At a Glance
Hotels have been trying to knock the Peninsula off its perch as the prime five-star for the best part of a century now—and have not quite succeeded.
- Sunrise over Hong Kong Island's skyline from upper floor rooms in the original building
- Arriving and departing in the grandest style inside via the hotel’s Rolls Royce Phantoms
- The helipad on the roof and the sleek China Clipper lounge where you wait before being picked up for a helicopter tour of the city
Hotels have been trying to knock the Peninsula off its perch as one of the prime five-star for the best part of a century now—and have not quite succeeded. As others improve, the Peninsula, which opened its doors in 1928 in Kowloon, just gets better and better, ready and willing to embrace new technology and trends, as long as they don’t impinge on the dignity of the venerable property. In 2012 for example, Peninsula Hotel Group launched interactive multi-lingual tablets that enable maximum control over the entire guestroom, from room service and the Do Not Disturb sign to personalized streaming Internet television.
In 2013, makeovers were completed on all 300 guestrooms in both the new tower and original 1928 building. These sleek yet comfortable spaces are high-tech havens, but they maintain just enough chinoiserie to confer a sense of Old Hong Kong. Indeed, the whole property feels homey, hardly surprising given that the majority of staff are long-serving (when you are working at the top of the hotel trade, there is not much incentive to leave). Insist on a harbor room or, even better, a corner suite, where the bathtub has an unobstructed view of Victoria Harbour.
Certainly this iconic hotel boasts some of Hong Kong’s finest dining, including the Philippe Starck–designed Felix, the elegant Gaddi’s, Chesa Swiss and Spring Moon for Chinese fare. A great spot for cocktails is the hotel’s sultry lounge, Salon de Ning, filled with souvenirs from the far-flung travels of Madame Ning, an entirely imagined but nonetheless stylish adventuress. Regulars come here to swig Ning Slings made with Absolut mandarin, lychee liquor, and passionfruit purée.
Peninsula guests can explore beyond these colonial walls by climbing into one of the Pen’s famed Rolls Royce fleet of Phantoms and one vintage 1934 Phantom II, each customized for its needs. Another notable feature is access to the Peninsula Academy’s “Hong Kong Traditions Well Served” program, which introduces guests to the artisans of the city’s disappearing crafts, such as the creators of the bamboo-and-flower displays that adorn the outdoor Chinese Opera theater, shadow-play masters and lion dancers.
A dedicated elevator leads high-flying guests to The China Clipper lounge, lined with aviator collectibles and jaw-dropping views over Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island. The exit leads to the rooftop’s double helipad where the the hotel’s spiffy Aerospatiale twin engine Squirrel A S355N helicopter awaits to take guests on a 45-minute panoramic jaunt from Kowloon to the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, a collection of eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and northeast New Territories. The excursion winds up aboard The Pen’s yacht for a Champagne lunch on the return cruise.
Who Should Stay
Fans of colonial history and grand hotel groupies; honeymooners with Hong Kong on their Asia tour itinerary; multi-generational families seeking to make a good impression on grandparents and those who truly appreciate the finest things in life.
Written by Indagare