06 Mar Ritz Carlton Hotel – Hong Kong
This post was supposed to be my experience at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong… but as I was writing I thought it would be a lot more interesting to write about my experience in Hong Kong, as a place to visit and not only about the hotel…
I will not be the first blogger or writter to say that Hong Kong is vibrant and exciting… mysterious and intriguing… the more I visit the city, the less I seem to really grasp it.
First, it is quite interesting to see how East and West cultures meet, mix, match and co-exist… A former British colony, returned to China, Hong Kong developed its own identity, extracting the best of both worlds… It does not lack personality…on the contrary, it is deep and complex.
We spent 4 days in town…. and we chose to stay at the Ritz Carlton for several reasons….
- Location – Situated on top of the Kowloon metro station, at the ICC building… it is simply perfect. A direct 15 min ride from the airport, a couple of escalators inside the ICC shopping center and the hotel lobby is just there… The bonus is that, there are also check in desks situated at the metro level of the station, where the luggage can be handled to the airline without the need to be carried back to the airport.
- Convenience – It also has to do with the location… Central station to any direction… 10 min away from Disneyland, 30 min ride to the Big Buddha, 20 min to Hollywood road…
- Glamour – The hotel is situated at the 102th floor of the building, which is the tallest building in Hong Kong, but it also has the highest swimming pool in the world. Yes, you read it right… at the top of the highest floor – 116th floor, the swimming pool has a 360 degrees view of the harbour, taking anyone’s breath completely away.
- Confort – The rooms are spectacular – confortable and luxurious… with perfect view of the harbour just at the hotel’s feet. No better view, I assure you.
- Attention to detail – I was travelling with my kids – the hotel provided the kids their own bath robe and toiletries adjusted to their respective age.
- Indulgence – The hotel has several restaurants, including 2 famous Michelin starred ones. One with 2 stars – Tin Lung Heen and another one with 1 star – Tosca.
- Shopping – As the hotel is on the top of the ICC buiding, the base of it is a enormous luxurious shopping center, with all international luxurious brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi, Piaget, Rolex and etc.
We did not spend much time in the hotel… our primary wish was to explore the city, but that does not mean that we did not enjoy what the hotel could offer best – the swimming pool… pictures will speak more than 1000 words.
The pool is huge surrounded by 3 meter glass windows looking down to the Victoria Harbour. One can spend hours appreciating the in and out of the boats and ferries.
Hong Kong has a lot to do… the best way to get to know any city is actually getting on the ground and walk around. A must thing to do is a visit to the harbour which overlooks the Hong Kong Island… A very tourist attraction is the afternoon tea at the Peninsula hotel… which I dont recommend anyone to waste its time. The tea is served at the lobby which is as overcrowded as a bus station. Not a pleasant experience at all.
As I was travelling with my kids, we decided to visit Disneyland Hong Kong. It is a way smaller version to the Florida complex and more or less the size of Disneyland Paris. For Disney lovers like us, it is a must… The metro takes 15 minutes to Kowloon… super easy to access.
We also visited the Tian Tan Buddha… It is situated at the Lantau Island. The metro takes about 30 minutes to the station where tourists take a cable car to access the Buddha. The cable car journey is an experience in itself, as it takes about 40 min and passes several different areas of the Island. At the Buddha station, it takes about 10 minutes walk to access the base of the staircase leading to the Buddha… an interesting place but not necessarily a must see.
A must see, though, is the Island of Macau. A former Portuguese colony, also handled back to the Chinese, Macau keeps its charm. Strolling around Macau, one feels like in Lisbon. Architecture and the official language is the Portuguese… although pronounced with a very strong Chinese accent… The place is interesting and deserves the visit. One thing I noticed is that Macau is full of pharmacies. There are so many per square meter, that I suppose that there is a business reason for that which I could not understand. To get to Macau, there are several high speed boats leaving the port every hour. The journey takes about 1 hour and one must take its passport as Macau is another country.
In terms of food, Hong Kong is a melting pot. There are all sorts of options for all pockets, tastes and appetites. We love food, so we ate Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Burgers. We did not make any formal reservation, as we did not really know where we would be at a certain time. So, when in town we would go around and see what would please us. We discovered interesting places, such a tiny Japanese place just on one of the corners of Hollywood Road… what a memorable meal.
Hong Kong was the last leg of a 2 1/2 weeks trip. Through out the whole trip we had a great time… One says that one should leave when it is at the top… we were literally staying in the highest building in town, in of one of the greatest cities of the planet… not sure what else could go better…