Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hong Kong, The hotel, the car park, the front entrance, cafes, arcades, and a tailor

I've seen in many times when we visited Hong Kong, but never quite made it to stay at the Peninsula Hotel, not until I decided to put it on my bucket list, and, having just turned 65, we decided to spend my birthday there.

 Of course, arriving in a green Rolls Royce helps to enhance the experience. and is, if you are going to stay at the Penisula, a mandatory extra.

It is rather difficult to imagine what the hotel would have been like in 1928 when it was built.  Without the central tower behind the old hotel building, the tall buildings around it, and all the buildings between the hotel and the waterfront, it would be easy to say it had a prime position.

It’s not far from the Star Ferry terminal, the main transport from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.  Since then, there is the MTR and the underground tunnel for vehicles, but back then it was the ferry or nothing.

Outside, the centerpiece to the driveway is a fountain.  Around the edges are the cars, the Tesla’s, the Mercedes, the Audi’s and a Rolls Royce or two.  There was even a Lamborghini.  I could see myself doing a tour of the island by Lamborghini.

Or not.  The traffic would be very unkind to such a machine.

Inside the front door, the main part of the ground floor foyer stretches from one side of the building to the other, save for arcades of shops at the ends.  High priced goods can be bought here by the rich and famous.

What is interesting is that they have a very smartly dressed porter at the front door to open it for you.  It seemed very appropriate for a hotel steeped in old world charm.

Either side of the entrance walkway that leads to reception and the concierge desk, and two magnificent staircases.  It is all marble floor, marble columns with sculptures at the top and ornate ceilings. 

And the endless cacophony of sounds you would expect in such a large space.  Either side of the central walkway is the cafe, elegantly set tables, each with its own flower.

People coming and going, people meeting other people, people arriving, people departing.  Hotel staff bustling from place to place and serving staff moving among the guests dining in the Foyer cafe.

The staircase leads to the mezzanine floor where there are more shops, and then up to the first floor where the veranda cafe and the Spring Moon restaurant is located.  The Spring Moon is where we will be having dinner tonight.


So much for the quick hotel orientation.

I had decided that if there was time, and we could find a tailor, I’d get some trousers made that would fit me.  Previously this had been done at Fletcher Jones, a place where clothes were tailor-made for individuals, but it has now gone.

A search on the internet for tailors near the hotel leads to one which is not very far away.  We will go and see what is possible.

To get to the tailor we have to go up Nathan road to Carnarvon road, on paper, several blocks.  One thing I’d forgotten about the last time we were in Hong Kong was the touts on every corner, and in between, offering tailoring or copy watches and handbags.  They are persistent and in your face every twenty yards.  They are not even Chinese, nor do they have a very good command of English.
I’m not sure where we’d finish up if we ever took up one of their offers.

At the street where the tailor is located, there are more tailor shops and we have to endure more touts before getting to the arcade.  Then, as we headed towards the door to the tailor, another tailor tried to guide us into his shop next door.  You have to have your wits about you.

Once inside our chose tailor, we could almost breathe a sigh of relief.  The question now is whether we had chosen well.  Those in the shop, two men, and a woman are not Chinese, but Indian I think.  There was a brief discussion about the material, with two bolts of material retrieved.  Italian.  They were two of about a thousand that lined the side and back wall.  Whether that would be the material I eventually ended up with was debatable, and would have to be taken on trust.

The owner spent his time sitting at the back while I was measured, and a quote made up.  These two pairs of trousers were not going to be cheap, in fact, there are very expensive.  But, they were made to measure, the first trousers I have bought since my last pairs from Fletcher Jones, a company that no longer exists.

When could I have a fitting?  I only had three days in Hong Kong.

Come back at five.

I paid the money, and left, fully expecting to find the shop gone along with all trace of my money when I returned.

Or I might just get lucky.  We shall see.

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