In this crazy world of
travel hacking miles and points there are some pretty amazing experiences that you can have for little to no money: double-fisting bottles of Dom Perignon in Singapore Suites Class, a Lufthansa First Class lounge that’s so exclusive that it’s actually an entirely separate terminal in Frankfurt, flying around the world in five days in First Class on a ticket that would otherwise cost $28000, etc.
But some things you have to pay for. This is one of those things.
The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong is one of the world’s legendary hotels, up there with the Raffles in Singapore and the Waldorf in New York. It’s not only luxurious but also played a big part in the colonial history of Hong Kong and southeast Asia. It’s well known for many reasons, among them their fleet of 14 Brewster Green Rolls Royce Phantoms for airport transfers and for hire.
As I planned my last-minute trip to Hong Kong, I surveyed the blogging landscape and didn’t see many Rolls Royce reviews so I decided to try it out for myself. Did I get it for free because I’m a blogger? Nope, I paid full price for it. The transfer from Hong Kong International Airport to the Peninsula Hotel cost me 1600HKD (about $200 USD).
At the airport
What I didn’t realize about the airport transfer experience is that it doesn’t begin in the Arrivals area, it begins at the gate. Just after I landed from my American Airlines flight from Los Angeles I was greeted by a friendly airport employee who had my name on a tablet. She promptly took my luggage from me and guided me to a waiting cart to drive me to customs. Granted this cart wasn’t a Rolls but it sure beat the long speedwalk to customs!
After going through immigration and customs (I didn’t check any luggage), I was handed over to Peninsula staff waiting in the Arrivals area, who took my luggage and walked me to the Limousine lobby. We went down an escalator making small talk and then I saw it: my Rolls Royce Phantom. It’s a custom extended wheelbase model painted in the Peninsula’s exclusive Brewster Green color.
The ride to the hotel
I stepped into the cabin of the Rolls Royce and was immediately enveloped in rich leather and wood finish. The driver presented me with a cold towel to refresh myself (since it was warm and humid that morning) and a bottle of water, both contained in the cooler underneath the seat. It was like a limousine but way nicer. Everywhere I looked there was something to open and something to play with, all draped in incredible leather and wood finish.
The driver turned on some music from the spa at the Peninsula (think typical spa music) which felt appropriate for the occasion. Everything was up to me though, we could’ve listened to whatever I wanted and I had complete control of the aircon for my section of the cabin. The legroom was absolutely incredible, I couldn’t reach the seat in front of me!
The ride was smooth and silent and took about 45 minutes. I was sitting there smiling like a moron the whole time but the driver was fun and engaged in conversation when I asked him a question (I imagine other customers would rather the driver be silent). His driving compartment looked nice but a typical Rolls Royce is not something you buy to drive, rather something in which to be driven.
There was something very special about pulling up to such a prestigious hotel in their signature vehicle. I know I enjoy the luxurious side of things but I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a poser stepping out of a Rolls Royce.
So was it worth it?
$200 isn’t a small amount of money, for sure. But let’s compare it to a typical luxury hotel’s airport transfer pricing in Hong Kong. If they send a BMW or Mercedes for you you’re probably spending $100-125, so $200 for a much nicer car isn’t much of a stretch at all. You also have to put that price in context: a night at the Peninsula hotel starts at around $500-600, so the airport transfer really didn’t seem like that crazy of an expense. In my opinion, if you’re already going to spend the money to stay at the hotel you might as well pay the money for the Rolls Royce!
What do you think? Would you pay $200 for an airport transfer in a Rolls Royce? Tell me in the comments below!