When I was looking into the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo for an earlier blog post, I came across the Imperial in Hong Kong. Could they be related, I wondered?
My uncle stayed at both the Hong Kong and Tokyo Imperials in the 1960s, so I was naturally interested in these hotels.
It didn’t take me long to learn that the two hotels have nothing to do with one another save the name. As I wrote a couple months ago, the Imperial in Tokyo has gone through several incarnations, most famously as a Frank Lloyd Wright pseudo-prairie style building in the first part of the last century.
The Imperial in Hong Kong (left) stood on the crowded Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, near the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula. Since I started looking into the background of the Hong Kong Imperial, I learned that it was never Hong Kong’s finest, as advertised on the postcard. That would go to the Peninsula, down the road.
I tried to imagine where the Imperial stood on Nathan Road and what had come of it. I used to frequent that general area in Tsim Sha Tsui, usually stepping into Chungking Mansions for a fiery vindaloo. Otherwise, I was usually too focused on dodging the hawkers who stopped me on the street, trying to sell “copy watches.”
But several weeks ago I discovered something shocking about the Imperial: it’s still there.