Hong Kong CITY GUIDE
Hong Kong is simply a fabulous destination for the business traveller. Any request by your boss (or your board) to head to the former British colony should not – repeat not – be met with a loud yelp of happiness and a fist-pump. Leave that for later, when you’re alone. You don’t want to mess up the chance to come to this dirty jewel of a city, crammed with a million distractions and diversions, almost all of which are super-client-friendly.

This of course creates its own quandary. There’s simply so much choice – a baffling and bewildering array of options, dotted across a city that is crammed and chaotic and, in its way, classically refined. If the Gods ever invented a city in which fun was the primary compelling instinct, it would look something like this.

So let First Class Traveller take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Hong Kong, picking out the best and discarding the rest. Hold onto your seats…

BREAKFAST, BRUNCH & LUNCH
The first point of call, assuming you’re an early riser looking to impress a client (or just start the day on good form) is breakfast. Dull but necessary, so let’s get it right. In Hong Kong, the high-end hotel buffet is King. The Ritz Carlton’s Lounge & Bar provides a great start to the day, as does the Mira hotel’s Yamm bar in the heart of Kowloon. An added attraction: broadband. Hong Kong is a tricksy place to find wifi: very few places offer it free, even Starbucks, so get it while you can.

Carb-lovers can seek out the delights of Coast, an Australian eatery where Hollywood Road and the main escalator meet, or schlep a few feet uphill on Old Bailey Street to the Flying Pan, a 24-hour temple to the fried breakfast. But if it’s the classic full English you’re looking for, there’s only one place, and it is – quite surprisingly – the Mandarin Oriental’s Grill + Bar, which serves the best breakfast anywhere in Hong Kong.

Lunch is a religion to the Cantonese – and to Hong Kong expatriates. So why not treat it with the same reverence.

EVENING EATING
Business travellers can do worse than entertain clients at Isola bar + grill, a super-smart Italian-themed lunch spot, centrally located at the IFC mall, offering the full range of modern cuisine. For a great wine restaurant catering to the real (and the aspiring) gourmet, head to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in the Landmark, still wowing punters six years after its opening. Those seeking a flavour of Hong Kong might try Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons hotel on Finance Street, the first Cantonese-flavoured recipient of a third Michelin star.

Or for something a little more outré, try the Shanghai-themed delights of the Sir David Tang-owned China Club, a retro restaurant covering the top three floors of the Old Bank of China building. Soak up some Thai food at the China Tee Club, a hidden gem in the Pedder Building, three floors up on Pedder Street, one of Hong Kong’s oldest thoroughfares. Or go for curry at the Foreign Correspondents Club on Lower Albert Road, also great for Friday-night drinks – though remember to either go with a member or become one.

The Upper House, one of Hong Kong’s best restaurants, located upstairs from the Pacific Place mall, offers one a bar with one of the best views anywhere in the world - on a good, clear evening you can see as far as the Chinese border.

Aqua Spirit at One Peking Road in TsimShaTsui (TST) has fast become one of the world’s best restaurants, fusing East and West (try the spicy lobster tortellini). TST, on the ‘other’ side of the harbour from Hong Kong island (reachable via taxi, metro, or the famous Star Ferry, another city landmark) used to be the Dark Side of the Moon so far as night revellers were concerned, but that is now changing thanks to places like Aqua.

Two potluck options here. First, the Peak Lookout at the far end of a vertiginuous trip on Hong Kong’s Peak Tram. The latter isn’t an option for those who suffer from vertigo, though Peak views on a clear day are nothing short of spectacular. Second, if you’re still ravenous as the clock ticks on to dawn, head for Ebeneezer’s, purveyors of seriously good kebabs and found on Hollywood Road, in LanKwai Fong and on Wan Chai’s Lockhart Road.

ENTERTAINING
But it’s when the sun goes down that Hong Kong really wakes up. This is a city that loves two contradictory forms of luminescence: darkness and bright neon lights, both of which are found here in abundance.

A night out in Hong Kong doesn’t have to be planned – but it helps. A good place to start is in Mid Levels, in any of the bars lining Staunton and Wyndham streets, and Hollywood Road. The Globe on Graham Street is a cracking place to start, offering real ale and real life: an affable British-style pub complete with good food and rackfuls of real ale. Solas on Wyndham, where disco-funk music meets a vaguely Celtic atmosphere, is another fab place to kick-start the evening.

Dragon-I, underneath the Centrium on Wyndham, is the polar opposite: an ultra-funky destination for early- and late-night revellers boasting New York-style booths and smooth-as-you-like mojitos. La Dolce Vita is another standout bar: attracting everyone from bankers and their clients to Canto-pop singers and their hangers-on, it’s a great place to watch and be watched.

V-13 on Old Bailey Street, a few doors down from the Flying Pan, offers more than 100 varieties of vodka, from chocolate to chilli. Whisky lovers might choose to go straight to b.a.r Executive at the Bartlock Centre in Causeway Bay, a Japanese-owned members-only bar offering single malts from across the world.

Other options include Drop on Hollywood Road, a tiny-but-intimate den of Hong Kong A-listers drinking and dancing to tunes spun by the local turntable legend Joel Lai.

It’s hard to imagine anywhere on Earth swankier than Felix at the Peninsula Hotel, another pillar of the TST establishment. Designed by Philippe Starck, Felix is the offers panoramic views of Hong Kong island, fabulous cocktails, and a Perspex dancefloor called the Crazy Box (The Great Pacific-room, for the late-night hungry-of-yeart, offers great fusion platters and nibbles). Even James Bond stayed here, so it must be groovy baby.

After hours, Hong Kong keeps the party going. Head to the Quinary on Hollywood Road for super-late-hours cocktails tailored to your needs by noted mixologist Antonio Lai, who does a mean Earl Grey Martini. Or hail a cab and ask for Dusk Till Dawn on Jaffe Road in Wanchai, a ten-minute ride from Central. It closes at 6am and in between it offers some of the best live music and dancing anywhere in the city.

There are enough options here and elsewhere in this crazy diamond of a city to last a dozen lifetimes. If you can’t cram everything into one trip, don’t worry. Your boss will ask you to come back soon. Just make sure you don’t fist-pump when you’re asked.

BED DOWN FOR THE NIGHT
As one might expect in a city steeped in business and consumerism, Hong Kong boasts many of the world’s best hotels, with prices varying between the eye-watering and the surprisingly reasonable.

This list starts with the Upper House, a fabulous boutique hotel sat atop Pacific Place mall in Admiralty. Superbly run by the eminent old ‘Hong’ trading house Swire, this hotel, affordable and centrally located, is the perfect hub for the visiting businessperson.

For a pricier option – but worth the cost of admission for the personal experience alone – head for one of the two Mandarin Orientals in town. The two options are the original Mandarin Oriental, built in 1963 and recently renovated, on Connaught Road, and the Landmark Oriental on Queen’s Road Central.

For a dash of ‘old’ Hong Kong, head for the Ritz-Carlton at 1 Austin Road West, or for the Peninsula on Salisbury Road in TST, a venerable city institution. And for a dash of the ‘new’, look no further than the Mira at 118 Nathan Road, also in TST, a super-cool boutique hotel at the heart of the city’s newest financial quarter.

Two ‘extra’ options here, both worthy additions. The W Hong Kong at 1 Austin Road, a stone’s throw from the Ritz-Carlton in Central, is sleek, modern, and more luxurious than other global W offerings. And for those seeking nothing more than a great place to stay, just a hop-skip-and-stumble from Hong Kong’s premier watering hole, look no further than the LanKwai Fong hotel on Wyndham Street.

INSIDER KNOWLEDGE
Hong Kong is the ultimate misnomer: a self-proclaimed altar for free trade that’s actually (thanks to subsidised housing and government handouts) one of the most socialist places on the planet. Likewise, while everyone assumes this to be an ‘indoor city’, in reality it’s a perfect place – less than 5% of the Hong Kong area is urbanised - from which to explore the great outdoors.

So while you’re here, head outside. The Peak Tram (exit from the Lower Terminus on Garden Road) is perhaps the greatest railroad thrill in any major city: a near-vertiginous trip from sea level to Hong Kong island’s highest point, in less than 15 minutes. There’s no better way to understand how barren this little island was when the British set up camp in 1842 – and how much it has changed since.

Junk rides – pleasure-boat rides taken from central Hong Kong to the outlying islands – are best taken in late spring and early autumn when the humidity is low and skies are at their bluest. Junks usually depart on weekends, to the likes of Clearwater Bay or Turtle Cove from Causeway Bay or Central. Drink, carouse and swim in clearest of water: there’s no better way to shake off the working week.

And for those really seeking to build up a sweat, head out on one of the many, well-built hiking trails that dot Hong Kong island. Mount Collinson to Shek O Road over the Dragon’s Back is a local favourite, but for those seeking a shortish ramble that’s more trek than trudge and with fantastic views of the hinterland and Victoria Harbour, opt for the Parkview to Stanley hike over Violet Hill. Just 4.8 kilometres in length, this hike-ette takes you over three peaks, depositing you in Stanley, a town teeming with seafood restaurants and bars (the oysters are great).

And if you’re still buzzing, or looking to take your clients somewhere, why not just hop on a ferry and take a jaunt down the coast to Macau, the new home of global gambling.