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King Kong

For more than 75 years, The Peninsula has been Hong Kong's favorite luxury hotel
/ Source: Forbes

With a helicopter landing pad on the roof, 14 private Rolls-Royces (including a vintage 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom) and a fleet of trademark white-uniformed pageboys, The Peninsula Hong Kong sets the gold standard of hospitality--Asian or otherwise. The 300-room hotel is the oldest in Hong Kong, having opened in 1928, when it catered mainly to overland traders stopping on their way to China or Europe via the Trans-Siberia Railway.

As Hong Kong became a more established shipping port and luxury ocean liners began to clog Victoria Harbour, the heiresses and magnates onboard considered the "Penn" their home away from home. Over the years, high-end boutiques sprung up in the shopping arcade under the property: Davidoff, Tiffany & Co. (nyse: TIF - news - people ) and Louis Vuitton all opened their first Asian branches at The Peninsula.

In some cases, hotel guests even influenced the course of hotel history. When Clark Gable was in town in 1953 filming Soldier of Fortune, he ordered a screwdriver at the hotel bar. The bartender, Johnny Chung, had never heard the term before, so Gable taught him how to mix the drink himself.

The Peninsula today is slightly different, even though Chung is still there, mixing orange juice and vodka. One major change to the hotel came in 1988 with the addition of the Philippe Starck-designed bar and restaurant, Felix. Custom-made elevators were built in the lobby, taking guests directly to the 28th floor where Felix is located. The room is flanked by two spiral staircases, encased in zinc and aluminum and known as the snails. The Crazy Box, or Felix's miniature dance club, is hidden away in one of the snails. Soundproof walls and a floor which illuminates where the clubbers step make for a night that is truly outside the box.

The long communal table in the center of Felix is often used as a catwalk for corporate exhibitions or fashion shows. But if dinner, not meetings, is on the menu for the evening, the Pacific Rim cuisine steals the show. For a real show-stopper, however, make sure to use the men's room before leaving. You'll be able to look out over Hong Kong island the entire time, and the view never looked better.

The hotel's most high-maintenance guests can order direct transfer from the airport via the hotel helicopter (this takes about ten minutes) and private check-in at The Clipper Lounge can be arranged. The fee for this is $2,050. Corporate clients looking for a special conference venue can arrange to rent The Clipper Lounge and send four individuals at a time on sight-seeing helicopter tours of the island. A more intimate picnic, on a Hong Kong beach only accessible via air or sea, can be arranged for two to four people for $2,400.

The Peninsula is a haven for business travelers, many of whom are involved in the garment trade and come to Hong Kong to purchase silk and other textiles. Toy manufacturers also use Hong Kong as a hub, before proceeding to their factories in Shanghai or Beijing.

The Peninsula: a haven from the (Kowloon) peninsula.

In addition to the business center, which is staffed with on-site translators and stocked with spare laptop chargers, each guest room has its own silent fax machine. The bathrooms could function as mini-offices on their own. The telephones are equipped with digital filters that eliminate the sound of running water, toilet-flushing or bathroom echo; so you can feel free to bring the conference call with you when nature calls. The two LCD-TV screens, one above the bathtub and one above the sink, are steam-free, and bedside control panels work the curtains, lights and electronic Do Not Disturb sign.

Hong Kong island never sleeps--and you can see it all from here.

Room rates start at $335 a night and go up to $5,000 for the 4,000-square-foot Peninsula Suite.

Forbes Fact
With a population of almost 7 million and an annual growth rate of 65%, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and its innumerable high-rise apartment buildings have earned it the nickname "Vertical City." Immigrants from the Chinese mainland make up a growing percent of the population, of which 95% is native Chinese, though it feels less because ex-pats from Great Britain, Australia and the U.S. are very visible members of the work force, coming to work in international banks such as Morgan Stanley (nyse: MWD - news - people ) and pharmaceutical companies like First Pacific.