Hotel Watch: Grande Dame of Asian Luxury

by Editorial
Silver Mirror Facial Bar in Navy Yard (photo courtesy).
Silver Mirror Facial Bar in Navy Yard (photo courtesy).
Naomi Rodgers as 'Tina Turner' in the North American touring production of TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL. Photo by Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

The Location:
Built on Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) directly across Victoria Harbour from Central, Hong Kong Island. This prime corner of real estate offers a skyline view that gives Manhattan a run for its money. As such, book a room with a Harbour view. The city’s nightly skyline laser-light shows are particularly fun to watch from the comfort of your 5-star accommodations. Nearby, stroll down Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood walk of fame or take the famous teakwood Star Ferry over to Central for a day of shopping and dinning.

The Service:
Rolls Royce and helicopter airport round-trip limo service (US$165 and $2,000), complimentary tea upon arrival, along with daily touches of fresh fruit and chocolates. Extremely attentive and professional staff. Same day laundry and dry cleaning ? although pricey (one shirt dry-cleaned and two-shirts laundered, $50). The concierge can get you a China visa in 24 hours just as easily as a table at the best club and restaurant in town. In an era when hotels tend to charge for everything except the air you breathe, The Peninsula bucks the trend with a number of pro gratis services such as unlimited internet and valet service for a trusty shoe polish. All of which help keep your mind off the room rates, if only for a small while.

The Rooms:
300 rooms in total, 132 of which are located in the thirteen-story tower completed in 1994. All rooms retain a luxurious Victorian feel with modern touches. We dare you to pull yourself out of the down king-sized beds every morning on-time. Highly recommended are the hotel’s “Life is Suite” packages. They include room plus Rolls Royce transfer, breakfast for two, unlimited mini-bar, and a dinner set for two. Again, stick with the Harbour View Suites: Superior ($1,150), Deluxe ($1,670) and Grand Deluxe Suites ($1,925). Or, for the ultimate Peninsula experience, book the 2,280sq ft Marco Polo Suite ($4,100) or 4,111 sq ft Peninsula Suite ($5,400).

The Amenities:

Fully-outfitted business center; The China Clipper helicopter lounge; The Peninsula Boutique gifts shops; The Peninsula Arcade for designer brand shopping; a music room for performers to practice; swimming pool; health club and spa; florist; nine separate restaurants and lounges; and The Peninsula Academy offering classes in Chinese tea making, Tai Chi, Feng Shui, herbal remedies and Chinese cooking.

ESPA for the Peninsula
Opened in 2005, ESPA should not be missed. Tranquil private wood-designed rooms with Harbour views, numerous treatment options, fun “Lifestyle Showers” (particularly fond of Artic Mist), plus access to the inside pool and sun deck, means you can make it a full-day spa affair. Spa journeys, such as the “Escape from the City,” take 4 hours and cost $515 across-the-board. Nine separate body treatments are offered ($250 for 1hr and 50min). Aromatherapy for jet lag or the immune system, and deep tissue, Swedish, Balinese and Thai massages are offered (all $120 for 50 minutes, or $180 for 1 hr 20 min). Facial treatments run from $120 to $180.

The Hotel’s nine on-site restaurants run the gamut from authentic Swiss to chic fusion to sushi. Starting on the 28th floor, Felix is a chic must-try for litchi martinis and jaw-dropping views. Oh, and the men’s room has arguably one the best bathroom views in the world … sorry ladies (4-course dinner for two, $742). Chesa has graced the hotel since 1965. It specialized in Swiss fare served in an authentic Swiss interior (3-course set lunch for two, $610). The Verandah has been a high-tea haunt for Hong Kong’s Tai Tai’s (rich wives) for decades (3-course set lunch for two, $620). Spring Moon is where tea aficionados should go for a masterful combination of tea and Hong Kong cuisine. If you like dissecting wine, you’ll love selecting between varietals of non-fermented green teas, semi-fermented oolongs and fermented pu-er teas. Match that with Silver Moon’s touted crispy pigeon and you have a delicious recipe for “yum cha” (6-course set lunch for two, $626). Imasaspecializes in Japanese cuisine whileThe Lobby and The Bar make for good, yet, pricey drinks. For fine French dinning there is the ornate Gaddi’s on the first floor (4-course set dinner for two, $745).

Pen-worthy facts

  • The surrender of Hong Kong to the Japanese was held in room 336 on Christmas Day, 1941
  • Clarke Gable stayed at The Pen in 1953 during the filming of Soldier of Fortune. During which he taught Peninsula barman Johnny Chung how to make a screwdriver. Chung still works at the bar today
  • The staff to guest ratio is 3:1, the highest in Hong Kong
  • 48,000 pieces of silver are in daily use in the hotel
  • Seven wines on the hotel wine list date from 1928 when the hotel opened
  • Pure Yoga, one of the world’s largest yoga studios (22,000 sq ft) is located in the Peninsula’s office tower

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