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Review: The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the world’s highest hotel

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (July 8, 2015): Review of The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the world’s highest hotel.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s greatest cities, known for its vibrant, ceaseless energy. And you feel that vibe as you journey all the way to the lobby on the 103rd floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, one of the finest 5 star hotels in the upscale West Kowloon enclave. Seated atop the International Commerce Centre (ICC) – the 7th tallest building in the world and the highest in Hong Kong – the stunning luxury hotel boasts incomparable views of Victoria Harbour and the glimmering skyline of neighbouring Hong Kong Island. Inside, soaring architectural elements encrusted with custom glass artwork echo the signature glamour of the city below.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong features in my top 10 lists of the world’s highest hotels, the best luxury hotels in China, the best luxury hotels in Hong Kong, and hotel rooms with a spectacular view.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • This is the highest hotel in the world, and the setting is spectacular beyond words. The hotel is located on floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), with 484 m or 1588 ft the 7th tallest building in the world and the highest skyscraper in Hong Kong.
  • Because of its spectacular setting, it should come as no surprise that the hotel boasts unrivaled views of Victoria Harbour or the glimmering skyline of Hong Kong Island. In fact, IMHO, you won’t see as astonishing a vista as this anywhere else in Hong Kong.
  • The hotel has two opulently decorated lobbies: a somewhat smaller lobby on the ground level and the main lobby (where check-in is done) on the 103rd floor. Four elevators shuttle guests in a record time between the two lobbies, so you never have to wait too long to enter or leave the hotel.
  • Inside the plush hotel, a cutting-edge décor with soaring architectural elements encrusted with glittering crystal artwork and lots of black marble echoes the signature glamour of the vibrant city below.
  • The 312 guest rooms and suites come in 13 categories and all feature spacious, contemporary interiors. I stayed in one of the hotel’s Grand Victoria Harbour View Rooms, which are located on the corners of the ICC skyscraper, with floor-to-ceiling windows in 2 of the 4 walls. The stunning vistas made me gasp for air, and there were padded seats along the windows to relax and soak in the views.The king-sized bed was very comfortable with 400-thread count bed linens. And the plush, marble bathroom came with a 17-inch LCD TV, a separate tub and shower and luxury Asprey bath essentials.
  • Wireless internet is complimentary to all guests.
  • The hotel features an indoor infinity swimming pool on its top floor with an impressive ceiling mounted LED screen and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of the Chinese Sea. There’s also outdoor whirlpool.
  • Exclusive to Club Level guests, The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge is the ideal location to conduct business or simply unwind against the breathtaking panorama of Victoria Harbour. Features include 24-hour meeting facilities, a library area, and six exquisite food and beverage presentations per day, highlighting local and international delicacies.
  • Featuring nine lavish treatment rooms and two couples’ suites, The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of Hong Kong, and is the perfect place to pamper yourself.
  • The hotel provides an impressive array of gourmet restaurants, offering a flavour for every discerning palate and designed to tantalize, inspire, and delight the senses.  You can savour Cantonese and Italian fine dining at the hotel’s acclaimed Michelin Star restaurants, Tin Lung Heen and Tosca. Or, for a more relaxed affair, you can enjoy a casual lunch, dinner, or Chocolate Afternoon Tea at Café 103.
  • Positioned on 118th floor of the hotel, Ozone – the highest bar in the world – invites you to indulge in signature cocktails and exotic selection of Asian tapas, while enjoying DJ beats and the captivating vistas of the city and Victoria Harbour. The bar even has an outdoor terrace.
  • The ICC tower (which houses the hotel) is directly above Kowloon MTR station, so it’s very convenient to connect to the public transport system: it’s about 40 minutes to the airport with the Airport Express and 5 minutes to Hong Kong island on the Tung Chung Line.
  • As you would expect from the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand, service is impeccable. The staff is courteous and will go above and beyond in making your stay enjoyable and memorable.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

This is currently Hong Kong’s best luxury hotel, offering an exquisite experience more than 100 floors above the ground! The hotel has no reals cons, just some minor issues that you need to know:

  • Understandably, this might not be the best hotel for those suffering from vertigo.
  • Only draw back is that the hotel is located in a somewhat remote spot in Kowloon, surrounded by construction sites, so you cannot get anywhere by foot. You either have to take a taxi or connect to the subway system below the ICC tower.
  • Keep in mind that you might not be able to see anything in case the weather is not on your side because the ICC’s top floors (which is where the hotel is located) are often shrouded by clouds and mist.
  • With the exception of the somewhat enclosed rooftop terrace on the 118th floor, the hotel has no outdoor spaces.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10.

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (and receive many free perks).
  • Save money: I recommend to book a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong through a Virtuoso travel agent, which has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD food credit).
  • While all rooms come with spectacular views, not all of them are looking directly towards the iconic Hong Kong skyline. If you want to watch that skyline from your bed, then be sure to book a (Deluxe or Grand) Victoria Harbour room or suite.
  • Restaurants are often booked up weeks in advance, so plan your travels and make restaurant reservations well ahead of time.
  • Members of Marriott Rewards with Gold or Platinum status are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – free WiFi, complementary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast. You can even book a free night at the resort with your Marriott points.  Click here to read my review of the Marriott Rewards program (with pros & cons).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Hong Kong is a popular travel destination year round. The city enjoys a mild climate from the middle of September to the end of February, while the weather from May to mid-September can be hot, wet and humid, with August being the wettest month. The best time to visit Hong Kong is probably between October and December since this period boasts comfortable temperatures and reasonable room rates.


HOW TO GET THERE

Hong Kong International Airport is a 35-minute cab ride from the hotel (traffic dependent) or a 40 minute by the Airport Express Train. Check the Wikipedia page of Hong Kong International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Hong Kong.


HOTEL EXTERIOR: ICC TOWER

HOTEL EXTERIOR: ICC TOWER

VIEW OF HONG KONG SKYLINE FROM THE HOTEL ENTRANCE

VIEW OF HONG KONG SKYLINE FROM THE HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

HOTEL ENTRANCE

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

LOBBY ON GROUND FLOOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

HOTEL CORRIDOR

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM: ENTRANCE

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

VIEW FROM GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

VIEW FROM GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

VIEW FROM GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

VIEW FROM GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

GRAND VICTORIA HARBOUR ROOM

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

LOBBY ON 103RD FLOOR

TIN LUNG HEEN RESTAURANT

TIN LUNG HEEN RESTAURANT

TIN LUNG HEEN RESTAURANT

TIN LUNG HEEN RESTAURANT

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL

OUTDOOR TERRACE WITH JACUZZI

OUTDOOR TERRACE WITH JACUZZI

OUTDOOR TERRACE WITH JACUZZI

OUTDOOR TERRACE WITH JACUZZI

MEN'S LOCKER ROOM WITH SAUNA

MEN’S LOCKER ROOM WITH SAUNA

MEN'S LOCKER ROOM WITH SAUNA

MEN’S LOCKER ROOM WITH SAUNA

THE RITZ CARLTON SPA BY ESPA

THE RITZ CARLTON SPA BY ESPA

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOUNGE

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE - EVENING HORS D'OEUVRES

THE RITZ-CARLTON CLUB LOUNGE – EVENING HORS D’OEUVRES

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

OZONE, THE HIGHEST BAR IN THE WORLD

HONG KONG SKYLINE

HONG KONG SKYLINE

HONG KONG SKYLINE

HONG KONG SKYLINE


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