There are some hotels that I just click with, and no matter where in the world I find them, Ritz-Carlton tends to be near the top of that list. Whether it’s on Amelia Island, Florida or in China, I’m guaranteed a high level of service, luxurious rooms and a Club Level that I think is the best in the business. But every hotel and property is unique, they all have their strengths and while in Hong Kong recently I had the great opportunity to stay at one of the newest luxury hotels in the city – the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. I had long wanted to stay at this particular property for many reasons, but the actual stay itself was better than even I could have imagined. Rather than just do a boring review of the hotel, I thought I’d share a few reasons why I think the Ritz-Carlton is a fantastic option for anyone traveling to this exciting city.
Location and Features
For any traveler, location is a key aspect of any great hotel experience and the Ritz-Carlton is very well located on Kowloon, my favorite area of Hong Kong to stay. Kowloon offers its own sights and attractions, including some of the best food in the city. More importantly though, the Ritz-Carlton is in the International Commerce Centre, a large complex with access not only to the city’s subway system, the MTR, but also direct access to the Airport Express. This means that you can go from the airport to the doorstep of the Ritz-Carlton very quickly and without hassle. The Centre also provides easy access to restaurants, shops and cafes, all of which are amongst the best in the city. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is also exceedingly unique in its designation as the highest hotel in the world. Calling the 102nd to 118th floors home, guests are the beneficiaries of this height, enjoying what I think are the best views in the city. Additionally, people come from around the world to enjoy a drink at Ozone, the rooftop bar that, at a stunning 490 meters or 1,600 feet above sea level, is the highest bar in the world.
Club Level Benefits
No matter where I stay, if a lounge or club level is available, I always opt for it. This level of access has many benefits usually including complimentary WiFi, better rooms and of course food and drink service throughout the day. I have long said that I consider the Ritz-Carlton Club Level to be the best in the business, and at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong they take this to even greater heights. (Pun intended) There are two aspects to the Club Level of any Ritz-Carlton that one needs to take into consideration. The first is the Club Level Lounge itself and the perks it affords and the second are the benefits that are associated with staying as a Club Level guest. At the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the Club Lounge features those amazing views of the city for which this hotel is so very well known. The lounge is spacious, well designed, elegant and comfortable, everything one looks for in a space to relax and decompress. The lounge also features six food and beverage presentations throughout the day, ensuring that you will never go hungry. These aren’t token food offerings either, they are robust, expertly prepared and for me, were all a culinary highlight of my stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.
In addition to the lounge, the benefits afforded to Club Level guests at this particular property are many, and I afforded myself of almost all of them. Complimentary car service within the vicinity is included, (in the city’s first hotel owned Tesla) as is in-room check-in, a dedicated concierge, high speed WiFi, pressing of garments and more. In total, the Club Level experience is luxury at its finest and for me personally, transformed my own stay into something truly extraordinary.
Rooms with a View
As mentioned, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is the highest hotel in the world and as such, every room has an amazing view of the city. The hotel’s 312 guestrooms all offer spectacular view of Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline, it’s your preference which one you choose. The rooms are all designed in what can only be called refined elegance with an Asian flair. Soft accents, rich woods and luxurious fabrics made my room a haven in a city that at times can be hectic and overwhelming. The views, the work area, the bed I sunk into and of course the bathroom with the amazing amenities, all created a brief but memorable stay that was the perfect way for me to unwind after a long trip.
Hong Kong is a city that takes food seriously and the many luxury hotels in the city are at the forefront of fine dining. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is no exception, and counts within its ranks six outstanding dining venues including the state-of-the-art one Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Tosca and the two-star Michelin Chinese restaurant, Tin Lung Heen. I only had a day in Hong Kong and while I wish I could have tried all of the dining options on-site, including the luxurious champagne and caviar bar, I had a choice to make and so it was at Tin Lung Heen where I enjoyed dinner. My already high expectations were quickly surpassed, as I was led through a culinary journey crafted by the fine chefs at the restaurant, serving up classic Chinese flavors in a way that is delicate and delicious. In addition to the restaurants and cafes is the aforementioned Club Lounge, where I enjoyed afternoon tea, snacks and a hearty breakfast during my stay. I don’t usually select hotels based on their food, but in this case when I return to Hong Kong it will be the deciding factor in why I once again choose to stay with the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ritz-Carlton.
I often write that ultimately luxury travel is not about the trappings, but about the service. At the end of the day, service can’t be faked – it either exists or it does not. No matter which Ritz-Carlton location I patronize, I am always guaranteed a very high level of service and it’s because of this more than anything else that I am a loyal guest. What makes the Ritz-Carlton a little different from other comparable luxury hotels is that also instilled in the staff is the importance of creating special moments for their guests. Staff members, internally recognized as Ladies and Gentlemen, are given a budget with which to both surprise and delight their guests. It can be anything, from buying a tie for someone who left theirs at home to delivering that special dessert they know the guest loves. Usually these moments are not over the top, but are quite modest. It’s not the item itself that matters; it’s the act of kindness that ultimately counts. When we as luxury travelers visit a new place, we want to feel special, that we’re more than just a number. This is a great way in which the Ritz-Carlton accomplishes this admittedly hard to realize feat and is yet another reason why I enjoy staying with them so very much.
Let’s be clear, I have never had a bad experience with a hotel in Hong Kong. The level of luxury found in the city is extreme, but from the moment I walked through the doors of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, I knew this hotel was something special, something different. It truly is the total package, from location to amenities and service, I found nothing lacking. Its size and location guarantees that guests will want for nothing, and the Club Level benefits and comfortable rooms ensure that guests will be as comfortable as anyone can be when away from home, even perhaps more so. My stay was one of the best memories I have from my most recent trip to China and Hong Kong and is an experience I hope to replicate in the not so distant future.