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The 34th floor may not sound like so high, but in an area with no other skyscrapers to challenge it, the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok's Helicopter departure lounge might as well be in heaven. Named "Paribatra" after HRH Prince Paripatra Sukhumbhand, Prince of Nakorn Sawan, the Pen's helilounge is one of those sweet secret spaces often heard of a city, but rarely visited. The only ways to access this one? You must either book a helicopter flight transfer for a grand chunk of change or rent out the place for a private function with others who appreciate aviation history; in other words, it's hardcore.
We managed to sneak around the helilounge recently, and though the helipads remained out of reach (for now), we did sink our heels into the rich carpeting, get up close with jet engine parts as wall decoration, and drink in what may be the best view in Bangkok, of Bangkok. You see, The Peninsula sits on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, opposite like 90% of the central district. Therefore, The Peninsula is essentially gazing over at the metropolis, with the helilounge winking.
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A couple months ago we took you inside a place very few get the privilege to see: The Peninsula Tokyo's Helicopter Lounge. Although the hotel doesn't have the go-ahead quite yet to begin helicopter transfers, that didn't stop them from looking ahead and building the space, complete with vintage airplane parts and Japanese aviation memorabilia.
Today however we have something perhaps even bettera tour of the Peninsula Hong Kong's functioning dual helipads and helicopter departure lounge, which sees actual passengers paying actual hundreds of dollars for either sightseeing tours or super-quick flights straight from their hotel to Hong Kong International Airport. In fact, while we were checking out the place, two ladies were awaiting the arrival of their heli pilot before taking off on a snappy spin around Victoria Harbour.
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If we ever win a prestigious international award or become US Ambassador to Japan, we know where we're having the after-party: The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo's Seven Seas Pacific Aviation Lounge. We're just going to call it the "heli-lounge" for short, because that's exactly what it's original function is, not to host parties. The Peninsula Hotel indeed has a private helicopter departure lounge tucked away on its top floors and we managed a rare peek inside.
Although we tried to give the best idea of the space with our photo gallery below, the heli-lounge is one of those places you must physically be in to properly appreciate the awesomeness (not to mention the open-air view over the Imperial Palace and Gardens). Peninsula Hotels are famous for the luxurious (and often, vintage) modes of transportation they have available for guests, and airport-to-hotel helicopter transfers are a signature service at The Peninsula Hong Kong, so why not in Tokyo too? Here's the thing: the Tokyo hotel may have this heli-lounge, but it doesn't yet have the helicopter flights. Bummer. Actually, great...