Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

27 Jun 2011 by Tom Otley

What’s it like? Currently the highest hotel in the world, the Ritz-Carlton occupies levels 102-118 of the International Commerce Centre. The ninth-floor arrival lobby has a coffee and pastry shop and views across the harbour, but you don’t hang around there long as soon you are heading upwards with only your ears popping and an almost silent swoosh to indicate how quickly you are accelerating up into the sky (it takes 52 seconds to get to the top). The panoramas are astonishing and, depending on the weather and where you are in the building, never fail to amaze, both by day and night.

The hotel itself is well designed and, after the initial ride up, getting to your room isn’t difficult because there is a bank of four elevators that serve the guest floors (106 through to 117). The décor is modern throughout, and the reception on level 103 has a balcony at either end that allows you to look down on the hotel’s three main restaurants.

Once you’ve got over the view, it’s the service that is notable. There is good name recognition from the staff, and they are very helpful. When I couldn’t find a robe in my room, one was delivered in two minutes (in fact, they were hanging in a closet I hadn’t found), and one evening, when I left my iPod in the lounge, it was returned after a phone call in just a few minutes.

Where is it? In West Kowloon, near Elements shopping mall, Kowloon MTR and Airport Express station – you can check in for flights here and leave your bags, just as you can at the station by the W hotel (visit businesstraveller.com/tried-and-tested for a review).

Room facilities Rooms are luxurious and come with iPod docks, Blu-ray DVD players, 42-inch flatscreen TVs (55 inches in Ritz-Carlton suites), free wired and wifi internet access, Nespresso machines, minibars, Asprey amenities and marble bathrooms with separate tubs and showers. Service and housekeeping are very efficient. Guestrooms also have automatic controls for the shades and curtains, and a well-organised system allowing you to control the lights from the bed panel.

Room categories move up chiefly by the view, with Deluxe, Deluxe Harbour and Harbour Island rooms all at 50 sqm and on levels 106-112, and then three categories of Club rooms (also at 50 sqm but on floors 113, 115 and 117). The 80 suites are from 65 sqm to 365 sqm and are on levels 106 to 117.

The Ritz-Carlton Club lounge on the 116th floor is huge, stretching the width of the building (the spa is on the other side), with food and drink presentations available pretty much the whole day – breakfast is 6.30am-10.30am and snacks are served 11pm-6am. You can also get late-night alcoholic drinks here, including some very good wines, and free wifi access. Other privileges include free pressing of one suit, and non-resident guests are allowed at HK$150 (£12) per person, per meal.

Restaurants and bars The hotel offers three restaurants on the 102nd floor – these are Tin Lung Heen, a Cantonese eatery, Tosca, an Italian restaurant with an open kitchen, and the Lounge and Bar. In addition, there is a cocoa-themed lounge named the Chocolate Library on the 103rd floor and a stylish patisserie named Pastry Gems on the ninth level (entrance level). Ozone is the top-floor bar and serves Asian tapas, signature cocktails and wines, with seating in zoned sections and the world’s highest al fresco terrace, where you can admire the incredible views.

Business and meeting facilities There is more than 1,300 sqm of conference space on the lower floors, including the Diamond ballroom for 800 delegates theatre-style, and four multi-purpose meeting rooms for 36 to 81 people in a classroom layout.

Leisure facilities Separate from Ozone but on the same level, on the other side of the building, is an indoor infinity pool featuring 144 LED screens on the ceiling that can display images, and an outdoor spa bath. There is also an excellent 24-hour fitness centre with an extensive range of Technogym equipment and an open-air terrace. Two levels below is the 860 sqm Ritz-Carlton spa by Espa, which has 11 treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Verdict It’s the views that will have you talking but the service that will have you returning. The restaurants are good, too. West Kowloon isn’t exactly bustling Hong Kong, but the transport connections are fine and Elements shopping centre is worth exploring.

Fact File

How many rooms? There are 312 rooms, from 50 sqm to 365 sqm, including 80 suites and 68 Club rooms.  

Room highlights To state the obvious, the views of the harbour, mountains and cityscape. You also get free wired/wifi internet access. 

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from HK$4,950 (£388) for a Deluxe room.

Contact Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon; tel +85 222 632 080; ritzcarlton.com

Tom Otley

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