Skyscraper-filled Hong Kong may not have the world’s tallest building, but with the opening of its new Ritz-Carlton, it now claims rights to the world’s tallest hotel.
Encompassing the top 16 floors of Hong Kong’s ICC (International Commercial Center), the newly-opened Ritz-Carlton in West Kowloon is extravagant, even for a city used to extremes. It takes a full minute by elevator to get to the 102nd floor lobby of this, the world’s tallest hotel.
Ritz-Carlton president Hervé Humler has told reporters on many occasions that the hotel will target wealthy visitors from Mainland China. However, “The local community will also be crucial for our restaurant’s offerings,” notes Bonnie Kwok, director of public relations.
All rooms in the hotel have spectacular views of Hong Kong, and the hotel features telescopes at virtually every location, from floor 102 to 118. The telescopes are not only in guest rooms, but also in restaurants, bars and even restrooms.
The Ritz-Carlton has six specialized dining venues, as well as The Chocolate Library, a café serving all manner of chocolate dishes and drinks. A waitress at the café greets every customer and notes that “we have our own special recipe for the chocolate.” Most of the customers inside the café are local families, enjoying the afternoon tea-set and cakes and cookies brought to tables on a uniquely designed brown bookshelf.
But the Ritz-Carlton’s pride in being the world’s highest hotel is best manifested in OZONE, a bar on the top floor. “Welcome, you are now in the highest bar in the world,” says the bartender as he leads the customers to outdoor seats where they can admire the spectacular night view of Hong Kong with or without the provided telescopes.
Close to The Chocolate Library is Tosca, an Italian restaurant which also operated at the previous Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong located in Central, Hong Kong’s main banking district. However, in the new hotel, the restaurant is surrounded by large windows, showcasing a panoramic view of the city.
Hong Kong resident Vanessa Wong brought her friends from the U.S., to show them the magnificent view of the city.
“We came around eight o’clock to see the symphony of lights from up here. You can get a great view from this hotel and my friends were stunned by the scene. Even I’ve never seen my own city [from] this high before,” says Wong.
With this glamorous new property, executives believe the Ritz will quickly come to be viewed as one of Hong Kong’s most attractive destinations.
“Our target is to fully engage our guests, so that they will come back not only for our height but because of our service and the exceptional memories that our ladies and gentlemen have created for them,” says Kwok.
Vicky Chiu and Eunhye Sin are students in the Journalism Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong