6 June, 2024
Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Tai O Heritage Hotel
Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Tai O Heritage Hotel
Lifestyle

10 Historic Revitalised Buildings In Hong Kong

6 June, 2024
Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Tai O Heritage Hotel

Step back in time as you dine, drink, shop and tour these revitalised historic buildings and sites in Hong Kong, from the Blue House to Mei Ho House and more!

Tick these off your Hong Kong bucket list! Our city is home to beautiful old structures that are a real part of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage and history. Over the last few years, we’ve seen some of them come back to life — revitalised by the government and other community projects to become host to fine dining establishments, exhibition spaces, shopping destinations, cultural hubs and more. Ahead, we’re highlighting 10 revitalised historic buildings in Hong Kong to visit now.

Read More: The Best Museums In Hong Kong


What To Do In Wan Chai: Blue House

Blue House

A truly historic site, this four-storey building stands on what used to be a hospital, then a temple and finally four tenement blocks. One of the remaining “tong lau” style residential balcony-type tenement buildings in Hong Kong, the Blue House got its name (and colour!) in the 1990s when it was painted by the government. It’s now a Grade I historic building.

Where to eat: Samsen Wan Chai, located right next to Blue House on 68 Stone Nullah Lane, for boat noodle soup and other Thai favourites.

What to do: Visit the Hong Kong House Of Stories (G/F), a museum aiming to bring the city’s culture and community to the forefront. It’s made of two parts: a space dedicated to exhibitions and an area for handicrafts, where you can make your own souvenirs to take home.

Blue House, 72-74A Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Read More: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Wan Chai


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: YHA Mei Ho House, Sham Shui Po

Mei Ho House

This Grade II historic building has a tragic backstory — a devastating fire in December 1953 that left thousands homeless. To house the victims, the Colonial government built a 29-block resettlement estate on the site of the burnt-down shanties: Mei Ho House. After being revitalised in the 2000s, the building was transformed into a city youth hostel by the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association.

Where to eat: Garden at Mei Ho Cafe for cafe-style eats (like pasta, burgers and salads) and plenty of coffee and drinks, or No Milkshake No Life- Morning Queue around the corner from Mei Ho House for some comfort American grub.

What to do: Visit the Heritage of Mei Ho House (HMHH) Museum! Its permanent exhibition “Memories of Our Days” is a beautiful look at Hong Kong’s history, starting in the 1950s up to the modern day, with installations and interactive experiences that’ll teach you about the history of Shek Kip Mei, the city’s housing policies and everyday life in the past.

Mei Ho House, Shek Kip Mei Estate, 70 Berwick Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Read More: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Sham Shui Po


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Central Market

Central Market

Formerly a fresh food market – in fact the very first wet market in the city – this Bauhaus-style Grade III historic building was reopened to the public in 2021 as a special new centre. The revitalised Central Market boasts pop-ups and stalls, exhibition spaces, a food hall and more — all right in the heart of Hong Kong Island.

Where to eat: Anywhere in Street Food Central and the Dining Ground, which serves as a food court-hall of sorts across two floors. Enjoy beloved local treats at Mammy Pancakes (242B), Singapore cuisine at Pulau (G19), a casual drink at Stormies (G13-14) and more!

What to do: Browse the market-like stalls and stop by the exhibition space to see what’s on! We’re big fans of the farmer’s market-style Chef’s Market Fresh Grocer & Deli (G04-G09) and the large Slowood (231-233).

Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, www.centralmarket.hk


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: 1881 Heritage

1881 Heritage

From the 1880s to 1996, this historical site served as the former headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police. A large portion of this compound has been declared a monument under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance since 1994, and was transformed into a cultural and shopping landmark, complete with a boutique hotel, restaurants and exhibition hall in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Where to eat: Mirroring the architectural style of historical Chinese private residences, The Queen reinvents classic Chinese delicacies across several regions using fresh seasonal produce.

Where to drink: Formerly the reporting room with three jail cells, the aptly named The Cell has an innovative cocktail menu inspired by the rich cultural background of its historical location.

What to do: Free guided tours of 1881 Heritage are conducted every day for those interested to learn more about its rich history. Call 2926 8000 to reserve a spot.

1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, www.1881heritage.com


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: PMQ

PMQ

The historic site of the old Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, PMQ was refurbished and renovated in 2014 — turning its residential units into small exhibition spaces, studios, shops and offices. This revitalised Grade III historic building is situated between Aberdeen Street, Staunton Street and Hollywood Road, and is the place to go for locally-produced goods, trinkets, and knick-knacks. It also regularly hosts happenings and exhibitions, so make sure to keep up with its programmes.

Where to eat: Treat yourself to Michelin-starred French cuisine at Louise, set in a gorgeous two-storey building decorated in 1930s colonial style.

What to do: Tour the studios and shops! Choose a block and go floor by floor, door by door and you’ll find everything from delicate jewellery to neon room decor, ceramics, sustainable home products, cool apparel and more.

PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.pmq.org.hk

Read More: Hong Kong Souvenirs To Pick Up Around Town


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Tai Kwun

Tai Kwun

With over 150 years of history, it’s easy to step back in time as you explore the former Central Police Station and prison. Revitalised into a cultural and shopping destination, Tai Kwun is very much a centre for heritage and arts with plenty of historical exhibits, immersive art installations, audiovisual experiences and contemporary showcases.

Where to eat: It’s hard to pick just one! We’d steer you towards one Michelin-starred Aaharn (Shop 02, 1/F, Armoury Building) for an elevated Thai dining experience and The Chinese Library (Shop 01, 1/F, Police Headquarters Block 01) for dishes from the diverse culinary regions of China.

Where to drink: Dragonfly (G01 & G03, G/F, 10 & 13 Superintendent’s House & C Hall), a boutique bespoke cocktail lounge and eatery designed by masterful artist Ashley Sutton.

What to do: Come prepared! Check the website for the latest exhibitions and events and then head on over for free tours and interactive displays, special showcases and screenings, and even a peek inside the old jail cells.

Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, www.taikwun.hk

Read More: Must-See Hong Kong Art Exhibitions


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: The Mills

The Mills

A landmark revitalisation project, The Mills in Tsuen Wan is the result of transforming Nan Fung Textiles’ former cotton spinning mills into a beautiful pet-friendly space dedicated to sustainability and artistry. Here you’ll find heritage projects and conservation spaces, crafts, eateries and, of course, plenty of shops. It’s a little far out for those of us on the Island and south, but it’s worth a trek to see this part of Hong Kong’s history!

Where to eat: There are tons of fun eateries at The Mills, but we love the look of Fleur (G08), a flower-themed brunch diner with dishes covered in fresh, edible petals.

Where to drink: All the bars here are standouts, including Perfume Trees Gin’s distillery-tasting room-concept Tankyu Distillery (301), KOKO Coffee Roasters (G09) and Europa Tea Foundry (118).

What to do: Browse all the lifestyle shops and check out the spaces dedicated to trades and crafts — like the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile’s CHAT Shop (G01A) and experimental impact retail store Fabrica X (108).

The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, www.themills.com.hk

Read More: The Best Dog-Friendly Restaurants, Cafes & Bars In Hong Kong


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Murray House

Murray House

The beautiful Murray House is more than a seaside destination! This 175-year-old restored Victorian-era building was originally located in Central, before being dismantled and moved to Stanley. Its history includes being an officers’ quarters of the Murray Barracks, being occupied by the Japanese during WW2 and, due to being believed to be haunted, the site of two public exorcism ceremonies!

Murray House, 96 Stanley Main Street, Stanley, Hong Kong

Read More: 5 Haunted Locations To Visit In Hong Kong


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: Tai O Heritage Hotel

Tai O Heritage Hotel

Located a fair way away from the downtown hustle and bustle, this gorgeous colonial-style boutique hotel is located in the heart of Tai O Fishing Village and overlooks the seemingly endless South China Sea horizon. A heritage site reformed from the 1902 Tai O Police Station, this coastal-meets-colonial venue is the perfect respite after a day exploring Lantau side.

Where to eat: The hotel’s glass-roofed restaurant, Tai O Lookout, features a menu that features locally made produce such as Tai O’s famous shrimp paste, Mountain Begonia, salted fish and preserved eggs.

What to do: Tai O Heritage Hotel is open to the public for free visits from 11am to 6pm, with three guided tours conducted daily.

Tai O Heritage Hotel, 1 Shek Tsai Po Street, Tai O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, www.taioheritagehotel.com

Read More: Your Guide To Tai O Fishing Village


Revitalised Historical Building Hong Kong: 618 Shanghai Street

618 Shanghai Street

Formerly known as Station Street in the 1860s, Shanghai Street stretches across reclaimed land — one of the earliest streets to stand on what was once sea! By the 1920s, the street became a bustling shopping area and transportation hub with ferry piers and boat-dwellers at either end. You could find anything from kitchenware and home goods to Chinese herbal shops and teahouses, silk and satin, goldsmiths, pawnshops and Buddhist statues. Today, 618 Shanghai Street is a revitalised cluster of historical tenement buildings located from 600 to 626 Shanghai Street, with plenty of local and independent brands, secondhand stores and eateries to browse.

618 Shanghai Street, 618 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 618shanghaistreet.com

Read More: 50 Local Hong Kong Brands You Need To Know


Editor’s Note: “10 Historic Revitalised Buildings In Hong Kong” was originally published by Sakina Abidi in September 2022 and was most recently updated by Nicole Moraleda in June 2024.

Main image courtesy of Tai O Heritage Hotel, image 1 courtesy of Blue House, image 2 courtesy of Mei Ho House, image 3 courtesy of Central Market, image 4 courtesy of 1881 Heritage, image 5 courtesy of PMQ, image 6 courtesy of Tai Kwun, image 7 courtesy of The Mills, image 8 courtesy of Murray House, image 9 courtesy of Tai O Heritage Hotel, image 10 courtesy of 618 Shanghai Street.

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