What’s it like? Opened in 1928 the Peninsula is Hong Kong’s original historic hotel. A blend of European design with Chinese influences, the original building was extended in 1994 with a 28-storey tower added to the rear. The newer tower rooms facing Victoria Harbour offer fantastic views over to Hong Kong Island.
Where is it? In Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) overlooking Hong Kong Harbour opposite the HK Space Museum and HK Cultural Centre and a short walk to the TST MTR station and to the Star Ferry pier to Central and Wan Chai.
Check-in: I arrived at the hotel by taxi. Rather surprisingly the taxi driver did not know where it was, or could not understand my English, so I directed him there myself. Alternatively the hotel offers a transfer in one of its 14 Rolls Royce Phantoms at HK$1500 each way. A taxi costs around HKS$200. When I arrived at the hotel my door was swiftly opened, I was given a luggage tag and I made my way to reception. I was escorted to my room where check-in was done. Soon after the valet brought Jasmine tea and my bag arrived.
Room Facilities: I was staying in a tower room on the 25th floor with grand views over Victoria Harbour. The entry hall had a large upholstered luggage rack with drawers beneath and also a trap door to allow you to leave your shoes to be cleaned and newspaper to be delivered. There is also a wardrobe with safe.
The main room had a six foot wide bed with telephones and electronic controls each side for lights, curtains, air conditioning, TV, radio as well as the do not disturb button. There was a good size desk with light, 110v and 220v multi region sockets as well as complimentary wired and wireless internet. Beside the desk was a unit with fax machine.
Looking out of the large window over the harbour there were two relaxing chairs, a footrest and table. Perfect for an evening drink watching the harbour lights. Along one side of the room was a chest of drawers with hairdryer and a TV cabinet housing a Samsung flat screen TV, Sony DVD player and inputs for numerous equipments and memory cards. Underneath was the minibar. There were two CD’s in the Room (Chopin and Brahms) but a selection of CDs and DVDs were available from housekeeping.
The bathroom was a good size with white marble with black trim. The bath had a Sony TV at one end and controls to allow you to answer the phone. There were two sinks, separate WC and Shower. Toiletries came from Davi of the Napa Valley.
From January 2012 there is a room enhancement programme starting which will see all rooms in the hotel have a complete interior redesign and new technology. The Tower is first, followed by the main building with all due to be completed by March 2013. Noise should be kept to a minimum as there are no structural changes.
Restaurants and Bars: The Verandah is located on the first floor and is open for buffet breakfast from 0700-1000, lunch from 1200-1430 and dinner from 1830-2230. Spring Moon, also on the 1st Floor, is open for lunch and dinner offering superb Cantonese food with a wide selection of dim sum available at lunch. They also have a range of over 25 Chinese teas. I had eaten here on a visit a few weeks earlier and the food was superb. Salon de Ning is a lounge reminiscent of Shanghai in the 30’s located in the basement. It opens from 1800 to 0200 Monday to Saturday with a live band and dancing every night except Friday when there is a DJ.
The Lobby is open from 0700-2330 most days. It is for light meals and is renowned for its afternoon teas with music performed by the Lobby Strings. If you want to have tea booking is essential as a queue builds up with large number of visitors from outside the hotel. Imasa on the first floor is the Japanese restaurant located for lunch and dinner. Gaddi’s, on the first floor, is the Peninsula’s renown French restaurant and opens for lunch and dinner with music and dancing. Felix on the 28th floor offers breathtaking views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. It offers contemporary cuisine. There is also The Balcony, Wine bar, the American bar and the crazy box, a small disco. It is open from 1700 until 0130 for drinks and 1800 to 2430 for food.
Chesa is a small and intimate chalet style Swiss restaurant located on the first floor for lunch or dinner. I tried to book dinner for the same day but it was fully booked until 2130. I booked this and they offered to call if a table became available earlier. They did and we sat down at 2100 in what was, by then, a very quiet restaurant. We started with a traditional Swiss fondue with Gruyère and Emmental which was superb. This was followed up by crayfish and scallop wrapped in cured ham and grilled with its own bisque and wilted romaine which was first class and butter and herb-roasted pork chop with grilled zucchini and natural pan gravy. There is also a bar on the first floor open from 1400 to 2330. In room dining is also available 24hrs a day.
Business and Meeting Facilities: There is a business centre on the 1st floor open from 0900 to 1800. It was closed when I was in the hotel but it has a full secretarial service, three private offices and a conference room. There is complimentary wi-fi and internet access throughout the hotel.
There are a number of different meeting rooms and venues. For an outside reception the Sun Terrace offers a stunning venue with views across the harbour. The largest room is the Salisbury Room and foyer which is capable of handling everything from a meeting for 150 to cocktails for 300. There is a choice of other meeting rooms and also some suites than can be used for meetings. The China Clipper with its aviation theme, which is used as a waiting area for the helipads, is also an interesting and stunning venue for a board meeting, cocktail or private dinner.
Leisure facilities: On the 7th floor is the fitness centre with Life Fitness equipment and weights. There is also a sauna, steam, whirlpool and cold plunge. On the 8th floor is a covered swimming pool and sun terrace where snacks can be served. Both are open from 0600 to 2130 each day. The hotel also operates a spa by ESPA on the 7th floor with treatments inspired by European, Oriental and Ayurvedic infuences.
Verdict: A comfortable spacious room with Peninsula’s trademark investment in technology. Attentive staff and great views of Hong Kong.
HOW MANY ROOMS: 300 rooms including 54 suites
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS: A good size room, well thought out with what was once the latest technology still doing a good job
PRICE: Internet rates for a midweek stay in December started from $3,880HKD (£313) for a Superior room
CONTACT: The Peninsula, Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2920 2888