[Hotel Review] The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong

Grabbed from official site

This trip came up but of course due to the Cathy Pacific giveaway which happened earlier this year, and I decided to try this RC for its amazing views (and eye watering prices). This stay comes after a fantastic stay at RC Tokyo just last month and I was super excited to be able to make a comparison between these two similarly highly-raved about properties.

Address – International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West. Website.

Contact – Tel: +85 222632263. Email: rc.hkgkw.reservations@ritzcarlton.com.

Location – directly connected to (or rather, sits on top of) Elements Shopping Mall, the property sits high above the clouds of Hong Kong occupying the 102nd – 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui. Other than that, there is nothing really much in the vicinity, least to say touristy stuff for first timers.

Price – Total of 238,500 Bonvoy points for 3nights + HKD2,300++ per night for club access for 2pax. Why not. Bye bye money. I suppose compared to the cash price of a Suite itself at HKD10,000+, this is erm considered a steal?

Prior to arrival – I had a couple of email correspondences with the hotel, all of which were swiftly and professionally answered – I super appreciate their patience! When they heard that it was my mum’s first time back to Hong Kong since 2016, they very kindly offered to arrange a cake with wordings of my choice which I thought was really nice of them. I also inquired if they still have their pre-COVID ritual of having Hong Kong milk tea placed at the lobby for in-house guests in the afternoon – they replied to say they no longer do that but will be happy to place some in-room for us. Yay.

And of course I tried to Suite talk (via email) into getting a suite upgrade as a Titanium and was eager to see if this RC will fulfil yet another of my non-SNA request. I knew being specific with the Suite will increase my chances so I asked for the Victoria Habour Suite which was supposed to be the nicest one they have. They said they will try their best and 1 day prior to arrival, I could see that the app was showing a Deluxe Suite – still hoping for the best!

Getting There – HKD1,400++ for a Mercedes Benz EQS 450+ to be picked up from the airport which was definitely a splurge but when travelling with family, comfort is important! The driver was patiently waiting outside arrival hall B even though we exited through the wrong hall but we were whisked away soon enough to a waiting lobby while he brought the car over. The car ride took about 30mins while we enjoyed the still and sparkling water in the car – so atas! I just thought it was a shame that the car didn’t carry the RC logo though.

When the car arrived at the level 9 driveway where other fancy cars are parked, staff were on standby ready to assist and I was impressed that a member from the club lounge team was also there to personally escort us to proceed with in-room check in. Fancy indeed!

Arrival Lobby – we were whisked past the arrival lobby – its a simple and spacious set up which feels welcoming. This is also the level where guests get a sheltered connection to Elements Mall.

Main Lobby – we were also whisked past the main lobby located on level 103 where some of the restaurants are located and where the concierge and front desk is for non-club guests to be checked in / out.

Check In – we were escorted to our room straight away for an in-room check in where the staff politely handled everything – by this point, I do really feel like a VIP! He also apologized that they weren’t able to accord the Victoria Habour Suite but in-person the Deluxe Suite was nice enough for sure!

After 10mins or so, I was handed our keys, welcome letter, as well as the club information. Excited!

Room – Our Deluxe Suite, 10908 (level 109 room 08), was super nice! I mean I’ve stayed in very nice suites before but the view is really something else here. Where else do you get sweeping views at level 109?

Okay let’s start proper though – the suite is generously spaced at 73SqM and split into a living area and bedroom spaces, and the bathroom. There is a large entrance way as you enter which was useful for the taking off and putting on shoes kind of action.

Immediately after this is the rather extensive mini bar to the left – fancy coffee machine, cupware, bottled water, and mini boozes etc. In my excitement, I forgot to take pics of the contents of the shelves and fridge but they were quite fully stocked.

The work desk area is up next, with a proper longish table, chairs on each side, reading materials, lights, and powerpoints.

Laid out on this table is an assortment of generous welcome amenities – various sweets, the mini cake they promised, as well as the specially requested milk tea. There was also another welcome note accompanied by the cutest RC lion ever!

The next section is our favorite spot in the room – the couch and cushioned window ledge offering a bird’s eye view of the sea from 109th! This corner was also decorated with balloons, a welcome banner, as well as hand-drawn “welcome to Hong Kong” card – the 3rd / 4th welcome we’ve seen.

It was such a joy to see this view every time we step back into the room, especially at night!

Other things in this same area includes a solo lounge chair, an ornamental table top structure containing complimentary chocolate and biscuits, as well as of course a TV.

Now we go into the other half of the Suite – the bedroom and bathroom which be separated from the living area by sliding panels on the sides of the TV structure. The bedroom is more conventional and less jaw dropping than the living area but immaculately maintained as a Ritz should be. A super comfy king bed accompanied by generous bedside tables equipped with its own lighting controls and power points, blind controls on the closer side of the bed, and a huge TV facing all these.

The bathroom is also super well maintained, equipped with double sinks, a bathtub which we never used, a separate shower space, and toilet space with its own wash basin and also can be accessed from the entrance hallway so you don’t have to go through the whole space if emergency calls. Toiletries are pump-sized Diptyque ones like most RCs are these days.

Below the sink and peppered around this space are various bathroom amenities like how a luxury bathroom should be.

The wardrobe space is as expected, though I felt the position of the door could be better as one of them blocked the access from the living area when open. There was also a smaller cabinet near the bed containing the iron and shoe shine stuff.

Turndown here is the signature RC chocolates:

Housekeeping – I had expected housekeeping here to be flawless but it didn’t turn out to be so. While some attentiveness showed eg they made sure we had more than enough bottled water, my barangs became neatly arranged with hand towels underneath, a cleaning cloth placed beside my spectacles….

Nespresso pods were not replenished (though they quickly brought a set over upon request), and cleaning was not thorough as some fallen balloons were left untouched on the floor and window. On top of that, we came back slightly past 2pm on our first day out in the city only to see the room not made up at all. We made a quick call to housekeeping to ask if we had needed to explicitly request for daily housekeeping and was told it ‘should’ be automatic but if we like they can do it now. To their credit, they also asked what time we would like housekeeping the next day and it was done without fuss. But still an odd experience at a Ritz.

The Ritz Carlton Club – I was super duper excited to get here and was absolutely brimming with anticipation to check out this highest club lounge in the world – level 116 here I come!

Exceptional Benefits

Club and Suite guests can enjoy The Club Lounge with personalized check-in and check-out services, dedicated Club concierge service, Club Car service and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access. Traditional afternoon tea presented with compliments (one per guestroom) in The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge.

From their official site

First up, the space is laid out in a long-ish shape and this allows all window seats to have a sweeping view of the neighborhood way from above. The seats are all comfy sofa seats, with some of the window ones having a higher back support and was my favorite of the lot. Seats are also spaced nicely apart so the design is very relaxed, cosy, yet somewhat private. Some corner nooks are particularly popular due to double panel views but they are grabbed out quite fast.

(Bad daytime pics due to the full-on natural lighting so hopefully the night ones make up for it)

The food area is laid out in a length of buffet spread split into hot and cold stuff a live station coroner, and a DIY all-day drinks (wines, juices, still & sparkling water on tap). We arrived in the afternoon tea session so there wasn’t much to see in the buffet stations.

There is also a small business spot in a corner for those who remain sober enough to do some work.

All-day drinks – this is the most exciting part for me! Alcohol is available all day here and I was stoked to start on my first glass of bubbles. I was slightly disappointed that Moet is the champagne of choice here unlike other RCs who serve Ritz-branded bubbles but anything other than VC works for me la.

Unlike champagne where orders have to be taken by the staff and served to your table, wines and beers are self-served with wines with 4x reds and 4x whites via dispenser and beers from a fridge.

Breakfast (7:00-10:30)

Breakfast was really peaceful most days at 7am+! Food wise, there were the usual international fare mixed with some local flavors like dim sum, soya bean milk, polo buns, tea eggs, and interestingly enough local hong kong honey which were very nice. There were also some a small rotation of items so we were able to try different things throughout our 3 mornings which I felt was quite thoughtful.

If Club guests want to try breakfast at the restaurant, it will be at Cafe 103 and requires a top up of HDK108++ per pax so I obviously did not take that option.

The hot stuff:

The cold stuff:

Light Lunch (12:00-14:00)

As with all RC’s light lunch, the selection is not at all light and in my opinion had the best quality of offerings so much so we looked very much forward to our lunches every day. The clear soups were outstanding, and one lunch’s bimbimbap from the live station completely stole our hearts. Other days, we saw shrimp quesadillas and pizza as well.

The hot stuff:

The cold stuff:

Lunch’s live station stuff:

Afternoon Tea (15:00-17:00)

We only tried one session of this as we were mostly out during these times and were not a fan of the 3-tiered stuff as well. Scones were decent though.

Hors d’oeuvres (18:00-20:00)

As usual, my favorite session of any club lounge! Even though alcoholic is available all day, 3 specialty cocktails are served during this timing made with their local spirits – the coffee tonic fizz was my favorite while the 25/50 tasted enough to kill a cow.

Food wise, there were again a small rotation of items each evening so we looked forward to having a great dinner every day. Carbs, proteins, fibre, sugar – everything one would need for a nice full meal.

The hot stuff:

The cold stuff:

Live station stuff:

Desserts & Cordials (20:30-22:00)

I just realized I never stayed long enough for this session so opps. I blame the champagne.

Other Club Lounge Benefits:

Pressing – other than never ending eating and drinking, I was impressed that I found time to make use of its complimentary pressing of 2x garments per day (non-accumulative). I sent them for pressing around 10am one day and came back after dinner to see this note on the table with the items hung in the wardrobe but with no cover – the reverse of the card explains that they will only be provided upon request which was no issue for me.

Club Car – club guests get to enjoy a complimentary one-way ride to anywhere in the Kowloon area at any time which was such a treat we used it every day. Usage is of course subject to availability and we were informed that there is only 1 car for this service so best to book the service via the club team in advance if your timing is firm.

Facilities – This being a chillax holiday, I made sure to try as many facilities as possible during my stay as who comes here and NOT try the highest pool and gym in the world located at level 118 right?

It was a blessing in disguise that the Fitness Centre’s steam room as out of order during my stay as this meant I was invited to use the wet facilities at the Spa instead. The staff escorted me in and explained all the facilities before leaving my alone to explore the fancy environment.

I tried the Steam Room and the Sauna and they were adequately hot which hit the spot for relaxing tired muscles on an arrival day.

I also got some me-time in the Relaxation Room which has individual lounge chairs facing the same awesome views and a small refreshment corner set up.

And how can I not try the highest swimming pool in the world?

Opened from 6:00am-11:00pm, this pool is one of the more photogenic ones I’ve seen with a LED screen showing rather calming underwater stuff, a whole length of pool beds, and plenty enough space to get those laps in. Its not an infinity-style though but you can try to catch a glimpse of the view from 118 floors up by perching yourself on the correct side of the pool.

Alongside the pool are three hot tubs: lukewarm & cold in the indoors area, and a literal hot tub in the outdoor patio. They are great for chillaxing in and the hot tub outdoors is the most popular but it is also unsheltered and likely to be closed during rain.

The Fitness Centre is opened 24 hours and set up in a long stretch with plenty of equipment for a proper workout (photos were taken at different times of the day hence different lighting).

There is also an outdoor stretch of sun beds alongside the gym area – not exactly sure what is for but I guess might as well maximize the availability of the view right?

Service – an almost stellar service experience by the Club team as expected from a RC – with special shoutout to Cherry, Lincoln, Chilly, Yanny, Leonardo, Brigitta, Andrew, Jensen, Alejandro, and Fredrick who took such great care of us and made sure I inhaled plenty of champagne and cocktails probably enough to disinfect my insides.

I said ‘almost’ because there were small unfortunate blips at the club:

  • there were insufficient / late replenishment of coffee cups at breakfast which meant we had to flag down a staff to get coffee since we couldn’t DIY (a strange issue I know).
  • understaffing seemed to be an issue during breakfast hours as there were noticeably less staff versus guest ratio during those times which led to difficulty getting attention.
  • during two of my three hors d’oeuvres session, drink orders were forgotten even though the lounge was only at perhaps half capacity. This meant a very long (and thirsty) wait which led me to think maybe they can have at least the champagne laid out for guests to self-serve to minimize their load.

Check Out – Done painlessly at the club and completed in less than 10mins.

In Summary,

What a great way to burn some points, and the decision to top up cash for club access was not wrong! RC Club team has once again given me an awesome experience and I cannot wait for my 2024 soon-to-be Nightly Upgrade Award (NUA) next year!

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