Peninsula Hotels: “A very small company that’s gone quite global”
Maria Zec, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, The Peninsula Chicago; Sonja Vodusek, General Manager, The Peninsula Tokyo; Jonathan H. Cook, General Manager, The Peninsula New York; and Rainy Chan, Regional Vice-President and General Manager, The Peninsula Hong Kong.

Peninsula Hotels: “A very small company that’s gone quite global”

TORONTO — For Peninsula Hotels, success is measured not in how many properties you own but rather by the happiness of its staff.

During its recent Toronto stop of a North American media tour, the five-star luxury hotel group, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, shared what’s new at some of its top properties as well as a few secrets to its success. According to Rainy Chan, Regional Vice-President and General Manager of The Peninsula Hong Kong, the company makes it a top priority to keep its employees happy, which in turn develops brand loyalty and enhances customer service.

“I personally have worked for the company for 22 years. In fact, most of the staff at Peninsula Hong Kong have been there for 5-19 years,” she said. “There’s even one employee – Johnny – who began working for the company when he was just 15 years old, and to this day continues to live at the hotel. Next year, he’ll be celebrating his 60th anniversary at Peninsula Hotels. His story is a true testament to how the company values its staff and how the staff values the company.”

Of course, this emphasis on loyalty isn’t that surprising from a small family-owned hotel chain. Since the company’s launch in 1928, the Kadoorie family has expanded its brand to 10 upscale properties around the world, a relatively small number in comparison to other luxury hotel brands, certainly. But its moderate rate of expansion is a deliberate move, said Chan, since the company is more focused on opening quality hotels in a select number of world-class gateway cities.

“I like to say that we’re a very small company that’s gone quite global,” said Chan.

Peninsula’s newest property, The Peninsula Paris, opened in 2014 in a late 19th-century heritage building that took three years to restore. In the pipeline are three new projects: London, a new-build with a scheduled opening in 2021, Istanbul in 2019, which will also be located in a heritage building, and Yangon, Myanmar in 2020, which at only 80 rooms will be Peninsula’s smallest hotel.

Other new offerings and developments include:

  • The Peninsula Chicago, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, has rolled out ‘Keys To The City,’ a new program of 15 curated experiences exclusive to Peninsula guests. With the program, guests can enjoy special VIP access and reservations at Chicago’s most coveted restaurants, museums and attractions. The hotel also recently unveiled a guestroom redesign in May.
  • The Peninsula Beijing will be reborn following an extensive top-to-bottom transformation slated for completion in early 2017. Enhancements include renovated public spaces, the largest rooms and suites in the city, restaurants and retail outlets.
  • In Paris, The Peninsula has launched several fun and family-oriented programs, including a treasure hunt at The Louvre, a walking tour of Medieval Paris, and even a new smartphone app featuring four interactive games set in the city.
  • The Peninsula New York will unveil the Fifth Avenue Suite this September, offering over 2,500 square feet of contemporary living space that’s reminiscent of a grand New York apartment. Also, Salon de Ning, the hotel’s iconic rooftop bar, has received a fresh new look.
  • In Beverly Hills, the hotel has unveiled a remodeled Belvedere restaurant complete with striking new interiors, a menu refresh and a brand new outdoor terrace. It has also debuted its new Silver Suite, an opulent 1,500-square-foot suite that includes the keys to a new Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible for guests to use.
  • The Peninsula Tokyo, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, has welcomed three new additions to its customized vehicle fleet. Dubbed the PenCycle and powered by stepping rather than pedaling, the three-wheeled machines offer registered guests a fast way to maneuver around the city. The hotel has also signed a new partnership with Pokémon, which includes a fun hotel experience for guests of all ages five and up.
  • The Peninsula Hong Kong is partnering with world-renowned jeweler Tiffany & Co. to launch a special edition of the hotel’s renowned Afternoon Tea. Available only during the month of June, the ‘New York Spirit’ Afternoon Tea offers a unique twist on one of The Peninsula’s best-loved traditions. In addition, the hotel has partnered with luxury leather goods and trunk maker Goyard to create three custom luggage pieces in the signature Peninsula Green colour, available exclusively on-property through June.

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