I love historic hotels and a proper tea which means a visit and tea at the Peninsula Hotel was number one on my must do list. The Savoy in London, Ritz and George V in Paris, the Cloisters at Sea Island, GA, the Greenbrier, the Homestead . . . . There is just something about a historic hotel; a certain je ne sais quoi? I’m thinking it may be the legacy, the history, or perhaps it is the ability to imagine a time gone by that fascinates me. I mean can’t you just imagine Coco in her apartment when you visit the Ritz or TJ at the Homestead?
The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong is synonymous with glamour and old world grandeur. Opening in 1928, it is Hong Kong’s oldest hotel and referred to as the Grande Dame of the Far East. It is legendary for its fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms that whisk you to your destination. It is also famous for tea and it was tea I wanted. From 2 pm to 6 pm people line up for the experience of a leisurely afternoon of a traditional afternoon tea. You will not want dinner after. Be prepared for a line and dress appropriately as there is a dress code. Also, be prepared to simply relax and enjoy.
We chose the traditional tea for two and added a champagne mojito for a refreshing cocktail. We then proceeded to eat our way from the bottom to the top of a three tiered tea tray. The first tier presented traditional English scones with clotted cream and jam. They were perfect. The second tray held scrumptious cucumber, salmon and chicken salad tea sandwiches; the third bite sized deserts. My favorite dessert was the raspberry wafer. Did I mention that the venue was also perfect for people watching? Two hours and two pots of tea, champagne, and completely satiated wth food, later we departed to explore the Peninsula Arcade. The hotel comes complete with a selection of high end shopping from Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Harry Winston and the list goes on. Finally departing for a visit to the Jade and Temple Markets, we were treated to a glimpse of the Phantom fleet as it deposited new arrivals from the airport.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention other dining favorites visited during my trip.
Felix, also at the Peninsula Hotel, is a perfect venue for the light show over Victoria Harbour. Still stuffed from tea, but on a quest for a cocktail, the concierge at the Peninsula directed us to the bar at Felix. Sitting atop the Peninsula tower it was the perfect venue to watch the light show with, yes another, champagne mojito. They are addicting. Make certain you visit the restroom in Felix. They are legendary for their view of the harbor and unusual design.
Lung King Heen, a Michelin 3-star restaurant located at the Four Seasons, is a culinary experience not to be missed. Specializing in Cantonese cuisine it is the first Chinese restaurant to be recognized by Michelin. You will need reservations but do not miss this experience. I began dinner with a glass of champagne and suckling pig. My main course was wok fried beef tenderloin with steamed rice and a side dish of wok prepared asparagus and garlic. I’ve had many good meals in my life and dined at many excellent restaurants, my dinner at Lung King Heen surpassed them all. Not only was the food exquisite but the service was unparalleled. They went out of their way to make suggestions, to cater to our taste, and to make certain our dinner was superb.
Hutong restaurant in Kowloon also deserves a shout out. We booked reservations for dinner as part of an evening harbor cruise and were not disappointed. The tasting menu was excellent. The sweet and sour fish is the best fish dish I’ve ever had. The view of Victoria Harbour is also excellent.
My greatest challenge was learning to use chopsticks. By the end of the trip I’d finally mastered the art of eating without a fork.