Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Opens as World’s Highest Hotel [Gallery]

It offers a bird’s eye view of one of the most spectacular skylines in the world. And should the visitor get bored of staring at Hong Kong’s glittering towers from the eyrie of their hotel room window, there are always other distractions.

  • For more information, see www.ritzcarlton.com Photo: The Ritz-CarltonFor more information, see www.ritzcarlton.com Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • The hotel also has four meeting rooms, a spa and relaxation center, a fitness centre and a pool. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonThe hotel also has four meeting rooms, a spa and relaxation center, a fitness centre and a pool. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • The Ritz-Carlton's ballroom is one of the largest in the city at 930sqm, complete with crystal chandeliers. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonThe Ritz-Carlton's ballroom is one of the largest in the city at 930sqm, complete with crystal chandeliers. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • The alfresco rooftop bar is 490m above sea level, and looks out over Hong Kong. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonThe alfresco rooftop bar is 490m above sea level, and looks out over Hong Kong. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • Rooms start at 50sqm for a Deluxe Harbour Room and can go up to 365sqm. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonRooms start at 50sqm for a Deluxe Harbour Room and can go up to 365sqm. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • Restaurant choices will range from Asian-style tapas to Chinese banquets to Italian food. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonRestaurant choices will range from Asian-style tapas to Chinese banquets to Italian food. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • The Ritz-Carlton's bars and restaurants have been designed by Japan's Spin Studio, with six dining venues to choose from. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonThe Ritz-Carlton's bars and restaurants have been designed by Japan's Spin Studio, with six dining venues to choose from. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • The hotel will offer panoramic views across Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonThe hotel will offer panoramic views across Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • All rooms provide the latest technology including WiFi, iPod docking stations and flat screen TV's. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonAll rooms provide the latest technology including WiFi, iPod docking stations and flat screen TV's. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton
  • Occupying the top 16 floors of the ICC tower, the hotel offers 312 guest rooms - all with city and harbour views. Photo: The Ritz-CarltonOccupying the top 16 floors of the ICC tower, the hotel offers 312 guest rooms - all with city and harbour views. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton

There are views, and then there are v-i-e-w-s. Starting today, any guest checking into the brand new Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong will get an eyeful of the latter — birds-eye panoramas of Victoria Harbour and the shiny HK skyline.

Opening in a ‘ soft’ launch to the public on March 29 (the official grand opening is May 3), the 312-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel bills itself as “the world’s tallest hotel” — it will occupy floors 102 to 118 of the new International Commerce Centre, which dominates the skyline on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.

Towering some 490 metres above the chaotic streets of the southern Chinese city, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is making a grand comeback after temporarily closing in 2008.

Visitors peered out of floor-to-ceiling windows on the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre, which houses the hotel, for a 360 degree view of the glitzy financial hub and the South China Sea.

“We’re opening an iconic hotel which took us about 10 years to build,” president Herve Humler told reporters. “We are taking luxury to new heights in every sense.”

The Ritz-Carlton, however, will likely lose the title of world’s highest hotel in 2014, according to media reports, when the J-Hotel opens near the top of the more than 600-metre-high Shanghai Tower in mainland China.

“People compete all around the world about everything. I’m sure someone somewhere is building an even taller building as we speak,” Humler said. “We emphasize service.”

Visitors may be lured by facilities that include the highest bar in the world, a “Chocolate Library” and a top-floor pool that will feature 144 ceiling-mounted TV screens so swimmers can be entertained while they do their backstroke.

Mark DeCocinis, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, said, “The overall design theme of the hotel is inspired by the city’s dynamic culture — a global metropolis at the crossroads of East and West and at the same time rich in entrancing local flavor.”

There are three restaurants on the 102nd floor, including ‘Tin Lung Heen,’ which is a Chinese restaurant serving refined Cantonese cuisine; ‘Tosca,’ an Italian restaurant which offers Southern Italian cuisine and the very stylish ‘The Lounge & Bar’ with fire pits and open kitchens.

The hotel’s facilities also include state-of-the-art technology including Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, Blu-ray DVD players and flat screen TVs and etc.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong also will be one of the most expensive places to stay in a city already packed with luxury hotels, with rates for the 312 units starting at $750 US a night for a deluxe room. A presidential suite goes for $12,505 a night. [Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong via News (AU) and Wall Street Journal]

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