Southern Hong Kong Island's breathtaking rugged coastal scenery and picturesque beaches have been popular with visitors and residents since the 19th century. The beaches around Repulse Bay became easily accessible when the road over Wong Nai Chung Gap opened in 1924. The Repulse Bay Hotel had opened its doors four years earlier and remained a local landmark for more than half a century. The Bauhaus-influenced Repulse Bay Lido became a popular beachfront venue for weekend tea dances in the 1930s and a floating bathing platform anchored offshore linked the striking building with the gin-clear waters beyond. In the interwar years, Hong Kong's stunning natural beauty was widely recognised as one of the colony's principal tourist assets and hotel visitors regularly returned to enjoy the quiet coastline's near-Hawaiian scenic splendour. World-famous film stars were regular arrivals. Hollywood legend Ava Gardner was enduringly popular with the hotel's staff for her generous, down-to-earth manner and regularly stayed for months at a time. William Holden also stayed there when he shot a number of movies on location in Hong Kong in the 50s, such as The World of Suzie Wong and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. Eucliff, a mock-Gothic folly on the opposite cliffside to the hotel, was another noted Repulse Bay landmark. Built by Malayan-Chinese millionaire Eu Tong Sen, this 'castle' stood in mute monument to the gimcrack architecture and crass decorative styles perennially beloved by wealthy yet uncultivated Chinese tycoons down the decades. Eucliff has long since been demolished - and good riddance to bad rubbish. Overdevelopment steadily reduced Repulse Bay's attractiveness for international visitors and, by the late 70s, the area had evolved into an unlikely combination of upscale residential enclave and down-market beach resort. Diminished appeal as a resort combined with advances in air travel meant that the sort of people who had once stayed there now went to Bali or the Seychelles instead. Slowly the Repulse Bay Hotel became unecono-mical and was demolished in 1982. A replica of the old hotel's famous verandah was rebuilt and trades successfully on carefully groomed, 'old Hong Kong' nostalgia. In a rare tribute to modern Hong Kong's often-shoddy building quality, many visitors believe it formed part of the original complex. Annually worsening water pollution through the 80s repulsed many swimmers from the bay and by 2002, the old lido complex had been boarded up. Eventually it was quietly demolished; yet another distinctive building that senior government officials, for all their self-proclaimed, long-standing concern for local heritage, conveniently forgot about.