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The Peninsula London's big reveal, plus more Asian hotel launches in Europe

The Peninsula London is finally opening its doors - and hot on its heels is a raft of Asia-based luxury hotel groups moving into Europe's hot spots. These are our top picks.

The colonnades and palms scream Hong Kong, but the hotel has a distinctly London feel.

The Peninsula has finally revealed its much-anticipated London property. The Peninsula London is centrally located at Hyde Park Corner, just up the road from Buckingham Palace and close to the well-heeled shopping districts of Belgravia and Knightsbridge.

The hotel has been many years in the planning and a crack group of architects and designers have been gathered together to produce a sleek sister property to Hong Kong’s original Grande Dame, but with a distinctly London feel.

The property, formerly an office block, has been redesigned by UK-based Hopkins Architects with plenty of natural light to illuminate the sweeping, columned lobby and the sleek guest rooms. The property has been described as a showpiece not just for The Peninsula group, but also for this most-exclusive area of London.

Two hundred artworks depicting British landscapes by artists from The Royal Drawing School line the walls. Fashion designer Jenny Packham, whose pieces are often favoured by the Princess of Wales, has created the staff uniforms. British perfumier Timothy Han was called on to create a bespoke fragrance for the in-room bath products.

“The arrival of The Peninsula London marks the culmination of a remarkable collaborative journey,” said Peter Borer, chief operating officer of the Peninsula’s parent company The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH), at the hotel’s recent press launch. “The beautiful design of the property is the result of years of creative effort by some of the most grand-breaking architects, designers and creative partners in the industry.”

The hotel opens onto a discreet, off-street courtyard and the gardens around the cobbled central yard are landscaped with cascading wisteria and 120-year-old Japanese maples. A fleet of Bentleys, a 1935 Rolls Royce and a 1960 vintage Austin taxi stand ready to whisk guests around the British capital.

Inside, there are 190 rooms and suites and 25 luxury residences. Many rooms are fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the million-pound views over Buckingham Palace gardens, Wellington Arch and Belgravia. Premier room categories run to four suite types, three of which have private balconies or terraces. At the top of the accommodation tree, the lavish Peninsula Suite has a private screening room, its own fitness centre and exclusive access to private pick-up and drop-off in the underground car park.

The Peninsula’s famed afternoon tea will be served in the lobby accompanied by live music throughout the day. A rooftop restaurant, Brooklands, serving a contemporary European menu, and Canton Blue, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant on the ground floor, complete the culinary experience.

This will be the 12th ‘Pen’ and its launch this spring (a date has yet to be announced) will follow The Peninsula Istanbul, which opens on February 14.

“London is one of the world’s most dynamic cities and we are looking forward to serving local people and international guests with The Peninsula’s legendary hospitality,” said Clement Kwok, HSH’s chief executive officer. “The Belgravia neighbourhood is perfectly aligned with our commitment to offering an exceptional standard of elegance and luxury.”

The Peninsula London, 1 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HJ.

An Anantara on the Amalfi Coast

The 800-year-old former monastery has been painstakingly preserved.

The Bangkok-headquartered Anantara hospitality group has announced it will be opening an Italian outpost on Italy’s Amalfi Coast this spring. The group is well-known in Asia for its luxury resorts throughout Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East. However, prior to the pandemic the group embarked on a European expansion. The most recent openings include launches in Amsterdam, Budapest and Nice at the end of last year and early this year.

The latest addition to its European portfolio is a lavishly restored 13th century former monastery on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean on Italy’s Amalfi coast.

Anantara Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi has 52 guest rooms and suites, a bar and lounge in reception, a main restaurant serving wood-fired pizzas and other Mediterranean-inspired dishes and an Anantara Spa with a sea-facing relaxation area and gym.

Much respect has been given to the 800-year-old building; the on-site Baroque church with marble altar and Majolica flooring has been maintained, while existing tiling, vaulted ceilings and lime-washed walls in the guest rooms have been carefully preserved. Locally-sourced art and textiles have been added to the spaces.

Suites come with terraces and plunge pools and sweeping coastal views, and there’s also a resort pool.

“We’re thrilled to soon be able to welcome Anantara guests to one of Italy’s most iconic destinations as part of Anantara’s expansion into Europe,” said Minor Hotels’ chief executive officer Dilip Rajakarier. “We’re taking great care to restore the 800-year-old building to strict historic and preservation guidelines while adding a contemporary look and feel to rooms and public areas.”

The property is slated to be ready to welcome guests from April, although a more precise launch date has not yet been set. This will be Anantara’s second foray into Italy following the opening of Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel, and the eighth Anantara hotel in Europe.

A Mandarin in Mallorca

Mallorca has its sights set on the luxury tourist market.

The Asia-based Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, which opened its flagship hotel in Hong Kong in 1963, has announced that it will be launching a beach resort on the popular Spanish summer holiday island of Mallorca.

The new resort has involved a significant redesign of the former H10 Punta Negra hotel, perched on a peninsula above the Mediterranean in the southwest of the island.

The resort sprawls over three hectares of landscaped cliff tops with gardens that cascade down to the blue waters below.

Once completed, the Mandarin Oriental Punta Negra will have 131 rooms including 44 suites and nine waterfront bungalows. Rooms will offer full or partial sea views, outdoor terraces or balconies and premium suites will have private plunge pools.

Facilities will include several restaurants and a Spa at Mandarin Oriental with an indoor pool in addition to the three outdoor resort pools. Water sports will also be offered along with a kids’ club.

“Mandarin Oriental Punta Negra, Mallorca will be a welcome complement to our hotels in Barcelona and Madrid and we’re extremely pleased to be expanding Mandarin Oriental’s presence into another important leisure destination in Europe,” said Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group chief executive officer James Riley.

Mallorca is the largest of Spain’s Balearic islands, which also include Menorca and Ibiza. The island is renowned for its balmy climate and beautiful beaches.

Mandarin Oriental Punta Negra is slated to open later next year.

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