Author Robin Lynam Photography Dave Lauridsen
DAY TWO /The day begins with coffee and pastries in the ivory and gold splendour of The Lobby at The Pen, surrounded by a mixed crowd of businesspeople having power breakfasts and fellow leisure travelers making plans for the day.
Head to the forecourt, where right on time, a new Rolls-Royce draws up to whisk you away to the village of Stanley. The hotel’s new fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, all finished in the company’s signature Peninsula green, was delivered in December. Sink back into soft leather seats and glide through the Cross Harbour Tunnel. Take in the scenery along the winding coastal road to picturesque Stanley.
Nothing in Hong Kong is as cheap as it used to be, but the 200 or so shops and stalls now occupying the narrow lanes that collectively make up Stanley Market are fascinating and still offer good value if you’re looking for souvenirs and gifts.
Pick up a couple of trinkets and walk to the old Murray Building, which stood for 138 years on the site in Central now occupied by Chinese-American architect
I.M. Pei’s futuristically angular Bank of China Tower. Every block of this classic colonial building was numbered, stored, and eventually reassembled here in 1998. Now, its most notable tenant is your next stop, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
Hong Kong’s raison d’être is its port, the focus of more than 500 museum exhibits ranging from the distant past to the present day, when container ships carry cargo from busy mainland Chinese factories to markets overseas—much as sailing ships used to transport tea, silks, and porcelain along the same routes.
Peruse the exhibits and enjoy the interactive games, including a simulator that allows you to guide a ship into port. When you’ve earned lunch, settle back into the Rolls while your chauffeur zips you to Aberdeen and the Jumbo Floating Restaurant. The garishly painted multistory structure with a pagoda roof is a veteran of countless movies. The building had a recent makeover and opened Top Deck at the Jumbo, offering high-quality alfresco international dining and unrivalled views of a crowded harbour where live-aboard junks jostle with multimillion-dollar luxury yachts. Don’t miss chef Alan Yu’s warm chocolate pudding with coconut ice cream.
Be back at the hotel for an afternoon appointment at The Peninsula Spa by Espa. Choose a vigorous shiatsu massage, then the sensuous hot stones, warm oils, and healing aromas in a harbour-view treatment room.
Fully refreshed, return to Sam’s for a second fitting. A couple of minor adjustments for a perfect fit, and your order will be sent to you. Then, flag a cab to catch sunset in Sai Kung. Locals love this New Territories town for its waterfront promenade and seafood restaurants. Watch the sun set over the junks and fishing boats. At one of the dozens of restaurants, select your fish, still swimming, fresh from the tank, and it will be steamed with soy sauce and ginger. Also sample the steamed prawns, along with a seasonal green vegetable, fried rice, and a couple of bottles of icy Chinese Tsingtao, which goes well with the food.
After dinner, there’s time for a nightcap at Steamers, a friendly local bar with a clientele that reflects the colourful Chinese and expatriate mix of the town’s population. It seems a world away from the city, but a 20-minute taxi ride takes you back to The Pen.