SHORE thing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 June, 2012, 12:00am


Only a short hop over the top of Hong Kong Island, or through the Aberdeen Tunnel, Southern district is a world away from suited Central.

Here is all the fun of the fair, with Ocean Park, Hong Kong's homegrown answer to Disneyland; Repulse Bay, where visitors roam its sandy beach or dine at one of its upmarket restaurants; and Stanley Market, which lures visitors and residents to a higgledy-piggledy seaside maze where variety is very much the spice of retail life, even if it has moved up and out of the bargain-basement arena. For even more shopping, Horizon Plaza on Ap Lei Chau has some fine homeware and fashion outlets.

Small wonder, then, that some of Hong Kong's most famous sons and daughters have chosen to make at least one of their homes here, among them Li Ka-shing and Stanley Ho Hung-sun. High-rise blocks and smaller, older homes have recently been joined by stylish serviced apartments, such as The Lily on Repulse Bay Road. Italian leather sofas, mood lighting, a full-time concierge and an indoor pool and jacuzzi are just part of the appeal of what is one of the most luxurious residences in the district. The Repulse Bay beach is famous with swimmers, and every year more than 2,000 take part in the annual swimming competition there.

Sailors should also be in their element, with the Aberdeen Marina Club and the Middle Island branch of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club pretty much on the doorstep.

Finally, even the wealthiest Hongkonger could be forgiven for riding the double-decker bus that trundles to and from Stanley along the coast, affording one of the best rolling panoramas the island has to offer.


Tycoon's turrets

Drive through Repulse Bay and a development called Eucliff on the western side seems pretty much like any other highly priced, low-rise housing in Hong Kong. But it hides a secret, as the site was once occupied by an eccentric-looking castle, one of a trio in Hong Kong, designed to satisfy the whims of Malaysian tycoon Eu Tong Sen, complete with ramparts, turrets, tennis court, greenhouse and swimming pool.

Historic backdrop

Still plain to see, Murray House in Stanley was built in 1844, on the other side of the island, as officers' quarters on a site now occupied by the Bank of China. Murray House was dismantled, piece by piece, in 1982, then re-erected by the sea in Stanley, opening in 2002. It now houses the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and several restaurants, providing a charismatic backdrop to numerous graduation and wedding photos.