The term ‘iconic hotel’ may be a little overused these days, but in the case of The Peninsula Hong Kong, it’s a genuinely apt epithet. Opened in 1928 as ‘the finest hotel east of Suez’, this grand property still lures the cognoscenti and jet-setting tribes with its unbeatable mix of modern Oriental chic, luxury quotient (there’s a rooftop helicopter pad for discrete arrivals), and sheer old world glamour.
Hotel Review: The Peninsula Hong Kong
Set right on the edge of Hong Kong’s buzzy Kowloon side, The Peninsula’s twin wings open out like an embrace towards the fabulous harbour. Even if you choose not to arrive by helicopter or one of the hotel’s fleet of green Rolls-Royce Phantoms, the experience of stepping into the marbled foyer may trigger a touch of déjà-vu, the hotel a familiar backdrop in movies (The Man with the Golden Gun and The Dark Night) and any number of TV shows and documentaries.
The rooms, dressed in cool pastels, plush fabrics, and light Chinoiserie, are equipped with all the mod-cons that a business, never mind leisure, traveller might need, with the upper floor rooms that look out towards Victoria Harbour and its tableau of glossy skyscrapers taking the breath away. Meanwhile, if the three-storey shopping arcade downstairs stuffed with tentpole brands like Graff, Chanel, and Goyard doesn’t tempt, then perhaps a facial in the spa or a few laps in the pool – with harbour views – of course, might.
In terms of activities on offer at The Peninsula, all the usual suspects are present and accounted for, whether glitzy high-end retail therapy, luxe dining, spa, or just indolent lazing in one’s room. Where the hotel steals a march on its competitors, though, is its ‘Life Lived Best’ wellness programme that targets fitness, mindfulness and nutrition goals. And so, there are aromatherapy self-care rituals, meditation, in-room strength and flexibility routines, alongside healthy dining options incorporating sustainable ingredients prepared simply but with clear flavours. Once suitably balanced in body and mind, you can hit the streets of Hong Kong on excursions organised by the hotel’s whip-smart concierges, including night city tours and jaunts farther afield to hilly Lantau Island, and wraparound views of Sha Tin from the top of a nine-level pagoda. Just be back at the hotel in time to change for champagne, an artisanal cocktail or two, and nibbles at The Bar.
Hong Kong’s unalloyed reputation as a culinary destination is given an additional burnish by The Peninsula where there are at least ten dining options on offer – though, of course, who could blame you for being lured off-property by the smorgasbord of East to West eateries scattered through the city’s frenetic, neon-loaded streets? But if you do decide to stay put, the rewards are, to say the least, delicious. Go easy on the legendary afternoon tea – complete with real life jazz set – in the lobby, because coming up are certified feasts. At Spring Moon, for instance, the Cantonese menu of roast Peking duck and Kagoshima beef shine as brightly as the Art Deco stained glass windows, whilst Gaddi’s still holds on tightly to its laurels as one of Hong Kong’s best modern French restaurants paired with chandeliers and liveried service. Meanwhile, in the Philippe Starck-designed Felix, it’s difficult to pick which should get top billing – head chef Aurélie Altemaire’s inventive contemporary European menu or the sensational city and harbour views.
THE FINAL WORD
Whichever way you look at it, The Peninsula Hong Kong is a bona fide grande dame hotel, its longevity a sure sign of quality and extremely good taste. Whether the prompt whip-smart service, the plush Oriental-lite furnishings, wellness programme, or the incomparable gastronomic and retail spreads, all the boxes are ticked. And then some.
Deluxe Room from HK$7,100. peninsula.com