If the altitude doesn't give you a nosebleed, the room rates might
You could say it is the height of luxury. And if putting on the Ritz is your thing, it's just the place for you. The highest hotel in the world opened in Hong Kong last week, and if the altitude doesn't give you a nosebleed, the price of a room will.
Taking up floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), the five-star, 312-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel Hong Kong, is certainly high-class.
With views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour, the hotel knocks the Park Hyatt Shanghai - on the 79th to 93rd floors of the Shanghai World Financial Centre - off its perch as the highest hotel.
Naturally, it also boasts the highest bar in the world, Ozone, on the 118th floor.
Owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties, the ICC is the tallest building in Hong Kong, at 484 metres. Standing atop Kowloon station, it took nearly five years to build. The building is called the Dragon's Tail because of its shape and has scales on the outside to represent those of a dragon's in a nod to popular Chinese culture.
While the new Ritz-Carlton can enjoy being the world's highest hotel, the ICC is still not the world's highest building. That honour belongs to Dubai's 828 metre Burj Khalifa. However, its signature hotel, the Armani Hotel, is no higher than its 39th floor.
Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, though, and for some, to be staying in a hotel this far from terra firma may cause a few palpitations. The Ritz-Carlton's director of public relations, Bonnie Kwok, doesn't think that will be a problem, though.
'It doesn't matter if the hotel is high up or lower down, it still has to be comfortable for our guests. It's a modern building, but we use warm colours and fabrics to make our guests feel more relaxed and at home,' said Kwok.
'Some modern buildings can feel cold and unwelcoming, but no matter how high up you may be here, you feel comfortable and at ease.'
She emphasised that it was the hotel's service that would make the biggest difference.
'It's good to be the highest hotel in the world and enjoy this great view, but what is most important is that our guests enjoy the best possible service and experience here,' Kwok said. 'This is what will keep people coming back, not the height.'
The hotel received more than 18,000 applications for 526 vacancies. From many vantage points in the hotel guests can get a panoramic view along and across the harbour, and each room has its own telescope to give guests a better look at their surroundings.
The rack rate for a standard room is HK$6,000 a night, and rates go up to HK$100,000 for one night in the presidential suite on the 117th floor.
A basic room is 540 square feet in size, while the presidential suite is 3,920 sq ft.
While you might think the introduction of the record-breaking hotel in the city would have its competitors green with envy, but other hotel groups are supportive of the new venture.
'We welcome the opening of the Ritz-Carlton as boosting the finely honed, super-luxury hotel category in Hong Kong,' Olivia Toth, director of public relations at the Peninsula Hotel, said. 'The more reputable super-luxury hotels that this city can offer to wealthy, discerning visitors, the better to establish Hong Kong as the ultimate city destination.'
Toth believed that the hotel's opening offered locals as well as overseas visitors more reasons to visit Kowloon, and enjoy world-class dining options.
'It's a win-win for everyone,' she said.
Edge of space
It's the kind of place where everything is big, even the LED screen over the top-floor infinity pool, the width of which is: 28m