Rugged ❖ Hong Kong may be known for its sky-piercing towers and ever-expanding urban sprawl, but on the outskirts of this ultramodern metropolis, more than 200 picturesque isles serve as a natural reprieve from the hubbub and high-rises. Driving south from the city center, one witnesses the concrete jungle giving way to emerald wetlands, craggy cliffs, and sparkling bays ripe for adventure by land, air, and sea. Philippe Brown, of the outfitter Brown and Hudson (brownandhudson.com), counts surfing, paragliding, rock climbing, and hiking among the area’s many outdoor attractions. “Tung Lung Chau Island provides some of the best climbing, with unspoiled cliffs rising above crashing waves,” says Brown. “For hikers, Tai Mo Shan, or ‘Foggy Mountain,’ is the highest peak in Hong Kong and a very challenging trek.” Brown can also arrange martial-arts lessons, dragon-boat racing, and wakeboarding sessions with an Olympic athlete.
Refined ❖ No stranger to superlatives, Hong Kong is home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The Peninsula Hong Kong (peninsula.com), which debuted in 1928, continues its long-standing tradition of white-glove service with afternoon tea, colonial-style guest rooms, and a fleet of custom green Rolls-Royces. Across Victoria Harbour, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong (mandarinoriental.com), is sleek and intimate, with just 113 rooms and a 25,000-square-foot spa. In Kowloon, the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong (ritzcarlton.com), sits high above the city within the 118-story International Commerce Centre, offering unrivaled views that stretch all the way to the South China Sea.