Why Would You Choose A Walk Up?
Hong Kong is famous for it’s narrow streets and vertical residences. With minimum space, buildings rise up out of nowhere, towering into the sky. Some as narrow as one room yet climbing 40 stories high, others massive wide complexes with multiple towers housing thousands of residents.
If you walk around some of the older districts such as Soho, Wanchai and Sheung Wan, there are plenty of the Victorian era “shop below and residences up top”. Standing side by side in narrow alleys, or on busy streets, these are the character buildings that make Hong Kong so unique. A mish mash of colour with air conditioning units on most windows and washing lines that can be hoisted out over the streets, those not adjusted to this style of residence can be mistaken for thinking that these are residences of the less fortunate, with facades un-kept and leaking pipes.
But climb the stairs, as indeed you must, you will be in for quite a surprise. These low rise beauties hide away some of Hong Kong's most incredible residences. As in Rome or Venice, where you will see the fading facades on buildings and yet inside they are glamorous and spectacular with central courtyards and outdoor living, Hong Kong has still managed to retain some of these buildings in older neighbourhoods, albeit these days sharing space with large multi residence high rise towers.
More Effort More Reward
These “walk ups” offer spacious high ceilings and plenty of light. Some retain the older plan of multiple rooms but many have been bought up, had their interior walls removed to open up large living spaces and bedrooms. Walk in robes, massive bathrooms these buildings are the perfect renovation opportunity to create a dream home. Some have balconies or outside terraces, but pretty much all have rooftop areas. The further up the stairs you are willing to climb every day, the closer you get to the rooftops. Some are shared, some are private with gardens and bbq areas exclusively for the owner below.
No, you won’t get a car park, but yes you will get fit. An addition to your gym membership! On average these buildings have between 5 and 10 floors. On the hot and humid Hong Kong nights, this can be a solid workout for those on the top floors, however when you sleep at night in your lofty high ceilinged abode it must all feel worth it.
Who Wants To Live Here
Families would find these apartments too difficult, in fact not recommended with prams and the extra groceries, however if you are a young or old professional or couple who eats out, likes a bit more room, more character and more privacy, these spacious havens are just ideal. It’s amazing how quickly one can adapt to the walk up, and although your friends might grunt and complain on the way up, they will be most appreciative of the extra space you are likely to have that’s not available in the new developments. And, you get to walk around your bed.
If The Price Is Right
Another benefit of these grand old dames, is that they are relatively cheaper to buy or rent than their modern day cousins. Obviously you would expect to pay more for a lift or two and concierge service, but if these are things you can live without, or the swimming pool and the clubhouse gym, then you should definitely not ever be put off by a “walk up”. They are safe, private and generally quite quiet and offer a friendly and more personal living environment, as you are bound to run into all of your fellow neighbours in the stairwell at some point.