Sometimes the experiences we have often find their way into stories. This was certainly one of them:
Remarkably, the Peninsula Hotel experience began at the arrival gate.
The moment we stepped out of the air bridge and into the terminal building, a representative of the Hong Kong airport was waiting with a card with our name on it. She was there, with driver and electric car (sometimes called a golf cart) to ease our way through the immigration and baggage formalities.
No walking for us, which was fine by me. It’s a train ride and a long walk from the gate to immigration. And after all the sitting on the airplane, walking was not the first thing I was looking forward to.
The drive took a few minutes, slowed down by many other passengers walking towards the same destination, most wondering why two relatively young people like us (even if we are in our 60’s) were getting a ride.
After clearing immigration, which took very little time, and where there was a very short queue considering the number of arrivals they handle, we were met on the other side by our airport representative, and taken to the baggage carousel.
Another simple process, our bags were almost waiting for us. From there we exited customs, and out representative handed us over to the representative of the hotel. I thought he was the driver.
He took us through to the limousine lounge and directly to our car, a very clean shiny new looking green Rolls Royce, the ultimate in the airport to hotel transportation.
Inside it was immaculate, and astonishing, and very, very comfortable. I could image the Queen riding in the back of one. It took about 30 to 40 minutes, one of the quietest, most smooth rides I’d ever had, and worth every cent we paid for it.
The bucket list now has one less item on it.
The arrival at the hotel was effortlessly handled. We were met by two of the check-in staff and escorted to our room on the fourth floor.
There was just enough time to take in the amazing foyer, front entrance and twin staircases leading to a mezzanine floor, before getting into a waiting elevator and taken to our floor. As an aside, the mirrors in the elevator were like something out of a hall of mirrors, you look into the mirror and see dozens of yourself looking back.
It’s an effect I’ll have to take a photo of.
We have been upgraded, and out room is larger than the one originally allocated. It has a view of the Space Museum, the Veranda Cafe roof, and parts of Hong Kong harbor. It is overcast and raining so it does not matter about the view.
It’s Hong Kong, and that view will change every hour.
Formalities over, we are left standing in stunned silence.
We have arrived.
They say getting there is half the fun.
Or at least in the case of the Peninsular Hotel they are.
If just getting to the hotel via the signature Green Rolls Royce is any indication, there had to be a lot more in store.
We booked a room in the ‘old’ hotel and it was categorized as ‘deluxe’. The Peninsula adds a whole new meaning to the word Deluxe. If this was one of their lower priced rooms, then I’d love to see their better rooms.
But the room itself is not the sum of the experience; it is also the aura within the building, the service, which is quiet and unassumingly polite and unobtrusive. You are ushered from the front door, held open by a very elegantly dressed concierge, to your room without so much as a heartbeat.
The details, well, they are mere details that cause no concern, all taken care of before you arrived. We arrived early, before the advertised check-in, and this fazed no one. Room available, tired travelers sigh in relief, knowing a hot shower and several hours sleep would not be possible.
I was more than pleasantly surprised, and exploring the hotel would have to wait.
For a few hours anyway.