A Travellerspoint blog

A Night in the Harbour Grand.

Fortress Hill and North Point.

sunny

For the first day of the Year of the Ox we decided to stay in the Harbour Grand Hotel in Fortress Hill. This is a lovely hotel located very conveniently between Fortress Hill MTR exit A and Victoria Harbour.

Fortress Hill nowadays is largely residential. This area takes its name from an artillery battery which was built here in 1880 by the British. The battery was located at a point now known as Fort Street, but it has long since been demolished.

The Harbour Grand Hotel is located on Oil Street. Fortress Hill has an Oil Street and a Shell Street because it was once the site of an oil depot that was established here by the Royal Dutch Oil Company in 1897.

A little worryingly to get into the hotel, we had to stand in front of a machine and turn around while it sprayed us all over with disinfectant - such is life during covid. The receptionist at the hotel was very welcoming and friendly, we were instantly given a late check-out to 2pm without even having to ask. We were also given a free upgrade to a deluxe room. Our room was very quiet and comfortable with good views over the harbour.

Exterior View of Our Hotel.

Exterior View of Our Hotel.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Some old pictures of the area in our room.

Some old pictures of the area in our room.

View from our window.

View from our window.

View from our window.

View from our window.

Beautiful spring flowers in the lobby.

Beautiful spring flowers in the lobby.

Beautiful spring flowers in the lobby.

Beautiful spring flowers in the lobby.

Hotel decorations.

Hotel decorations.

After check-in I had a rushed look around as we had to go out and eat by 4.30pm at the latest since all restaurants currently close at 6pm. We decided to eat in a Belgian restaurant called Frites which was quite close to our hotel. This restaurant has a wide selection of Belgian beers and is modelled on a traditional 1920's Belgian beer hall. We both drank leffe blonde. Peter ate Pizza Margherita and I had a vegetarian spaghetti Bolognese. We also had a portion of frites with mayonnaise. The service was pleasant and friendly. The food tasted nice. I don't know whether it was just eating too much, too early or what, but after the meal, I had a really upset tummy which was so painful it kept me awake most of the night.

Enjoying a leffe blonde.

Enjoying a leffe blonde.

Enjoying a leffe blonde.

Enjoying a leffe blonde.

Frites with mayonnaise.

Frites with mayonnaise.

Pizza and Frites.

Pizza and Frites.

Restaurant decor.

Restaurant decor.

Restaurant decor.

Restaurant decor.

Opposite this restaurant there is an old building dating from 1908, which was the Headquarters and Clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for thirty years. The headquarters were moved to Kellet Island when land reclamation caused this site to be rather too far inland for a yacht club. It is now a visual arts venue called Oi! because it is on Oil Street. I liked the look of the building but could not visit as places like this are shut due to covid.

Oi!

Oi!

Oi!

Oi!

And at night.

And at night.

After dinner we returned to the hotel and, to be honest, my stomach was so sore I did not want to do anything but I forced myself to go out.

First I went up to the 41st floor of our hotel to a restaurant and lounge called le188°. This was closed but no-one minded if I took photos of the views which were beautiful, but there was a terrible reflection so it was a bit hard to take decent photos there.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

View from le 188°.

I then looked at some sights that I also revisited next day and photographed some Chinese New Year decorations.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Chinese New Year Flowers.

Lai See Packets and Spring Blossom.

Lai See Packets and Spring Blossom.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Kumquat Tree.

Kumquat Tree.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Dragons and Oxen.

Dragons and Oxen.

Next day I set out to look at Fortress Hill and neighbouring North Point. I work in North Point, well at least in Braemar Hill, which is on the hill behind North Point. When I finish work, I walk down to North Point MTR station every day.

North Point was home to the Hong Kong Electric Company which started operation in 1919. As a result there are still streets here named Electric Road and Power Street. In 1938 a Refugee Camp was built in North Point to cope with the influx of refugees from Mainland China. Later, during the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong in World War II, this camp was used as a prisoner of war camp for captured Canadian soldiers. During the Chinese Civil War so many wealthy people from Shanghai fled to North Point to start their new lives that this area became known as Little Shanghai. The school I work in, Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School, was founded in North Point in 1953 by these Shanghainese immigrants. This was the first school in Hong Kong to use Mandarin as the major medium of instruction. Following the Shanghainese influx, Fujian emigrants also flooded into this area, this is why North Point has a very Chinese flavour.

My first sight was in Fortress Hill. It is a stairway decorated with chequered patterns of blues and greens that has become very popular on Instagram. Personally I walk down it if I go home from work via the supermarket that sells Tesco products.

Staircase by Day.

Staircase by Day.

And by Night.

And by Night.

The staircase is located on King's Road which is the main road passing through Fortress Hill and North Point. It begins in Tin Hau and stretches all the way to Sai Wan Ho. This road was called King's Road in 1935 in honour of the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

When the Chinese flooded into North Point from Shanghai and Fujian, they brought with them lots of culture and traditions. North Point became famous as an entertainment area and was home to two theatres. The first of these I saw was the State Theatre. This opened in 1952 as the Empire Theatre, then following renovation, re-opened as the State Theatre in 1959. The State Theatre was a cinema and an arts and cultural venue. British composer Benjamin Britten once performed here. Above the front doors of the theatre there is a mural depicting Diaochan, one of Ancient China’s Four Beauties, created by artist Mei Yutian. The theatre has a special parabolic rooftop that is considered unique. However, nowadays the building is quite run down and at one point it was even threatened with demolition. A campaign was launched to save it and it has now become a listed building. The State Theatre was featured in the 1978 film 'Game of Death' starring Bruce Lee.

The State Theatre.

The State Theatre.

The State Theatre.

The State Theatre.

Next I followed the tram tracks as they left King's Road and headed round the corner, then turned right into Chun Yeung Street. This was my favourite part of North Point. Chun Yeung Street has a colourful, crowded wet market and the tram goes right through the centre of it. Every time a tram comes, shoppers need to get out of its way. It's great fun to watch, though not as dangerous as it sounds, as the tram comes through slowly and may even have to stop due to delivery loads of produce being brought to the market. Still I think it takes a great photo. This area is nicknamed Little Fujian as it has many inhabitants who originally came from this area and sells food stuffs from there, too.

Here it comes.

Here it comes.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Watch out for that tram.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

Colourful Wet Market.

I was there the night before too.

I was there the night before too.

I was there the night before too.

I was there the night before too.

I followed the tramline back to King's Road to take a look at the Chinese Goods Centre, which is known locally as Wah Fung. When it opened in 1963, this was Hong Kong's largest department store. It stocks weird and wonderful Chinese things such as calligraphy brushes and acupuncture models, but it is most famous for being part of Kiu Kwan Mansion. This building was once a hideout for underground communists during the 1967 anti-British riots.

Chinese Goods Store.

Chinese Goods Store.

Chinese Goods Store.

Chinese Goods Store.

I then went to Marble Street Market, which is just across the road from Chun Yeung Market. This market mainly has clothes, bags, accessories. I sometimes buy things from here for my sewing eca or for arts and crafts at school.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Marble Street Market.

Then I returned to King's Road again to photograph the second of North Point's theatres - the Sunbeam Theatre. This was founded by a group of Shanghai emigrants in 1972. It is designed specifically for Cantonese Opera performances and has a grand auditorium with 1044 seats.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

The Sunbeam Theatre.

Next I passed Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre. Inside here you will find Tung Po Cantonese Kitchen. Its owner and chef, Robbie Cheung, is famous for dancing while serving customers and opening beer bottles with chopsticks, oh and cooking delicious food, too. Anthony Bourdain visited this restaurant on an episode of his 'No Reservations' show.

Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre.

Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre.

Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre.

Java Road Market and Cooked Food Centre.

I next took a look around Harbour North. This was hosting or rather had just hosted an exhibition on Cat Art by a Japanese artist called Shu Yamamoto who redraws famous paintings with cats instead of people. There were huge pink cat displays outside, too. These were lit up at night. There were still many Christmas trees around, as lots of Chinese people put up decorations before Christmas and leave them up till after Chinese New Year since these festivals are fairly close together.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Cat Art Display at night.

Christmas trees at night.

Christmas trees at night.

Advertising Cat Art.

Advertising Cat Art.

And God created cats.

And God created cats.

Mona Lisa Cat.

Mona Lisa Cat.

Cat Art.

Cat Art.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Cat Art by day.

Bored with all the attention.

Bored with all the attention.

After that I went to look at North Point Ferry Pier and the waterfront. Unfortunately, for North Point while lots of Hong Kong now has a waterfront promenade, a major road is built above the water here which makes the view a little strange.

Waterfront by day.

Waterfront by day.

Ferries.

Ferries.

Ferries.

Ferries.

Waterfront at night.

Waterfront at night.

Sea Eagle.

Sea Eagle.

From North Point Ferry Pier there are ferries to Kwun Tong, Kowloon City and Hung Hom. There are also fancy ferries which do harbour cruises. Another thing that makes the pier well worth a visit is that it is lined with stalls selling fresh seafood.

Seafood Stall.

Seafood Stall.

Seafood Stall.

Seafood Stall.

Seafood Stall.

Seafood Stall.

Fresh seafood.

Fresh seafood.

Fresh Seafood.

Fresh Seafood.

Fresh Seafood.

Fresh Seafood.

Fresh seafood.

Fresh seafood.

The one that got away.

The one that got away.

The waterfront promenade was a popular place even though it faced onto a major road. Many people were sitting relaxing here. There was an area specially for walking your dog. There were many flowers and there were a huge number of butterflies. I've noticed this everywhere in Hong Kong this year.

Take your dog for a walk.

Take your dog for a walk.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Butterfly and Flowers.

Butterfly and Flowers.

Take your Butterfly for a walk.

Take your Butterfly for a walk.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

I wanted to walk along the waterfront to Quarry Bay from here, but I had to come inland for a while as the waterfront promenade gets taken over by roads and buildings. I passed a very colourful school and lots of ultra-modern shiny buildings before reaching Quarry Bay Promenade. Here I could enjoy harbour views without any roads blocking the way. I then walked along the promenade to Quarry Bay Park which has a retired fire boat called the Alexander Grantham. This is used to house exhibitions, but is currently closed due to covid. The Alexander Grantham was built by Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co Ltd and went into service in 1953. It later became the flagship of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department fighting fires and conducting rescue operations before being decommissioned in 2002. After looking at this, I then walked along a very elaborate walkway inland to Taikoo Shing. Taikoo is the Chinese name for a huge company known as Swire. Shing means city, so Taikoo Shing is the city belonging to Swires. At one time there was a huge dockyard here and a sugar refinery and a coco-cola plant. Taikoo Shing is mainly residential and has a huge shopping mall called City Plaza which has an ice-skating rink.

Colourful School.

Colourful School.

It's all about the roads.

It's all about the roads.

Under the roadway.

Under the roadway.

Under the roadway.

Under the roadway.

Shiny modern buildings.

Shiny modern buildings.

Shiny modern buildings.

Shiny modern buildings.

Shiny modern buildings.

Shiny modern buildings.

Harbour Views.

Harbour Views.

Along the promenade.

Along the promenade.

Along the promenade.

Along the promenade.

Along the promenade.

Along the promenade.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

The Alexander Grantham.

Elaborate walkway.

Elaborate walkway.

Elaborate walkway.

Elaborate walkway.

Elaborate walkway.

Elaborate walkway.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

Taikoo Shing.

From Taikoo Shing I took the MTR back to Fortress Hill. We took a couple more pictures in the room then headed home.

Ice-cream before leaving.

Ice-cream before leaving.

Photos in the room.

Photos in the room.

Photos in the room.

Photos in the room.

Photos in the room.

Photos in the room.

Posted by irenevt 09:47 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Annoying that, the upset tummy..Good that it didn't last longer than the one night!

Very cute pink cat art!! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, yes it was annoying to have an upset stomach but thankfully it seems to have gone now. The pink cat art was unexpected but quite entertaining, not sure I like the paintings though. Quite a weird idea.

by irenevt

Hi Irene, Great eye for pictures. I love the night pictures.. By the way i drink leffe dark, when in Belgium.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec. I like leffe but it's pretty strong. I only managed one. all the best, Irene

by irenevt

Great views from your hotel room but a shame you had an upset stomach for your stay there. I enjoyed seeing the markets and I think the cat art looks rather fun!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, the market with the trams was my favourite bit. Never realised I worked in such an interesting area.

by irenevt

Yes, you can't beat a lively market for a fun walk and lots of photo opps!

by ToonSarah

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