The House of Hennessy proved it is in a class of its own by putting together a high-impact event, reinforcing its reputation for exclusivity and elegance.
Company top brass Bernard Peillon, chairman and CEO of the House of Hennessy, and Mark Bedingham, regional managing director of Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific, led their executives across Asia-Pacific in welcoming over 200 cognoscenti from the worlds of celebrity, business, arts and culture during its Hennessy Appreciation Journey in Lijiang held late last year.
Dubbed as “Timeless Lijiang”, the three-day event was the latest in a series of Hennessy’s Appreciation Journeys that have previously visited unique cultural destinations worldwide including, Udaipur in Indian and Myanmar’s Mandalay.
Pampering was the order of the day the moment the Hongkong guests stepped outside their front door, with a private car pickup that took them to Shenzhen for an overnight stay at the InterContinental Hotel, where a dedicated hospitality desk was set up for a hassle-free check-in and where they were briefed of the entire event rundown. Each was given a specially designed booklet containing the whole itinerary and useful information on weather, visa and immigration requirements, dress code and onsite contact details among others.
Guests were driven to Shenzhen International Airport the next morning, where an exclusive chartered flight was waiting for them to begin their Lijiang adventure.
“Hennessy Appreciation Journeys are designed to the ultimate celebration of timeless beauty, heritage and culture. These traits are not just appreciated by Hennessy, but are indeed the historic hallmarks of the Hennessy brand,” said Bedingham.
The Hennessy Appreciation Journey in Lijiang tied in neatly with the cognac-maker’s celebrations of the 100th birthday of Kilian Hennessy, former chairman and visionary leader of the House of Hennessy.
Evening festivities kicked off with the unveiling of the Hennessy’s “Coffre à secret”, a luxurious presentation case commissioned from contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. The chest is a masterpiece of wood and glass, a perfect container for the 100 bottles of “Beauté du Siècle” — a special blend by Hennessy cellar master Yann Fillioux from the reserves of the rarest eaux de vie, clear brandy, of the past century.
One set of “Coffre à secrets” and “Beauté du Siècle” was presented to all guests by Hennessy chairman and CEO Bernard Peillon and was auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Lijiang project of environmental group The Nature Conservancy.
Then, everyone was ushered out into Banyan Tree Lijiang’s main courtyard where cocktails and canapés were served amidst the fabulous performance by Sa Dingding, one of China’s leading musicians.
The black-tie affair then proceeded to the main dining hall with an elegant dinner set-up and guests dined to the string music of Erhu artist Ray Wong of China. The evening ends with a stunning fireworks display overhead the hotel’s main courtyard.
TIMELESS LIJIANG ITINERARY
Evening arrival in Shenzhen
Dinner at El Chino, InterContinental Shenzhen
A Hennessy hospitality desk set up at the lobby
Leave check-in luggage outside room; breakfast at Mercado
Depart hotel and proceed to airport
Chartered flight departs Shenzhen
Black Dragon Pool visit
Impression Lijiang show
Check-in at Banyan Tree Lijiang
Hennessy Presentation and Reception
Breakfast served in Ming Yue
Tutored cognac-tasting by
Hennessy winemaker Laurent Lozano/Bazaar for spouses
Guests to proceed to airport
Chartered flight departs Lijiang
“Timeless Lijiang” Event
Angela Lam of Moët Hennessy – Asia Pacific
Raymond To, media and event management, Octagon
Ivy Sung, travel logistics, Pacific World
Destination: Timeless Lijiang
Lijiang sits 2,416 metres above sea level under the shadow of the towering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Located in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province in China, it is the home of the Nakhi — a tea-and horse-trading people originally from Tibet — whose Dongba culture produced the Naxi dialect and an age-old writing consisting of 1,400 pictographic scripts.
The Old Town of Lijiang, with its tiled-roofed wooden houses and stone pavements from the Tang and Song era, has been made a UNESCO Word Heritage Site. Interestingly, 800-year-old Lijiang has an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that is still in use today.
Black Dragon Pool visit
Established during the Qing Dynasty in the 13th century, the Black Dragon Pool is the headwater of the water system of Lijiang Ancient Town and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
A number of well-preserved structures harking back from China’s old imperial dynasties blend harmoniously with the lush green gardens and natural springs. Greeting visitors at the entrance is the Civilization Gateway, a Chinese archway which was used originally in a Confucian Temple.
Black Dragon Pool houses some of the most significant pieces of Nakhi Heritage. A must-stop within this attraction is the Dongba Culture Research Institute which unearths and preserves Naxi artifacts from pottery, ornamental and military robes and parchments of Dongba pictographic scripts. Within the grounds also stands the God Dragon Temple, a single-eave building with three rooms. The temple has one of the earliest performing stages of Lijiang where old Naxi music was played.
Impression Lijiang Tour
The foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is the setting for renowned Impression Lijiang, an hour-long show produced by famous director Zhang Yimou. Performed outdoor on the highest natural performance stage in the world, on a natural rock formation 3,100 metres above sea level, the show tells the
Culture and life of Lijiang’s many ethnic tribes.
Five hundred actors from ten major ethnic groups, together with 100 horses, re-enacted various scenes of Old Lijiang in a brilliant show of colours, with the most memorable being the Tea-Horse Route.