Place to be: hipsters head to Hong Kong Island’s Western District
District adjoining Central is one of the last bastions of traditional Chinese life, but also home to trendy bars and restaurants
Some of our city’s hottest serviced apartment properties are not in the traditional locations such as Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, but in newly hip Western District.
As Hong Kong Island’s oldest neighbourhood, this urban area adjoining Central is no longer considered “the end of the line” for commuters, but the place to be. Full of local legends and historical relics, it’s one of the last bastions of traditional Chinese life, but it also has interesting bars and restaurants opening all the time.
Among the new arrivals last year was a branch of Potato Head, the iconic themed bar from Bali, which launched in Sai Ying Pun, bringing a range of original lifestyle concepts: an authentic Indonesian restaurant (called Kaum), a state-of-the-art music room for audiophiles, retail spaces and an all-day cafe and bar serving own-brand coffee.
Epitomising the laid-back vibe of the district’s lifestyle, Little Creatures, a craft brewery from Australia, opened in Kennedy Town in July with an on-site microbrewery and pop-up entertainment. Butcher & Baker Café arrived last year as a family-friendly butcher shop, florist and bakery inspired by one of Sydney’s most popular brunch places, and of course there is Ping Pong 129, a glamorous gin bar in Sai Ying Pun, transformed from former table tennis hall.
Edina Wong of Savills residential leasing, which manages several serviced apartment properties in Western District, says it’s an attractive location for operators because of the convenience to Central, and lower entry cost.
“Western District is the cheaper investment as real estate values have only increased recently, following the area’s rising popularity,” Wong says. “Smaller operators benefit from proximity to the University of Hong Kong – a lot of students there look for accommodation in the area.”
Many young executives also prefer the area because of its range of restaurants and abundant social activities, Wong adds. It’s also close to the bustling nightlife of SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong.
Edward Shing, manager of S-Residence in Kennedy Town, a boutique serviced apartment property housed in a modernised walk-up tong lau, says tenants “like the space” of the older-style buildings found in the district, where units are larger than many modern apartments.
“They like the space, they like the location, and they appreciate value for money,” Shing says. “Many also enjoy the experience of living in a renovated Hong Kong-style building.”
At S-Residence, he adds, every room gains a sea view. “We also have a nice rooftop garden to hang out in.”
Shing notes how the district is changing. Apart from the many new restaurants and bars, Kennedy Town has a new public swimming pool, gymnasiums, shops and supermarkets.
“The location is good for living and convenient for work,” he says. “You only have to walk around the district to see how fast it is changing.”
Serviced apartment properties, which Savills manage, include The Henry and One Eleven.
The Henry, on Des Voeux Road West, has 34 guest rooms and suites in residential style, all with state-of-the-art appointments, and an overall club-like ambience. The property has an on-site business centre and 24-hour security.
One Eleven, at 111 High Street, offers Chicago chic in Sai Ying Pun. With only one suite per floor, privacy is assured. Apple TVs and laundry services are included.
At Skyla, on Sands Street, Kennedy Town, all 42 luxury apartments have a private, wood-decked verandah. A full-service gym and garden terrace are further features.
At S-Residence in Kennedy Town, residents can even keep a pet – a rare opportunity for the serviced apartment sector.