The Peninsula Hong Kong Review

Ok.  We’ve talked about being picked up by a Rolls Royce at the airport (complete with video), afternoon tea, and how I maximized the absurd amount of money it cost to stay there.  Logical follow-up question: how was the actual hotel?

Let’s find out.  But first, a caveat: I’m not crazy about my pictures from the Peninsula.  I take a lot of pride in the pictures I post of properties, I think it’s one of the things which sets me apart from other bloggers in this space.  So I apologize in advance.  Anyway, let’s head to the Peninsula.

Checking in

Checking in was the easiest part of the entire experience.  As I arrived in the Rolls one of the valets opened the door for me and waiting on the other side of that door was a kind gentleman who welcomed me to the Peninsula, introduced himself, and happily informed me that not only was my room ready but I had been upgraded to a higher floor.  He then escorted me directly to my room to complete check-in there.

I’ve done the in-room check-in thing before and it’s always a really nice touch.  The Peninsula had a special kind of grandeur though, which made it feel distinct.  Since this sort of property is far above and beyond a typical hotel I pay for I’m sure that biased me a bit, but oh well.

The Room

I was in room 2501, very close to the elevator (but this wasn’t a problem, I never heard any sort of noise from the elevator during my stay).  I’m always a sucker for a vanishing-point perspective shot, so of course I had to get a picture of the hallway looking all dark and classy.

I was in a deluxe room on a higher floor but facing away from Victoria Harbour, which was too bad.  That said, the view was still excellent, I just would’ve preferred a Harbour view, I think it would’ve been worth the extra money.

The bed was surprisingly firm but the pillows were probably the best I’ve ever slept on.

The room was set up with lots of cabinets and closets.  It had a desk area as well as a sort of vanity area with a pop-up mirror.

Around the room were a variety of amenities, among them a really nice coffee and tea station.

The TV was enormous and was concealed away nicely in a cabinet if you didn’t want to see it.

My room was in a bit of a unique configuration as I had a small hallway which led to the bathroom.  It wasn’t quite a suite but the hallway made it feel almost like one.  At the end of the mini-hallway was a shelf for me to set my luggage.

Now go back and look at the past few pictures and look on the wall.  Instead of having a Generic Wall Art Per Room like most properties you’ll see that the decor is frequent and well-placed.  It’s little things like that which add to the value of a stay at a property like this.  I mean yeah I know you don’t pay $600 to see random acts of interior decoration in a room but it was still nice.

The bathroom was expansive and lovely.  It reminded me of the bathroom at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi actually.

My favorite part of the room

Since the Peninsula is a bit of an older property I figured it would be sort of like staying at the Waldorf in New York City: great location but the rooms were a bit out of date and stuffy.  Nothing could’ve been further from the truth.  My absolute favorite part of staying at the Peninsula was the thoughtful use of technology at every turn.  Literally everywhere I looked there were touchpads instead of switches to control various aspects of the room.

Then there was the variety of inputs available for watching your own content on the TV or listening to your own audio through the sound system.

And then there were a couple of tablets smartly placed around the room which controlled your entire experience at the hotel, from all room controls to ordering room service to spa pricing, etc.  It replaced the enormous and dated Big Binder of Nonsense that you see at most hotels.

The technology was effective, useful, and smartly placed.  It didn’t intrude on the experience at all but it felt like it was there when you needed it but out of the way when you didn’t.  It was much more refined than some hotels which can feel a little HEY WE HAVE TECHNOLOGY LOOKIT but don’t execute it well.  The technology truly enhanced my experience.

The pool and gym (kinda)

The pool at the Peninsula sports a great view of Victoria Harbour (the pool at the Ritz probably has the best).  It also sports a very obvious NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED sign.  At high-end hotels like this there are plenty of staff around the pools to make sure everyone has what they need, or in my case making sure I wasn’t taking any pictures.  I managed to get a couple before an attendant politely asked me to put my camera away.  The pool was lovely and had a Roman bath feel.

The gym was similarly attended and non-photographyable.  It was an impressive gym and there are pictures online if you’d like to see (I know it’s inconvenient but to avoid copyright issues I generally avoid posting pictures that I find online since it’s so hard to find the true author of an image to request permission).  What I did get a picture of was the sun deck where they do yoga classes and the like.  It has a similarly great view of the Harbour.

Although it was hot and humid, the pool and gym are located high enough from the street level that you don’t really hear that much street noise, so I found it rather peaceful.

The property

The Peninsula has a massive and famous lobby decorated in a colonial theme hearkening back to British Hong Kong.  Many compare it to the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.  Either way, it has an Old World charm to it that is a nice respite from the typical ultra-modern efforts you see in Asian hotels (not that those are bad, this was just different).

At the front doors were pages dressed in white to open doors for you and all that, it felt very regal without being overbearing or in your face.

And, because it was Easter weekend, they had a nicely designed floor display of what looked like an homage to Peter Rabbit.

(for other pictures of the lobby area check out my review of the afternoon tea service here)

Breakfast at The Peninsula

Since I booked my stay through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts I received a complimentary breakfast.  I had heard great things about the breakfast buffet and was eager to try it out for myself.  One of the great things about my camera is its Silent Shooting function, where it can take a picture without making a sound.  It’s perfect for things like this where you want to take pictures without it being obvious that you’re doing so.

The entryway into the restaurant was massive.

I met the hostess and was seated after giving them my room number (the charges were applied to my room and removed during checkout).  Looking to my left I could see another section of the restaurant, which wasn’t crowded, although it was very early in the morning.

The restaurant was located a level above the lobby and had a decent view out to the street.

I made my way to the buffet area and whoa’d.

There were stations for each “genre” of food.  The selection wasn’t overwhelming or vast like the Park Hyatt Dubai but it seemed like the theme of the buffet was a decent variety of dishes cooked really well.

And then of course they had an Omelette Dude (probably not his official title).

After a great breakfast I made my way out of the restaurant, walked down the stairs, and went out to enjoy humid lovely Hong Kong.

What I missed

The Peninsula has a great bar on the top level called Felix (with an incredibly unique bathroom for guys) but I didn’t have a chance to visit it on this trip, as I met a friend (who happened to be in Hong Kong) for dinner across the street at the Sheraton.  I have been before and it’s a great bar with a perfect view of the light show at night, I highly recommend it.  I’ll go back next time.

Overall thoughts

Look, it was a lot of money to stay here.  $673 is a lot of scratch.  Hong Kong isn’t exactly known for cheap hotels, but there are a variety of boutique and chain hotels with which you can use points or pay a little less.  High-end chain hotels (the Conrad, JW Marriott, etc.) typically go for $300ish per night, while the high-end hotels like The Peninsula, The Upper House, and the Ritz go for $600-700 at a minimum.  I feel a bit disingenuous reviewing the Peninsula because I’m pretty far below their typical clientele in terms of the money I typically spend on hotels.  So I can’t really tell you whether it was worth the money or not compared to another hotel in this class.

can say that I felt like this stay was nicer than my stay at the Conrad the next night.  The service was polished, the property was immaculate, and everything felt tailored to me, even though it’s a very large property.  The breakfast was great, the afternoon tea was a fun experience just to say that I’ve done it, and the Rolls Royce airport transfer was absolutely phenomenal.  Using the Amex FHR benefits added a ton of value to my stay as well.  Overall, it was a phenomenal experience at a legendary hotel.  And, yes, I do believe I got a good value for the money I spent.  Maybe I’ll save up for a bit and stay here again…

 

Have you stayed at The Peninsula?  What did you think?  Out of all the posts from the Peninsula (Rolls Royce, Afternoon Tea, Maximizing Value, and this Review) which was your favorite and why?  Tell me in the comments below!

3 Comments

  1. I always love your photos. Good eye

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Have stayed many times and Just stayed last week via Amex fhr as well.

    Booked city view grand deluxe room (category right below harbor view) and was told harbor views aren’t eligible for upgrade. (Has been eligible every other stay) Had to pay an additional $150 for the new room. View is def worth it but it feels a bit like a bit of a bait and switch especially since fhr rates tend to be more expensive to cover benefits like room upgrades. In their defense they checked us in to the room at 8am which was a nice touch.

    Their arrival service is the best especially when they pick you up at the aircraft at HKG. I’ve done the rolls but s class is fine.

    Breakfast is great and Cantonese restaurant for dinner is excellent – 1 star Michelin. Make sure to order one of the teas as they serve it the proper Chinese way without over-steeping and leaving you a pot full of bitter tea (western style).

    Reply

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