Welcome to the inaugural edition of Checking In, the latest series in Lost In A Supermarket’s quest to cover all things we hold most dear. In this hotel review series sure we’d be tempted to just cover the most expensive or exclusive hotels in the world (who wouldn’t), but that will not be our sole goal. We also hope to unearth some hidden gems outside of the headlines — boutique hideaways on a distant island, smaller hotels catering to a specific clientele (our readership), or even remote bed & breakfasts on a 3rd world beach town that brings something utterly unique to an unknown port. For our inaugural edition of Checking In, however, we’re going BIG and selecting the gleaming new Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong — now the new highest hotel in the world. Needless to say we’re honored to start with such a world class destination, and glad to have esteemed colleague Luis Toro kick things off. Trust us, we’ll keep them coming…
Hong Kong is all about making money, and here is a place to spend it: The Ritz-Carlton, occupying the top 17 floors of the elegant ICC building, the world’s fourth tallest skyscraper. From the moment your ears pop as you reach the lobby on the 103rd floor in what seems like 9 seconds to your first martini at Ozone — ‘the highest bar in the world’ — you know your hard-earned money is being frittered away in this opulent and cosseting world. And you love it.
Having opened at the end of March, you can still smell the newness of the carpets in the corridors. And as they’re operating a lower occupancy rate during this opening period, you may still be able to be the first to break in the beds in some rooms. The split-level reception lobby and restaurants, with their gold corridors that house the champagne fridges, feel more like a giant members’ club than a hotel — and that’s a good thing, as large hotels can often feel too corporate.
But you’ll immediately want to get to the very top – and the 118th floor doesn’t disappoint. You arrive at Ozone – designed by Japanese architecture studio Wonderwall, most famous for their BAPE stores – which is a sprawling, exciting bar. Even when the clouds come in, and your view is a complete white out, the outside rooftop terrace section still comes into its own, with the clouds billowing in like dry ice.
Design: The whole building was designed by American architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, with interiors by Singapore-based LTW Designworks. Ritz-Carlton can be a bit stuffy and conservative when it comes to interiors, but here, especially with Ozone and in the bedrooms, there’s a modern elegance in play that wouldn’t seem out of place in a W.
Highlight: The top-floor indoor infinity pool, which features 144 LED screens on the ceiling and wall allowing for rolling video images including a tropical beach-scene. It’s like swimming in a lightshow.
Location: Part of the new Union Square development in Kowloon. Very close to transport links for the subway and airport express.
Hit the Jump to continue reading the premier edition of our new hotel review series “Checking In”, for Hong Kong’s latest gem the Ritz-Carlton Hotel — now the highest hotel in the world — plus another gallery and helicopter video of the Ritz in all its glory…
The impressive gold laced Champagne Corridor
Our room: We had a corner suite on the 109th floor, which came equipped with a telescope, but even standard rooms are spacious with large bright bathrooms (plus technology like WiFi, iPod docking stations, blu-ray DVD players and flat screen TVs). Make sure you ask for a room facing Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong island’s iconic skyline for the best views.
Best room: The Ritz-Carlton Suite on the 117th floor contains 3,920 sqft (365m2) of space to enjoy arguably Hong Kong’s best hotel room view.
Spa & Extras: The Spa by ESPA is located on the 116th floor and features nine deluxe treatment rooms and two couple’s suites all with floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. A full 16,000 feet above the sprawling streets, the Spa offers the ultimate in urban sanctuary experiences (as well as a fully equipped fitness center). The 10,000 sqft. Diamond Ballroom is one of the largest ballrooms in the city, impressively decorated with a sea of crystal chandeliers.
Shopping: There’s a large mall situated in the bottom of the building.
Restaurants and bars: Apart from Tosca (Italian) and Tin Lung Heen (Cantonese) restaurants, our pick are the Chocolate Library and Ozone.
Signature Dish: The Chocolate Library’s Chocolate Breakfast with tea and pancakes. Unfortunately as we were there pre-launch, the Chocolate Library had yet to open. We’ll have to take their word for it.
Entertainment: A 12-screen multiplex cinema is in the mall.
Price: from $580 to over $2,000
Downer: The rooms do not feature full floor to ceiling windows.
Final word: Pricey, but a worthwhile luxuriously high experience.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Hong Kong’s top-floor indoor infinity pool, with 144 LED screens to keep your swim entertaining