Towering 42 stories over the Mong Kok district of the Kowloon Peninsula, the Langham Place hotel is one of the best options for adventurous travelers looking to experience the “real Hong Kong.” It’s surrounded by mazes of markets as well as authentic shops and restaurants that are popular with locals. But getting off the beaten path doesn’t mean foregoing luxury. The Langham Place hotel offers rooms with plush bedding and oversized windows as well as homey touches like soft carpeting and fresh-cut flowers. The Chuan Residences continue the health philosophies of the Chuan Spa and add Eastern design (dark wood, latticework, black-and-white tones) to the property.
The biggest draw of Langham Place is its collection of 1,500 works of contemporary Chinese art, one of the largest collections in the world, which guests can discover with the help of a free iPod audio tour. As a result, the hotel attracts an edgy crowd of young artists and professionals who mingle under Christmas lights and paper lanterns in the Backyard bar late into the Kowloon night.
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The Mong Kok neighborhood of central Kowloon is famous for its markets. The Mong Kok Wet Market is at the hotel’s doorstep, hawking live fish, raw meat, and mounds of exotic fruits. The Ladies Market sells knockoff handbags, watches, and clothing; and the Flower Market induces visual and olfactory overload. There’s also the Goldfish Market, local designer boutiques, Chinese medicine stores, and traditional restaurants, including the Michelin-starred yum cha (morning tea and dim sum) haven Tim Ho Wan. The Langham Place runs a complimentary tour of some of the best markets every night at 6 p.m. Other market and cultural tours can be arranged by request.
Need to Know
Rooms: 636 rooms, 29 suites; from $206. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Known for elevated Cantonese food and expert wine pairings, Ming Court has earned a Michelin star for six consecutive years. Traditional dishes are made with the world’s finest ingredients, such as Iberico pork, Wagyu beef, and black truffles. The Backyard features an “s”-shaped bar where you can order cocktails such as the Mandarin Pearl—which every guest can try for free. In December 2014, Alibi bar and tapas lounge became the hotel’s fifth dining venue. Spa and gym details:Guests enter the Chuan Spa through a tunnel-like Moon Gate on the 41st floor, setting the mood for traditional therapies that draw on Chinese medicine. Foot treatments focus on acupuncture points of the liver, kidney, and spleen to enhance circulation and balance. They include a foot wrap infused with mineral salts and native herbs such as mugwort. If that’s not enough, there’s a 24-hour gym and rooftop swimming pool that plays music underwater.
Who's it best for: Youthful travelers who love markets, cultural exploration, and contemporary art. Our favorite rooms: The Chuan Infinity Residence features the dark wood and latticework characteristic of Oriental design, as well as such healing additions as an infinity tub and private steam room. Like the Chuan Spa on the same floor, the suite was inspired by the principles of feng shui, yin and yang, and the five Chinese balancing elements: fire, water, earth, metal, and wood. The Studio Place has a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks Mong Kok. Art tour: At the front desk, guests can pick up an iPod equipped with an audio tour in which the hotel’s art consultant, Angela Li, describes many of the hotel’s 1,500 works. Several pieces challenge Chinese society and culture, and prominent artists include avant-garde leaders Wang Guangyi and Yue Minjun as well as ink master Wu Guanzhong.