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Tracking the Peninsula's rich history and tradition

By Donna Mah in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-21 07:58

"It is the story of the resilience of the people of Hong Kong. The Pen was used as a makeshift hospital for the wounded during that time," says Powers.

She noted that the film "fills in the gaps" about the iconic Peninsula name and how the brand has become famous around the world, and how the brand got to be where it is now.

For Marden and Palin, one of the biggest challenges was incorporating international elements to make it accessible to viewers globally. With the addition of properties in Shanghai, Manila, New York, Beijing, Los Angeles, Chicago, Bangkok, Tokyo and soon Paris, it was quite the task to weave together a coherent story while retaining the personality and history of each hotel.

"We have tried to focus on traditions in other countries by featuring their festivals and special occasions - for example Loy Krathong (the "floating decoration" festival celebrated on the evening of the full moon during the 12th month of the lunar calendar) in Bangkok shows not only the festival today but also the importance of the waterways to the Thai people, and how the hotel and staff embrace their own traditions so beautifully," Marden notes.

"My Peninsula memories go back to being a very young girl with my parents. It was always a treat to have a family Sunday lunch on the Verandah or to go dancing at Gaddi's. Another special memory was in 1966 when I was at school and Steve McQueen was staying at The Pen while filming The Sand Pebbles in Sai Kung."

The historical footage and images are compelling and provide viewers with glimpses of what life was like from the 1900s to the 1940s and blends well with the footage of the restored and some of the more modern hotels globally.

The footage of the The Pen in Manila shows guests and staff enjoying the traditional annual Christmas celebration, while the footage of The Pen in Tokyo show staff decorating the lobby with more than 200 cherry-blossom branches to celebrate cherry-blossom season there.

The documentary will be shown in all Peninsula guestrooms and is available on DVD from the hotel gift shops. It will be posted on YouTube from February 2014.

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