FOUR SEASONS POP DOWN HONG KONG
My first time staying at Four Seasons was in Casablanca in 2014 and I’ve been hooked on the brand since then. They represent the consistencies and guarantees that lead to brand loyalty.
My invitation to visit in Hong Kong was much different from any other stay. I was not only to experience Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, but I was to partake in the 4th Pop Down the brand has organized globally. The inaugural Pop Down was in Toronto, followed by Miami and Philadelphia.
Four Seasons Pop Down is a series of immersive events in celebration of all things Four Seasons, inspired by the craftsmanship and innovation of Four Seasons people around the world. Four Seasons Pop Down takes the brand outside of their hotels, with a pop-up in a unique and amazingly creative space, filled with all the things you could ever want from a party- from the very best chefs and mixologists across the globe serving amazing food and drink, best DJs serving up music and entertainment, instragrammable moments and decor (you haven’t seen these floral arrangements before).
I think it’s best to share a glimpse into some of the highlights of the trip itinerary and how it all went down. I really enjoyed that Four Seasons prepared a truly immersive experience that left me feeling that I not only knew and better appreciated the hotel, but even more so, the entire brand, and most importantly the city. Elements of Hong Kong permeated all aspects of our visit and that remains the most important and delicate aspect of any hotel, any place of residence- you need it to leave you with a feeling of a sense of place, sense of culture- you should taste, feel, sense it.
Highlight 1: Tour of Sheung Wan
Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is located in as convenient a location as possible. Literally sandwiched between designer shopping, high street shops, restaurants, ferries that can take you to other parts of this island city. Sheung Wan is a bustling area around the hotel and a walk around is highly recommended. We walked towards Hollywood Road, a famous street filled with trinket and antique shops from Chinese furniture to porcelain, jewelry, rugs, cookware, and other things that would make perfect gifts and souvenirs. It is also now known as a contemporary art district. Along the way, we stopped to experience Hong Kong milk tea at a street cart and stopped for world famous egg tarts at Tai Cheong Bakery.
Another important stop on Hollywood road is Man Mo Temple. The temple is a tribute to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), both of whom were worshipped by ambitious students looking to succeed in the civil examinations of Imperial China. Built in 1847, this remains the largest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong. It was nice to pause here, light incense, say a prayer, contemplate it all. We were also lucky to have beautiful cherry blossoms at the gates when we arrived.
Highlight 2: Yim Tom Art Tour
I have to admit, I knew very little about Chinese art, much less Hong Kong art. It was eye-opening to experience an art tour that covered the history of Hong Kong and how that related to mainland China through the years. We were privy to the private China Club with an unexpected combination from traditional to retro chic art. The decor brought to mind a Chinese teahouse with surprising elements such as a Whitney Houston portrait. Apparently, Chairman Mao idolized Whitney (who can blame him?).
A short walk from the China Club is The Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts which used to be a police station. You can stay outdoors and just people watch or you can go in and experience all the contemporary art that it offers, from performance, to film. The Center is also the site of a very instagrammable spiral staircase.
Highlight 3: Let’s Party- Pop Down
Last but certainly not least, was the main event itself. They certainly outdid themselves at every level and every detail. The location was 2 levels of the very best in food and drink. We walked into a “speakeasy” style Chinese bakery, with guests entering through what appeared to be a refrigerator at the back of a traditional Chinese bakery.
Just shortly after walking in, we were greeted by immense floral displays, the kind you wish you could hang around until after the party to help take down, so that just maybe you could end up with some pieces for your all too small apartment (I might just be talking about me there).
I enjoyed hopping from station to station meeting the chefs and mixologists representing the global presence of Hong Kong, menus from Italy to France, to the Middle East, to Central America and of Course Asia. At some point, I parked myself by the Italian station, so ridiculously and unfairly delicious pasta- so simple at first glance but anything but.
And somehow, in the middle of all that, Mark Ronson joined the party and he took us there, DJ-ing the best hits, some of his included and we partied the night away. I don’t party that much, but if I’m going to go out- this is how it needs to be each time.
Highlight 3: Pineapple Pork Buns
The very next day when we finally woke (albeit a little later than usual), we were whisked back to the pop-up location for one last thrill. After all, you can’t close out a meal without dessert. On this day, there was a public-facing Four Seasons Pop Down bakery where the public had a chance to enjoy Michelin-Star Chef Chan Yan Tak’s pineapple pork buns complimentary outside of his restaurant at the hotel for the first time ever. The packaging of the pineapple pork buns was created by Hong Kong local illustrator Don Mak exclusively for this occasion. The pork buns absolutely lived up to their infamy.
Bonus 1: Get thee to the night market. Just when we thought we’d had a fill of the party (food, drink etc), we decided that no visit to HK would be complete without a stop at the night market to do as the locals do, slurp on noodles, bite into dumplings, and experience the unique energy of HK nightlife. And so, myself and my new friends, hopped in an Uber and did just that. even if only for an hour- the last bit of energy we had left from an exciting time with the Four Seasons. What a way to wrap it all.
Bonus 2: Four Seasons concierge can help you organize any trip you need and they gave us perfect advice on places to visit, how to get there, and when to go. An evening Victoria Harbor Cruise and a visit to Choi Hun Estate were highly recommended and well worth it.