Established in the year 1928, The Peninsula is considered as the Grand Dame of the Far East. With its timeless elegance and world class hospitality, The Peninsula offers a perfect blend of the East and West in its culture. With its grand and luxurious setup, the rooms at The Peninsula are equipped with latest technology to make it more comfortable and user friendly. The Peninsula, with its Roman-styled swimming pools, a grand Peninsula spa, an in-house shopping arcade and greatest award-winning restaurants and bars, is considered as the legend of the East. Most importantly, talking about the Peninsula, one can’t miss to mention the 14-fleet Rolls Royce limousines used for luxurious airport transfers. This article tells you how to make the most of your 72-hours stay at the property. Since the hotel is centrally located, it allows you to explore the surreal beauty of Hong Kong whilst your stay at the best property of the East.
Arrive at the Peninsula, decided not to opt for one of their 14 strong long wheel base Rolls Royce’s and instead boarded the airport train to Kowloon. As we approach, our bags are taken, and we are lead through the lobby which is filled by the sounds of The Lobby Strings (the band which plays one level above). Check in was smooth, and we are escorted by the check in lady to our room where she explains all the ins and outs including one of the three tablets by the bedside. Although no sudoku, it does allow us to control the lights, curtains and temperature of the room – as well check dining and other options within the hotel. After trying one of their complimentary chocolates we unpack.
I use the VOIP phone, which as well as being able to call internationally for free, can call the spa to inquire about the gym facilities. Unfortunately, the gym is under renovation until mid-December, but they do have some basic equipment by the pool. Feeling lazy, we head out for a stroll around Tsim Sha Tsui and to find some lunch. As we head towards the exit, we think we may have had my most memorable hotel exit, if such a thing exists. With the band playing above, and the gentle clang of teacups in the lobby bar, the doorman swoops open the door letting the sun bounce off the marble. We decide on Goose Manor in Kowloon Centre which is somehow linked to the famous roast goose Yue Kee in Sham Tseng.
After a short rest back at the hotel, we head off to Hong Kong Island. A few minutes-walk away is Tsim Tsa Tsui MTR station which takes us straight to Central. There are lots of different eating/drinking options on Hong Kong Island, one of my favourites is Shady Oaks where we grab a couple of drinks. It’s a young and trendy crowd, so if that’s not your thing – the bar downstairs at the Grand Hyatt is a good option.
For dinner, we chose Mott 32. The restaurant is named after 32 Mott Street in New York, where the first Chinese convenience store in the city was opened. Mott 32 serves sophisticated Chinese dishes primarily from Cantonese and Szechuan flavours. We recommend the pork truffle quails egg siu mai.
To head back to the Peninsula, we thought it would be more fun to take the ferry. The ferry terminal is right next to the IFC mall, which also has some good places to eat. Although not fancy, Tim Ho Wan can be found there - where our favourite dish is the baked barbecue pork bun. The ferry takes around ten minutes, and drops you off within walking distance to the hotel. Once back to the hotel room, we found the room had been turned down, with slippers by the bedside and water restocked. One quite nice point about the turn down service is that the ice bucket had been filled, so if you fancy a night cap no need to call.
Breakfast is served on the first floor, at the Verandah. For such a large looking hotel, I’m not sure how many rooms exactly, it’s fairly quiet. A choice of coffee or tea is offered, and delivered quickly. There’s a good selection of options, western and eastern alike including a live noodle and omelette station. One thing the Peninsula gets right is the service, albeit unnecessary, your napkin is always folded and placed nicely when you return from the buffet. By the time we returned to the room, it had already been cleaned and we had been given more fresh fruit. Another quite nice point, the charging wires on the bedside table had been bound with a leather peninsula tag to avoid tangling as well as a screen wipe next to my laptop.
Leave the hotel for Lantau Island, to visit the Big Buddha Statue. The route is easy, take the Tsuen Wen line from Tsim Tsa Tsau MTR station to Lai King, and from there the Tung Chung line, to Tung Chung. Once exiting the MTR station it’s a short walk to the cable car terminal which takes about 20 minutes to Ngong Ping village. The cable car costs around $150 HKD (£15/$18) each way, although you can take a bus which costs a fraction, the view from the cable cars is stunning. Ngong Pong village feels like a bit of a tourist trap, with souvenirs and a Starbucks. I suggest heading towards Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha). Before going through the arches with the zodiac warrior statues, is a local café. The sign is in Chinese, and it is slightly set back from the path – it is famous for its dau fu fa (tofu pudding). Although, they also have other snacks like sui mai and seafood skewers. The steps up to Tian Tan aren’t as bad as I thought, although there were people taking a rest halfway up. If you so wish, you can purchase a ticket for a vegetarian meal with the monks at the base of the steps.
Arrive back at the hotel for a rest. Although the streets surrounding the Peninsula are littered with touts inviting you to their tailor, there are better options. If you speak Cantonese, or can find a translator – which can be arranged then a BaoTau is a good option which can be found in Mirador Mansion. These are basically tailors who outsource the garment production, often to Guandong. Most of them require you to bring your own fabric, which is suggested to ensure the quality. If this isn’t an option for you, there are many reputable tailors which can provide a service, often said to be equal to Savile Row but cheaper. For shirts, the famous Ascot Chang is a good bet, and for suits I would suggest WW Chan for a classic and Prologue for a more modern look.
Not wanting to venture too far from the hotel, we go to Eyebar in iSquare that is a few minutes-walk away. Eyebar is a rooftop bar with views over the whole of Hong Kong Island. However, we didn’t stay for more than a drink as the rooftop isn’t particularly big and had a few smokers. For dinner, we went to Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice. The Singaporean restaurant, after first opening up in Causeway Bay now has a branch in Kowloon. Not particularly fancy, but great food. For a more upmarket eatery I would suggest Felix, one of the Peninsula’s restaurants. Felix sits at the 28th floor, with clear views over the Hong Kong Island’s skyline. Serving modern European cuisine, and eclectic cocktails by Chef Gomez and mixologist Marko Petrovic, expect a meal here not to come cheap.
After breakfast we head off to Hong Kong Island, taking the Star Ferry over to IFC. From there it’s a short walk over towards The Murray Hotel where one can take the tram up to the Peak and Victoria Gardens. We opt for the harder option, to hike it. The Central Green Trail takes about 45 minutes to reach the peak, and is signposted well. Although not a long hike, it’s fairly steep. If you’re prone to sweating – I’d avoid it unless you wish to look as though you’ve taken a shower by the time you reach the top. There are a variety of cafes and restaurants at the peak, depending on whether you want a sit down meal or just to grab a snack. Our favourite is Rajasthan Rifles, an Indian restaurant in a colonial setting. I’d recommend getting a table outside, if weather permits.
The Peninsula were kind enough to offer a late 14:00 checkout, the normal checkout time is 12:00. After washing away the sweat from the hike we pack, and ask the bell desk to collect the luggage. The afternoon tea at the Peninsula is famous in Hong Kong, so we thought it would be worth a try. There was a decent selection of tea to choose from, or the option to add champagne. Overall, the food was good – but I think it’s much more worthwhile for the experience, than the food. After this, it’s time to leave. A short walk back to Kowloon station for the airport train to head home.