we suggest directing them to Kowloon’s Mong Kok district, which is known for its theme streets and street vendors. This is the spot for electronics, as well as cosmetics and boutiques.
Travelers who err more on the adventurous side won’t want to miss the vibrant Temple Street Night Market, which is street-hawking at its finest. Hagglers will revel in the bevy of clothing, pens, watches, CDs, electronics and more that sit nicely beside the aromatic food stalls and clairvoyant fortune tellers, who gather at the Yau Ma Tei section of the street.
Local flavor a little more your taste? Hong Kong is an epicenter for Asian arts, crafts and products. Dried Seafood Street (Des Voeux Road West) is exactly how it sounds. Shoppers will find items like dried abalone and scallops as well as traditional medicine stores. Similarly, Herbal Medicine Street (Ko Shing Street) is the hub for all things to do with traditional healing.
For Chinese antiques, pay a visit to “Antique Street” (Hollywood Road Upper Lascar Road/Cat Street). This stretch pops with color, flanked with shops selling silk products, wooden crafts and jade.
New to the scene: Designer Tory Burch debuted her first boutique around six months ago at Hong Kong’s IFC Mall.
Up and coming: It was announced last month that luxury icon Prada is planning to file a listing application for a Hong Kong IPO rumored to be worth almost $2 billion, according to Reuters. The fashion guru is expected to list in Hong Kong at the end of June. Approximately 38 percent of Prada’s 2010 sales came from the Hong Kong region.
Where to Stay
Hong Kong has a wide range of accommodations to match any traveler’s budget, but for those clients off on a shopping spree these upscale properties might fit the bill. The iconic Peninsula Hong Kong is the “Grande Dame of the Far East” and its adjoining three-level shopping arcade features more than 80 upscale shops. At the posh Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, clients can relax at the renowned spa or soak in a luxurious bath after a day of shopping. The brand-new Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, the world’s tallest hotel, is now open for business and would provide a memorable stay for any of your clients.
|A number of international designers are setting up shop in the city.|