As experience and design spreads virally online and becomes old news in an instant, the high-end world is locked fierce competition.
It is no longer suitable to have stamped out hotel rooms. It is not enough to have a mere splash of marble. The walls are herringbone wool or cashmere, the floor quarter-sawn oak. The copper sinks are hand-hammered. Your bath is handcoloured and handmade. Sometimes, money can buy happiness … and for those who can't afford it, we can dream.
What to do
Luxury retail success story Flannels will soon open an 1700sq m, four-floor flagship store on Oxford St. Forget Harrods, this is a new kind of department store with an emphasis on, you guessed it, Instagram-ability. "In the next few years we'll have to double the size of the store," "Head of Elevation" Mike Murray told Hypebeast.
Tape London in Hanover Square is arguably the best club in London. A favourite of celebrities (Rihanna, Drake, Justin Bieber), access requires you to either be a model or to front the cost of a three-person table, £1500 (NZ$2833) at least. The Tape Club won't guarantee entry to anyone and full discretion as always lies with the door, but big money does tend to speak here.
Where to stay
Following an extensive refurbishment, the beautiful, softly coloured Edwardian One Aldwych is now welcoming guests back into the comforting fold. Five minutes from Covent Garden or Bloomsbury, a terrace suite at the One Aldwych could be the perfect base for London adventures.
On the more flamboyant side of things, you could take a turret suite in the castle-like Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. The hotel has recently undergone the most extensive renovation in its 117-year history, after a fire. The new design is inspired by neighbouring Hyde Park and the glamour of the 20th century "golden age of travel". Highlights of the turret suite include circular interiors including a living area with a cosy fireplace (no, they didn't ditch the fireplaces after the fire), a leather-topped writing desk and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Where to eat
High-end Tamarind has been open since the 90s and became the first Indian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. Following an eight-month closure, the restaurant has reopened to a warm reception. Word on the street is that Tamarind is overdue another Michelin star, so get in quick.
Hong Kong was a refuge for mainland Chinese. Extradition bill could change that
Is The Araki the hottest restaurant in London? It's certainly very exclusive. Located between Regent St and Savile Row, nine diners can be accommodated at the 200-year old cypress counter (to absorb the correct amount of moisture from the rice) of this remarkable sushi establishment. Assuming you secure a reservation in the first place, you'll have to swallow the £310 (NZ$585) per head cost (alcohol not included).
Hong Kong is a place where an airport was moved in one night and where a mountain was levelled to make way for progress. Currently in the news for people-power protests at influence from mainland China, something dynamic is always happening in this one-of-a-kind playground designed by billionaires.
What to do
Dragon-i might have been around for a while, but that doesn't mean it's out of fashion. A known haunt of the rich and famous (Becks, Sting, G-Dragon) where models enjoy free food and drink. There are three ways to get in: buy a table, be a model, or be there for dinner and hope they don't kick you out.
Style icon Bonnae Gokson's SEVVA (pronounced savour) is one of Hong Kong's chicest rooftop haunts that is now a decade old, its popularity cemented and never tarnished. The restaurant and bar is gorgeously expansive and photogenic place. Details lure you in at every turn, with hundreds of tea lights flickering in a stunning bar, a floral ceiling, plush, jewel-toned surrounds and Gokson's now-legendary cakes welcoming you in for an hour or six.
Where to eat
In Hong Kong you're absolutely spoiled for amazing places to eat. I highly recommend the iconic and Michelin-starred Duddell's, along with Moon Lok Chinese Restaurant which is nestled in the new performing arts venue Xiqu Centre. One of my favourite dinners ever was the eight-course set menu at the one-Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room and Bar. Imaginative, private, artistic, relaxing and most importantly, absolutely delicious.
Where to stay
I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at the Rosewood Hotel in Kowloon shortly after its opening and stayed in a suite.
Space itself is a luxury beyond measure in Hong Kong so the opulent communal areas on every floor of the Rosewood are mind blowing when you consider the implications. I kept a beady eye on the refreshments on my floor and they were being used continually, a fantastic sign as these living room-like areas are not only thoughtful and beautiful, but functional. These areas offer abundant gorgeous books to pore over, comfortable couches, incredible art and snacks and drinks if you so fancy.
The suites are exquisite, with everything from the walls (sumptuous wool) to the sparkly little lights by the lift (hand-cut glass from Sei Studio New York) are the height of artistic cool. How do you know when you're in the absolute lap of luxury? When hotel staff are wearing outfits in sumptuous fabrics from up and coming Hong Kong designers, tailored perfectly for their body and their specific role - you will come to realise you want their uniform for yourself. Only then will you know.