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New documentary and exhibition reveal the storied heritage of  The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Kadoorie family legacy

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH), parent company of The Peninsula Hotels, introduces “Tradition Well Served”, an update of the documentary feature film originally conceived to narrate the history and development of The Peninsula Hong Kong and released to celebrate the launch of The Peninsula Tower in 1994.

The launch in each hotel will be accompanied by an exhibition showcasing the company’s rich patrimony and including a collection of photos and memorabilia items. Launching in HSH’s birthplace of Shanghai, the exhibition will then continue at each Peninsula hotel around the world.

From 29 November 2013 onwards, the film will be shown in all Peninsula guestrooms, and is also available on DVD from The Peninsula Boutique and its online store.  

Celebrating the legendary of the Kadoorie family and HSH - one of the world's oldest and most respected hotel companies, the updated “Tradition Well Served”  is a fascinating 45-minute documentary film featuring new archival footage, historical photographs and interviews with key personalities to explore the rich history and traditions of The Peninsula Hotels. The film goes on to tell the story of the company’s remarkable progress and global expansion over the past two decades, and also offers a rare insight into the Kadoorie family and current Chairman, The Hon Sir Michael Kadoorie.

Asia's oldest hotel company and China's first luxury hospitality brand, HSH was started by two brothers, Sir Ellis and Sir Elly Kadoorie, who settled in Hong Kong and Shanghai  respectively in the 1880s. In 1906 Sir Ellis purchased shares in The Hongkong Hotel Company, Limited, setting in motion an involvement which would occupy succeeding generations of the Kadoorie family.  In 1923 The Hongkong Hotel Company, Limited merged with The Shanghai Hotels, Limited to form The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, which today is Hong Kong’s oldest officially registered company.

Still part of the legacy of the Kadoorie family, the story of The Peninsula Hotels is steeped in tradition and continuity. Built in Kowloon in 1928 as an upmarket transport hotel facing the Kowloon-Canton Railway and set alongside the nearby quays of Kowloon, The Peninsula Hong Kong was perfectly positioned to welcome international travellers of the day. Today The Peninsula Hotels’ tradition of serving international travellers with the highest standards of hospitality has come full circle, with the Peninsula brand present in Asia, North America and an upcoming foothold in Europe.  

Amid compelling historical footage of Peninsula destination cities from the 1900s to the 1940s, “Tradition Well Served” brings to life the company’s commitment to being at the heart of each respective community, taking in signature features and events at the nine Peninsula hotels around the world. The film goes behind the scenes at the flagship Hong Kong property to glamorous events in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Chicago. Festivals are celebrated with Manila's Christmas concert - the Philippines' annual social event of the season, Bangkok features the Loy Krathong river festival where staff vie to create the most extravagantly decorated krathong, and Tokyo brings cherry blossom season inside the hotel. Beijing and Chicago highlight the extensive training undergone by Peninsula staff, and Hollywood glamour is celebrated as actress Stefanie Powers describes Beverly Hills as "Oscar Central", while stars of the silver screen made New York their home in the 1930s and 40s.

The newest addition, The Peninsula Paris – opening in 2014 – is also included, with fascinating footage of the painstaking restoration of the magnificent building to its former glory.

Inspired by Sir Michael and produced by Elaine Forsgate Marden, the original “Tradition Well Served” was made over 20 years ago, following Ms Forsgate Marden’s extensive film archive research in the early 80s in London, Tokyo, Washington DC and New York. She started working on the new version in 2011 in collaboration with Sir Michael with the aim of bringing the film up to date. Family friends since childhood, she had earlier produced an hour-long documentary on China Light & Power, another Kadoorie enterprise, and she credits the two families’ relationship as the key to the success of “Tradition Well Served”.

The updated version is directed by Libby Halliday Palin with Brian McDairmant as Director of Photography. The score has been composed by Peter White, and Grant Thatcher narrates.

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