Luxury Escape……..The Peninsula Hong Kong resides in understated luxury, alongside the bustle of Victoria Harbour.
For a long while I had envisaged our arrival… planning to sweep up the circular drive in style – preferably in an iconic Peninsula Green Rolls Royce (one of a 14 strong fleet) – the air conditioning keeping at bay the balmy late summer. Emerging cool and collected, I would swish into the foyer with kaftan trailing. And thus would begin our stay at the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’.
Unfortunately my arrival was not so elegant. We roared toward the iconic façade and striped awnings of the first of the Peninsula properties in a mini-van; minus air conditioning. The tail end of a four hour drive from mainland China; six of The Husband’s golf buddy’s as travel companions.
However like all good fairy tales; all was forgotten by the time we were greeted at the entrance by a white clad page (reminiscent of a long ago era); and ushered into the opulent foyer. Thus began the PERFECT setting for a romantic getaway.
The Peninsula Hong Kong is located on Salisbury Road, in the district of Tsim Sha Tsui (on the Southern tip of the Kowloon Peninsula – hence the name – I had always wondered…). Directly opposite lies Victoria Harbour; breathtaking views of Hong Kong Island and the spectacular skyline make you feel in the midst of it – yet not overwhelmed, which is so often the case in this bustling metropolis.
Why did you visit this property?
The adults in our family needed a break; a Hong Kong side-trip worked perfectly with a golf holiday – at Mission Hills, China – that The Husband had arranged with friends.
Was the property easy to book?
Well yes and no…I am generally in charge of this aspect of our lives. I mean, it is what I do, holidays and travel. Yet in this instance I relinquished the reins and left The Husband to his own devices – now I am not saying he is not a capable man, however this was a near disaster.
LESSON: I am all for discovering a LUXE for LESS option. Even premium properties have periods where inventory exceeds demand; benefiting the consumer with favourable pricing. Lovely – a win, win. Many of these ‘deals’ are available online. Just be careful who you book through – The Husband saved us a couple of hundred dollars – yet when I called the hotel with questions about our arrival, the booking website had not entered our details and there was no record of our reservation. Mild panic – which The Peninsula team rectified (thank you).
NOTE: I have spoken here about how much I love my Travel Agent, if she books a component of our trips; I know it will all be as described. If there are any problems she will handle them…
Was the transfer from the airport seamless?
There is no mistaking the Art Deco façade as you approach the hotel. Classic elegance against a backdrop of all that is shiny and new. I like my properties to have soul; The Peninsula has it in spades.
Worthy of special note is the flowers; magnificent fresh blooms adorning every surface; the lobby, the rooms, the gym – I really do mean everywhere. Stunning, truly stunning.
How was Check-In handled?
Immaculately…and beyond. We arrived early and I had planned to complete the formalities, store our bags and return at the designated check-in time. There was no question of that happening; we had arrived, and were graciously accommodated.
How may we help you (service and staff)?
As expected from one of the world’s greats; time and effort has obviously been spent on training. Not for nothing did Ms Rainy Chan, General Manager, receive the luxury travel industry’s highest accolade; being awarded ‘Hotelier of the Year’ – this is a very big deal; a global honour. This dedication is demonstrated throughout the property (specifically with the spectacular can do attitude of ALL the staff we encountered).
Ta da – how was the room?
Not often am I rendered speechless, this however was the one occasion it occurred. I will proceed by reiterating the trepidation I felt in relation to The Husband’s booking methods. I expected to be accommodated in a room the size of a closet…at best. Still, a closet at the Peninsula I am sure surpasses plenty of other properties mediocre rooms (actually I can say this for a fact, see my note on my back of house tour…).
We were generously allocated a harbour view Superior Suite; of a size I could happily live in (86 sq. meters). Located on Level three of the original building; affording impressive glimpses of the harbour and streetscape. Every amenity included to ensure guests stay in ultimate comfort.
Welcome – anyone saying this?
At every encounter – , in the lift, on the phone, exit and entry. When we were not being greeted personally there were handwritten welcome cards and little sweet treats. (I had withdrawal from these on return home…if only life could always be this grand).
Sleep – bliss or blah?
The Husband and I are a little peculiar (specifically with our sleeping arrangements). We always request twin beds, something to do with LACK of accumulative sleep since having kids. When we get away sleep is number one priority…enough said…These were giant sized twin beds, dreamily soft (always my preference…), the thickest pillow tops, and pure white, cotton linen…
Unpacking – is there room for everything?
A full ante-room dedicated to storing your belongings. Separate space for his and hers (I like to line up my shoes, colour code my clothes; The Husband prefers a more random method of storage – ample area to accommodate both).
WI/FI – techie bright stuff.
Free WI/FI – very good connection. A television so superb The Husband came home and ordered one (flat screen HD). A printer stored in the work desk; (whilst I was not using the room for work, I imagine should you require additional items your request would be accommodated – it is simply that kind of hotel).
Made to feel at home (robes, bottled water, tea/coffee).
Oh it felt so, so much better than home. Every drawer opened revealed a new treasure (custom drinks coasters, hidden in a little compartment on the side of the lounge…) A nespresso coffee machine; glorious tea selection and little nightly treats…
Keeping it clean – bliss or blah (amenities, decent hair dryer)?
Detail, detail, detail…A heavenly, natural light filled, marble encased room. Separate vanities; and the piece de resistance OSCAR DE LA RENTA amenities (naturally a few samples may have made their way back to my humble bathroom in Sydney – one whiff and I am instantly transported back to the luxurious Suite Life…)
As if I couldn’t swoon anymore – I discovered this…you know you have struck luxury of the highest order when you have a nail dryer at your disposal…sublime touch… (excellent hairdryer too…).
Numerous; during our visit a typhoon struck and we were confined to the hotel. Not a hardship at all – highlights were;
A post-dinner drink in Felix (28th Floor – styled by renowned avant-garde designer Philippe Starck). Needless to say the views were spectacular (and yes I did sneak a peek in the MENS during my back of house tour; everything you have heard about the best loo view in the world is TRUE…) The atmosphere in the bar when we visited was a little staid; although that may have been due to the inclement weather keeping everyone at bay.
Sunday brunch at The Verandah – the first buffet established in Hong Kong (1933); age has served this venue well. Elegant surrounds and sublime eats. We lingered over papers and coffee and enjoyed people watching…
Drinkies in the Lobby – forgoing the traditional high-tea (daily queues snake quietly for quite some distance, so I imagine afternoon tea is a treat worth lining up for) – instead we sampled tipples from the dedicated Gin Trolley which appeared nightly at 6.00pm.
Fine dining Room Service – in my book there is nothing that signifies relaxation more, than a soak in the bath followed by a Club Sandwich and a glass of bubbles. Delivered by a suited waiter; a white linen draped trolley was wheeled in. Meal perfect temperature; champagne gloriously chilled.
We ran out of time for the remaining six dining venues…next time a visit to celebrated Gaddis (the first restaurant in the East to serve European cuisine).
Action/Relaxation – what activities were on offer?
Highly recommended is the team at Concierge – reservations at Michelin starred restaurants; bookings with tailors; suggested walking itineraries – service delivered with charm.
The pool and gym were perfect for working off our culinary indulgences…
A massage to you…
A Spa with a dedicated reception room; your details are gathered before you are whisked up to one of the 14 private treatment rooms; bliss. Pricey but worth it…
Would I stay at this property again?
I have booked The Peninsula Tokyo for our next holiday (with kids in tow…) – I now consider myself a true Peninsula fan – only eight more properties to go (Shanghai, Beijing, Paris, Beverly Hills, New York, Chicago, Bangkok and Manila).
THE URBAN MUM’s LUXURY ESCAPE GUIDE:
Back of house: I was afforded the opportunity to tour behind the scenes; viewing the powerhouse of what makes this property so sublime. Having worked in Hotels I speak with authority when I say, what is hidden speaks just as much as what is on show (stainless steel sparkles in the kitchens, uniforms are pristine and everything has its place).
The Peninsula Academy – an experience like no other. If the scheduled classes co-incide with your visit – reserve your place. Art, kids cooking, caviar connoisseurship – the offereings change with the seasons. Many of the classes take place in the working kitchens; you will have your own chance to see a Five Star great in operation.
FIND OUT MORE
The Peninsula website
DISCOVER THE DESTINATION
Which has been your most memorable Luxury Escape?
** all opinions my own; we paid our own expense’s – The Peninsula generously provided an upgrade to a superior room – thank you…**