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The Ritz Carlton's indoor infinity swimming pool
Photograph: TA The Ritz Carlton's indoor infinity swimming pool

Hotel Diaries: Sky-high stay at The Ritz-Carlton

Check-in for the view, but definitely come back for its luxurious amenities.

By Tatum Ancheta
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For the another instalment of Hotel Diaries, we've booked a room for a sky-high accommodation at The Ritz-Carlton. Read below for the full experience.  

RECOMMENDED: For more luxurious staycations, check out the Four Seasons Hotel entry in our Hotel Diaries, or this list of the best hotel swimming pools in town.  

The Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton
Photograph: Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton

First impressions

If you have a fear of heights, then this hotel accommodation may not be for you, because when it comes to rooms with sky-high views of the city, The Ritz-Carlton is – literally – on top of it all. The hotel takes up 16 floors – from 102nd to 118th floor – of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), one of the tallest buildings in the world, offering vertigo-inducing views of picturesque Hong Kong. Checking in at the lobby means going up to the 103rd floor, and you’d know you’re reaching the hotel when you feel your ears pop while in the elevator. The trip going up only takes a minute, and once you get to the lobby, you’d feel a sense of exclusivity on your arrival as there is no long queue at the check-in. And since I was staying in one of the hotel suites, I was able to check-in at a much more exclusive reception at the Club Lounge on the 116th floor, which is only available for guests staying in the suites or Club Level hotel rooms. 

Surrounded by dizzying views and designed with lavish interiors – splashed with bling and shimmer that is not exactly understated – The Ritz-Carlton gives off a feeling that you’re in the presence of wealth and power. And boy, by wealth, we mean you need to have a good wad of cash stashed to spend on all the luxurious amenities that the hotel has to offer. 

 The Ritz-Carlton
 The Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton's spa located on the 118th floor I Photograph: TA

Services and amenities

The Ritz’s best amenity is its floor to ceiling views of the city, and the hotel knows exactly how to use it. From its guest rooms, Michelin-starred restaurants, club lounge, rooftop bar, spa, and indoor swimming pool, you’ll always be aware that you’re up in the clouds and surrounded by Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline. Wherever you are hanging out in the hotel, it’s a definite must to take pictures. The hotel staff will encourage you to do so and even recommend how to get the best angles.  

Two of its elegant dining offerings have Michelin-stars – Cantonese restaurant Tin Lung Heen and Italian restaurant Tosca Di Angelo – and though dining here may cost an arm and a leg, every dollar spent is worth it. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent fine dining experience in Hong Kong. For drinks, you can start sipping cold bubbly with high tea in the afternoon at Ozone rooftop bar, before moving to more spirited drinks from their Five Elements cocktail menu ($138 per cocktail) while watching the skyline glitter during sundown. 

Aside from the F&B offerings, the hotel’s lavish spa facility located on the 116th floor of the hotel, and state-of-the-art fitness centre and indoor swimming pool on the 118th floor completes the high life experience.

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The Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton
Deluxe Victoria View Suite I Photograph: TA

The room 

You’ve probably seen the picture of The Ritz’s corner suite featuring a telescope and floor to ceiling windows with a bird’s eye view of the Hong Kong skyline. That’s one of the Deluxe Victoria View Suites, and I stayed in one located on the 106th floor. If you think that this overused picture looks impressive, it’s better looking in real life. I probably stayed in that corner for more than two hours just trying to get the best picture to post on social media. Definitely bring a tripod for taking pictures because you’ll need it. 

Welcome amenities

The room’s decor and furniture feature modern designs and subtle oriental accents. Welcome treats include a thermos of Hong Kong milk tea, a slice of cake and other pastries, complete with a cute lion plush keychain. In-room amenities include a Nespresso coffee machine, fully stocked mini-bar (with premium spirits The Botanist gin, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Our Vodka Hong Kong edition, and Moutai Xijiu), Apple TV, 42-inch flat-screen LCD TV in both the living room and the bedroom, and a desk facing the living room view. The bedroom with a King size bed – covered with a 400-thread count bedding – also has an extended view of the harbour. The marble bathroom has a bathtub and a separate shower and toilet complete with Asprey toiletries. And thank god, finally a bidet! The toilet showcases a multi-functional bowl with a bidet, heated seat, an automatic sensor that opens the cover when you walk near it, and it even lights up at night – this makes toilet breaks a lot more fun! 

Tosca di Angelo
Tosca di Angelo
Tosca di Angelo I Photograph: Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton

The experience

Check-in at The Ritz starts at 2pm. Between taking pictures and scanning the horizon with the telescope, you can practically use up all your afternoon in the room. But since I had Club Lounge access, I took advantage of its afternoon tea and enjoyed some light bites and a few glasses of bubbly while working on my laptop in one of the window-side lounges. It’s the kind of working environment you’d want to have on a daily basis. 

The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge

By 5pm, I was able to book a two-hour use of the swimming pool. Make sure you book as soon as you check-in, or even before checking in, so you can get a slot as it gets fully booked because of the current social distancing rule. This futuristic infinity pool makes you feel like you’re in the set of Black Mirror, replete with ceiling mirrors, a faux fireplace, a huge LED screen reflecting tropical and underwater sceneries, and bottom-to-ceiling glass windows that bring in Victoria Harbour views. Swimming here is very relaxing. And because it is indoor, it gives off a feeling that you are swimming in a capsule. You can just go by yourself and let the time pass by taking backstroke laps while watching reflections on the ceiling mirrors. 

The Ritz-Carlton swimming pool

The two-hour dip definitely worked up my appetite, and it was a good way to prepare for the elegant dinner at Tosca di Angelo. Here amidst – yes, I’ll say it again – the best views of the sparkling skyline, you can embark on a gastronomic journey with the freshest seasonal produce from chef Angelo Aglianó’s kitchen. The dinner started with small bites of mini tart with smoked aubergine and peppered crab meat, followed by a presentation of Tosca’s selection of extra virgin olive oils from Tanto Quanto Basta from Sicily, Italy – in varying complexity and flavours – which goes with house-made sourdough bread that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Dishes that came next surpass expectations.

Trapanesi Busiate with two kinds of red shrimp paired perfectly well with an exotic, pungent orange wine COS Rami Bianco 2019 (comes from south-east Sicily, 45 minutes from chef Angelo’s hometown) that smells like red wine with aromas of wet wood, mushroom, rocks, seaweed, meld into hints of honey and citrus on the palate.

Pan-seared turbot – served with green beans purée, spring onions confit, and slices of bottarga – paired with Masseria Li Veli 2019 Askos Verdeca, a bottle of crisp white wine from the Salento region of Italy that uses ancient Verdeca grapes, it carries tropical, citrusy, and minerally notes that goes well with the savoury flavours of the dish.

It’s the kind of dinner that you won’t easily forget, and while I can only wish to afford the dishes here on a regular basis, it’s definitely great for special occasions or intimate dates when you want to impress. Dishes at Tosca di Angelo range from over $300 and above with options for a five course full tasting menu, priced at $1,888 per person and additional $1,580 for wine pairing.  

The Ritz-Carlton gym

In the morning, I sneaked in for a quick workout at the gym but since it was a bit foggy in the morning, views were not visible from the window. The Club Lounge serves a breakfast buffet from 6.30am to 10.30am, featuring a spread of fruits and salads and hot dishes like congee, dim sum, noodles, sausages, and an omelette counter. I just had lite bites because soon after breakfast, I booked a Ladies Wellness Therapy at the spa ($2,530 non-peak hours; $2,700 peak hours), which requires massages on the stomach area.

The Ritz-Carlton spa

The treatment was a 90-minute session specially designed for women. It consisted of a warming womb massage to improve blood circulation and ease menstrual discomfort, followed by a breast meridian massage that massages the breasts in a circular motion and then moves to the armpits and breastbone. The warm womb massage was comforting and very relaxing. The breast massage made me uncomfortable at first. It was a bit painful, but you’d feel that tension from the breastbone is relieved. After the treatment, you can stay at the spa’s resting area for a sip of hot tea while staring at the skyline of Hong Kong Island. 

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The Ritz-Carlton Deluxe Victoria View Suite
The Ritz-Carlton Deluxe Victoria View Suite
Photograph: TA

Final thoughts

All in all, a stay at The Ritz-Carlton is an unforgettable experience. If you’re looking for a sky-high luxury getaway, the hotel gives you exactly what you pay for. You’ll probably check-in for the view, but definitely come back for its luxurious services and amenities. Food, drinks, and the spa treatments are on the pricey side, but they really deliver on the experience, and I will definitely come back for it even if I am not staying in the hotel. The Deluxe Victoria View Suite starts at $5,750, but if you want to get the most out of the amenities, I suggest booking a staycation package that will include dining privileges. When booking, make sure to check the weather because bad weather means zero views of Hong Kong, which might be disappointing because this is the best highlight of your stay. 

Recommended offer: The Ritz-Carlton Elevated Experience 

  • Overnight accommodation at a Club Deluxe Room or above room type
  • Access to The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge with complimentary spreads of food and beverage  
  • One-way Mercedes transfer per stay ($300) or overnight parking for one vehicle per room per stay
  • $800 dining credit per room per stay
  • One Ritz-Carlton Black Orchid Candle
  • Complimentary upgrade to Club Deluxe Victoria Harbour Room for reservations of two consecutive nights 

The rate starts at $5,000 per night. Interested in booking this package? Visit ritzcarlton.com

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