Cathay Pacific Airlines provided the travel component. The terminals at Chek Lap Kok are vast and stepping from the air bridge into the terminal revealed this simple fact. The moving footways provide some respite from a long walk, however, on this occasion it was unnecessary. A gentleman in a red jacket displayed a sign bearing names. Taking hand- baggage he loaded it onto an electric buggy and sped the visitors through the alighting passenger to Immigration. The procedure was quick and the buggy waited at the baggage carousel.
Baggage collected and identified by staff and the buggy deposited the passengers at a Brewster Green; in Hong Kong known as Peninsula Green, Rolls Royce Phantom who’s driver expertly steered the magnificent vehicle to the main entrance to the Peninsula Hotel in Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon some thirty Kilometre’s from the airport.
The transport was luxury in itself, but much more was to come. Baggage was not an issue and immediately forgotten. The senior concierge guided the guests through the busy ornate lobby to a private elevator . Whisked to the fifth floor of the old building arrival at the reserved suite was a mere forty minutes from the time of exiting the flight. Arrival registered the suite facilities were explained.
A quick refresh and it was time for some liquid refreshment and room service was not an option at that stage. On the first floor, opposite the Veranda Restaurant, The Bar was inviting to say the very least. Fenn, the Bartender expertly mixed and presented cocktails the customer selected from a comprehensive menu. Not only The Bar staff, but staff in general, excel in attending to guests. Seek directions and they will escort you there. Another example is service in the Lobby. Food from the kitchen for diners in the Lobby Restaurant arrives and is inspected by the maître’d. If it does not appear up to standard it is returned for replacement.
First thing next day there was some shopping to do. This meant heading for shops a little over a block distance. Some purchases were made in shops in the huge complex on Gateway Boulevard then down into the depths of Kowloon to the MTR; the Mass Transit Railway. The object; to buy Octopus tickets to enable use on the MTR, Star Ferry, Peak Train and other venues. A necessary accoutrement for visitors.
The nether regions of Hong Kong are something that visitors need to sample. Below the city are bright and airy shopping boulevards that extend for huge distances. They are filled with shops retailing anything that could be expected in the downtown CBD of any city. From the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, it is possible to walk to the Tsim Sha Tsui East Station. The Peninsular Hotel is no exception. It too has shopping Malls on the mezzanine and above. But go down into the depths and find the malls lined with brand name stores; the most famous names displayed. One is the Peninsular Boutique and offers a huge range of quality chocolates and Pralines that can be purchased online. To say they are exquisite is an understatement.
But wait, should not the guests be participating in luxury in the Peninsula Hotel? An important function that evening was across town in Hung Hom, toward the old Hong Kong airport.
The concierge at the front of the hotel hailed a taxi and a white uniformed Bell Hop opened the doors and assisted the passengers inside.
As added protection for guests, the hotel take the registered number of taxi’s and suggest the amount that is reasonable for the journey. The destination, Tower One, Grand Waterfront, San ma tau Street, Kowloon was the venue for a dinner. Chinese tea was being served as the guest of honour arrived. The visitors had attended a dinner on the Gold Coast of Australia several days earlier. It was to celebrate the twenty-first birthday of Stephanie before she left for Hong Kong.
Stephanie and her grandfather Andrew entered the restaurant. Both stopped at the site of the two visitors seated at the table. Andrew literally pushed his granddaughter aside and rushed to hug long-time friends. Stephanie was in shock when she arrived at the table to follow her grandfather with hugs. Could this be proof that one can hide in a city of eight million; and still be found? After twenty minutes, Steph wiped away the final tears and called her mother and father in Australia on Skype.
Hiding in Plain Sight
The media of Australia and Travel Agents bombard the public with offers of holidays in luxury. Warm sands, blue seas, swimming pools, food and service are offered in abundance. While life in these Gulag’s may be a breeze; surely there is something better on offer.
With these thoughts in mind PiandO decided to test their hypothesis; live in genuine old –world luxury while hiding in plain sight surrounded by almost eight-million people; where scenery, entertainment and the local culture are within a short walk.
Left: One of the two Door Gods standing on either side of the Peninsula entrance:
Right: Three of the fleet: