Let’s start with the small stuff, the endless attention to details, that help make The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong a singular environment. For one, the custom fragrance Black Orchid subtly energizes your senses immediately upon your arrival and its calming aroma stays with you throughout the hotel.
And then, there’s the considerably bigger stuff of which you might not even be conscious at first: As you sit on a padded banquette by your window ledge, note how the glass is tweaked inward ever so slightly to provide maximum comfort in your equilibrium.
That clever window design exists for good reason as you are, atop the International Commerce Centre (ICC), in the world’s highest hotel. The Ritz-Carlton occupies a 102nd floor lobby and then soars up to the 118th level, with 312 rooms and suites in between.
As the Kowloon Peninsula’s soaring new skyline is slowly starting to resemble that of the iconic Hong Kong Island, you can thank the role of the Ritz-Carlton with its nearly-seven-year presence in Western Kowloon.
Appropriately for a towering hotel, the Ritz-Carlton public spaces dazzle guests with their soaring ceilings from which hang countless glittering chandeliers. The Lounge & Bar mega-chandeliers are worth the journey alone. The hotel’s signature blue marble makes for a contrasting cool to all the refined glitz.
The softly-lighted and intimate room-floor corridors wrap all the way around the tower as if you’re in a snug fortress, and give no hint of the dizzying heights outside. Yet, those views are always welcome, and the Deluxe Victoria Harbour View suite has a full 270-degree range, and includes a telescope to take it all in.
And to take that sweeping outlook theme a step further, the Ritz-Carlton dining rooms are all on the same floor and have been designed with a 360-degree range of views, to go along with culinary options that stretch the globe. Diners are dazzled by the wrap-around corridor there which sparkles and glitters. It doubles as a cool wine cellar but could just as well serve as a fashion runway.
Southern Italian cuisine is the theme at the open-kitchen Tosca under the guidance of Chef de Cuisine Pino Lavarra, who is known for his signature dishes such as a starter of langoustine with young leaf salad and crab mayonnaise.
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Guests travel far and wide for the Michelin-star dim sum restaurant Tin Lung Heen for Chef de Cuisine Paul Lau’s double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw in baby coconut. Another top dish is his steamed spotted garoupa (grouper) dumpling with coriander, and barbecued Iberian pork with honey.
Following its success a few years ago at the Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, the Alsatian haute pâtisserie Pierre Hermé opened an outpost in the Hong Kong property’s level 9 arrival Lobby.
At the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge on the 116th floor (home to the Espa spa as well), guests enjoy private check-in. They can also book a comp town car ride within Kowloon, upon availability. For more wonderful city and mountain views, you may find yourself up there in the lounge at the crack of dawn for breakfast, where even if clouds are swirling about it’s a thrill to see the city at that hour.
As if the name didn’t tip you off, surprise, the highest hotel bar in the world is the property’s Ozone. It’s an enormous space, with an outdoor lounge area and frequent live entertainment. For all its niches, the main bar area can be the coolest for people watching.
Eventually, the time will come for you to venture out of your hotel cocoon in the sky. You could jump in a car, but negotiating the myriad escalators that take you through the enormous, high-end Elementsmall downstairs to get to the city’s metro line is rather fun.
You might join Executive Chef Peter Find for his tour of the Wet Market in nearby Mongkok neighborhood to marvel at all the fresh fish, meat, and vegetables. You’ll make stops to enjoy wonton noodles and egg tarts and head through the lively Temple Street market that really comes alive at night.
For discoveries further afield in Hong Kong, the city’s tourism authorities have recently put together a handy Cultural Trail guide.
But back to those wonderful hotel details: Everyone loves high tea, and whether you take yours in the Club Lounge, or at the Michelin-starred Tosca restaurant’s signature high tea serving, you can enjoy the concept literally after you’ve zipped back up to the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong’s top floors in a mere 52 seconds.