We spend the night at The Peninsula London

We spend a night at The Peninsula London, which raises the bar for the premier Asian hospitality specialist

The Peninsula London reception
(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

The Peninsula London has finally opened its doors, as the group follows the recent launch of its opening in Istanbul, making this the 12th property in its growing portfolio. From its flagship in Hong Kong, the almost century-year old Peninsula hotel brand has become synonymous with the best of Asian hospitality – and the British outpost is no exception.

The Peninsula London exterior facade

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

Stepping inside The Peninsula London

Perched on Hyde Park corner overlooking Wellington Arch and the grounds of nearby Buckingham Palace, the hotel slots neatly into the area’s heritage architecture in an understated new-build designed by local firm Hopkins Architects. From the outside, its Portland Stone façade – a material used for much of the city’s historic landmarks – creates a sense of place, while forming a solid framework for distinct features such as the discreet off-street courtyard. Here, the hotel’s fleet of vintage cars, which includes a restored 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedanca de Ville, sit within a cobblestone forecourt that has been landscaped by designer Enzo Enea to feature two 120-year-old Japanese maples alongside climbing wisteria and jasmine vines. 

The Peninsula London communal areas

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

The brand’s signature characteristics continue with the two stone lions that guard the entrance which leads to an elegant triple-height lobby designed by American architect Peter Marino, who is also behind the hotel’s 190 rooms and suites. ‘My goal was to create something that felt like it could have always been there,’ he notes. ‘I wanted to pull the landscape inside, to have a warm, friendly environment that makes you feel comfy. I wanted to create something with a bit of English style, with a touch of The Peninsula's Asian world in there too.’ As such, in the lobby, an all-day menu alongside afternoon tea is served against intricately moulded ceilings, hand-blown crystal chandeliers and hand-painted de Gournay murals that mirror the greenery from the courtyard and surrounding Royal Parks. 

The Peninsula London shop

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

Meanwhile, raising the bar for luxury accommodation in the city, all of the rooms –some with views over Wellington Arch – have a similar residential feel, their floor-to-ceiling windows shedding natural light onto bespoke furnishings and textiles, mahogany-panelled walk-in wardrobes, and spacious honey onyx bathrooms that reflect Marino’s intention to create a home away from home. 

The Peninsula London front door from the inside

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

On the food front, Canton Blue serves a Cantonese menu of dishes like the wagyu beef fried rice and the Peking duck with its perfectly crisp skin within a space designed by Hong Kong-based studio CAP Atelier, who took its cues from the historic Keying junk, which set off from Canton to London. The result references the porcelain, silk and tea transported by the Chinese sailing ship, with rich details like the coffered ceiling inspired by the ship’s ancient timbers, intimate softly lit booths lined with colourful porcelain plates, and a modern ceramic art wall, which lines the staircase that leads down to Little Blue, a bar with its own curbside entrance that serves cocktails inspired by the different ports the ship stopped at. 

The Peninsula London lobby

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

On the eighth floor, Brooklands, the rooftop restaurant and bar is inspired by the former motor racing circuit and aerodrome of the same name. Here, against views over Belgravia, British firm Archer Humphryes has layered the sprawling collection of 13 spaces with rich design details,  such as the chandelier in the bar, which uses glass from the Rolls Royce’s Silver Phantom turbine engine. In the main dining room, the hotel has tapped chef Claude Bosi who delivers a fine dining modern English menu beneath an 18m Concorde model on the ceiling. 

The Peninsula London restaurant

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

And then there are the staff uniforms. In a first for British fashion designer Jenny Packham, she says: ‘This was an exciting design project for me, I hadn’t worked on a collection like this before. I was inspired by the Peninsula’s unique interior style, its sophistication and luxurious attention to detail.’ Taking her cues from each of the hotel’s destinations, Packham put a playful twist on the outfits from Concorde-inspired buckles and sharp suits in aviation blue for Brooklands to the rich red and deep gold shirt dresses inspired by Marino’s design in The Lobby. Meanwhile, for Canton Blue, Packham who says she took her cues from Ang Lee’s 2008 thriller, Lust, created suave and seductive tapered dresses with ‘Bacall’ shoulders alongside men’s suiting in cobalt blue velvet that complement the intense hues of the restaurant’s interior design.  

The Peninsula London brooklands restaurant interior

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)

A much-awaited opening, The Peninsula London blends the brand’s heritage and tradition with innovative design details, offering travellers and Londoners a distinct experience in the heart of the city. 

The Peninsula London bedroom

(Image credit: The Peninsula London)


Lauren Ho is the former travel editor at Wallpaper*. Now a contributing editor, she roams the globe, writing extensively about luxury travel, architecture and design for both the magazine and the website, alongside various other titles. She is also the European Academy Chair for the World's 50 Best Hotels.