Located on the junction of Nathan Road and Salisbury Road, The Peninsula Hong Kong is comfortably the most recognised hotel in Hong Kong. Its trademark 32-storey glorious cream-coloured building is visible from all elevated parts of the city (including from the Peak, and from the new ICC building), and if you are bit higher then you get a clear glimpse of the two signature helipads on the top of the hotel as well.
The Peninsula Hong Kong is the glamorous flagship property of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. It presents the ultimate in luxury, and apart from being the only historically luxurious five-star quality hotel in Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hong Kong is very much seen as a reminiscent of the British colonial days of Hong Kong. Though it looks smaller from the outside, the interior, however, does reveal a rather grandular ambiance where lavish space dominates all throughout. One thing is for sure, when it comes to having that perfection of customer service, comfortable rooms, and exceedingly good food; there is no comparison to this nostalgic property.
Usually when one mentions the words, The Peninsula Hong Kong, most people just have one thing in mind- ‘The Peninsula Afternoon Tea’, which has its roots cemented from Hong Kong’s old colonial days. In fact, the lavish hotel is much more than that, and effectively gives more to its guests in return.
Yes, The Peninsula Hong Kong is renowned for its delicious food, its high quality of comfort, and its excellent customer service. However, there is one thing that people tend to brush off without even realising it- The Peninsula Hotel has one of the oldest fashion arcades in Hong Kong. Throughout the years, the hotel has hosted world-renowned brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and many others. There’s also a branch of the famous Graff Jewellers.
All 300 richly decorated rooms and suites have a lovely blend of the colonial past, and the ultra modern touch with state-of-the-art facilities throughout. This includes luxuries such as electronic curtains and blinds, DVD players, complimentary internet (wired and wireless), complimentary local calls, and, sophisticated touch button technology that allows you to control all the room lights from your bedside (so you don’t have to get up from your bed). Oversized marble bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs (Jacuzzi in the Peninsula Suites), built-in LCD TVs, hands-free phones, and complimentary toiletries by provided exclusively by Davi. Guests residing at The Peninsula Hong Kong are also presented with a lovely red Chinese soap box in which there is a complimentary round Davi soap bar with the signature of the Peninsula crest stamped on it. The whole ambiance of the hotel projects a strong sense of the old British colonial era. Some parts of the premises, such as the corridors, the lobby, and the Verandah really does give you a feeling that you are back in the 1930s colonial Hong Kong. Except, of course, the only difference being that you don’t see guests wearing period clothing.
As everyone who works in the hospitality business knows that it only takes one chance to make a lasting impression, and the reason why the vast majority of the guests keep coming back to The Peninsula Hong Kong is because every single member of the hotel makes a very good lasting impression. It’s the ethos that has been built and maintained by Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited.
The true heydays of The Peninsula Hong Kong were when the Kadoorie family initially opened it in 1928. In those days, passengers from the luxury cruise ships used to disembark at the Kowloon quay, and, the famous trans-Siberian rail link from mainland China would stop right in front of the hotel, which enabled people to go straight to the Peninsula to have the signature Afternoon Tea. Though, with the change of the times, the train is not there anymore, nevertheless, the traditional ceremony of having Afternoon Tea is still very much part of the culture and ethos of The Peninsula Hong Kong.
The luxurious Rolls-Royce cars, and the helicopter rides are two of the other key ingredients that have distinguished The Peninsula Hong Kong for many years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Since December 2006, the hotel has had a fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms painted in the hotel's signature ‘Peninsula green’. This was the largest order placed for Rolls-Royce in the history of the company, and still stands as of today. The Peninsula Hong Kong is the only hotel in Hong Kong where the helicopter can land. The two helipads are used primarily for sigh-seeing rides over Hong Kong, or to transport the hotel's VIP clients to Hong Kong International Airport, with flight duration being around 10 minutes. The China Clipper aviation lounge is located on the 30th floor, and allows passengers to freshen up before or after their helicopter flight. The toilets in the lounge are originals from an actual aircraft. The lounge has parts of the ‘China Clipper’ aircraft, a four-engine seaplane belonging to Pan American Airways that was used on the inaugural flight from San Francisco to Manila in November 1935 (it stopped en-route and landed at the former Kai Tak airport).
The Peninsula brand in Hong Kong is so strong and powerful that there really is no room for failure. From the moment you step into the hotel premises to the moment you check-out, everything is done to the absolute perfection with the minute detail in mind, everything. That smoothness with which the Rolls-Royce is driven at, that signature smile from the crisply attired Peninsula Pageboy when he opens the door to welcome you, and that sheer effectiveness of the housekeeping maids to make sure that you have the luxurious experience of a lifetime. During my brief stay I got the feeling that the entire staff have a sense of strong attachment to the history of the hotel, and they are not just there because they have a job to do. Indeed, some of the staff are so closely part of the Peninsula family that have been at the hotel for almost their entire life.
A beautiful illustration of this is provided in a new book called ‘Our Hong Kong’, which is a collection of personal stories from the staff at the Peninsula. The limited edition hardback is given as a complimentary gift to all guests who stay at this hotel. As Ms. Rainy Chan, the Area Vice President - Hong Kong and Thailand General Manager, The Peninsula Hong Kong puts it: ‘Our Hong Kong offers a highly privileged view- like a city guide created by 50 of your local friends, with antidotes and insights that are rich and varied’.
The Peninsula Hong Kong provides six dining venues (eleven including the Lobby, Room service, The Verandah, The Pool Terrace, and The Bar), which means you have no excuse to miss your friend’s invitation. There are many highlights, and it would probably take a book to write about them all. If time is your enemy then it may be worthwhile to check out the Philippe Starck-designed Felix restaurant and bar, the Verandha (which still has the old colonial Raj style fans), and the Salon de Ning which is located in the basement floor (just like at The Peninsula Shanghai). The latter features live band with dancing and cocktails.
There is no other better way to polish off your nostalgic experience at The Peninsula Hong Kong than to pamper yourself with one of the signature massage treatments at The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, or relax at the swimming pool overlooking the Victoria Harbour. Equally beautiful are the roman bath style sauna and Jacuzzi facilities that are offered in the separate men’s and ladies changing rooms. As you swim you can either admire the beautiful views of the Hong Kong Island’s unmistakable skyline, or just while away your time in the vicinity of the thought that you have been part of a bit of Hong Kong’s proud, and prosperous history. Try it yourself, and see what the Grande Dame of the Far East has in store for you.
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