48 Hours in Hong Kong With Ariana Grande
After more than half a year of traveling, Ariana Grande closed out her “Dangerous Woman World Tour” on the shores of Hong Kong. Before her last show, in the East Asian city, the powerhouse singer joined the likes of Gigi Hadid, Nina Dobrev, Rae Sremmurd and more by announcing herself as the brand-new global ambassador for sneaker giant, Reebok.
To celebrate the partnership, Billboard tagged along in the final 48 to experience Grande's complete itinerary to the fullest.
Tuesday, September 19
8PM: Arrive to Hong Kong.
We kicked things off by flying into the city Tuesday evening, but Grande needed to give her body time to recover; she just had a show a few days before in Taiwan.
“I only got here last night, but hopefully tonight I’ll get to go around a little and explore,” Grande told us when we saw her the following morning. “I’ve always wanted to come [to Hong Kong]. It’s been on my list for a long time, so I'm very happy to be ending my tour here. And hopefully, I’ll get to do as many things as I can before we leave tomorrow. I don’t want to go though, I really don’t want to.”
Wednesday, September 20
9AM: Morning workout.
To make the most of Hong Kong’s one-of-a-kind skyline views, we stayed at the trendy East Hotel, which features bright, floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. It was also right outside the city center, away from the crowded streets making it a great place to work out.
Thankfully, Grande’s trainer, Harley Pasternak—who has also worked with artists including Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Kanye West—travels with her from time to time and we were lucky enough to snag a session with him. We started with a walk to the spacious Quarry Bay Park, which is about 15 minutes from the hotel, and once we got there, he raised the intensity by having us jog and do lunges up and down the field.
You see, Pasternak’s priority isn’t to overwork any of his clients’ bodies, the only thing he wants them to do is to keep moving. “There are no moves than can compensate for a lack of steps,” he explained to Billboard. “We've gone so extreme about our approach to fitness with top-selling DVDs being Insanity, P90X and Madness, but you don’t need to do any of that. I train 50 of the best bodies in the world and none of them do that. No one needs to do that.”
Ariana then added, “For the longest time, I was like, how is that more effective than doing a full-fledged workout? It really is. I feel better when I’m moving around a lot. I could do a really hard workout and then sit around all day and not feel as good as if I am constantly moving”
2PM: It’s time to dance!
After lunch, we regrouped for the best dance session ever with Grande (yup, you read that right) and the twin geniuses behind the tour’s choreography, brothers Brian and Scott Nicholson. If you think they took it easy on us, think again. We learned the intro for the show’s opening number, “Be Alright,” and though it was no easy feat, the positive energy from the trio made it easy to let loose and just have fun.
“We were like, we’re going to teach them something kind of hard to see what happens,” Brian admitted. “It's literally a day in the life on tour. We really wanted to show you what we go through. We went for it and everyone crushed it. Overall, it was about being free and having a good time. That’s what Scott, Ariana and I wanted to get across.”
Thursday, September 21
11AM: Whatever floats your (junk) boat.
And in comes the sightseeing. Beyond Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of the city are the harbors and mountains surrounding it. To get the closest look possible, we hopped on a traditional Chinese sailing ship called a "junk boat" that took us to an island across from where we were staying. The waves may be rocky, but as you looked back to the skyline and forward to the peaks beyond, the views are a can’t-miss opportunity for any traveler, especially if you’re on a time crunch like us.
2PM: Lunch on Lamma Island.
Though Grande was busy prepping for her last show, her trainer Pasternak confirmed she would have totally been down to try local seafood. “Out of nowhere, I’ll ask her what she ate that day,” he said. “She’ll be like, ‘I’m bored, I need more dinner options.’ So I’ll tell her to call me so we can talk it out. When she’s in a new country, I’ll make a list of all the local foods and restaurants I want her to experience. She’s good about crossing things off the list because she’s really open to experiencing different foods of the world.”
7PM: Get your black bunny ears ready!
The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Last, but not least, Grande gifted us with VIP tickets to the very last leg of her tour. There’s nothing like seeing an artist say farewell to life on the road; it was incredible to be part of something so special.
“I don’t even want to go home and relax,” Grande shared. “At the same time, it’s been a lot emotionally. It’s been very challenging for all of us involved. So it would be nice to really hold my loved ones close for a little while, stay home for a little bit. But knowing me, I’m going to be in the studio because I love it, and I want to create. I started an album already a year ago, over a year ago, but I want to keep creating, and it’s not done yet. So I’m going to take my sweet ass time, so I’ll be rested and ready to go again as soon as possible.”