If you’re looking for a place to live in Hong Kong – particularly if you’re moving here and want an easy landing pad – a serviced apartment can be a godsend. For some helpful perspective for newcomers, here’s what Rebecca from Expat Living’s Singapore office discovered at one such property on a recent visit.
Every time I go to Hong Kong, it’s like it’s the first time. There’s always a new area to stay in, a new walk to do, or a different style of neighbourhood to explore. This time, I discovered a section that’s high up in the middle of Hong Kong Island – a vast area of impressive hills and natural parkland that I had no idea even existed.
Thirty years ago, the Hwang family built Hong Kong Parkview, a mix of apartments and serviced residences in this most remarkable part of the island – Tai Tam Country Park. No surprise, then, that the views from Parkview are superb – my room looked over miles of forest; yet, the property is only a 15-minute drive to Wan Chai.
Pets are allowed to stay here, so if you’re moving to Hong Kong with a dog, it’s the perfect place to stay until you get settled. Fido will appreciate the countryside, too!
A town and a home
Parkview is like a mini town, and at its heart is the Clubhouse, which includes a membership element. For many Hong Kong-based families, it’s a home away from home – or maybe I should say a fun day away from home.
At the Clubhouse, there’s an impressive kids’ indoor area (including a rock-climbing wall), swimming pools, tennis courts, a basketball court, and a massive gym and fitness area, along with heaps of classes and workshops for children of all ages. There’s also a toy and clothes shop and even a Fusion ParknShop supermarket, which has a really good selection of food. As I was in a one-bedroom apartment for my stay, I had some basic evening meals in – I found a walnut and raisin rye bread that was delicious!
If you’re having business lunches during the day, it’s great to have the option of a lighter meal at night. If you do want to eat out, there are some excellent restaurants in the Clubhouse – all are for members or serviced apartment residents only. Breakfast is always on offer, too, and can be included in your package. I must talk about the art collection! Throughout the Clubhouse, there are sculptures, wall hangings and paintings, and a dedicated gallery that includes famous international artists – I spotted a Degas – along with traditional and contemporary Chinese art. It really is incredible – the kind of artworks you would find in galleries in the capitals of the world!
Getting into nature
The property has a very homely feel and I just loved looking out onto the hills. I also left the curtains open at night, so I could wake up to the view. At night, the landscape changed and you could see the lights of the city in the distance. The staff are lovely, and they’re really good at making sure you have the right information. I wanted to do a hike so they printed off a map for me, and off I went.
There are loads of trails in the vicinity of Parkview: to the right is the Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail; to the left, Stage 2 of the Wilson Trail, leading to Jardine’s Lookout and Mount Butler; and just across the road are Violet Hill and The Twins. I’m not sure I took the right path because it was a lot more challenging than I thought. The views were breathtaking – as was the climb!
In the end, I wimped out halfway along and turned down to end the walk at Repulse Bay Beach instead of going all the way to Stanley. Next time… In any case, you can take the bus to Stanley Market from there, or just head back “home” for a nice long bath, as I did.
In all, I would love to spend a lot longer at Parkview. There are so many things to like about it as an accommodation option, plus it’s great to have the cooler weather for hiking – compared to Singapore anyway!
This article first appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.