The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong opened today in its new location atop the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in West Kowloon.
The 312-room hotel occupies the upper half of ICC between floors 102 and 118 (meeting and function spaces are on Level 3 and Level 8) and and is reputed to be the world’s highest hotel. It started its first day with a near-50 percent occupancy.
According to Hervé Humler, the hotel group’s president and chief operations officer, the first customer walked in at 0700, having cancelled his booking at another property when he was told at the airport that The Ritz-Carlton had opened. He expects that by the end of the year, the occupancy will rise to about 80 percent and that guests from Mainland China will take up about 35 percent. “And that market is constantly growing, too. Maybe next year the number will be 40,” he said.
He also observed that banking clients are back as the hotel group’s number one market after a temporary downturn caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. “And we are in the right building for it,” Humbler noted. Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse are among the tenants of ICC.
Meanwhile, all the rooms as well as guest facilities enjoy spectacular views that range from the Victoria Harbour and major Hong Kong Island districts of Wanchai, Admiralty and Central, as well as much of the Kowloon Peninsula. Look down from the 50sqm Harbour Island Room and you can see cars coming in and out of the Western Harbour Tunnel. The undeveloped land in front of the hotel will be the city’s future cultural district featuring 17 venues including an opera house, all by Foster + Partners in London. The first phase of this project is scheduled to open in 2015.
When Business Traveller Asia-Pacific went for a site inspection this morning, one guest was already eagerly testing out the “highest swimming pool in the world”, which features an LED TV ceiling that can be programmed to play different videos. An aquarium was the theme this morning. “When the weather is nice, we have a rooftop camera that can capture the blue sky and project it through the ceiling TV,” said Daniel Ford, The Ritz-Carlton’s executive director of communications, Asia Pacific.
All food and beverage outlets at the hotel are now operational, including Italian restaurant Tosca, Tin Lung Heen serving Chinese cuisine by chef Paul Lau (formerly of Spring Moon at The Peninsula Hong Kong) and The Lounge & Bar. The hotel’s floor-to-ceiling wine cellars offer a total of 8,580 bottles of wine, with the Chinese restaurant focusing on French choices, Tosca with an Italian-focused selection and the lounge featuring New World varieties. The highest bar in the world, Ozone, opens today as well on the top floor of the hotel, serving fine wines and premium cocktails with Asian tapas and sushi.