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Nearly ten years in the making, Peninsula Paris will finally have its first regular guests file through the doors on Friday, August 1. We spent a few hours last week exploring what those premiers clients can expect for the nearly $1,000 (€695) a night and up they will be spending on one of the hotel’s 200 rooms and suites under the “Avant-Première” opening offer.
Room-wise, the lead-in rate that’s (for now) just shy of four digits puts you in the Superior category, which comes in at 35 sq m (375 sq ft) with either King or Queen Bed. All rooms come with a separate dressing area, marble bathrooms, free WiFi and long-distance VOIP calls, and proprietary in-room tablets in 11 languages. More space is available in four steps towards a Grand Premier Room, which adds an additional €1,000 ($1,370) to the nightly bill. As we’ve said before, Parisian Palace Hotels aren’t for the faint of heart.
Even capricious Paris was on best behavior yesterday for the preview of its latest palace hotel arrival, framing The Peninsula Paris with blue skies, cotton clouds and a blazing summer sun. Now five weeks away from official opening on August 1, we had a chance to peek inside the spectacularly restored 1908 grand hotel on Avenue Kléber – above in an official early evening photograph showing off its scale and symmetry in a way that the former makes difficult to capture closer up.
Travel is a chance to educate yourself about global destinations. How do native foods manifest in room service? In what way does the local political climate affect the hardness or softness of a mattress? And most importantly, how do you say, “A little lower, please” in various native tongues? (Cultural competency is very important in spa visits.)
Okay, we kid. But really, when you finally wander outside the confines of your plush hotel, you want to make sure you maximize your vacation time with at least one uniquely immersive experience. So today the Peninsula Hotels launch the Peninsula Academy, a “summer collection of exclusive experiences” that bring some over-the-top (but extremely cool) guest opportunities that are tailored to each hotel location.
Heading to the Peninsula Shanghai? Hop in a Rolls-Royce for a traditional Chinese breakfast and meeting with red-hot young fashion designer Lu Kun. Visiting the Peninsula Beijing? Take a private tour of the Shu Fang Zhai Temple, a private part of the Forbidden City otherwise inaccessible to the public, followed by a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
There's a mystery building in Hamburg, Germany. A historic building that used to house the city's tax authority is receiving some interest from a Hong Kong based hotel group. But which one? Well, that's the mystery. Fortunately, we have some clues.
According to the report, the building, built in 1907, will offer 147 hotel rooms once it goes through its massive renovations, to the tune of 50 million Euros. An investor in the property told another newspaper that the hotel will be managed by a hotel operator based in Asia, which could be either Peninsula or Shangri-la.
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We knew Peninsula Hotels was spending some serious money to refresh its Hong Kong flagship, and that lovers of tech would be well looked after. Having just stopped by the hotel, we now know what those proprietary bedside tablets look like in their natural environment, and spotted a number of other cool room amenities – including the futuristic-looking thing above.
We honestly had no clue what it was, but in this case we’re not the target audience. Ladies, any guesses? Read on to find out.
If you’ve been to Tokyo, you know it’s possible to go from historic serenity in one of its temples to futuristic frenzy among its skyscrapers in a split-second. That proximity of the traditional and modern comes through at the Peninsula Tokyo as well; pick the right aspect and you can gaze out from your technology-filled room over the Imperial Palace, and when it’s time for a ride in the house car, your options range from a restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II to a very 21st century Audi R8 sports car.
Earlier this month, we finally got our hands on a first guestroom image at the upcoming Peninsula Paris, having walked down Avenue Kléber many a time to see how the hotel was coming along from the outside.
The August 1 opening is still a little while away, but it looks like Peninsula is treating us to a whole range of additional imagery to pore over with the release of its new website. A video shows glimpses of craftsmen working on the restoration of the Beaux Arts building and shots of what the finished product will look like, including the glamorous – and almost spare – entrance lobby above.
The chandelier is a hand-blown Lasvit made of crystal ‘leaves’, referencing the trees lining the Avenue outside. We’re intrigued by the artwork underneath (it’s a stone installation from Bhutan), which looks to have a reflecting surface. From renderings of the restaurants and suites to rooftop views in the video, we patiently collected a few more impressions for you below.
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We have been following the Peninsula Paris -- Peninsula Hotels' grand entry into Europe -- throughout its six year restoration of the former Hotel Majestic, a 1908 Beaux Arts building in the 16th arrondissement (fun fact: George Gershwin wrote part of "An American in Paris" here).
Now that its August 1st opening date draws closer, we have a peek at what some of the 200 guest rooms will look like. Spot the high-tech bedside tablet we told you about last Spring? Rooms will also feature curated artworks, elegant furniture, ambient lighting, expansive luggage and wardrobe space and a valet box. Marble bathrooms will have deep-soaking bathtubs, separate rain showers, double washbasins, inset televisions and toiletries by Oscar de la Renta.
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As our bro Jaunted noted last week in his coverage of the state of Southeast Asian tourism, Myanmar is growing at an incredible rate after opening its doors to tourists a few years ago. Seven million tourists are expected in 2020, up from only 300,000 in 2010. In 2013, the number of visitors went up an astonishing 93%, from 1.3 million in 2012 to 2.4 in 2013.
That is absolutely incredible growth, but a question quickly arises: Does the infrastructure exist to support all those visitors? The answer currently is no, but the country is working to ensure they have enough beds.
We've just about had it with winter and these freezing temperatures ... just about. Believe it or not, there is actually one hotel promotion that has us almost hoping for a zero degree day -- well, there's the possibility of free cocktails involved.
The Bar at Clement, which opened at The Peninsula New York last fall, is debuting a new Warm Winter Cocktail menu in which the temperature outside will determine the winter drink prices. For every degree below 25 posted by Accuweather, the price will drop a dollar: if the weather is 15 degrees, the cocktail will be $15 and so on. Still sound too pricey? Here's the best part: if the temperature reaches zero degrees, cocktails are free! (only the ones on the Winter Warmer menu, mind). And, even better, bar guests will receive complimentary petit fours to accompany their zero-dollar drink. There's no catch like having to buy something else, and, no, the price doesn't go up when the temperature does -- that would just be rude.
There's no doubt that the Chinese New Year is one of the most auspicious times of the year in most parts of Asia so it makes perfect sense for Peninsula Hotels, a hotel brand that originated in Hong Kong, to have some special celebrations to welcome in the Year of the Horse. And here's how they are doing it:
The nine luxury properties are hosting "Ten Perfect Treats" to help Chinese New Year first-timers and veterans of the celebration get into the mood of the happiest cultural season. Treats involve decor, food, arts, activities and packages amongst other events.
The Peninsula Hong Kong will be the center of good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. This Saturday, the flagship property will host a Sun Terrace party with free champagne to watch the fireworks over Victoria Harbour. Once the show is over, you can fill your belly with traditional new year treats at one of the hotel's seven restaurants.
After the jump, see how some of the other Peninsulas are getting festive.
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No pressure or anything, but you only have 7 days to shop for the folks on your list before Christmas Eve arrives. But never fear, we're here to help you out with 7 Gift Ideas for the Hotel Lover in Your Life. Give this list a look and then get shopping!
1. GIFT CARDS: Let's be real. It's not the most thoughtful option but it is easy. And damn, wouldn't you be psyched if someone gave you a gift card for a hotel stay? Totally beats a gift card from Barnes & Noble.
2. ACE HOTEL LONDON's QUILT, $720: You can sleep assured knowing that you're the only person who has touched this blanket.