Repulse Bay is located in the south of Hong Kong Island, to the east of Deep Water Bay and to the west of Middle Bay and South Bay. Middle Island, Hong Kong is located off Hong Kong Island, between Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay.
The origins of the bay's English name have become extremely obscure. There are, however, many stories — none resting on any solid evidence that has so far been established. A typical example is that in 1841, the bay was used as a base by pirates and caused serious concern to foreign merchant ships trading with China. The pirates were subsequently repulsed by the Royal Navy, hence the name. There is no evidence of any such origin in the extensive British naval log books of the period. Another story holds that the bay was named after HMS Repulse which was stationed at the bay at one point. No HMS Repulse ever visited Hong Kong, let alone Repulse Bay and the 1868 Repulse served only on the west coast of the Americas (1872-77) and thereafter in British waters. It is known that the name appeared on the earliest British official map of Hong Kong by Lt TB Collinson RE in 1845. However, British Admiralty charts never used the name until the 20th century, instead sticking to the quite erroneous name given by Commander Edward Belcher RN in his 1841 survey, Chonghom Bay. The source of the name remains unknown. In the 1910s, Repulse Bay was developed into a beach, and the Repulse Bay Hotel was built in 1920. To attract swimmers, a bus route from Central to Repulse Bay was created, and now stands as one of Hong Kong's oldest bus routes. During the Battle of Hong Kong in World War II, Repulse Bay was an important strategic location.