Time to return to Hong Kong, and its much-loved The Peninsula (even though, as the gal knows, the GM is away). The Rolls-Royce, Peninsula Green of course, glides silently up to the front door. A glance to the right reveals the record-breaking 1933 Brooklands Napier-Railton, commissioned by the English driver John Cobb, which is also visiting here – it is overnighting for two nights, lucky thing, but it has to stay out in the forecourt. It has 24/7 security, and no-one is allowed past the red velvet cordon, though apparently if anyone did want to take it they would have to push it, rather than drive it away. Earlier in the evening a cocktail, hosted by the Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie, introduced the Napier-Railton to local car fanatics.
They are always doing special things, here at The Peninsula. For many years the hotel has boosted pink, all October, to increase awareness of breast cancer (it is marvellous how many other hotels, say Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jakarta, are following suit). This year, Peninsula Hong Kong kicked off its month with a gala auction, September 29th, 2015, co-organised with Christie’s. In all, HK$735,000 was made for the Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry. Lots included a two-day educational at L’ECOLE Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris, including a pair of Cathay Pacific Business Class seats, there and back, and a room at The Peninsula Paris. Also donated was a visit behind the scenes at the Coliseum in Rome, which is being restored to the tune of some €25 million by Tod’s owner Diego Della Vale, and a pair of made-to-order Gommino Club moccasin driving shoes
Among many other events coming up here shortly is All About Bond at The Peninsula, to coincide with the release of Spectre. The exhibition features James Bond photos by Terry O’Neill, who will be here in Hong Kong for the launch on November 4th, 2015. Sadly I am missing all these events. Tonight the Porsche Rimowa and its owner have been whisked up to a 25th floor suite, with sensational views over the harbour to Hong Kong Island. 2507 is the Red Phoenix Suite and it is oh so soothing, softest mushroom colours, with unique burnished metal silhouettes of blossom literally pinned on to one wall in the salon. I have more pink flowers. The mushroom leather top of the massive desk holds all the necessities, like a jackpack and international sockets, and, somewhat incongruously – but jolly useful – a cutglass bowl filled with different colours of elastic bands. A big tablet is balanced in a holder, next to a telephone with VOIP calls in case I want to call home, or anywhere, immediately.
Since The Peninsula‘s technology is the most customer-friendly on the luxury circuit, I am going to give this tablet a try. Although it works in 11 languages it is fortunately already programmed in English. I find basic information, including the time, and a reminder of my room number. Under Services I press In Room Dining. This takes me to Breakfast, All day dining, Chinese à la carte – knowing this company there is also a midnight menu somewhere. All day offers Soups and so on, Pasta (yes, a whole section), Asian selection, Sandwiches and burgers, Main courses and Desserts. Holding my breath, I decide on #310, Asparagus and bay spinach salad, available 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and from choice of pastas, a full portion size, #313, of spaghetti. Should I go for the spicy Puttanesca tomato sauce, Marinara tomato with seafood, Bolognese, Aglio, Carbonara or Napoletana, simple fresh tomato with olive oil and basil? That is the one I choose. I dine, looking out across the harbour to Hong Kong Island. This luxury hotel makes me feel I am back home.