The Lido

The Lido, pictured in 1937, introduced a new "Art Moderne" architectural style

The Original Emblem of our Luxury Beach Lifestyle

Before 1935, the concept of “a day at the beach” didn’t really exist in Hong Kong. Despite the territory’s extensive shorelines, there were no real beach facilities and the local population by and large were not swimmers. All that changed with the Repulse Bay Hotel’s grand introduction of “The Lido,” which was in perfect keeping with all the other elevated lifestyle innovations the hotel delivered to Hong Kong. This large beachside facility offered public and private changing rooms, tents and beach umbrellas, as well as Hong Kong’s only seaside dining pavilion, bar and tea lounge. Ground zero for beach high-jinks during the day, at night it transformed into a dining and entertainment hot spot, with dances under the stars and a full orchestra playing in an air-conditioned ballroom. There was also the “Lido Lady” – a floating pavilion with waterslides in the bay, for sunbathing and dining. After a night of revelry, uninhibited patrons were known to strip off for a midnight skinny dip, to which The Lido staff diplomatically turned a blind eye. More than just launching Hong Kong seashore recreation, The Lido introduced an architectural style that ended up influencing the design of private homes, schools and even petrol stations throughout the city. Its “Art Moderne” look was an evolution of Art Deco, but with lines that were more sleek and curved, and it incorporated nautical elements, conveying the sense of a cruise ship about to set sail. The best-known Art Moderne landmark that still exists in Hong Kong today is Wanchai Market. All good things must come to an end though. The Lido Lady became unmoored in the typhoon of 1937 and The Lido itself was sold in 1954. However, for two decades it was the glitzy magnet for Hong Kong beach lovers and the oceanfront facilities, amenities and restaurants in Hong Kong today owe a debt of gratitude to The Lido for unlocking all the entertainment potential of our gorgeous coastlines.

“The Lido at Repulse Bay was another romantic night spot where young lovers danced into the wee hours and then made their way home along a moonlit road lined with flame of the forest trees.”
Patti Gully, author, Sisters of Heaven