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On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I had the chance to stay at The Peninsula Hong Kong, a hotel that had been on my must-stay list for ages. I’m definitely not the first person to go crazy over this glamorous property — it’s consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world by media like Travel + Leisure — and I’m certain I won’t be the last. I was hoping for amazing service, a comfortable place to rest and some pretty legendary tea, and am happy to say this stay surpassed all my expectations.
Although The Peninsula Hong Kong isn’t part of a points program, I was able to score some added perks by booking it through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Room rates here tend to hover around the $550 per night mark, and I paid for my one-night stay with my Platinum Card from American Express. With the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, I also received the following extras: breakfast for two at The Lobby restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 4:00pm late check-out, a 12:00pm early check-in (based on availability) and a $100 property credit to use during my stay. While benefits like this are typically available when you’re using the Amex Platinum or Business Platinum Card, note that these credits aren’t valid for use at Imasa restaurant, The Peninsula Boutique or the Peninsula Academy Program. Amex Centurion cardholders are also eligible to receive an upgrade and a $200 food and beverage or spa credit when booking a stay of at least two nights.
Having these added bonuses made my already luxurious stay even better. Here are eight reasons why I’m obsessed with the Peninsula Hong Kong, which may just be my new favorite city hotel.
1. It’s the Only Hotel in Hong Kong With a Private Helipad — Actually, Two Helipads
If you just can’t fathom taking a taxi or hopping on the train from the airport, The Peninsula Hong Kong just so happens to have twin helipads on the roof, making it easy for you to get between the airport and the hotel in style. A trip from HKG includes a Rolls Royce pick-up followed by a short drive to the Business Aviation Center helipad and a helicopter ride to the hotel. Prices for a one-way trip start at 26,500 HKD (~$3,394), while round-trip prices are 53,000 HKD (~$6,786) per person. If this is ever-so-slightly out of your price range, skip the helicopter and treat yourself to a ride in a Rolls Royce instead for 1,600 HKD (~$205) one-way or 2,900 HKD (~$371) round-trip, per person.
Helicopter tours of Victoria Harbor and the city center are also available from the hotels, starting at 9,995 HKD (~$1,280) for 15 minutes, 18,000 HKD ($2,305) for 30 minutes or 26,500 HKD ($3,201) for 45 minutes. There’s no doubt a Hong Kong helicopter ride would have offered epic views of the skyline, but I still decided to keep both feet on the ground this trip, besides the city is pretty windy, which can often make helicopter rides bumpy and uncomfortable. For now, I’ll stick to my Blade services in New York, which are much more cost-effective — a private helicopter ride from JFK to Manhattan starts at $1,095 one-way and if you crowdsource to join an existing one, rates can be as low as $295 per person, or $695 to start a new group trip. The views from the helipad itself, though, were fantastic, and I was able to get up there and survey the scenery.
2. Aviation Geeks Will Love the China Clipper Lounge
When The Peninsula Hong Kong opened 89 years ago, the Queen of the Skies was actually a flying boat: The Clipper. In 1936, the first Clipper touched down in Victoria Harbour with an important passenger — Juan Trippe, the President of Pan American World Airways — who spent the night at the hotel. Because of the property’s ties to such historical moments in aviation, the folks at the hotel decided to create a tribute to this flying boat aircraft in 1994, resulting in the China Clipper Lounge on the 30th floor, around the same time the helipads were built. The lounge’s Art Deco style is beautiful in itself, but it’s the special pieces that make it a haven for us AvGeeks. There’s a Hamilton Standard Propeller on one wall, a suitcase that once belonged to the founder of the Century Club and a fuselage panel for a Douglas DC-4 with a window that looks out over the Harbour. Keep in mind, though, that access to the lounge is limited to those who have booked helicopter trips.
3. You Can Order Anything You Need From an iPad
The last thing I feel like doing when I’m jet lagged and exhausted is ordering room service on the phone. The slow and monotonous reading back of orders kills me so I was thrilled when I realized I could order via the in-room iPad instead — note that when I was there, it only worked for breakfast and you still had to call for lunch or dinner service. I think every hotel should start outfitting its rooms with iPads so you can order anything you need and the margin of error would be much lower. Plus, the iPad was useful for other reasons — I could control the room temperature, lights and curtains, and could also use the device in English as well as 10 other languages.
4. Pretty Amazing Extras, Like a Nail Dryer and Steamer
I’m not one to paint my nails, but I found it absurdly luxurious that there was actually a nail dryer in the room in case you wanted to give yourself a quick manicure. The Peninsula really thinks of everything. At first I was surprised to see there was no iron and just a rusty old board in the room, so I called down to the main desk to ask for one — moments later, someone was setting up a steamer in my room. Très chic!
5. So. Many. Amenities.
I normally bring my own toiletries with me when I travel, but it’s so nice to have a variety of amenities, especially if you forget something essential like your toothbrush. I despise having to call and wait for things like a dental kit and think all luxury hotels should have them already in the room — ahem, St. Regis San Francisco, where you have to call and ask for one. I loved the sheer quantity of amenities like shaving cream, dental supplies, nail care items, hand sanitizer, vanity and sewing kits that came in addition to the Oscar de la Renta shampoo, soap, lotion and body wash, not to mention everything looked stylish and smelled great. The soap even came in a sophisticated red box and I had everything I could have needed for my one-night stay.
6. Each Room Comes With a Courtesy Box
Millennials, anti-social types, introverts or anyone who doesn’t want to talk to random people will love the courtesy box, a small unit built into the room so all deliveries — like laundry and shoes after shining — can be placed securely inside. It’s accessed only by staff, who pick-up and drop-off items here so you’re not disturbed at all during your stay. Because who wants to leave their expensive shoes in the hallway waiting for pick-up anyway?
7. Fabulous Location and Views
Some could argue The Peninsula’s Kowloon location in Hong Kong is inconvenient because you’re technically across the Harbour from the city center, but having views of downtown was fantastic. Plus, parts of Kowloon are home to cool night markets where you can get a more local taste of the city while still enjoying access to luxury shops and fine dining. I still can’t get over the amazing views, including the nosy robots who were always creeping up on me during my stay.
8. Sip on The Peninsula Champagne
Not many hotels can say they have their very own Champagne, but The Peninsula Hong Kong is one of the few that can. Its Cuvée Peninsula Brut is a special blend of 20 Crus, matured and aged to produce a sweet, fruity blend. Sip some at the hotel itself and if you absolutely have to have more, you can purchase bottles online via the Peninsula Boutique for 750 HKD (~$96) a pop.
I’m in love The Peninsula Hong Kong and can’t wait to return — I think it’s currently my top pick for favorite city hotel. Any property that combines new technology with classic luxury is a win in my book, after all.
Have you ever stayed at the Peninsula Hong Kong? What did you think of all the extras here? Sound off, below.
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