HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of The Peninsula Hotel 2


The Peninsula celebrates its 85 year anniversary this year, which is commemorated with a light show this weekend…

The hotel opened in 1928 and aimed to be “the finest hotel east of Suez“…

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1927 – the year of completion, via Gwulo.com

The building itself was completed a year earlier but was used temporarily by British military authorities.

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It offered unobstructed views of Nathan Road and Lion Rock at the rear…

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1930s, by Hedda Morrison

…and overlooked Kowloon Railway Station and Victoria Harbour at the front.

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The Verandah, 1930s, via Apple Daily

The Peninsula marked the final stop on the Trans-Siberian railway, offering respite to newly arrived rich Europeans…

On Christmas Day, 1941, the hotel played host to the dramatic climax of the Battle of Hong Kong

via Wikicommons

The city was surrendered to the Japanese and HK’s governor was held at the Peninsula before being sent to a prison in Shanghai.  The resort itself was renamed the ‘Toa Hotel’ (East Asia Hotel), with rooms reserved for Japanese officers and dignitaries.

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After the war, the hotel became home to Jewish refugees who had been living in Shanghai. They camped out in the ballroom for 6 months after their ship to Australia was commandeered by the Australian army.

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via Hong Kong Heritage Project , h/t Urbanphoto.net

The hostel was soon restored and, by the 1950s, it still had pride of place on Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, facing the KCR railway tracks and harbour (more shots here and here).

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via Redditor kmallon12

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Page boys in the 1930s and 50s, via The Peninsula.

Over the years, the hotel found its harbour view further obscured as waterfront reclamation continued.

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1950s, via Apple Daily

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1960s, by Lee Fook Chee

In 1994, a 30-storey tower was added along with a helipad to transport VIPs from the airport within 7 minutes. The extension added 132 rooms and suites in addition to 10 floors of office space and shops. The hotel remained open throughout construction…

via Mal Mulr

In 2006, a fleet of 14 green Rolls-Royce Phantoms was purchased – the largest single order in the history of the car company.

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via ‘Chas’ on Flickr

‘High tea’ in the lobby often tops lists of ‘things to do before you die‘…

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via ‘ironypoisoning’ on Flickr

To celebrate its 85th year, the hotel launched a HK$450 million refurbishment programme.

Felix Bar at the top of the building offers possibly the world’s best view from a urinal…

via Quora

This year, the hotel also hit the headlines for banning shark fin soup and for somehow enabling a foreigner to enter a room and steal cash from a safe…

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via ‘Maria_Globetrotter’ on Flickr

As well as annual festive lighting, the hotel also bathes its façade in pink each year for breast cancer awareness…

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More historical entries below…

Pictorial histories of local landmarks and events…

Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…


  • Howard

    Nice bit of research sir, thank you for sharing. Love your blog btw.

  • Howard

    Nice bit of research sir, thank you for sharing. Love your blog btw.