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When I gazed out of the floor-to-ceiling windows from my suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong — the tallest hotel in the world, perched between floors 102 and 118 of the International Commerce Centre — all other city views faded into the recesses of my memory. One-hundred-and-fifteen floors below me, cars the size of ants disappeared beneath the Cross-Harbour underground tunnel, the neon lights of Hong Kong Island reflected off Victoria Harbour and the evening haze hovered around Kowloon’s skyscrapers — to say that this was a room with a view would be an understatement.
En-suite telescopes and floor-to-ceiling windows further accentuated the jaw-dropping views. A Bang & Olufsen MP3 docking station as well as a bedside iPod docking station with a preloaded iPod, featuring everything from Tony Bennett to dubstep, helped create the soundscape for my midweek visit last month. My suite also featured an impressive 47-inch LCD television with a Blu-Ray player and a gorgeous bathroom decked out with travertine floors and back-lit, white marble, his-and-her basins.
Equally opulent was the Club Lounge — featuring panoramic windows, a dark Brazilian marble floor and mirrored columns — located on the 116th floor. Guests of the Club Level will feel like VIPs from the start, with personalized check-in service at the lounge as well as dedicated concierge service throughout their stay. Guests can also help themselves to six daily food and beverage presentations, including a generous breakfast buffet with champagne, freshly baked pastries, omelets, steamed buns, pork dumplings and pan-fried noodles.
I deeply regretted leaving my gym clothes at home after touring the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center. Its high-tech Kinesis One and Technogym equipment was so shiny and new that it looked almost as if it had never been touched. Cardiovascular machines overlook the cityscape and come equipped with personal televisions with an Internet connection, so that guests can answer their work emails or, better yet, update their statuses on Facebook while burning off breakfast. In addition, swimmers will not want to miss a dip in the hotel’s indoor infinity swimming pool where they can marvel over the ceiling’s 144 LED screens displaying tranquil images and a kaleidoscope of colors.
Any visitor to Hong Kong should experience high tea, a vestige of 156-years of British colonial rule. While there are ample options for afternoon tea, there is little reason to leave the hotel, especially if you have a weakness for chocolate. The Chocolate Library, located on the lobby level, entices guests with cocoa- and cappuccino-colored furnishings and a chocolate-inspired menu in the shape of a book. A tea presentation for two includes a choice of teas or the signature hot chocolate and a selection of sweet and savory treats (duck foie gras terrine on cocoa nib bread, white coffee chocolate tarts, chocolate madeleines) served in a book-shaped tray.
Other dining options include Tosca, serving southern Italian cuisine, and Tin Lung Heen, where guests can get their fill of Hong Kong’s traditional dim sum. The Lounge & Bar also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the boutique-style pastry shop, Pastry Gems, is ideal for guests on the go. Perched on the top floor, Ozone is The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong’s most iconic venue. The Wonderwall-designed lounge serves Asian tapas and signature cocktails as DJs entertain a mix of locals and business travelers who have come to unwind and, perhaps, gain a fresh perspective from the highest bar in the world.