The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Luxury - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

YOU­can’t stay th­ese days at the Repulse Bay Ho­tel (pic­tured circa 1920) on Hong Kong Is­land, but I re­mem­ber it well from the 1970s — the high beds, ceil­ing fans and the lap of the sea at night on ‘‘the Riviera of the Ori­ent’’, which al­ways seemed a mir­a­cle in such an ur­banised des­ti­na­tion. The 1920-built colo­nial ho­tel was pulled down by Hong Kong and Shang­hai Ho­tels (own­ers of The Penin­sula) in 1982 and re­built as part of a high-rise com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing a replica of the three-storey orig­i­nal. Drop by for a ca­sual lunch at Spices, a spiff­ing af­ter­noon tea or a leisurely lunch on the colon­naded ve­randa. There are per­ma­nent exhibitions (most com­pre­hen­sively in the lower-level gallery) that chron­i­cle the ho­tel’s his­tory — pic­tures, menus and snip­pets of when Ernest Hem­ing­way and Martha Gell­horn were in res­i­dence, Sun­day tea dances and bathing off a pon­toon called the Lido Lady. It’s a well-cu­rated col­lec­tion that harks to an age of ease and priv­i­lege. My ad­vice? Set­tle in with a copy of past habitue Wil­liam Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil (1924) un­der your wing and a pink gin perched on a com­mem­o­ra­tive coaster in the Bam­boo Bar. More: there­pulse­bay.com.

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