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50Isea& iIAUTUMN 2009 bars, sushi joints and restaurants. Causeway Bay, Times Square and the Lee Theatre Plaza are also tasty and entertaining areas to explore. For something a touch more exclusive, options abound as the celebrity chef is something of a flourishing breed in Hong Kong. Try the InterContinental's Spoon by Alain Ducasse, and its Japanese Nobu; or cross the water to Macao to sample the three Michelin stars of Robuchon a Galera. Hutong at 1 Peking Road impresses with its imperial palace style ( picture floor- to- ceiling windows giving way to the laser- light display of Hong Kong's skyscrapers), as does the impeccably sleek WasabiSabi with its glowing red glass, creative Japanese- inspired food and place- to- be- seen status. Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons, meanwhile, continues to impress with contemporary Cantonese cuisine worthy of its three Michelin stars. Another place not to miss is Cépage for its French Mediterranean cuisine and 2,100 wine labels. It's one of the most exclusive places in the city for a drink. WHAT'S IN STORE? People come to Hong Kong to make big money, and likewise they stay here to spend it. Happily accommodating this trend, every designer worth their salt lavishes an array of boutiques across town - try Paterson Street, Great George Street, Kingston Street, Sharp Street or Percival Street. As well as independent boutiques, the ultra- modern malls are the popular places to shop ( and are also crammed full of designers). Langham Place, Pacific Place and The Peak Tower are three of the big names. While visiting the latter, head to its Sky Terrace for mid- shop refreshments and 360- degree views from the terrace. Also, try the sixth- floor China Hong Kong City arcade or Granville Road, the latter of which is a hot destination for designer brand samples, unique collections and vintage gems. And spare a morning to wander around the traditional open- air markets for a dose of culture and down- to- earth haggling. AFTER DARK You don't have to travel far to find life, music and adventure in Hong Kong. Wan Chai is a popular place to start, or dart to the heart of Lan Kwai Fong where Finds is a popular club for the sophisticated crowd. Subtly hip, with top DJs and tasteful Scandinavian styling, it has a huge balcony for great views of the action on the streets below. Members- only club M1NT does occasionally deign to open its highly exclusive doors to non- members, and if you can beg or buy your way in it's worth the effort. A palace

AUTUMN 2009I sea& iI51 Clockwise from top left: the imposing exterior of the Landmark Hotel; the Salon de Ning lounge at The Peninsula; the lobby at the LKF hotel; Lantau's Giant Buddha; a traditional junk boat; WasabiSabi sushi bar; Hutong restaurant; views from The Peak; sky- high drinks at the Excelsior featuring a 32,000- piece crystal chandelier, live sharks in an aquarium and Damien Hirst paintings, it's certainly a talking point, although the prices may leave you speechless. Salon de Ning at The Peninsula is also a glamorous lounge to frequent. CULTURAL ACCLAIM Despite its world- famous skyscrapers, designer boutiques and glitzy hotels, the city's most popular attraction belongs to Mother Nature, albeit heavily enhanced by mankind. The Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong island and was a signalling post for ships in the 19th century. Today it has a tram, sky terrace, historical gallery, a tower ( with shops, restaurants and entertainment), superb views and beautiful nature walks as, despite its city status, Hong Kong's land mass is 70 per cent natural countryside. A trip across Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry is also a must; or cruise to the nearby island of Lantau where the Giant Buddha reigns supreme and the Tai O fishing village ( a sea communitybuilt on stilts) makes for an alternative day out. For journeysof a more lofty nature, the Ngong Ping 360 experienceis a scenic cable car trip offering wonderful views on a 25- minute trip from Tung Chung to Airport Island towards North Lantau. TIME OUT The finest spas in the city tend to be found wallowing deep in the tranquil hearts of the leading hotels. The Mandarin Oriental prides itself on honouring healing therapies of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic philosophies, but at no expense to luxury. The Four Seasons has 17 treatment rooms and two spa suites each with a vitality pool for two, daybed, LCD television, private bar and bathroomand rain shower. The Elemis Day Spa on D'Aguilar Street is also a haven for restoring travel- weary bodies. Golfers visiting the island are also well catered for. There are three 18- hole courses at Fanling's Hong Kong Golf Club ( a hallowed institution since 1889; formerly the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club), a nine- hole course at Deep Water Bay, and further courses at Discovery Bay and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. IT'S A CLICHÉ BUT. Take a cruise on a Chinese junk - the wooden boats will take you back in time while the skyline brings you back to the future. ¦ Photography: © 2007 Hong Kong Tourism Board