Sometimes a few single pointers show what real luxury is when it comes to hotels. The right kind of car helps – this is one of the fleet of Peninsula Green Rolls-Royces in that company’s Hong Kong stable (or rather garage). The interiors are caramel leather and the WiFi, as one would expect, is instant and no-password. The gal was met, by an airport greeter, right at the plane door, whisked through immigration and straight through customs, to be handed, as if a parcel, and a fragile one at that, to Peninsula staff, and down in the airport’s limo lobby the car was already waiting, rather than having to wait for it.
Luxury is also getting the senses right. The dinner buffet in The Verandah puts out just the minimum of all foods on offer, and then replenishes – I had forgotten how absolutely delicious boiled beef can be, in fact it was so tasty I asked for a second piece. The buffet looked good and, by golly, it tasted good, too. The bathroom of room 2107, the Great Lake Suite, has an art arrangement beyond the tub, with ESPA bathing oil and a nosegay; open the oil, which says ‘please smell, and use and experience’ while the flower display says ‘please look, and smell’ – and enjoy.
Flowers are essential in every top-quality hotel, as they are at one’s home. I was going out for my morning run – of which more later – as they were tweaking arrangements in the hotel’s famous columned and gilded lobby. Just as I had seen at The Peninsula Paris a couple of weeks ago, here is an early-shift floral specialist, meticulously grooming an arrangement. Perhaps this dawn floral exercise is now a company standard. If so, it is a smart move as guests coming and going at that hour are more likely to notice. Later in the day the lobby will be full.
I meet up with Rainy Chan, who runs this hotel. This is her year. She has a milestone birthday, she has been a hotel GM for ten years, and this August she was accoladed, at the fabulous Virtuoso event in Las Vegas, as Virtuoso’s hotelier of the year. Oh what an honour, she says, especially for all her colleagues at this luxury hotel. The Peninsula Hong Kong is remarkably humble.