It is an often repeated fact that when The Peninsula Hong Kong opened in 1928 its owners, Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited, had wanted to create the finest hotel east of the Suez Canal. The 300-room hotel has remained the flagship of the nine Peninsula properties for almost a century and now, with the completion of a HK$450 million (about A$56 million) refurbishment, is back to her best.
The design aesthetic of the hotel has been pared back with a neutral palette of creams and browns in the guestrooms, along with freeform art installations and soft furnishings inspired by Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy in every room. The rooms are styled to feel like a luxury yacht or private jet with walnut writing desks and bespoke leather entertainment centres. In-room technology has been completely revolutionised with interactive touch screen tablets controlling every aspect of the room, from the lighting, curtains, valet call and thermostat to the television, radio and wireless internet, in any one of five languages. It sounds like it could be bewildering, but the technology is well designed and extremely easy to use. There are also a host of activities dining experiences and spa treatments to celebrate the 85th anniversary – don’t miss the afternoon tea dance in the lobby accompanied by a 10 piece band.
WHAT’S STAYED THE SAME
The Pen hasn’t lost its sense of class. White liveried bellboys (and girls) still greet guests and the rules still apply in the grand lobby – proper footwear, no athletic gear and long pants for gentlemen after 7pm. The fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms remains, alongside the two Mini Coopers that have been part of the fleet since 2009. Or you can always choose to arrive by helicopter on one of the two helipads on the roof.
Rooms are priced from HK$6,280 (about A$785) per night and suites from HK$10,800 (about A$1,350) per night plus taxes.
The Peninsula Lifestyle Academy
In 2012 The Peninsula Hong Kong launched the Lifestyle Academy, a series of personalised lessons to help guests appreciate fine food or wine, shop for designer clothes or perfect their golf swing. Programs are led by experts and are designed to be a fun and interactive way for guests to look and feel their best. Our pick is the chocolate connoisseurship class – Maitre Chocolatier Marijn Coertjen takes guests inside The Peninsula’s Chocolate Room to learn about different varieties of cocoa beans, their origins and the process of creating fine chocolates. Naturally, the class finishes up with a chocolate tasting. 90-minute classes are HK$2,888 (about A$361) per person.