A frenetic place on an average day, when both the film festival and Art Basel come to town simultaneously, the cultural pace of Hong Kong hits hyper-speed. So where do the elite of the cinema and art worlds crash when it's time to call it a day? An accommodation befitting one of the most coveted hotels in the world, The Peninsula Suite embodies luxury in every detail of its 4,111 square feet.
At more than $16,000 per night, The Peninsula Suite awes even the most seasoned luxury hotel guests with features such as a screening room and gym. Unveiled in 2013 after a 15-month refresh, this suite showcases the minimalist aesthetic and high-concept technology found in yachts, cars or private jets. On the 26th floor of The Peninsula Tower, the wonderment starts before the doors even open — a pair of silkscreens by American contemporary artist Pat Steir greets guests. The entry hosts a wooden sculpture by Chinese artist Sun Yi, and beyond finds a two-story living room with a panoramic view of Victoria Harbor. Within this grand apartment, there’s an antique Biedermeier sofa and baby grand piano, as well as a hand-blown Lasvit Bohemian glass chandelier suspended as if in flight, a Jolynn Krystosek sculptural paper cutting and a towering oil painting by New York artist Trine Bumiller. The manicured terrace is an ideal spot to take in the harbor’s nightly Symphony of Lights.
Adjacent to the living area, the dining room holds a burr-walnut table and 10 Poltrona Frau chairs. The centerpiece of the screening room is a Panasonic 85-inch flat-screen television with Klipsch surround-sound speakers, Denon amplifier and Velodyne subwoofer, as well as automated, reclining seats. The master bedroom features sculptural reliefs by London-based designer Helen Amy Murray and a closet much bigger than the average New York City apartment. The gym is equipped with Life Fitness body-sculpting equipment. Floor-to-ceiling windows punctuate every space.
Technology weaves subtly throughout the décor thanks to The Peninsula Hotel’s proprietary in-room electronics built by its Research and Technology Department. Bedside and desk tablets are pre-set in one of 11 languages, offering restaurant menus, hotel services, the PenCities virtual city guide and personalized TV and radio with noise-cancelling earphones. LED touch-screen panels located on the walls allow for full mastery of the space. Hidden behind access panels, find dual-voltage electrical power sockets with universal adaptors and chargers.
Amenities available to The Peninsula Suite include a Rolls Royce and a butler on call 24 hours a day.
When the mood strikes to leave this supreme setup, head downstairs to the Lobby, adorned with columns and gargoyles, and partake in the legendary tea served daily from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Sip the good stuff in cups of eggshell-thin bone China while eating smoked salmon, egg salad, chicken salad, and prawn and cucumber crustless finger sandwiches, followed by scones made from The Peninsula’s secret recipe, accompanied by strawberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream.
For dinner, take a break from the traditional and hit Felix, designed by Philippe Stark, occupying the 28th floor and named after Felix M. Bieger, a 60-year veteran of The Peninsula Hotels and three-time general manager. If you aren’t in the mood for a full dinner, opt for snacks and drinks and then maybe even a little dancing in the disco, known as “The Crazy Box," with a capacity of only 20. Felix’s balcony is another great place to catch the light show.
While there is no need to ever leave The Peninsula, here are some of the other spots to check out around the SAR.
Where to eat
In the trendy Wan Chai district, contemporary French restaurant Serge et le phoque recently received its first Michelin star and is indicative of the new wave of dining in Hong Kong. Owners Frédéric Peneau, Charles Pelletier and Christophe Pelé — the minds behind some of Paris’ most progressive restaurants such as Le Chateaubriand, La Bigarrade and Le Dauphin — envisioned a dining concept stripped of the “pretension of provenance and personalities.” French techniques fuse with Asian ingredients. Try the frozen coconut ceviche and seared pigeon with cockles, samphire and pigeon jus.
Where to grab a drink
Mr & Mrs Fox, part of Swire Hotels’ group, which operates the Upperhouse Hotel, a favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow, is a cocktailians dream. The three-story restaurant/bar offers a different experience on each level, ranging from the bottom-floor Mrs Fox, to the middle-floor Mr Fox, to the upper-level Den. Rustic and ritzy, the build-your-own gin and tonic menu is a refreshing way to dive into the night ahead. mrmrsfox.com
What to see
Ten notable Hong Kong artists such as surrealist Frog King, yarn-bomber Esther Poon and illustrator Bosco Law unveil “Time & Scale” on March 21. A public art display on the construction wall surrounding the H Queens building in Central Hong Kong, each artist answers the question of what it takes to make or change a culture. H Queens will open in 2017 and is being touted as a new artistic hub with galleries and exhibition spaces.
Taiwanese airline Eva Air, part of the Star Alliance, operates three flights a day from Los Angeles to Taipei and six flights a day between Taipei and Hong Kong. Depart LAX after midnight and arrive in Taipei to catch a morning flight to Hong Kong. Their newest 777 aircraft have inflight wifi and global roaming. Plus, they serve Krug Champagne in business class and give flyers the opportunity to select meals 24 hours in advance. While making the Hong Kong connection, Eva has two lounges from which to choose: the Star and the Infinity. Resembling that of a cruise ship with mirrored walls and neon lights, the Infinity lounge has themed shower rooms. evaair.com