You glide rather than walk when arriving here, at this Kowloon icon, The Peninsula Hong Kong. The Rolls-Royce, in that dark Peninsula Green that aficionados know so well, purrs up to the front door. The reception party is never overbearing – say three people, immaculately attired in black and white and not a single hair out of place – welcomes you, escorts you through a lobby soaring to the top of its 20-metre-high columns. You are whisked past front desk and turn left to the elevators before you realise your Rimowa wheelie has been kidnapped.
It is always a surprise that a hotel that feels as intimate as this actually has just under 400 keys (397, to be precise). Upstairs, ideally in a -07 end suite, a natural display of fresh flowers complements absolutely perfect fruit and today’s newspapers, so pristine they must have been ironed. Even before I am asked if I would like welcome tea, my baggage arrives, and is placed, as carefully as a baby, on one of the many shelves in the walk-in closet, which is actually a separate room twixt bedroom and bathroom. No, please leave me.
I explore the suite, find the cat-flap for dispatch of dirty clothes for laundry, and the built-in dryer for what will soon be my just-done nail polish. Typically Peninsula, I can find everything, easily, and the landline phone offers free telephone calls back to Sydney or even a distant Sudan outpost. Signage throughout the suite is electronic and would have been switched, pre-arrival, to Japanese, Korean or whatever, if appropriate.
My ideal day here would include an early gym workout before showering ready for one of the world’s most elegant buffets, on the first-floor terrace. Every server wins 10 out of 10 for deportment and grooming as well as thoughtful, anticipatory service.
My morning would include inspecting some of the boutiques in the wings that flank the lobby. Lunch might be at Gaddi’s, an institution, named for the hotel’s first GM, Leo Gaddi, that dates back to 1953. The afternoon is already booked for a swim in the 18-metre pool, before heading down one floor to the 7th-floor gym.
Perhaps my evening starts with a cocktail at Salon de Ning, and dinner is definitely up in the top-floor casual-fun Felix, named for company legend Felix Bieger – of course I am seated by 8pm, in time to look across the harbour to the nightly multi-coloured laser show over Central. And for dinner, you might ask? I hark back to one of the most memorable meals I have eaten at this hotel, a beef and oyster terrine, and then spaghetti with truffles. I would probably choose Peninsula’s own-label wines, say a 2017 Chablis followed by a 2015 Pinot Noir.