Christmas at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Peninsula Hotel | Hong Kong

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Jamie | Founder of J3 Private Tours Hong Kong | Offering Award Winning Private Tours of Hong Kong

The amazing Christmas Tree in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hong Kong.... and an even bigger Christmas Tree in the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong - I love it, the awesome Audi R8 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Susy and Luis from Guatemala enjoying the panoramic view at my spot at the Peak, looking across the border in Lau Fau Shan towards Shenzhen in China, a Ritz Carlton wedding party, Hong Kong scale models, the classic if somewhat brutish Lamborghin Countach and the ever so slightly more pedestrian green top minibus.

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For me and most Hong Kong residents Christmas is a big thing and this year as usual we have the Christmas Tree wars and frankly there are only 2 contenders (as usual) and those are the trees in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel lobby and the Peninsula Hotel lobby

5 star Hotels means 5 star trees but it is not just the trees it is the care and attention to detail in decorating the lobby and both Hotels do an amazing job... I think the Mandarin wins the tree design award but the Peninsula wins the lobby award...

For the record I have 2 restroom breaks on my tours and guess where they are, yup the Mandarin Oriental on Hong Kong side and the Peninsula Hotel on Kowloon side... both hotels are well worth a visit, so much history.............

oh.. I forgot to the mention that you should also visit the Cafe Causette m/f in the Mandarin Oriental to see their amazing chocolate creations.

Finally, the hotel opened in 1963 and the lobby is home to the iconic Captains Bar, whenever I am in the lobby I cannot help but think I am in the novel Noble House by James Clavell! - of course I am an old, fatter, grungy and nowhere near as suave version of Ian Dunross the main character in this 1,345 page opus.

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The awesome Peninsula Hotel lobby at Christmas

At Christmas in the early evening there is just something magical about the Peninsula Hotel lobby and when they have local school kids in singing Christmas Carols in English it sends a shiver down your spine.

Like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel I am pretty much in the lobby every day, I have lots of clients that have stayed in this wonderful hotel over the years, there is so much history (the Hotel opened in 1928) and for a car fanatic like me the cars parked outside on a daily basis make it all worthwhile!

Oh and did I mention the world famous afternoon tea in the lobby ( daily, 2pm - 6pm )  truly a memorable experience.

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The Wedding Party, the Ritz Carlton Hotel

I do love Hong Kong weddings

... Over the top is quite standard for a Hong Kong wedding, the bridesmaids always look amazing although it is quite clear they get the dresses from the same place, the gentleman I have to say always look like muppets, generally their dress sense is the plus side of bizarre and I have stopped counting the number of times the groom and his mates wear trousers that are six inches too short and sport idiotic haircuts.

At least these chaps were fairly boring and had pretty decent taste but after all they were in the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

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The amazing Audi R8 LMS at the Intercontinental Hotel

As most of you know I am bit of car fanatic (65,000 car Hong Kong car images and almost 10,000 Hong Kong car license plate images) so it was a real thrill for me to see this truly over the top Audi R8 LMS

It is the first time I have seen a car tricked out like this and it was very eye catching and the driver very kindly revved the engine for me a few times, it was a mixture of a roar, rumble, cackle and thumping bass! Oh my.

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Susy and Luis, Victoria Peak, my spot on Lugard Road

This is a hazy winter's day at my spot at the Peak... not much I can do about the weather but even on a hazy day the view is still the best city view in the world.

I host people from all around the world and Susy and Luis where my first from Guatemala (they also have a home in Miami)

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Lau Fau Shan, Hong Kong

My great friend and fabulous private tour guide Jacky is ever so kind, he has a car and I do not so he takes me to strange and wonderful places such as Lau Fau Shan.

It is in the New Territories on the Hong Kong / China Border and it gives you a fabulous view of Shenzhen across the bay in China.

Frankly it was a strange feeling standing there.. I have been to Shenzhen a number of times but this is my first time to see this view... the contrast could not be more different, Hong Kong is capitalist and China is communist and all that entails., a different planet sort of thing.

Weird and thanks Jacky for a memorable road trip.

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Hong Kong Scale Models

I was with a client who wanted to buy a Canon Camera Lens and I thought in this instance a trip to the big Canon showroom in I Square IN TST, Kowloon would be a jolly good idea... it was more than that, the showroom was showcasing some incredible scale models of Hong Kong scenes.

The detail on these models was incredible and we spent a fair bit of time in there examining all the models.... the client got his lens and was thrilled to see these models.

I was simply amazed at the attention to detail and they really do give a great snapshot of Hong Kong culture.

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Hong Kong Franchised Buses

I love public transport in Hong Kong, it is quite simply the best in the world and I spend a lot of time on the green top mini bus as seen in the image above.... to be honest I do not get excited about these buses but this is a new model, 19 seats instead of 16 seats and on my route from my apartment block we now have a 19 seater and it is quite an improvement.

One thing that hasn't changed is the engine, I have known lawnmowers that have more power / engine speed and they are so light you get thrown around and lets not go there on how terrible the suspension is but they do have a certain charm and you do get used to them.

I find that some people do have a passion for buses but people get positively excited by my images of trucks ( go figure?? ) - at the moment in Hong Kong people have a thing for the new RED coloured KMB double decker buses, you can see these in my bus images album.

Hong Kong buses are comfortable, cheap and reliable and I use them all the time.

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The Lamborghini Countach - Intercontinental Hotel, Hong Kong

A brute of a car and I do mean a brute.

This is the car that was made famous by appearing in the 1981 Burt Reynolds classic movie the Cannonball Run... it looks very dated I have to say, although I would say that you can see where the Lamborghini designers got the inspiration from for the Aventador and Huracan models.

.... and it does draw the crowds due to its unique shape and design and that massive rear wing.

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Stanley, South Side of Hong Kong Island

I always get a bit peeved when people slag of Stanley on the south side of Hong Kong, the assumption is that the only thing to do in Stanley is to visit Stanley Market which sells stuff.... Stanley is so much more than that and a great day to visit is Sunday when the place positively hops.

On a Sunday there are street performers like the chap juggling his balls in the image (!) to go along with a great promenade, great restaurants, pubs, historic buildings and piers, Temples, a War Cemetery, a nice beach, a pretty famous prison etc... Stanley is just full of surprises and on a Sunday you can go on the Aqua Luna fishing junk which sails from downtown to Stanley and back again, what an amazing trip.

Pretty awesome place actually..... and did I mention it has a great market?

Oh my golly gosh, the simply amazing Pagani Zonda Absolute - this is a custom made car and is rumoured to be the only one of it's kind in the world and it is in Hong Kong!... oh... and yes, this is my picture, talk about being in the right place at the right time.

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