Eating at The Peak Lookout, Hong Kong

Yes, OK, OK, agreed.

The Peak in Hong Kong is super touristy, with coach-loads of tourists selfie-ing away to glory.

The tourist tat gets worse with every visit – & is set to get even more so, once that giant Coca Cola can is up & running for even more selfies…

BUT, the good news is, The Peak Lookout stays as classy and elegant as ever.

We’ve eaten there a few times before – the last time in 2014 – and there is a sense of timelessness about the place, which is welcoming in a place like Hong Kong, where change is the norm.

We trundled up the Peak in a double-decker bus – as one does – made a reservation, and then wandered through the tourist hoards for a while, before succumbing to the heat, the humidity and the noise of a zillion selfies being taken, and headed for our 30th wedding anniversary lunch.

We’d requested a table outside, but the charming girl on duty asked us if we were sure, since it was so hot out.

I had pleasant memories of dining under one of the beautiful shady trees, as I had done on my last visit, but that was dinner, and this was lunch, so we moved indoors.

Lovely food, efficient attentive service, and I do so like the look and feel of the restaurant.

 

The building, a 19th century Grade II listed building, is a piece of Hong Kong’s history.

Quoting Wikipedia here:

“In 1901, the site was handed over to the government and built into a chair shelter and rest place for sedan chair carriers for both public and private sedan chairs.”

Nice.

For lunch I had oysters, which were on a special promotion & they were delish.Followed them up with mussels, which were equally delish:Hubby celebrated our anniversary with a club sandwich, which he declared excellent:We paid for our lunch, didn’t mention that it was our anniversary, nor that I blog and review.

Gorgeous DOSAIL bags in Shanghai

If I describe myself as a bag lady, it might conjure up the wrong kind of image, so I’ll rephrase that statement shall I, and rather say that I absolutely love handbags.

So, when on a holiday in Shanghai in March this year, I came across an amazing boutique (with an even more amazing name) I was in handbag heaven.

 

I give you “Dosail”.  A range of luscious bags manufactured by the fabulously named Shanghai Dreamlike Fashion Industrial Co. Ltd

 

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I was restrained and bought “only” two.  One for myself and one for daughter dearest, but left to myself in a no-limit-to-shopping-budget-world, I would have gone crazy and shopped up the proverbial.

These were our 2 bags…

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There is a huge range of bags for sale, prices are steep-ish but there appears to be a 15% standard discount if you haggle, which I did.

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Between my limited Mandarin and the assistant’s equally limited English, I understood that the bags are pre-waterproofed.  Each bag I looked at, they would instantly pour some water onto the canvas, so I presume it’s true.

Personally recommended –  I put my money where my mouth is!

I have had so many compliments on the bag since I got back to Delhi, which is always nice.

Obviously I didn’t tell them I blog or write reviews (hey, I battled enough with getting a discount, so there was no way I was going to try and go down the blogging vocabulary route…)

But I do so love my bag, and on a return visit to Shanghai, will be making a bee line for the closest Dosail shop.

They have a website which is only so-so (has a translate button for bits of it) but you do get to see some photos.

 

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What is a good service apartment in Shanghai?

We have just returned from a 10 day trip to Shanghai, possibly the longest time we have stayed put in one place, with no side trips or anything.  Just 10 days of city wandering.

We stayed in an excellent service apartment “New Harbour Service Apartments,” which we found on the internet, and we could not have been happier with our choice.  Brilliant location, lovely spotlessly clean flat, great shopping and eating area – all absolutely perfect.

For the equivalent of Indian Rupees 6000 per night/US $100, we had a decent sized flat with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, free wifi, large TV, safe, air-conditioning (though we didn’t need it, rather the opposite on one or two chilly nights).  The kitchen had a kettle, a combined fridge & freezer, a microwave, a hob –  and that was about it.  No pots, pans, cutlery.  Nothing.  Well, there were 2 x 2 plates, 2 bowls and 2 sets of chopsticks.  And that was it.

Loads and loads of cupboard space in the kitchen, but all empty.

We eventually worked out that we could borrow things from housekeeping –  I asked for knives, forks and glasses, and received exactly 2 of each. Everything was taken quite literally.

 

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We had a lovely view over our neighbourhood, and every morning I went down and got a coffee from a corner shop not even 150 metres from our hotel, and in the evenings we bought dinner from street vendors –  fabulous skewers of meat and fish and veggies that would be grilled in front of us.  There is a supermarket literally at the bottom of the building, that stays open very late, so all in all, even with a language barrier, shopping was a doddle.

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New Harbour Service Apartments are 1.5km from The Bund –  I know, I ran there and clocked the distance –  and probably about 1 km to Nanjing Lu and Peoples’ Park –  so for wandering and exploring, the location couldn’t be bettered.  A metro station is about 500m away –  possibly closer.

 

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We didn’t eat in the hotel nor did I check out the gym or pool, so other than using the laundry and the convenient ATM in the lobby, we didn’t use the few facilities on offer.  The housekeeping staff could not have been sweeter and more smiley.  The front office staff and the bell hops all seemed borderline surly and disinterested.  Totally unsmiling and not really interested in being more than coolly helpful.  They seemed to be a bit of a throwback to the China of the 1980s and 1990s, unlike everyone else we met.

For such a busy place –  and there were always people coming and going –  so it’s clearly very popular, the standard of the rooms was exceptional. No signs of wear and tear at all, with everything spotless and well maintained.  Spare duvet in the cupboard.

When we checked out, we received a bill for the laundry usage (they have large washing machines and dryers) which was fair enough, and a small charge for rental of the 2 x knife/fork/glass.  Very odd.

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Other than the front office staff –  who were never rude, just completely disinterested –  I have nothing but praise for the New Harbour Service Apartments.

100% recommended.

Whenever we next go to Shanghai – soon, I hope –  we will definitely stay there.

 

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Monet exhibition in Shanghai

For anyone lucky enough to be on holiday in Shanghai (as we are) or to live here, then the Monet exhibition at K11 should be on your absolutely, Not To Be Missed,  Must Do list.

The selection of paintings gives a very logical and comprehensive overview of the work not only of Claude Monet but also many of his contemporaries, and what is extraordinary about this exhibition is the fact that you can get so close to the works of art, and – if you choose your timing wisely – actually have the luxury of standing there for as long as you like.

Resigned to the massive crowds at exhibitions in Europe, as well as the need to book a time slot and queue and the whole palaver, to walk into the Monet exhibition in Shanghai, amidst a thin crowd, is little short of magic.
When we went to check the opening times, on a weekend, the charming youngsters on duty (good English) advised us, if we could, to come back on a weekday, when the crowds are less.

Which is what we did.

Minimal security, though if you lean too close to a canvas a warning monitor goes off. There are guards in every room but they are the opposite of officious. Attentive but very low-key.
Photography is prohibited, yet lots of people were taking with their mobiles, so yes, guilty by association.

To stand alone in front of this masterpiece, below, is truly a wonderful moment…

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Admission costs Yuan 100 or – quick honest drumroll – half price if you are officially old. As I am.

It’s the first time I have ever owned up to being old in order to get an OAP admission, and it didn’t feel that bad, to be honest. The young girl asked for my ID, and scrutinised it carefully, so be sure to carry age proof. I used my Indian driving licence, which worked just fine.

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