Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hong Kong - The Peninsula Hotel

Thanks again to my dear friend, Cecilia, who has offered to guest blog on another of her fabulous honeymoon destinations. Here is what she had to say about her stay at The Peninsula Hong Kong:

Hong Kong is a classic among Asian destinations and served as the perfect stopover on our long journey to Australia. The city is full of new, modern hotels with all possible international hotel chains present, but really, there is no better place to stay than The Peninsula. Although we arrived on a very early flight from Europe (6.30 AM!) once we got to the hotel a beautiful room with a skyline view was already awaiting us, and we were served complimentary green tea and welcome drinks.

The hotel is truly legendary. Although one of the most historic hotels on the island, as it opened in the late 1920s, the inside has been fully renovated in keeping with that colonial feel we loved so much. Located on the island of Kowloon, the hotel has amazing views over Victoria Harbour and Central Hong Kong. To enjoy the view at its best, lounge by the pool on the 8th floor, have a drink at the Felix Bar, or indulge in a spa treatment.

Another plus of staying at the Peninsula is the afternoon tea. If you like this English tradition, the Peninsula afternoon tea is the best in Hong Kong. Be warned: locals and expats book days in advance, especially on weekends. The hotel hosts a number of famous restaurants as well, from Chinese to French, but my favourite is the Felix bar designed by Philippe Stark where you order from an IPad!

The Symphony of Lights (light show of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights performing a stunning, unforgettable spectacle synchronised to music) takes place every night at 8PM (weather permitting) and it's worth watching from Felix, or other areas of the hotel with a view of the harbour.

The spa is truly wow! I have seen quite a few spas in my travels all around the world and, I must admit, I love indulging in massages, but this spa is really breathtaking. I would dare to say that, location-wise, this spa is my absolute favorite anywhere. Not only is the ambiance serene and relaxing (and brand new!), but every massage room has the most amazing view of the whole city of Hong Kong. Even the steam room/sauna area (complete with complimentary Evian bottled water and ice to cool down) and relaxation area enjoy the view!  I wanted to buy one of those amazing organic super healthy oils they use on you, but my serious lack of luggage space wouldn’t allow!

The lobby bar holds that colonial flare with pale yellow and baroque ceilings and palms. On the ground floor there is one of the most luxurious fashion arcades in the city with all the top brands you can think of: Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, etc. I flipped for the Peninsula engraved Goyard luggage!! There is also a Peninsula brand store selling mainly food goods as well. Do not miss a walk on the mezzanine level where all the jewellery stores are located, including the legendary GRAFF. As if you needed an excuse to shop, Hong Kong is the reign of tax free shopping!

While in Kowloon do not miss out on the famous "Jade Market". Though I am not sure all that you can see there is real jade, the affordable prices and fun atmosphere make it worth a stop. Also freshwater pearls are pretty nice and, with a ten-euro-price, will look even nicer once you wear them at home!

And last but not least, although the train ride to and from the airport is very comfortable and convenient (€ 8), indulge in a ride to the airport in one of the 14 famous Long Wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms painted in the hotel's signature green. These beauties are parked outside the hotel for you to admire! Once you get to the airport a valet will meet you to carry your luggage all the way to the check in desk, and for once, you will feel like you are enjoying the lifestyle of the rich and famous!

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