HSH pauses for breath

Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH) has reported a strong rebound in its business, declaring 2023 a milestone year. The luxury hotel owner and operator returned to profit, as guests returned following the pandemic. With hotels around the globe, and a major presence in Asia, the group has watched as US, then European, and finally Asian hotels resumed profitable operations.

With hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, the company saw 2023 as a year of recovery, as the Chinese authorities opened up travel after the pandemic, from February. But these three properties are still lagging their performance compared with years prior to the pandemic, due to a lack of international travellers from Western countries.

Two hotel projects completed

But creating the milestone event in the company’s long history was the launch of not one, but two new hotels during the year – the first time such an event has happened in 157 years. Both properties are landmark properties in unrivalled city locations, and each represents a substantial investment in its Peninsula brand by Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels.

Peninsula London opened in September 2023, with 190 rooms and 24 luxury branded residences, which were offered for sale. Overlooking Hyde Park Corner in the UK capital’s Belgravia district, the company says the newly built property “has been designed to embody the finest British craftsmanship and artistry.”

And earlier in the year, Peninsula Istanbul launched via a soft opening, having been created from waterfront buildings overlooking the Bosphorus. With gardens, an outdoor pool and private boat dock, the 177 room hotel has become a new landmark in the city.

For 2024, the company is not launching any new hotel development projects, but continues to invest in its hotel assets. At Peninsula Istanbul, work continues to complete the Gallada rooftop restaurant extension, which will be completed before summer 2024.

Renovations in New York

At Peninsula New York, a significant renovation will be taking place on a phased work programme lasting through to the end of summer 2024. Elsewhere, the only other planned works are maintenance at the site of the planned Peninsula Yangon. There, the historic former headquarters of the Myanmar Railway Company were to be converted into a luxury hotel. But, with the political and economic situation in the country unstable, the project was mothballed in 2021.

As hotel owners, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels is able to invest in sustainability at its properties, conscious of long term value. The London and Istanbul developments both achieved the BREEAM excellent rating as a result of their design and construction techniques; while all ten of the brand’s existing hotels are on track to achieve Earthcheck certification, recognising their environmental management processes, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

The result of these initiatives has been positive in many areas, not least in bank funding. In summer 2023, HSH agreed a HKD800m sustainability-linked loan with DBS Bank in Hong Kong. This itself followed a HKD675m three year green loan deal signed in 2022 with nine banks, binding the hotel company to hitting key environmental targets, in return for more attractive finance rates.