Luxury reborn

By Lindsay Andrews ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-06-18 07:44:40

The Peninsula Beijing has received a spectacular makeover, Lindsay Andrews reports.

The Peninsula Beijing has undergone a renovation, and what a difference it has made, rising on the stepping stone of its former self to be something altogether better, and - well - more Peninsula really.

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotel Group will be blowing out 150 candles on its birthday cake in 2016, and it takes pride in being not only the world's oldest hotel company in continuous operation - to the best of its knowledge at least - but also in the Peninsula name having become a byword for fine hospitality.

 Luxury reborn

The new-look lobby of The Peninsula Beijing after the renovation. Photos Provided to China Daily

With the brand's long-standing reputation for luxury at stake, as the hotel was beginning to tire a little after being in a leading role since 1989, the company has not been shy about dipping its hand into its wallet, spending 890 million yuan ($135 million) on giving the company's one-time Palace Hotel, which changed its name in 2006, what it calls an "imperial rebirth".

Certainly if a thing's to be done, it's best done well, and in keeping with HSH's vision for the Peninsula brand and what it represents, rather than just a nip and a tuck and a new coat of paint, the latest incarnation of the hotel is a total re-imaging of the interior of the distinctive building designed by K. Y. Cheung.

The group says the scale of the project, which was conceived in 2013, has been larger than any other it has undertaken. But it can take satisfaction in a job well done, as it has been a successful transmutation, with the new hotel emerging like a butterfly from the chrysalis of the original interior.

Lighter, airier and more palatial than its predecessor, the lobby embodies the imperial inspiration for the new design, with bronze, onyx, white marble and rosewood bestowing a majestic plushness that was missing before. It also showcases the way in which the hotel has embraced contemporary art as part of its new aesthetic. It's a testament not only to The Peninsula ethos of investing in assets that stand the test of time, but also a tribute to the Chinese capital's palaces and gardens.

But what about the rooms, you may be wondering. It's a question that's easily answered - They're not only bigger; they also better match expectations.

With the previous 525 rooms and suites reduced to just 230, they are now the largest in Beijing, and all have separate bedroom, living room, bathroom and dressing areas.

The interiors feature certified sustainable mahogany, high-gloss finishes and bespoke hand-finished furniture, commissioned from the Italian design house Cassina, which ensure that guests are not only nestled comfortably in the lap of luxury, but also stylishly. Proprietary in-room technology, in 11 languages, means everything is fingertip-controlled.

And since time is always precious, The Peninsula Beijing is offering in-room check-in and check-out to all of its guests around the clock.

Some may argue that health and well-being are even more valuable than time; but the hotel doesn't split hairs. The restaurants and lounges embrace the farm-to-table concept, working directly with 22 farms in China that supply sustainably produced certified ingredients on a seasonal basis. While the Peninsula Spa focuses on health guidance rooted in holistic Chinese wellness philosophy.

All in all, the renovation gives birth to the liveliest belief that the hotel has successfully secured a new lease on life.

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 Luxury reborn

From top: A Beijing suite living room and dining area of The Peninsula Beijing after the renovation; A goldfi sh motif in the bathroom of a deluxe room; The walk-in closet of a deluxe room.

(China Daily 06/18/2016 page10)

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