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March 1, 2013updated Dec 20, 2023

The Peninsula Hong Kong Turns 85

By Chris Boyle

Peninsula Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hong Kong is embarking on a year of milestone celebrations to commemorate 85 years as the legend of Asian hospitality, having opened her doors for the first time on December 11, 1928, and having been graciously welcoming guests and patrons from all over the world ever since.

This year the hotel celebrates its 85th anniversary, with the special day itself on 11 December 2013. From March, a year of celebrations will be launched in tribute to the unique traditions of both The Peninsula and Hong Kong, the city where it was dubbed the “finest hotel East of Suez”, and has enjoyed a much-cherished 85-year relationship. The first of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels

(HSH) to bear the signature Peninsula name has seen both her own fortunes, and that of her beloved Hong Kong, inextricably tied. Witnessing Hong Kong’s rise from colonial trading port to bustling manufacturing hub, to become one of the world’s most dynamic modern metropolises, has mirrored The Peninsula’s own evolution as Grand Dame, maintaining her unique role in China’s history as the reigning embodiment of luxury hospitality, refined service and rarefied glamour.

From unveiling the exceptional new guestrooms of the Original Building in May, to celebrating 60 years of gastronomic excellence at Gaddi’s, a “Tribute to Hong Kong” at Spring Moon and a taste of the future at Felix; from the revival of the Afternoon Tea Dance in The Lobby, to “Glamour Time” at The Spa, and with a new Peninsula Academy program preserving the city’s disappearing crafts, The Peninsula aims to honor her legacy to Hong Kong during this epic 85th Anniversary year.


Standing proud and boasting its inimitable heritage and a view firmly to the future, with a milestone facelift culminating in the unveiling of its landmark HK$450-million room-enhancement program, The Peninsula Hong Kong brings the joy of celebration to the city, starting with a series of Sunday delights and surprises beginning 3 March.


A beloved tradition dating back to The Peninsula’s opening in 1928, the Afternoon Tea Dance pays tribute to the hotel’s glamorous heyday, turning back the clock and reviving this charming tradition of yesteryear. Serenaded by a 10-piece big band, the Afternoon Tea Dance returns to The Lobby on the first Sunday of every month between March and November from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, with Afternoon Tea included, at HK$988 (subject to 10% service charge) per person.

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Just as Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 60th year on the throne, Gaddi’s celebrates its Diamond Jubilee as Hong Kong’s undisputed sovereign of fine French dining, highlighting a dual celebration for The Peninsula. Chef Rémi van Peteghem has created a commemorative eight-course Diamond Jubilee degustation menu to mark this historic milestone for Hong Kong’s original fine French eatery, which opened in 1953. Priced at HK$1,953 (subject to 10% service charge) per person, the menu features reinterpretations of French classics in the refined, gracious style that has made Gaddi’s such an established icon. Available on the second Sunday of each month, this exquisite gastronomic experience will be rounded off with elegant tableside guéridon silver service.


The Peninsula MINI Clubman will be traversing the city to bring fun and deliciously unexpected surprises, including bringing a taste of Hong Kong’s disappearing culinary heritage delights such the “airplane olive”, otherwise known as fei gei lam, to communities to reflect the legendary Grande Dame’s youthful spirit. These high-performance head-turners will be a delight for those who see The Pen MINI vehicles around town on the third Sunday of every month. Visit The Peninsula Hong Kong’s Facebook page to find out more


The Art of Celebration seeks to bring art performances to the heart of the hotel – in The Peninsula’s iconic Lobby. Working with exceptional organizations including the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation and talented artists, specially choreographed live performances will set the tone on the fourth Sunday of each month in 2013.


Scaling the heights of culinary excellence for the past eight and a half decades, in 2013 The Peninsula Hong Kong pays tribute to the finest dining traditions and evolutionary gastronomy. From the return of the Afternoon Tea Dance, to a gastronomic journey in homage to Gaddi’s Diamond Jubilee; from reinterpreting the city’s history at Spring Moon with the “Tribute to Hong Kong” menu, to finely crafted, classic cocktails such as “Johnny’s Legendary Screwdriver” at The Bar, the hotel is making the most of its culinary heritage. At Gaddi’s, rare Armagnacs by Maison Castarède have been exclusively acquired to correspond with milestone years in Peninsula history. At Felix meanwhile, future-forward gastronomic concepts set the scene for a new approach to culinary creativity at the hotel.


Three hours of unadulterated pampering set the scene for Glamour Time at The Peninsula, the Peninsula Spa’s 85th-anniversary special. At this idyllic oasis, indulgence begins with a Body Exfoliation, followed by a choice of Regenerating Eye Treatment or Oriental Head Massage to soothe the senses. The blissful relaxation continues with a 60-minute Aromatherapy Body Massage and an Intensive Facial, made complete with a poolside breakfast or lunch of light and healthy Naturally Peninsula cuisine, priced at HK$2,850 (subject to 10% service charge) per person.


Building on its 85 years as a global beacon of hospitality, The Peninsula Hong Kong in May proudly unveils a new collection of guestrooms, in the Original Building dating back to 1928. Showcasing the next level of in-room comfort with distinctive design touches and innovative guest focused technology, the unveiling of the guestrooms in the Original Building completes The Peninsula’s milestone room-enhancement program, defining the future of luxury with the world’s most personalized guestrooms. In 2013, 85th-anniversary commemorative hotel-stay experiences have been designed to offer guests the chance to immerse themselves in The Peninsula’s myriad selection of celebratory programs, while ushering in the hotel’s new era of personalized stays.


Hidden among the city’s skyscrapers and its busy window displays remain vestiges of the finest traditional Hong Kong craftsmanship and the city’s golden era of manufacturing. The Peninsula Academy’s Hong Kong Traditions Well Served program takes guests on a journey of discovery to meet the artisans of the city’s disappearing crafts, such as the creators of the bamboo-and-flower displays that adorn outdoor Chinese Opera theatres, paper-tearing artists, shadow-play masters and lion dancers. More than a learning experience, this experiential program supports Hong Kong’s disappearing crafts by contributing to their sustainability through education and awareness building.


With so much to celebrate, The Peninsula is also committed to giving back to the community in Hong Kong, the city with which it has enjoyed an 85-year love affair. Through fundraising efforts in partnership with like-minded charitable NGOs as well as meaningful staff volunteerism, the hotel is committed to supporting the needy during this milestone anniversary year.

The hotel’s Hong Kong-based beneficiary charities include Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses; St James’ Settlement Funeral Navigation Service, which assists the elderly with funeral preparations; the Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry, which supports high-risk breast-cancer programs by providing free access to genetic screening and consultations for high-risk cancer patients and their families; the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, through which the hotel will establish an incubating fund for social enterprises; and a newly founded Scholarship for Gastronomic Excellence in Dim Sum, created to preserve the disappearing art of dim-sum making by nurturing Hong Kong’s nascent culinary talent.


Paying homage to the inimitable history that began with The Peninsula Hong Kong, in November, The Peninsula Hotels premieres the sequel to the feature film Tradition Well Served. Produced by Elaine Marden, Tradition Well Served was originally conceived to record the genesis of The Peninsula Hong Kong, and released to mark the launch of The Peninsula Tower in 1994. Fast forward to 2013, this sequel will reveal new and fascinating facets of The Peninsula’s glorious past, underpinned by HSH Chairman Sir Michael Kadoorie’s far-reaching personal vision for the future.

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