Oct 20, 2016
As the label’s creative director, Sam Wagner has been travelling to Hong Kong for more than 20 years. Here, she names the best spots for dining, drinking and, of course, shopping.
Sam Wagner’s semi-eponymous label, Sambag, began with a stall at Sydney’s Paddington Markets in 1996. Back then, Wagner was selling fabric bags she made herself. The range quickly expanded and her timeless designs gained a cult following after she launched her first accessories collection at Australian Fashion Week in 1998. Sambag’s wares now include shoes and chic, understated clothing in high-quality materials, such as silk and cashmere.
Wagner has been visiting Hong Kong for more than 20 years, making her something of a Honkers expert. Here, she shares her favourite things to do in the island city.
I travel to Hong Kong… About four times a year.
The reason I go there so much is… Mostly for business; I visit my suppliers and factories. I definitely fit in a lot of shopping, too. And I always make a point of exploring the city to discover great new restaurants and bars, which are plentiful in Hong Kong.
I love Hong Kong because… To me, it is the New York of the East. The city is always buzzing, there are neon lights all over the place and it is very cosmopolitan.
I always stay at… 99 Bonham, a great boutique hotel in Sheung Wan. It is centrally located with beautiful city views and was designed by Italian firm Antonio Citterio, Patricia Viel and Partners.
I take a break at… Dragon-i [club and restaurant] in Central – it’s a must-visit in Hong Kong. I always find myself eating the pork dumplings at the end of a busy shopping day. They are the best!
The place to be seen is… Sevva bar and restaurant at the top of the Prince’s Building. It has amazing views of Hong Kong and a great outdoor area. From the terrace you have a beautiful view of the fireworks and the A Symphony of Lights laser show. There is also a gorgeous lounge that is elegantly decorated with soft-coloured furnishings.
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The hottest restaurant in town is… China Club. Not only is the food great, the space is so old-fashioned Hong Kong. It has a very traditional and historical feel, with motifs widely used in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s. The artworks are all by artists from China and Hong Kong. There is also a unique Bösendorfer grand piano in the corner of one of the main dining rooms.
The best place to shop for décor is… Lane Crawford for its great homeware section. Visit Central for antiques and art.
The best celebrity hotspot is... There are new ones opening all the time but I would say the China Club at dinnertime.
The secret only locals know is… The Nail Library in Sheung Wan has the best mani and pedi in Hong Kong. It’s in a fab old-school industrial terrace, a very cool space.
The place for designer vintage is… Bang Bang 70s on Aberdeen Street.
For the best cocktails, I head to… Club Feather Boa in Central for amazing espresso martinis.
The best coffee in town is at… The Cupping Room. There are a few stores around Hong Kong.
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The best place for green juice is… Grassroots Pantry on Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan.
The best market is… The jade market in Kowloon. Jade is huge in Hong Kong and this market has it all.
The best place for pampering is… Happy Foot in Central. It’s open until 2am so I tend to go for a massage after dinner.
The most stylish neighbourhood in Hong Kong is… The Peak. Not only is the view spectacular, you’re also close to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.
For designer outlet shopping, I got to… Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau. There are 28 storeys of shops, including Lane Crawford, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren and Saint Laurent.
Visitors can find the real Hong Kong at… The fabric markets in Sham Shui Po. The streets are so true to Hong Kong, with food and market stalls everywhere.