Something that many if not most business travellers have in common is the rush-rush-rush of each trip: zipping from home (or office) to airport, onto your flight, then out of another airport and to the hotel, meetings and dinners and drinks and then back to the airport and finally you're once again home.
There's precious time for yourself, despite such trips being one of the best chances to carve out a slice of that time.
That's why the guest programs at Peninsula Hotels – which go under the banner of Peninsula Academy – are so appealing. Set aside just one day for a Peninsula Academy tour, classes or activity and you can enjoy a very different experience which is both entertaining and educational.
The 2011 Peninsula Academy programmes, now available at Peninsula Hotels around the world, focus on unique and local art-related activities at each hotel under the banner theme “The Art of Hospitality”.
Located in the very heart of their respective cities, each hotel has partnered with important galleries, celebrated museums and respected art experts to create a collection of exclusive behind-the-scenes and other unique experiences to showcase the local art scene, together with a tour of the hotel’s own art collection where available.
Flagship The Peninsula Hong Kong boasts a collection of interesting pieces, from Miró to Manet, Chinnery to Jim Dine. The day-long programme sees guests travelling by MINI to visit Hong Kong’s contemporary arts hub of SoHo, the Asia Art Archive, Cattle Depot artists’ commune and Ora Gallery, followed by an artfully prepared dinner at Felix, the hotel’s Philippe Starck-designed rooftop restaurant.
The Peninsula Shanghai focuses on the red-hot topic of Chinese contemporary art modern China. Expert guide Michelle Blumenthal takes guests on a tour of The Peninsula Shanghai’s eclectic art collection of paintings, sculptures and installations by over 100 Chinese and international artists, and to select galleries in the city, with opportunities for private showings on request.
Guests at The Peninsula Beijing also enjoy an overview of Chinese contemporary art with a respected art critic and writer, including a visit to her private collection at her hutong or courtyard house. Escorted visits to the 798 Art Zone (former state-owned factories now transformed into a lively art and culture community) and the new Song Zhuang Artists Village (one of the largest artists’ communities in China) can also be arranged.
The Peninsula Tokyo celebrates Japanese creativity and traditional crafts with over 1,000 pieces of art around the hotel, all showcased in the hotel’s Art Walk virtual walking tour on iPod and a newly published design and art collection brochure. Guests visit two of Tokyo’s best-kept art secrets -- historic and cultural landmark Kyu Asakura House and the Art Front Gallery, one of Tokyo’s leading art consultancies.
A downtown gallery tour is on offer at The Peninsula New York, with guests visiting the most current galleries in the city’s trendiest areas, including Chelsea, SoHo or the Lower East Side, to learn about the hottest artists currently exhibiting in the city, attend preview shows and purchase art before it goes on general sale.
The Peninsula Chicago features an extensive collection of works by modern American artists. Guests go behind the scenes at The Art Institute of Chicago, showcasing how the museum’s curators store, catalogue and care for the precious art, together with a private tour of the Institute’s most notable collections and a one-hour tour of The Peninsula Chicago’s art collection
With Los Angeles one of the world’s premier entertainment centres, The Peninsula Beverly Hills offers a private tour with a Paley guide who will share colourful insider stories on the history of television and radio, focusing on programmes of particular interest to guests, whether from a specific era or by genre, such as comedy, drama, news, sports and documentaries.
The Peninsula Bangkok offers an extensive array of works by local South East Asian artists and sculptors, and has published a coffee table book “Art on the River” showcasing the collection. Guests visit the National Museum and National Art Gallery with a private guide, who offers a glimpse into the history of Thailand though the art pieces and collections.
The lobby of The Peninsula Manila is the location for the spectacular “Sunburst” copper, brass and stainless steel installation by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva. The program features a visit to the Silangan Gardens and Pinto Art Museum - an enviable private collection of paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures covering the best of Philippine visual arts, together with a visit to the museum’s collection of antique santos statues.
For more information on any of these "Art of Hospitality" programs, visit the Peninsula Acadmey page for the respective hotel:
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.