Sunseeker: Hong Kong

A day at the races and dim sum for tea
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The Independent Travel

Why go now?

In December, Hong Kong has clear, sunny days, with temperatures anywhere between 18C and 28C, and low humidity. It is a perfect time to visit this bustling city.

Any other reason?

One of its most glamorous events - the Hong Kong International Races - takes place on 15 December. Spectacular prize money lures owners of the world's top horses, as well as the glitterati. For something a little more traditional, the Hong Kong WinterFest runs until January. It is a fusion of food, entertainment and spectacular lighting displays, when the city's rich Chinese heritage and culture are on full display. Acquire the shopping passport and you will be able to take advantage of great Christmas discounts.

Where should I stay?

The Peninsula (00 852 2 920 2888; www.peninsula.com) sets a new standard for luxury and elegance, with one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the world. It first opened its glamorous doors in 1928, and is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary. It has 300 opulently decorated rooms and a fleet of 13 Rolls-Royce limousines to choose from, as well as helicopter services providing the ultimate transfer option. Rooms are from £226.

The Mandarin Oriental (00 852 2 522 0111 www.mandarinoriental.com) has a commanding position overlooking Victoria Harbour, and is a stone's throw from the city's shopping malls. The hotel's 486 rooms and 55 suites are extremely luxurious. Rooms from £128.

The Langham Hotel (00 852 2 375 1133 www.langhamhotels.com) is in Tsim Sha Tsui, the heart of the vibrant shopping and entertainment district. It has 462 luxurious rooms and 25 suites, recently renovated. Dine in one of the excellent restaurants, the award-winning T'ang Court among them. Rooms from £95.

What shouldn't I miss?

With more than 10,000 restaurants to choose from, Hong Kong is a culinary joy. Try Spoon, the new Alain Ducasse restaurant at the InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon (00 852 27 211211). Another must is the Philippe Starck-inspired Felix Bar, in the Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, where the beautiful people hang out. Ultra-sleek, it has unbeatable views of the skyline that will leave you starry-eyed. Experience the pulsating nightlife of Lan Kwai Fong, take in the sights and smells at the legendary Temple Street Night Market before splashing out at Central's chic boutiques, perfect for Christmas presents. Visit the Luk Yu teahouse on Stanley Street and sip jasmine tea while tucking into dim sum. Then there are 260 islands to explore. Finish with a restorative session of t'ai chi.

Who should I call?

Bridge the World is offering five nights', room-only at The Peninsula from £2,583 per person, including return business-class flights with Virgin Atlantic and private transfers (0870 444 1716; www.bridgetheworld.com).

What if I can't afford that?

Travelmood (08700 66 4555; www.travelmood.com) offers five nights' accommodation at the three-star Newton Hotel from £599 per person, including return flights with GulfAir and transfers.

Where can I find out more?

Contact Hong Kong Tourism Board on 020 7533 7100 or www.discoverhongkong.com

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