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.