The Peninsula Shanghai’s Grand Opening Marks Company’s Return to Shanghai After 60 Years

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Shanghai’s most glamorous party of the year took place on Thursday 18 March 2010 with the official opening of The Peninsula Shanghai - a gala event throughout the hotel, hosted by joint owners The Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and Mr David Wang Chairman, SPG Land (Holdings) Limited.

Shanghai’s most glamorous party of the year took place on Thursday 18 March 2010 with the official opening of The Peninsula Shanghai - a gala event throughout the hotel, hosted by joint owners The Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and Mr David Wang Chairman, SPG Land (Holdings) Limited.

The opening ceremony at 7:00pm featured speeches by Sir Michael, David Wang and Clement K.M Kwok, Managing Director and CEO, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. The speeches were followed by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Philip Kadoorie and Stephen Wang, the sons of Sir Michael and David Wang respectively.

Sir Michael spoke of his family’s history in Shanghai, where the company owned and operated four of the city’s premier hotels. “It marks a homecoming – for both my family and The Hongkong 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. We are here once again on the Bund, a visible and powerful expression of our proud heritage, the vibrancy of present day Shanghai and our confidence in the future of one of the world’s greatest cities”.

David Wang said that he had “dreamed of building a landmark for Shanghai, a 21st century building befitting 'New China', but also reflecting the elegance and history of the Bund’s halcyon days. Our partnership has meant that our vision has come to fruition – the dream now realized with the opening of China’s most attractive and luxurious hotel, The Peninsula Shanghai”.

Opened in October 2009 and currently the only hotel on Shanghai’s celebrated Bund, The Peninsula Shanghai – where Shanghai meets the world and the world meets Shanghai – offered myriad choices of food, drinks and entertainment from around the globe for guests’ enjoyment.

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 specialities, 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”).

TV personalities included famous Shanghainese TV hosts and MCs Ms Zhang Ying, Ms Chen Lei, Ms Hai Yan and Ms Chen Chen (voted “The No I Prettiest TV Host in China”).

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.

Incorporated in 1866 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (00045), HSH is a holding company whose subsidiaries, associates and jointly controlled entity are engaged in the ownership and management of prestigious hotel, commercial and residential properties in key destinations in Asia, the USA and Europe. The hotel portfolio of the Group comprises The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Peninsula Shanghai, The Peninsula Beijing, The Peninsula New York, The Peninsula Chicago, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Tokyo, The Peninsula Bangkok, The Peninsula Manila and The Peninsula Paris (opening in 2012). The property portfolio of the Group includes The Repulse Bay Complex, The Peak Tower and The Peak Tramways, St. John’s Building, The Landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and the Thai Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Laura Millett
Murphy O'Brien Public Relations
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