The Peninsula Hotel is an icon of grandeur, the oldest hotel in Hong Kong, famous for its history and incomparable views of the Victoria harbour. Founded by the Kadoorie Family, one of the wealthiest British families in Asia, the hotel opened its grand doors in 1924 and billed as ‘the finest hotel in the Suez’. It was built strategically to have unobstructed views of the Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Railway Station, where it also used to be the final stop of the Trans-Siberian railway, from which deep-pocketed travellers would exit and make way to the hotel, with visitors including Charlie Chaplin.
The hotel experienced the ‘dark age’, as locals call the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. During the Battle of Hong Kong, the Japanese army seized the hotel as its headquarters, where it is alleged that a lot of interrogation and torture took place. On the 25th December 1941, at the end of the battle, British governor Sir Mark Aithison Young surrendered in person on the third floor. The Japanese troops took him as a prisoner and confined him in one of the hotel suites for two months, before imprisoning him in Shanghai. The hotel was then renamed Tōa Hotel, or East Asia Hotel, and some say that the place is still haunted by wartorn ghosts.
Despite its tumultuous past, the Peninsula continues to thrive, inviting guests to partake in its world-famous high tea served in the opulent baroque-style tea rooms. The experience is amplified by the sense of history that permeates through its richly embellished draperies and stained glass. Post the delightful afternoon tea, guests are encouraged to visit the Archive room, a special privilege reserved for hotel patrons. It houses a significant collection spanning over 90 years of the hotel's existence. The room displays original menus from restaurants past and present and showcases pieces of china and silverware that have graced the hotel over the years. Don't miss out on this intriguing and valuable opportunity; the history behind these walls is truly something to behold.