Lion dance & lanterns! Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebrations at Hotel sáv, Kowloon.

hong kong lion dance

What’s it like to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? Loud and colorful, with fireworks and lions!

In February, Hotel sáv flew us in to ring in the Year of the Sheep (or Goat), and soft-launch their new hotel in Kowloon. We even got to decorate our own “La Carmina room” inside!

chinese new year lion dancing

Even though I’ve traveled to Hong Kong over 20 times, I’ve never been here for “Gung hay fat choi” festivities. Thanks to sáv, I saw the rituals up close… maybe too close, since I got attacked by a hungry purple lion! 

hotel sav, kowloon hong kong

The newly-opened hotel has a lifestyle philosophy that connects with me. They want guests to have an elevated stay: connecting them with local art / culture, and enriching the body / mind.  

(Hotel Sav address: 83 Wuhu Street, Hung Kom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. See map and Chinese directions.)

sav hong kong, boutique hotel

Sav’s modern lobby reflects the “Color Journey” approach. Each shade represents qualities such as creativity, peace and vitality. To give guests a personal experience, every room has a different color.

china lion dancers

Sav hotel brought in lion dancers, to celebrate the Year of the Sheep (or Goat – both are used interchangeably in Asia).

watch lion dance, hong kong

Color, energy, inspiration — these qualities make the hotel stand apart.

grand opening hong kong new hotel

I worked up the courage to pet the furry pink lion…

girl eaten by lion

Unfortunately, the purple lion got jealous. He raised himself on his hind legs… and swallowed me whole! 

(These Goth buckle shoes are by Steel Ground Shoes. I adore their alternative designs — check them out if you’re looking for edgy new footwear.)

chinese traditional musicians

When you see our video, you’ll know this was a raucous performance. Musicians banged on traditional drums and symbols, while the lions twirled and danced.

lion dance climb pole

The yellow dancer scurried up the bamboo pole, a feat that requires expert coordination. The music built up a crescendo… and finally, the lions released confetti and a scroll from their mouths. (The Chinese characters express the wish that “everything will be better than you expect.”)

chinese new year ritual offerings

Everyone cheered, and the Sav hospitality team cut the roast pig down the middle. This offering of food and incense is a classic good luck ritual, in China.

chuang's company, sav hospitality team

Cheers to the Hotel sáv team. We see them working long hours each day, ensuring that every detail is in place for the guests.

hong kong coolest hotel

Their hard work has paid off. The lobby design is remarkable: the lights and logos are constantly changing colors. 

sav hong kong review, lobby

Since it was Chinese New Year, I wanted to wear something with red (the lucky color). My dress is by Hong Kong designer Spider — it has a carnival, festive feeling that matches the occasion. The lace black cape is from Black Milk ClothingMy cat-ears hairstyle is by Stephanie Hoy of Stratosphere Salon, Vancouver.

kowloon hotel patio lounge

The hotel is now open to guests, but some of the amenities are still being finished. I can’t wait to see the completed patio and bar, equipped with an impressive sound system.

playing bongos guitar

The indoor lounge bar, Amplitude, will also open soon. The space will offer specially created cocktails, and can be rented for private events.

hong kong hotel bar

I don’t actually know how to play the bongos, but I did my best. (Photos by Naomiyaki and Melissa Rundle. In the next post, I’ll show you how Naomi made art for our custom room!)

palette restaurant, hong kong

We looked forward to eating at Palette Restaurant every day. Their motto is that “Food should do two things: it should taste completely delicious, and it should contain things that do your body good.”

sav hotel breakfast buffet

Palette’s chefs source local and seasonal ingredients, to make a global menu. No MSG or grease here. (I personally recommend the Singapore laksa, fish balls and vegetables soup, steamed shrimp dumplings, and Thai curry.)

Even if you’re not a guest at Hotel Sav, you can come to experience the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. Save room for desserts!

rainbow cocktails, colorful drinks

Decisions, decisions… Which drink to try first? Sav makes some of the healthiest cocktails around, using fresh fruit such as strawberries rolled up to resemble a rose.

rainbow colored cocktails

True to the theme, each hand-created fruit cocktail corresponds to a color. The lime/rum and orange/honey were my favorites.

goat rings, silver gothic jewelry

How else did we celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? John Skeleton dropped by, with his new goat-head rings.

hong kong chinese new year fireworks

Hong Kong puts on a stunning fireworks display every year. I don’t recommend going to the Tsim Sha Tsui harbor to watch, since you’ll get crushed by the crowds. My friends and I watched them from my uncle’s apartment on the Kowloon side. We also got lucky red pockets filled with money — one of the best rituals of the season!

year of the sheep lanterns

On a different night, we dropped by the TST waterfront to see the Chinese lantern displays. Above is more proof that cuteness reigns in Asia.

tsim sha tsui harbor lanterns display

Rows of gigantic lanterns, featured smiling and waving sheep.

petting lion, chinese celebrations

Are you familiar with Chinese New Year celebrations? Ever see a lion dance?

Next, I’ll take you inside our custom-decorated Hotel sáv room, and show you more of Hong Kong!



  1. MelissaR
    Posted March 17, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink


  2. Kat
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink


  3. Fetesha
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dull moment from you! Looks like it was a blast. Thanks for sharing as always!

  4. Renee
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Wow, great post ::) issing all the CNY celebrations already! Looking forward for more exciting posts from you!! Xox

  5. yukiro
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    they are SO cute! I love this post, your hair, and Most of all the Chinese dragon lions in my favourite colour pallet!

  6. Sophie
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to participate in a Chinese New Year event. I love how Chinese New Year is so much more colorful and free spirited than normal New Year’s. Very cute photos!

    • lacarmina
      Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      It’s a lot of fun! More about family and well wishes, rather than getting drunk haha. Maybe you can celebrate next year with friends! xo

  7. Kelly Brito
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh, goodness! Everything is just such a beauty! The dragons, the hotel, the drinks. I can only imagine how beautiful the real thing is -the closest I got was NYC’s Chinatown Chinese New Year celebration (which is nice, but with too many politicians propaganda and the weather is usually too cold for me to truly enjoy it).

    • lacarmina
      Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Aww I really appreciate this! We try hard to capture the beauty and excitement of cultural celebrations – I’m really glad this came across! xo

  8. Billy
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh so cool!!! So jealous, looks like you had an amazing time – Billy

  9. Xiei
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    That’s the best!

  10. Paul
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink


  11. Lee
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink


  12. Chriz
    Posted March 20, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    We were on a private boat out in the harbour for the fireworks – looked amazing, truly beautiful.

  13. Shindou
    Posted March 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    ehehe purple lion is cool xD

  14. afty
    Posted March 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    cool very nice

  15. Amber
    Posted March 22, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    so beautiful!

  16. Restless Boomers
    Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Each new year must be enjoyed.

  17. Cyrus
    Posted May 4, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Love the Gosh x Lion Dance photos!

    • lacarmina
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      Thanks!! Hope you enjoy the latest photos from Whitby Goth Weekend!

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