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Call it Hotel Goodwood, then

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Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel gives new meaning to the term `unparalleled service' with their latest batch of limos

It wasn't like this the last time a hotel picked us up from the airport. The last time round, it was a smelly, old MUV that had clearly seen better days. Book yourself in the upmarket Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong and don't forget to ask for an airport pickup - and like us, you will be pleasantly surprised at what turns up - a brand-new, Peninsula green Rolls-Royce Phantom accompanied by a liveried driver and a valet, who will tend to your luggage. En route the hotel, as we found, you can order a meal from the menu card so that your meal waits as you arrive at the hotel. "A Phantom, so what?" you say. It's true many hotels around the world run super-luxury cars, yes. The difference is this - the Peninsula didn't just buy one Phantom from the local Rolls dealer; went ahead and ordered fourteen of them from straight from Rolls' Goodwood factory. Yep, fourteen! The cars are built to the hotel's and Chairman, Sir Michael Kadoorie's specifications, and this means they offer a level of detail and attention that astonishes even Rolls-Royce chairman Ian Robertson. "I don't think we've ever had a client with a clearer idea. And Sir Michael's list was long. For a start, he insisted on having the long-wheelbase Phantom with all the extra legroom and space." Other features like a specially enlarged boot that has no spare tyre, a cool box for hand towels, repositioned air conditioner controls, an MP3 socket at the rear and an IDD telephone, can only be found on Peninsula Phantoms. This is no surprise considering the hotel's attention-to-detail service. From a TV in the bath, to a shoe box that can be accessed from inside and outside the room, to a flash card reader that lets you see your holiday pictures on a massive TV screen, and an in-room wi-fi zone, the list goes on. These details make the Peninsula a multi-award-winning hotel. Their 2003-2006 awards list alone runs into 15 pages, including those from Conde Nast Traveller, Robb Report, Time, Forbes, Business Traveller and more. "We want our guests' experience to begin well. So we have our guests picked up from the airport in a Rolls-Royce," claims Sir Kadoorie. The decision to go in for that first batch of Rollers was taken by Sir Michael's father, Lord Lawrence. He was told that a fleet of Rolls-Royce would probably have been too expensive for the hotel. "But have you enquired?" is all he asked. And since then, the Peninsula has been - except for a small break - using a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars since 1970, and this is the eighth order for Rolls-Royce in the hotel's history; the first was for seven Silver Shadows in 1970, setting the trend. The cars make an average of a thousand trips a month to the airport and back, averaging almost three trips a day for the cars.. Using the EPCG scheme, hotels in India too can pick up one of these ultra luxury limos for Rs 1.6 crore each, but for the rest of us mere mortals, a trip to Hong Kong can get you a ride in one!

SIDDHRAJ SINGH

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