King Yin Lei

Wan Chai & Northeast Hong Kong Island

This stunning 17,000-sq-ft mansion (c 1937) owes its unique appearance to the Chinese Renaissance style associated with the 1920s when the Chinese government called for a revival of traditional culture, and architects in Shànghǎi set about merging eastern and western styles. King Yin Lei opens to the public for just a couple of weekends a year, in June and July, and you must reserve in advance. Check the website for opening days.

Designed by a British architect for a wealthy Chinese merchant's wife, the opulent King Yin Lei complex is not only a wonder to look at – its halls and rooms are gorgeous – it's also testimony to the rising social and financial status of the Chinese on Hong Kong Island before WWII. Parts of Soldier of Fortune (1955) starring Clark Gable were set here.

In 2007 King Yin Lei literally saw the bulldozers at its gates until outraged conservationists managed to pressure the government into declaring it a monument. Green minibus 26 departing from Lee Garden Rd in Causeway Bay stops there.

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