Facelift for HK Landmark

Big makeover slated for Hong Kong’s Peak Tower in 2005

By: Devin Galaudet

Hong Kong’s popular Peak Tower, with nearly 5 million visitors annually, opts for major renovations starting in February of 2005. Owners of the Peak Towers, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), plan to invest over $12 million for a total revitalization which also looks to overhaul its current entertainment, shopping and dining venues to create a new “festival market.”

“With the growth in Hong Kong’s visitor numbers, we have seen, and expect to see, continued growth in The Peak Tower’s business,” HSH chief executive officer, Clement Kwok, said. “We are confident that by investing substantial funds in the Peak Tower, it will maintain its position as a great destination and be able to meet the future needs and expectations of our visitors.”

With an expected completion in early 2006, Peak Tower intends to capture contemporary elements of modern life into traditional Hong Kong street settings on lower retail shopping levels, while offering more modern styling for upper levels utilizing “special effects lighting” to enhance shopping ambiance.

Renovation plans will move the fifth-story gallery from its current location to the penthouse of this famous attraction and improving visitor experience with an impressive 360-degree view of Hong Kong.

“The goal of this revitalization exercise is to create an attractive ‘festival market’ concept that will attract increasing numbers of visitors from all walks of life, as well as provide residents with appealing new entertainment and dining options,” said Martyn Sawyer, HSH’s group general manager, properties and clubs.

New restaurant options will include the additions of a new two-story Chinese eatery, several outdoor cafes and an internationally known western-style restaurant. All eateries provide patrons high-rise views.

During this renovation period, The Peak Tower plans to remain fully operational through its planned completion. However, Peak Tower tenants, Madame Tussaud’s, the world-famous wax museum, and Pacific Coffee will both remain open until the end of July 2005. The Peak Tram will continue to operate as normal throughout the renovation period.

HSH formed the first hotel group in 1866 under the name of Hongkong Hotel Company, Limited and one of the first granted listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Today, HSH manages eight hotels through its marketing division, the Peninsula Hotels, in Asia and the U.S.

Peak Tower hosts over 112,000 square feet of retail shopping, dining and entertainment and offers access to 396 meter-high views via nature trails adjacent to the tower and only seven minutes from Hong Kong’s center by Tram.

The famed Peak Tram, which originally started as a 62-seat coal-fuelled car, began shuttling passengers in 1888. Now in its second century of use, the tram moves 120 rail users more than 90 times per day from 7 a.m. to midnight; operating seven days a week and featuring views of both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The tram’s scheduled departure every 15 minutes and visitors can find the Peak Tram station entrance from the MTR Central Station J2 exit.