It is pink time at all Peninsulas – and many other hotels. October is when they champion breast cancer research, and very commendable it is too. Rob Cheng, who heads marketing, and brand promotion and all communication for The Peninsula properties, stands here in front of one of The Art of Pink works the company has commissioned from Chen Man, who is obviously a most creative lady. Buy a backscratcher from the hotel concierge, all proceeds going to charity, and scratch a bit of the pink away until you find the artist’s signatures. At the end of the month, the artwork will be auctioned for charity, but the gal suspects that some of the pinkness, exemplified by the gorgeous flowers above.
To get an immediate bit of exercise, I took the elegant stairs up from the lobby to a retail floor, lured by a painting in the Graff window ahead (it reminded me of memorable photos in the lobby of PUBLIC in Chicago which feature women with tonic water cans as supposed hair-curlers – interesting that that hotel, designed by Anda Andrei and Ian Schrager, is now also owned by Gaw Capital, the company I was writing about yesterday). The retail within this 300-room hotel is really extensive, set not only here, above the lobby, but in two flanking arcades, above and below ground, and there is much more working together, with the hotel promoting retail and vice versa, than at some other hotels that have shops attached.
Continuing the pink story… as well as the Chen Man at the rear of the lobby, and pink flowers everywhere, afternoon tea is themed pink. I am sitting with Winvy Leung, the young lady who lives the brand of this lovely hotel just as much as its GM, Rainy Chan – who is away – and its long-time chef, Florian Trento. Winvy Leung is hosting tea-for-two and it is a leisurely affair. Why? I suspect because they were trying to find a single silver candle, to make one of the curate stand’s bite-sized cakes into a birthday cake for her. OK, now I know what that tiered thing is called, but why is still a mystery, although an Irish site says that there, at least, scones were always placed on the top layer, with a dome atop to keep them warm. Savouries and tea sandwiches go in the middle, and cakes and other sweet items on the bottom tier.
Certainly this is a luxury hotel that does everything right. My welcome, in lovely suite 2407 – see the video below – included guacamole and cruditiés as well as blueberries and bananas. All functions in any room here are easy-see, easy-work, newspapers arrive via a valet-box cat-flap, and cleverly there is a pull-out shelf under the big safe for storing your Tiffany tiara while closing the safe again. Of course there is a company-signature portable nail dryer, and of course both washbasins have illuminated magnifying mirrors. At breakfast on the Verandah, looking out over the courtyard, with some of The Peninsula’s Brewster Green fleet of Rolls-Royces, and its Mini Coopers, I ask for coffee, and it comes in an elegant silver pot with a teacosy-type fabric handle wrap to stop my fingers getting burned. Another way of preventing burned fingers, by the way, is by inserting ivory wedges at the top and bottom of the handle, but fabric wraps are much more stylish, and this is a hotel that oozes style, with fun (Winvy Leung says a partnership with BAFTA, in London, means they now show monthly movies out on the seventh floor sun terrace).