SHANGHAI, Mar 22, 2010 / — Thursday, Mar 18, 2010 marked the gala opening of The Peninsula Shanghai joining The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Peninsula Beijing, The Peninsula New York, The Peninsula Chicago, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Tokyo, The Peninsula Bangkok and The Peninsula Manila as one of stellar properties of the HSH.
The 9th in the series of The Peninsula hotels, opening of The Peninsula Shanghai also marks the return of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH) return to the city after 60 years of absence.
As Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of HSH commented during the opening ceremonies, “It marks a homecoming – for both my family and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels. The hotel company – Asia’s oldest – has waited patiently for nearly sixty years for the opportunity to return. That day has now arrived.”
Located at Shanghai’s celebrated Bund area, The Peninsula Shanghai opened its doors to guests in October 2009. Hailed as “where Shanghai meets the world and the world meets Shanghai,” the hotel offers myriad of choices of food, drinks and entertainment from around the globe for guests’ enjoyment.
For the gala event, searchlights raked the skies above the hotel as guests walked up the red carpet on the expansive forecourt, to be welcomed by performances by the Jochen Schweizer team of “vertical walkers” from Germany dressed as Peninsula pageboys ”walking up” the façade of The Peninsula, The Jiang State corps of outsize drums and The Peninsula Hong Kong’s 1934 vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the pride of The Peninsula Hotels’ global fleet of uniquely customised Rolls-Royces and BMWs.
The Peninsula’s collection of restaurants and bars – The Lobby, Yi Long Court Chinese restaurant, Sir Elly’s Restaurant, Bar and Terrace, The Compass Bar, The Rose Ballroom, The Spa and Salon de Ning – offered local and international specialties, caviar, Champagne and cocktails.
The hotel reverberated to the big band sounds of the 18-piece Peninsula Big Band in the Lobby, led by the legendary Deren Zhang, former double bass player in Jimmy King’s band at Shanghai’s renowned Paramount Dance Hall in the 1940s, while The Tony Carpio Big Band from Hong Kong performed in The Rose Ballroom.
Jazz lovers delighted to the music of Chinese jazz performer Coco Zhao (described as “The Boy Billie Holiday from China”) and Shanghainese jazz singer Jasmine Chen in Yi Long Court, with Alexia Gardner and The Donald Jackson Trio, both from the USA, in the Compass Bar.
Sir Elly’s Restaurant, Bar and Terrace offered soulful jazz and house music by international DJ Brahms and Co. (France), while Benny Shao (finalist on TV’s “My Show”), Jojo Deng and the Salon de Ning Band played for dancing in Salon de Ning.
The Palace Suite, with its stunning terrace – at 1100 sq m (12,000 sq ft) being the largest outdoor terrace along the Bund – was transformed into a “Fiesta Latina – A Taste of South America”, with musical performances by Las Voces Del Mar ( the official mariachi band of the Government of Mexico) and, from Colombia, Afrocolombia and Michi Sarmiento y su Orquesta.
Last but not least, the entertainment programme included The Peninsula Classical Strings (China) and additional acts roaming the hotel to entertain partygoers, while fashion shows by Mushi, the Beijing fashion label by Caroline Deleens took place throughout the evening.
Sir Michael, Mr Wang, Mr Kwok, HSH COO Peter Borer and Peninsula Shanghai General Manager Paul Tchen welcomed approximately 3,000 guests to the celebrations, including a glittering collection of local and international celebrities. The guest of honour was Chairman Shao Qiwei of the National Tourism Administration of The People’s Republic of China.
From the world of entertainment, guest VIPs included Mr Leon Lai (Hong Kong actor and Canto-pop star), Mr Wayne Wang (Hong Kong-born Hollywood film director) and his wife Hong Kong film actress Ms Cora Miao, Ms Li Bing Bing (Chinese film star), Ms Jun Ju-Hyun (aka Gianna Jun) (Korean film star), Mr Oscar Luis Costo (movie and TV director and producer) and his wife, Chinese film actress Ms Vivien Wu, Mr Martin Yan (TV chef and author), Mr Archie Kao (US TV actor), Mrs Florence Sloan (movie producer), Mr Raymond Shaw (Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited) and Mr Harry Hsu (Music mogul and CEO of “My Idol”).
Business and finance titans included Mr Michael Geohegan CBE (Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings plc) and Mr Vincent Cheng (Chairman, HSBC), Dr The Hon Sir David Li (Chairman and CEO, The Bank of East Asia, Limited), Sir Adrian Swire (Honorary President, John Swire & Sons), and Mr Robert Miller (Chairman, The Search Group), together with Mr Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad (CEO, Qatari Diar), and HSH’s partners in The Peninsula Paris, which opens in 2012) and Mr Ghassam Al Bimali (CEO, Barwa International Company).
Additional VIPs included Ms Yue Sai Kan (Chinese-American TV personality, author and entrepreneur, voted “The Most Famous Woman in China” by People magazine), His Excellency Ambassador Jorge Guajardo (Ambassador of Mexico to China), Roger Altman (former United States Deputy Treasury Secretary) and Hong Kong Legislative Councillor The Hon Timothy Fok, GPS, JP.