Since 1970, guest of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong have been royally transported in Rolls Royces. It was a decision by the Board of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd., to offer the Peninsula’s guests a service second to none. Limousine service seems appropriate as 98 percent of the hotel’s guests arrive by air. The decision resulted in an initial order for seven Rolls Royce Silver Shadows. The order was a triumph for the famous British car firm and was the largest single order for one model in the company’s history. The order was also a triumph for the Peninsula as its fleet of luxurious Brewster Green limos soon became the talking point of travelers the world over.
Four years after the initial order, the Peninsula replaced its Rolls Royces with Lincoln Continentals. The move surprised and disappointed Peninsula patrons. Despite their comfort and doubtless luxury, the American limousines did not fit the established pattern according to the hotel. The Peninsula and its fleet of Rolls Royces had become inseparable.
Consequently, the Peninsula replaced its Lincolns two years later with eight Rolls Royce Silver Shadows – this time in Astrakahn Brown.
In 1980, the cars were again changed as yet another record order was placed for nine Silver Shadow lls in Brewster Green.
The order, worth approximately $4.4 million (Hong Kong dollars), represented a third consecutive record order for Rolls Royce.
This precedent continued in 1987 with the purchase of eight Brewster Green Silver Spirit Limousines worth approximately HK $12 million. Additional services and facilities introduced with the arrival of the new motorcars include private telephone, a selection of taped music, and a light refreshment menu. Thus, guests may order from the drinks and/or snack list and have their order ready upon their arrival in the lobby or in their guest room.
To operate its unique fleet of cars, the Peninsula employs a team of 14 chauffeurs who work on a rotating basis transporting guests to and from the airport. Overall responsibility for the maintenance of the fleet is the job of the transport manager, Ken Richens, himself a Rolls Royce trained engineer with a wealth of experience in dealing with delicate Rolls Royce mechanics. According to Richens, Peninsula vehicles travel up to 400 miles a week using gas at a rate of 10 miles to the gallon.
Adjacent to the Peninsula is the Regent Hong Kong which operates another of the world’s great hotel limousine fleets. The Regent sits on the Hong Kong waterfront and commands a magnificent view of Hong Kong Island. The 17 story building is clad in red granite with interiors of polished marble and walls of plate glass.
The cobblestone courtyard houses the Regent’s fleet of two Rolls Royce Phantom VI limousines, 12 Daimler limousines, and six Mercedes-Benz limousines. These vehicles are purely for the benefit of Regent guests and there is a limousine at the airport awaiting every flight.
The Regent also makes chauffeured limousines available to guests an hourly basis for shopping and sightseeing trips. American guess at the Regent may be stunned by the hourly rate of HK $600 for a Rolls Royce limousine. At current exchange rates, the Regent tariff equals approximately $72 per hour.