Sonia Cheng-Cook - Living in the Mid Levels
Sonia: I’ve been living in the Mid Levels on and off for the past 15 years.
The main drawcard for me to this particular area of Hong Kong was having the ability and convenience of being able to walk to work. This is a major advantage, along with that most of my friends also live in this area or nearby.
Who lives in and around the Mid Levels district, ie expats, locals, families, singles, celebrities ?
Sonia: A mix of all of these. Around Mid Levels West (MLW), there is a large concentration of expats, particularly as you go up to Conduit and Robinson Roads. There are more families with younger children on Robinson and Conduit Roads as there are some larger estates with more room and really good on-site facilities. Caine Road tends to draw more locals with younger families as there are a number of local kindergartens in the area. Cain Road is also very popular amongst the younger, single expats being so close to everything. There are a selection of newish ultra modern apartment complexes that offer resort style pools and fitness centres which cater well to this group.
Whats it like living here so close to Central?
Sonia: It's super convenient being able to pop home whenever I want, especially since I have a dog. However, after moving down to Caine Road from Mosque Junction, I found it quite a different atmosphere entirely. Caine Road is definitely a lot more buzzing and I find that I run into people all the time! With my dog I need to exercise him and at times it can be quite busy on our walks. One Sunday morning on my morning doggy walk, I ran into four different sets of people I knew, including a sole agency vendor whose apartment I recently sold, and he wanted to talk about the market at 10am when I was still half asleep !
What sort of amenities are in the area ie supermarkets, shops schools etc ?
Sonia: Everything is within walking distance, shops, supermarkets, transportation. For schools there are some good international schools as well as excellent local schools. It’s a quick stroll to Central and IFC for high end shopping and Soho has a random selection of cute fashion stores and local specialty shops.
Restaurants and nightime activities?
Sonia: So much choice! There are little small hole in the wall places selling local cheap and cheerful Chinese food, or easy access to Michelin starred restaurants in Central. Lots of different types of bars as well, from very casual pub-type establishments where you can take your dog and rock up in shorts and flip flops, to classy cocktail bars with dress code entry.
Convenience of living ie if you work in Central how do you commute , what options for getting about?
Sonia: I walk about 2 mins to work! Previously when I was living on Mosque, it was about 6 mins by escalator. The escalator is the main mode of transport to work for most people living in Mid Levels West. It goes in a downward direction in the mornings from 6-10am and then uphill from 10am to midnight. When I first moved to HK, I didn't know that it shut at all so after a few drinks, I learnt the hard way!
Do you know much of the history of the area?
Sonia: Not as much as I should!
Any interesting points on the area that not everyone would know?
Sonia: Rednaxela Terrace just off the escalator is actually Alexander spelt backwards. My suspicion is that as traditional Chinese writing is written from right to left, someone screwed up and got it wrong!
What would be your advice to people in selecting a property to buy and same for leasing in the area?
Sonia: For leasing, trust your gut feeling and whether you can see yourself living in the space. Don't make your guest room a priority and think about how often you will actually have guests and whether you could use that space in a better way for most of the year when you don't have guests. And remember it's temporary - if you don't like it, you can move in 14 months!
For buyers, if you are looking for a place for your own use, again trust your gut feeling, but remember you can change the layout and decor to suit your own lifestyle. Do consider how easy it would be to re-sell
Any funny experiences that are uniquely because you live in the Mid Levels?
Sonia: Many years ago, a friend of mine was living in Hollywood Terrace. He was constantly running into a girl in the lift who also lived in the building, and a few years later, I attended their wedding in Perth! They are still married now and have two children.
Sonia Cheung-Cook is a Senior Advisor - Sales & Leasing at Engel & Voelkers. Mobile: + 852 9371 1864
She is contactable for all of your buying and leasing enquiries specialising in the Mid Levels and surrounding districts.