The IFC Towers
- Possibly the world's single most important financial and business complex.
- Tower 2 is the second tallest building in Hong Kong (14th in the world in 2012) at 415 meters (1,362 feet) high.
- It is the single most important building complex in Hong Kong.
- Hong Kong's No. 1 transportation hub has four subway lines and ferry access.
- The 60-story Four Seasons Hotel has two Michelin 3-star restaurants.
- The IFC Mall is one of the plushest malls in Hong Kong.
The IFC complex is an important building complex for tourists. This is because it has one of the plushest of Hong Kong's biggest malls and is the city's transportation center. These reasons and more make it a tourist highlight in Hong Kong.
The building is hard to miss. It is the second tallest in Hong Kong and guards the Victoria Harbor entrance together with its twin, the ICC Tower. The design scheme for the towers was to suggest two lighthouse towers at the approach.
Many tourists love browsing through the cavernous mall and the adjacent MTR complex and finding boutique luxury brand stores, starred restaurants and coffee shops to relax in, and bookstores to browse in. The windows and open deck overlook Victoria Harbor.
A Very Important Building Complex
It is basically the center of Hong Kong's CBD. It also is the transportation center for the whole city.
The IFC complex includes the four subway stations underneath, the mall area, the Four Seasons Hotel, and two office towers called IFC 1 and IFC 2.
It is very important commercially and for world finance for several reasons. It is Hong Kong's financial center and houses the Hong Kong Monetary Authority offices and major company offices. It is next to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Hong Kong is now ranked as the top financial center in the world, ahead of London and New York. The World Economic Forum ranked Hong Kong as the world's top financial center in 2011. As the world economy falters, and China's economy continues to grow quickly, so Hong Kong's lead may grow.
A Tourist Attraction
The IFC Tower and its complex is also a tourist attraction. The building, the adjacent mall under it, and the adjacent Four Seasons Hotel are designed for visitors and tourists. Tourists will be interested in seeing the view from the windows, eating at the starred restaurants, shopping in the IFC Mall, seeing its light display, and in staying at the Four Seasons.
There are several Michelin-starred restaurants in the IFC complex. The Four Seasons Hotel houses the 3-starred Caprice for French cuisine and Lung King Heen for Cantonese cuisine. At least according to the Michelin guide, these are the finest Cantonese and French restaurants in Hong Kong.
Getting ranked as 3 Michelin stars is an honor for a restaurant. There are only five 3-star restaurants in the whole of China, Hong Kong and Macau. The entire U.S. only has ten Michelin 3-star restaurants in the current review.
Lei Garden is a 1-Michelin-star restaurant. It is in the IFC Mall and has become well known around Central for its delicious food. They serve Chinese dishes including dim sum and seafood. There are long lines at lunch. It is located at 3007–3011 on the third floor.
The IFC Mall
The IFC Mall is often called the plushest mall in Hong Kong, so the prices are high. This makes it a shopping attraction for the wealthy people. But it is also an attraction for less wealthy tourists just wanting to relax or sightsee, since there are more economically-priced places to eat or get refreshments, such as the McDonalds or the Starbucks.
You'll probably see large crowds of foreigners and locals in the IFC Mall. This is because it is the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the area next to the ferry piers and over four MTR lines. Crowds pass through to get to work or go to other points in the city.
- Luxury stores: The luxury department store Lane Crawford is there, as well as Burberry, Gieves and Hawkes, Brooks Brothers and many other luxury fashion stores. Famous jewelers Chopard and BVLGARI are there. So are Apple and Bose.
- There are also bookstores and even a gym.
The Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons Hotel is a large 60-story hotel. It is one of the biggest of Hong Kong's 35 or so five-star hotels. There are about 400 guest rooms and 500 apartments.
The hotel opened in 2005. One of the attractions for tourists is that it sits on the harbor front for excellent views. It also has the quickest access to the ferry piers and MTR of any hotel in Central.
There are two Michelin 3-star restaurants in the hotel (see above). This makes it unusual for any top luxury hotel in the world, and especially notable for tourists who want to have a luxurious and memorable meal in the complex.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority Center
On the 55th floor, there is a free museum and library sponsored by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. There are exhibits describing the development of banking and money in the area.
There are also good views from the windows. People can browse in the library that contains periodicals from central banks, economics books and journals, and the Monetary Authority's own publications.
However, rules for entry are stiffer than most museums. People may not be allowed in if there are too many visitors or for other reasons. Visitors must register and show an ID.
- Entry to the center is free. Guided tours (duration 30 minutes) for general visitors are available Monday to Friday at 2:30pm and Saturday at 10:30am The center is open Monday to Friday (10am–6pm) and Saturday (10am–1pm)
Another tourist highlight is that the IFC Tower participates in the Symphony of Lights. It is an evening light display that is put on daily if the weather isn't stormy. The Hong Kong light display is an achievement.
The IFC Tower joined the Symphony of Lights in May of 2004. It participates by waving laser lights.
Business and Commercial Attraction
Being at the center of the Central CBD gives business people working in the complex an advantage. Their offices are physically close to nearby government offices and other major office towers.
The complex also has the advantage of being the hub of one of the world's best transportation systems. Foreign business people often prefer to live in Discovery Bay or other islands away from the city, and being so close to the piers (about 300 meters) gives the complex a big advantage over other office locations.
Fast Regional and International Transportation System
The Airport Express
Travel to Hong Kong International Airport and Disneyland is convenient because the special Airport Express MTR station is basically "in house" under the IFC Tower. It is on the 2nd level of Hong Kong Station.
It leaves frequently and whisks people to the airport in about 24 minutes.
Three Regular MTR Lines
Three regular MTR lines also meet under the complex. There are two regular stations: Hong Kong Station and Central Station.
- Central Station: The Tsuen Wan line travels north to Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, and then west at Prince Edward station. The Island Line runs east-west through the populated areas along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island.
- Hong Kong Station: Tung Chung line trains go to the town of Tung Chung near the airport. En route they pass through Kowloon Station, under the ICC Tower, in West Kowloon.
There is a fast ferry service to Discovery Bay and Mui Wo on Lantau Island. Fast ferries also go to Cheung Chau Island and Lamma Island. Many expats live in these four places, and tourists like to visit them.
The Island Tram line is about a five minute walk via pedestrian overpasses from the IFC complex. It is a comparatively slow but inexpensive way to travel and see some of the island's sights. It is a tourist attraction.
The IFC Tower is owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties. The company has been leading innovators in building design and construction in the region. They constructed the ICC Tower, Park Island Apartments, Noah's Ark Theme Park, and numerous other projects. The IFC Tower complex was built between 1998 and 2005.
Tower 1, the shorter tower, was built in 1998 and opened in 1999. It is 39 stories tall and includes major businesses.
Tower 2 was completed in 2003. Major tenants are the Monetary Authority and Nomura International.
The Four Seasons Hotel was opened in 2005.
Until about 2011, it was generally considered to be in the top 10 of the world's tallest buildings. But there has been a recent flurry of skyscraper construction.
- Address: 8 Finance Street, Central District
- MTR: Hong Kong Station or Central Statio
- Ferry: From Tsim Sha Tsui, take the Star Ferry to Central. It is a short 5 minute walk away from the pier along the pedestrian overpass.
I updated this article on March 18, 2013
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