History The Peninsula Present The Peninsula

Hong Kong's legendary historic hotel - The Peninsula. In 1928 (left) and today.

The Peninsula

'I feel like a million dollars!' became the immortal first impression of a lady walking through the corridors of The Peninsula at the inauguration on 11 December 1928. After several delays, The Peninsula was officially opened for the public by His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government, the Hon. Mr. W.T. Southorn, C.M.G. Doubtless very much due to the effort of the groups managing director J.H. Taggart.

How the Stage was Set


Reception Area

1928: Opening year.

1948: Leo Gaddi is appointed as manager. Five Years later in December

1953, the finest restaurant at the hotel should be named after him.

1970: A fleet of eight Brewster Green Rolls Royce Silver Shadow is acquired for The Peninsula. It was the largest single order Rolls Royce had ever received.

1997: Hong is returned to China (in the "Treaty of Nanking" Hong Kong was declared a British Colony on 26th June 1843).


1868: The Hong Kong Hotel opens - it is Hong Kong's first luxury hotel. 1900: Hong Kong has a population of arround 300,000 1921, March: The plan to build The Peninsula hotel is first disclosed at a meeting of the Hong Kong Hotel Co.Ltd. by it's managing director J.H.Taggart. 1923, April: The Hong Kong Hotel Co.Ltd. takes over the Shanghai Hotels Ltd., probably the most important step in the history of the company, now called The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd. REPORT IN "LONDON DAILY EXPRESS": Chinese subscribers who flirt over the wire with the telephone girls more than 3 times will have their number cancelled...

1926: A year of unexpected trouble. China is torn by civil war, leading to enormous setbacks in the turnover of the companies hotels in Peking and Shanghai. A strike in Hong Kong affects the construction of the Peninsula. Despite all these difficulties work progresses satisfactorily and is close to completion.

1927, February: The troubles in China escalate and The Peninsula accommodates her first guests. Not the international High Society, but the British 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards and a battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. These troops were sent from Britain to form part of the Shanghai Defence Force and to protect the colony.

1928: Kai Tak Airport is under construction April: The situation in China calms down and the troops leave The Peninsula. Now work resumes on the interior fittings, decoration and furnishing.

1928; 11 December: Finally The Peninsula is officially opened for the public by His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government, the Hon. Mr. W.T. Southorn, C.M.G. Doubtless very much due to the effort of the groups managing director J.H. Taggart.

1936: Air links with Britain via Penang, Pan Am flies across the Pacific to Hong Kong. 1941: Japan's unexpectedly active participation in World War II brings the peaceful life in the colony to a sudden end. On December 8th Japanese troops crossed the border into the New Territories. By Christmas Day they had occupied the whole Colony. The Peninsula now becomes the Japanese headquarters and it was there that the commander of the British Forces, General C.M. Maltby and the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young, formally surrender. 1942, April 23: the Japanese 'war-'management changed The Peninsula's name to "Toa (East Asia) Hotel". It opens for business on April 23rd. One of the resident guests is the Japanese Governor of Hong Kong, Lieut-General Rensuke Isogai. 1945: The war is over and in August Hong Kong returns to British rule. The hotel is requisitioned by the government to house refugees or those who lost their homes during bombings. 1946: The Peninsula is returned to her owners, The Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd. 1948: Leo Gaddi is appointed as manager. Five Years later in December 1953, the finest restaurant at the hotel should be named after him. 1949: Hundreds of thousands of refugees arrive in Hong Kong to escape from the newly-formed "The Peoples Republic of China". 1952: The Korean war: once again The Peninsula was host to H.M. Forces. In this year the armed services agreed to move to their quarters across Hong Kong (to the Repulse Bay Hotel). 1953: Gaddi's opened. A milestone in gastronomic high class is set. "The best restaurant east of Suez" is created! 1954: The Grand Old Lady of the company, "The Hong Kong Hotel",closes. The Peninsula becomes the flagship of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd. 1960s: The Peninsula undergoes a five year programme of renovations. Cost: HK$ 26 Million. 1966: Hong Kong has the third largest trading fleet in Asia (after Japan and India) 1966/67: The effects of the Cultural Revolution in China are felt in Hong Kong. Riots and other disturbances are caused by Chinese communists. 1970: A fleet of eight Brewster Green Rolls Royce Silver Shadow is acquired for The Peninsula. It was the largest single order Rolls Royce had ever received. 1970s: Hong Kong continues to develope to its role as the major trade and financial center of Asia. She also develops her industries in the New Territories. 1972: The enormous project of the street and underground tunnel between Hong Kong and Kowloon is completed. 1975: Hong Kong population 4.2 million 1994: Extensive renovation and the addition of the tower brings the number of rooms to 300 opulently decorated rooms or suites, which retained its nostalgic charm despite having the most advanced technological innovation. Extensive spa facilities now include a full harbor view Roman-style swimming pool, sun terrace, gymnasium, beauty and hair dressing salon. A fleet of Rolls-Royce limousines, as well as helicopter service are ultimate transfer options offered by the hotel. 1997: Hong is returned to China (in the "Treaty of Nanking" Hong Kong was declared a British Colony on 26th June 1843). 2002-2003: While the actual 75th anniversary falls on 11th December 2003, a year of celebrations is launched on 11th December 2002.

To name just some of the VIPs who have graced the hotel over the years:

Movie Stars Eddie Albert Julie Andrews Gene Autry Catherine Bach Stanley Baker Warren Beatty Candice Bergen Honor Blackman Marlon Brando Yul Brynner Lynda Carter Charlie Chaplin Dick Clark Joan Collins Kirk Douglas Richard Egan Britt Ekland Douglas Fairbanks Margot Fonteyn David Frost Clark Gable Cary Grant Peter Graves Gene Hackman Susan Hannaford Gerald Harper Rolf Harris Rex Harrison William Holden Rock Hudson Jennifer Jones Danny Kaye Lila Kedrova Brian Keith Richard Kiel Nancy Kwan Christopher Lee Sophia Loren Shirley McLaine Jayne Mansfield Sophia Marceau Mary Martin David McCallum Ali McGraw Steve McQueen Robert Mitchum Roger Moore Rita Moreno Jim Nabors Michael Palin Michael Parkinson Jack Parr Gregory Peck Sidney Poitier Cliff Robertson Heinz Rühmann George C. Scott Peter Sellers Dinah Shore Frank Sinatra Terence Stamp Sylvester Stallone Rod Steiger James Stewart Elizabeth Taylor Robert Vaugh John Wayne Dennis Weaver Emlyn Williams Robert Young

Writers Eric Ambler Malcolm Bradburry Arthur Clark James Clavell Noël Coward Allen Drury Russell Foreman Frederick Forsythe Milton Friedman Richard Gordon Joseph Heller Arthur Miller Stirling Silliphant Joplin Sinclair Tennessee Williams

Musicians Paul Anka Gilbert Becaud Pat Boone Sammy Cahn Culture Club (Boy George) John Denver Eddie Fisher Ella Fitzgerald Glenn Frey Elton John Peter Maffay Johnny Mathis Helen Reddy Cliff Richard Diana Ross Harry Secombe The Supremes Rod Stewart Bob Welch Andy Williams

Movies Directors Albert Broccoli Francis F. Coppola Blake Edwards Jim Henson Arthur Hiller Norman Jewison John Landis Howard Minsky Roman Polanski Harry Saltzmann John Schlesinger Darryl F. Zanuck

Sports Stars Muhammed Ali Bobby Charlton Jimmy Connors Terry Gale Yvonne Goolagong Chris Evert Joe Louis Graham Marsh John Newcombe Alain Prost Bernhard Russi Dick Smith Tom Watson

Classics Franz Allers Carmen Cavallaro Andre Kostelanetz Eric Leinsdorf George Lloyd Lorin Maazel Henry Mancini Andre Previn Buddy Rich Fou Tsong

Fashionistas Alexandre de Paris Pierre Balmain Rudi Gernreich Aldo Gucci Hanae Mori Emilio Pucci Philippe Starck Emanuel Ungaro

Politicians Senator Howard Baker, U.S.A. Ralph Bernardi Lord Mayor of Melbourne Rt.Hon. Joe Clark Prime Minister of Canada (1979-80) Senator & Mrs. Robert Dole, U.S.A. Diane Feinstein Lady Mayor of San Francisco Geraldine Ferraro Member of Congress General James van Fleet John Glenn Astronaut & Senator Senator Barry Goldwater, U.S.A. Senator Arthur Ribicoff, U.S.A.

Prime Ministers, Presidents and First Ladies Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, U.S.A. Dr. Georges A. Chevallaz, Switzerland Mr. Arthur Chung, Republic of Guyana Sir Hammer de Roburt Nauru Sir Dawda and Lady Lawara, Gambia Lady Bird Johnson, U.S.A. Mrs. Imelda Marcos, Philippines Mr. Richard Nixon, U.S.A. Mr. Park Chung-Hee, South Korea Mr. Alessandro Pertini, Italy Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, U.S.A. Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno, Indonesia H.E.Lt. General J.R.Videla, Argentina Mr. Lee Kuan-Yew, Singapore Mr. Turgut Ozal, Turkey H.E. E.E. Ali Khalifa E. Al Khalifa, Bahrain Royalty HRH Princess of Wales The Maharajah of Jaipur Prince and Princess Peter of Greece Princess Margaret of Great Britain Prince Alfonso of Bourbon, Spain Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Great Britain Prince and Princess Constantin of Liechtenstein Princess Sonja of Norway Prince and Princess Hohenlohe King and Queen of Nepal The Sultan of Selangor Malaysia Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian of Sweden Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Grand Duke and Duchess Jean of Luxembourg The Begum Aga Khan Lord Patrick Lichfield Count Rylski (former King of Bulgaria) Princess Soraya Esfandiary of Monaco Princess Akeda Atsuko, Japan Prince and Princess Alixis Napolean, France and... Geoffrey Baverstock (Artist) Zino Davidoff (Cigars) Roy Disney (Brother of Walt) Hans Erni (Artist) Sir Malcolm McDonald 

How's this for a stocking filler? Rolls-Royce is celebrating its biggest ever-order for the Phantom after the Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong bought 14 bespoke examples of the long-wheelbase car in one fell swoop. The Peninsula Hotel has a history of huge Rolls-Royce orders stretching back to 1970, having bought 70 cars, and has specified a raft of changes for its latest fleet. A new design of screw was developed, for instance, to ensure there is no possibility that hotel guests' presumably very expensive luggage could be damaged in the boot. The boot is also 75 litres larger than the 460-litre norm to cope with the unusual amount of Louis Vuitton luggage that Peninsula guests no doubt travel with. There's also a cool box for the rear seats so guests can mop their brow with chilled towels as they watch DVDs on twin 12-inch screens. Air-conditioning controls have also moved to the armrest so passengers don't have to break a sweat when they adjust the temperature. Rolls Royce is unsure whether the Peninsula order is the biggest ever for the company. It suspects that a larger order may have been placed by the Co-op in the UK in the 1950s or 1960s. ------

Charles Chaplin arrived at The Peninsula with only his wife , very much to the surprise of Manager Felix Max Bieger, who expected a larger entourage. The reservation had been made for a 'two-bedroom suite'. When asked about this, the great comedian performed one of his famous pirouettes, stopped in front of Bieger and whispered: 'I snore and my wife hates it!' ------

One day Felix Bieger accompanied US movie star Danny Kaye in the lift to his floor. A lady looked at the actor very strangely: 'You look like Danny Kaye!' she remarked. 'Oh,' Kaye replied, 'many people tell me that!' ---- The Peninsula, Hong Kong, around 1970: It was already after midnight when a pair of regular customers entered Gaddi's, 'The Pen's' finest restaurant (with a stiff dress code) for a night-cap. Headwaiter Chan Pak spotted them and, to his dismay, had to inform them that they were inappropriately dressed since neither of them was wearing a jacket. "Sorry, gentlemen," he said, "but you cannot enter this restaurant with just a shirt and tie." He had hardly finished speaking when the two men immediately took off their ties and shirts and stood half naked, whilst being applauded by the entire restaurant. Then they got dressed and beat a hasty retreat. --------

Urs Aeby (GM 1987)
Eric Waldburger (GM 1989)
Felix Max Bieger (GM 1990)
Peter Borer (GM 1994)
Ian Coughlan

137/19 Rooms

Individually controlled air conditioning Remote-controlled electric curtains Multipurpose bedside control console Separate luggage area with luggage rack Outside temperature and humidity indicator Fully stocked minibar Radio and flat screen TV with central speaker system TV with video camera playback function TV with local and international satellite channels CD / VCD / DVD player Comprehensive collection of music CDs and DVD movies available on request Separate bedside and desk telephones All telephones are dual-line with speaker function Interactive voicemail system on telephones Silent fax machine (send and receive function) Direct in-room private fax number Dual voltage (110-240) power sockets at desk Dual-system data line socket at desk

The 26th-floor suite at the Hong Kong Peninsula was built with spooks in mind. Since many of the visitors to the suite are diplomats and heads of state, both the CIA and MI5 were consulted on the design to ensure maximum security. While we can't confirm whether or not the room is bugged, the room has direct access to the hotel's helipad for quick getaways, and there is also a security guard's room down the hallway. (The hotel can't reveal what else the CIA and M15 suggested, due to security reasons.) The Peninsula Suite starts at $5,000 per night Guests of the suite also have access to a 24-hour butler and a Rolls-Royce on standby. The suite has one master bedroom but can be converted to a seven-bedroom spread with adjoining rooms. The rooms are sleek and modern, with double-height ceilings and liberal use of pale, natural materials such as marble and limestone. The windows in the sitting area are floor-to-ceiling and offer views of the city, and the suite also has a fitness room, private study, dining room and kitchen as well as a terrace.

Gaddi´s (french) ------
Verandah Grill (continental) -----
Spring Moon (cantonese) ------ Chesa (Swiss) ------

Lobby (snacks and drinks) ------ Imasa (Japanese)

Eat the best food in town. Take in the breathtaking vistas of Hong Kong's legendary harbour from the hotel's new tower.

The hotel has a roman-style swimming pool and spa with a wide range of exercise facilities.

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Our Select Member Hotel

The Peninsula
Country: China
City: Hong Kong
Opening date: 1928

Note from the Host

General Manager

Ms. Rainy Chan


Salisbury Road
Kowloon China, Hong Kong

Tel: +852 2920 2888
Fax: +852 2722 4170exec office 2311 71 07

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