A cool breeze is whipping at my face, scenery blurring into a haze of colour. A young man dives out of the way, his feet narrowly avoiding the wheels of our airport buggy.
Minutes ago we were disembarking a Cathay Pacific flight from Brisbane, and now we’re speeding through Hong Kong Airport with a hotel chaperone en route to immigration – then it’s on to The Peninsula Hong Kong.
Fast-forward 20 minutes and we’re experiencing the first of many “pinch me moments” in a signature ‘Peninsula Green’ Rolls Royce Phantom. We’re hesitant to touch any buttons, but their dull glow is calling out like a siren song. It doesn’t take long to give into temptation. One reclines my seat, the next pulls a curtain across my window… it’s all seriously high tech.
Weaving through Hong Kong’s bustling city streets, admiring the skill (and nerves of steel) of the chauffeur as he manoeuvres the million-dollar plus vehicle through narrow gaps in the traffic, I consider myself lucky to be just a passenger. If it were me behind the wheel, this car would be worthless in a matter of seconds.
Pulling up outside The Peninsula, a local icon since the day it opened in 1928, we pass a group of tourists taking photos of the hotel’s glittering fountain and facade. A white-clad doorman opens the door, and ushers us into the majestic hotel lobby. A cross between a grand theatre and a royal palace, the lobby exudes a feeling of glamour that’s rarely seen in modern hotels.
Check-in takes place in the living room of the suite, with views of the harbour and skyline as our backdrop. Once the room controls are explained (the technology wouldn’t be out of place on the Starship Enterprise), Kevin from reception leaves us to explore the cavernous suite that lies before us.
Located on the 21st floor, my Deluxe Harbour View Suite has all the trimmings of a large hotel chain, but thanks to smart furniture choices and a clever colour scheme the room has a distinct personality of its own. It’s a very tactile room, with many of the surfaces just calling out to be touched.
Furnished in shades of cream, white and chocolate, with richly textured walls and dark mahogany trims, the room is sublime. This isn’t a flamboyant suite by any stretch, the view provides more than enough of that, but rather one that relies on quality finishes and clever design to make a statement.
In the living room there’s a sizable timber writing desk in the corner, an L-shaped lounge and glass-top coffee table with petit fours and a bottle of orange juice, plus an integrated wall unit with a television and an automatic coffee machine. Delicate floral wall art above the lounge suite adds a bit of flair to the rather simply furnished room.
The bedroom features large picture windows with club chairs and a telescope placed directly in front, making it a perfect vantage point to watch the changing city lights. If I wake up early enough, I’m pretty sure I’ll be perching myself here to watch the sunrise.
Through a large doorway at the far end of the suite is a separate dressing room, followed by a marble-clad bathroom. The corner bathtub has sensational views out to the surrounding buildings, though I’ll need to lower the blinds before climbing in – wouldn’t want to shock the neighbours.
The suite controls are fairly simple to operate, with small touchscreens at each doorway to control the lights and temperature, plus tablets on either side of the bed that control everything from the lights to curtains, music and the TV. There’s also an extremely handy VOIP phone for making local and international calls over Wi-Fi.
Casting a critical eye over the room, it’s very hard to fault anything. I give it the old Mary Poppins test, wiping a finger over one of the windowsills, and there’s not a speck of dust to be found. The only real issue is that we only have just a single night here. Why didn’t we book longer?
After spending a good half hour exploring every inch of the room, the time comes to satisfy my hunger pangs. High up on the 28th of The Peninsula is Felix, a modern European restaurant and bar that commands jaw-dropping views of the city. The restaurant has an exclusive elevator from the ground floor, complete with funky lounge music, mood lighting and sexy timber panelling.
Décor is very eccentric, with the faces of hotel employees printed on the seatbacks, a world map on the carpet, and an Olympic torch-esque stairwell leading to a raised dining area. If you’re dining alone, the faces make it feel like you’re joined by a full party. The hero though has got to be that view. Simply stunning.
Staff are very knowledgeable of all the dishes, and Leo the sommelier is fantastic – though I nearly have a heart attack when I see pricelist for cocktails. It takes me a few moments to remember prices are in Hong Kong dollars, not Australian.
Each dish is like a work of art on an oversized plate.
Though the hotel itself is more than enough reason to visit, one of the perks of The Peninsula is its fabulous location, on Salisbury Road in Kowloon. Directly across the road from the hotel is the Avenue of Stars, the Hong Kong equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Hong Kong Space Museum. Tsim Sha Tsui subway station is accessible just outside the hotel.
Though our stay is just one night, The Peninsula leaves a real impression. If you’re planning a romantic rendezvous, or just feel like taking the luxury up a few notches, this is honestly one of the greatest hotels in the world.
-The writer stayed as a guest of The Peninsula.
When You Go
Cathay Pacific operates daily flights between Brisbane and Hong Kong.
Learn more about The Peninsula Hong Kong
Check live rates at Booking.com