The Government House is the official residence of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. It is located on Upper Albert Road in Central District and faces Victoria Peak. Its floor space amounts to 24,000 square meters (about 6 acres). The house, designed by Charles St. George Cleverly and constructed in 1851, used to be the residence of the Governors of Hong Kong and was a place to receive royalty and VIP guests. Important ceremonies in Hong Kong were held here as well including the annual Honor Awarding Ceremony and the Olympic Games Flag Handover Ceremony.
Sir John Bowing, the first Governor of Hong Kong, was also the first resident of the Government House after its completion in 1855. The building originally featured a Colonial Renaissance style, but was significantly remodeled after every Governor renovated the building according to his preferences and needs. The Japanese also made significant changes on the building when they controlled Hong Kong during World War II. The result is the current hybrid Japanese-neoclassical appearance of the building.
Twenty five out of 28 Governors lived in the Government House before Hong Kong was returned to China. Mr. Donald Tsang became the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to move his office here in 2005.
Sir Alexander Grantham, a British administer of Hong Kong, added fake ceilings, fireplaces, terraces, air-conditioning and Irish Diamond lighting fixtures. He also placed two stone lion sculptures at the entrance which remains up to this day.
During springtime, the Government House lawn is a sight to behold with thousands of azaleas in full bloom adorning its well manicured lawn. The house has drawn many visitors every year, since it opened to the public in 1968.
The garden of Government House is opened twice a year to the public. At least one will be arranged in spring to enable members of the public to share the delight in viewing the full bloom of the azaleas. Visitors are usually allowed to pass by the drawing room, dining room and ballroom where key official functions are held.
The open days are generally arranged during weekends. Dates are announced through press releases one week in advance. No admission fee is charged.