Hong Kong

Old meets new with no upstarts in sight

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I LOVE staying at this byword for hotel excellence.

The place is such an institution in the former colony that people come from all around the world just to stand outside the lobby and gape, blast them.

It’s worth lashing out on a corner room, too.

The last time I stayed there I was about 30 stories up, in the spa which is nestled in the furthest corner surrounded on two side by glass overlooking the harbor on one side and the city on the other.

I had had a particularly grueling flight from Sydney. I hate to say it but there’s a lower class of Englishman living and working there. Incidentally, the locals aren’t so bad in Sydney. It’s the detritus of the British Isles who arrive in old Sydney town (with a chip on their shoulder and a point to prove) keen to lord it over the locals. It’s not that I don’t mind kicking the occasional convict. especially when he’s down, but nowadays, the Australians don’t really need trumped-up scullery maids and gamekeepers trying to teach them manners – it’s really not quite the thing if you see what I’m getting at.

Anyway, I remember I was giggling with relief at being among the clouds and away from Australia and I slipped over ever so slightly and stubbed my big toe getting into the tub, spilling some gin and tonic in the process.

Such was my relief at being in a spa in the clouds that my chuckles turned into a huge belly laugh – no minor mishap was going to spoil this moment!

It’s the other little things that make the peninsula so special. The glass contrivance connected to the outside that one’s papers arrive in. Put your shoes in there and your butler can clean them without you having to interact with him. Nor do you have to leave the room.

There is one downside, and I hesitate to bring it up. But you may need to be aware that you can’t have guests in your room after midnight. Not that it mattered to me, but a friend of mine said he was coming back from dinner at around two in the morning with a new acquaintance and was informed of the rule, which the concierge alleged was for security reasons.

“This is my research assistant,’’ he stormed, to no avail and had to make arrangements for the lady in question to get home by herself after he accepted a white feather without enduring so much as a light mortaring.

This minor inconvenience is more than made up for by its excellent unobtrusive service; its eight restaurants, two bars, the spa with the ministrations of its skilled masseuses and its fleet of Rollers that pick you up from the airport and deliver you back to the sordid misery of life outside the Peninsula, where you must grimly put your shoulder to the wheel again.

Counting a helicopter, 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms and one 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II in Peninsula Green, naturally, among its offerings of toys, the hotel recently added two new bespoke Mini Cooper S Clubmans to its fleet in celebration of the hotel’s 81st anniversary last month.

Each car is fitted with a fully stocked minibar and an iPhone/iPod connection in the front and rear.  The vehicles, perfect for beating the opposition to a bargain in Hong Kong traffic are free for guests who stay in one of the suites.

Opened in 1928, the Peninsula Hong Kong is the most historic hotel in the harbor city. A tower extension, finished in 1994, brought the building from a six-storey structure to a 30-storey high-rise, replete with its own helipad.

My room had a separate living area, spa bath and shower with at least six nozzles.

Furthermore (and I’m directly quoting from the hotel’s own gumpf here) the hotel offers a unique array of dining experiences and function venues. The Business Centre is conveniently located on the 1st floor and offers private working offices and a conference room for meetings.

For the convenience of business travelers, each room is equipped with dual-line phones, interactive voicemail system, built-in data line sockets, and dual-voltage electricity sockets.

And it’s here I must apologize for flagrantly reproducing the brochure. I’m lying in the spa bath (generously pulled by the butler) and I let my mind wander.

Yes, it’s an extraordinary sanctuary – ideal for high powered executives after a long day of work or play.

Peninsula Hotel

Salisbury Road 
Hong Kong
 2920 2888

www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong

Georges Latour O’Kelley

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