The Peninsula Hong Kong, known to some as the "Grande Dame" of the city's hospitality sector, has recently launched a series of lifestyle programmes for its guests under the umbrella of Lifestyle Academy. Topics covered range from style consultation and etiquette courses to gourmet tastings and pro-golf.
We all love a bit of luxury sometimes and some are wiling to spend big bucks for it, but are you enjoying it to the fullest? That seems to be the question the programmes try to answer. The hotel's general manager Rainy Chan says: “The Style Academy, for example, offers a transformative, holistic styling service that has been designed to give guests a fresh new take on their individual style, in ways they may never have even thought possible." And it's also about enjoying it instead of being intimidated by it. “We created The Lifestyle Academy to give guests the opportunity to experience a level of fun and insightful learning that will enable them to look, live and feel their absolute best.”
Drawing on its connections with many established luxury houses, The Peninsula offers guests a bespoke styling service that includes an in-depth style consultation with professional style consultants, followed by a specially designed VIP shopping experience, both in The Peninsula Arcade and beyond. Transport on a Rolls-Royce, fine food, private collection viewings and access to limited edition and one-of-a-kind pieces are some of the perks included. A half-day programme is offered HK$11,888 (US$1,531) while a full day is HK$23,888* (US$3,077) (*guests can be accompanied by a partner or child over 10 years of age). There are also add-on services you can choose, such as a make-up artist and a hair stylist (HK$3,900/ US$502), specialist single-item sourcing (HK$3,900/US$502) and special event styling with professional style consultants (minimum four hours) at HK$7,800 (US$1,005).
Golf enthusiasts will be excited not only by the master classes offered, but also the Fly and Putt programme that includes a helicopter ride from the rooftop helipad to the golf course on Kau Sai Chau island in Sai Kung, Hong Kong's largest green area. Tee off with a personal coach for either two hours at HK$23,888 (US$3,077) per person, or for four hours with a group of between three and four at HK$8,888 (US$1,145) per person.
For the taste buds, a host of "Epicurean Connoisseurship" sessions are featured, covering caviar, chocolate as well as Chinese tea. Business Traveller China editor Delia Yin attended two of them:
CAVIAR CONNOISSEURSHIP (HK$5,888/US$758, 1 ½ hours)
Highlights: In this tasting course, “students” can taste a variety of the prized fish roe while learning more about where each product comes from and how it differs through a live tutorial by the hotel’s chef. What’s better, a sommelier is on hand to serve up matching vintages, showing the guests how they delicately complement the caviar’s flavours and textures.
The experience: The hotel’s executive chef Florian Trento lines up four types of caviar in front of us, produced from the roe of Ossetra sturgeon farmed in France, Italy and China. The flavour of the cured fish eggs vary in saltiness and seafood strength, forming an orchestra on the palate. With every type of caviar, the sommelier serves up a wine, whisky or vodka. The strong liquor not only complements the roe, it also gets the taste buds ready for the next bite.
CHOCOLATE CONNOISSEURSHIP (HK$2,888/US$372, 1 ½ hours)
Highlights: When we indulge in heavenly chocolate desserts, how often do we think about the production process? The chocolate tasting sessions at The Peninsula takes participants into the chocolate room of the kitchen to explore the secrets behind these sensational sweet treats.
The experience: Guests are taken into the cooler part of the kitchen – the squeaky clean white chocolate room – to listen to experts explaining with visual material how this favourite food began from cocoa beans. With the teaching part covered, “students” get to the most anticipated part of the programme: tasting. There are finished chocolate products as well as chocolates of different cocoa percentages to sample, with the experience accompanied by champagnes and wines chosen by the sommelier – it’s a truly unforgettable one and a half hours.
Other programmes include etiquette courses for children and floral arrangement and table setting workshops. Bookings for The Peninsula Style Academy programmes should be made at least 48 hours in advance, and even seven days for the golf experiences, through either guest relations at [email protected] or the concierge at [email protected] Activities are conducted in English and Putonghua.
For more information, visit www.peninsula.com.
Reggie Ho and Delia Yin