Hello, Goodbye – A Farewell Sendoff at the Peninsula

The Peninsula has played host to celebrities and dignitaries for over 80 years.
The Peninsula has played host to celebrities and dignitaries for over 80 years.

The Peninsula Hotel’s Classic Afternoon Tea is on many visitors’ “must-do” lists when in Hong Kong. Such was the case when our fellow expat friend, Julie, prepared to return to her home in the States. We had all been members of the same “Foon Ying” group when we arrived not long ago. Foon Ying (meaning “welcome”) is designed to help newcomers adjust to life in Hong Kong. Now, so soon, it was time for Julie to leave. As her days in Hong Kong dwindled, we decided that the Peninsula was the perfect place for a send-off.

A throwback to Hong Kong’s colonial days, High Afternoon Tea is quite an elegant affair. The menu is quintessentially British: scones, tea cakes, cucumber sandwiches all served on tiered silver trays accompanied by an assortment of teas. The music of a small chamber ensemble wafts down over the lobby as patrons take in the pure elegance of it all. One gets the impression that the cast of Downton Abbey will process down the grand staircase at any moment.

Afternoon tea at the Peninsula is an elegant affair.
Afternoon tea at the Peninsula is an elegant affair.
A assortment of sweet and savoury bites are present on silver servers.
A assortment of sweet and savoury bites are presented on silver servers.
Guests are entertained by chamber music coming from the balcony.
Guests are entertained by chamber music coming from the balcony.

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The high ceilings and gilded columns of the expansive lobby evoke images of timeless grandeur. For the past 80 years, Peninsula has hosted governors, generals and visiting royalty. It is Hong Kong’s oldest hotel, opening in December 1928 in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon just across from Hong Kong Island.  Kowloon was the last stop on the Trans-Siberian rail link that brought visitors from Europe. Tsim Sha Tsui is also where passengers disembarked from ocean liners. It was here on Christmas Day, 1941 at the end of the Battle of Hong Kong, that British colonial officials surrendered to the Japanese.

Tea is served in the grand lobby of the hotel.
Tea is served in the grand lobby of the hotel.

Expats know that friends come and go very quickly. It won’t be the last time one of our friends departs, but for one afternoon, as so many ladies have done before us at the iconic hotel, we sipped tea, ate scones and enjoyed pleasant company, even with the knowledge that our time here is only fleeting. The Peninsula provided the perfect backdrop for a delightful afternoon.

Saying goodbye to friends is a way of life in Hong Kong.
Saying goodbye to friends is a way of life in Hong Kong, but at least we do it in style.
There is a subway to take visitors across to Kowloon butI had a lovely ride across the Harbour on the Star Ferry.
There is a subway to take visitors across to Kowloon but I had a lovely ride across the Harbour on the Star Ferry.
It is a pleasant walk from the Ferry Pier to the Hotel.
It is a pleasant walk from the Ferry Pier to the Peninsula. There is  lots to see including this lovely fountain.
This giant exhibition greets visitors just before you arrive at the hotel. The magenta below the feather is a full size sofa so that visitors can take photos.
This giant exhibition greets visitors just before you arrive at the hotel. At the base below the feather is a full size sofa so that visitors can take photos.
Chinese lions stand guard outside the hotel.
Chinese lions stand guard outside the hotel.

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A fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms is available for use by hotel guests.
A fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms is available for use by hotel guests.
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post! I recently went to Hong Kong and did afternoon tea at the Peninsula. It was such a fun experience!

    1. smasonnc says:

      Thanks! I’m going to make it a point to compare all the high teas while I’m here. Such a throwback to the Colonial era. Love your blog, BTW.

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