The September opening of ultra-luxury hotels Landmark Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons will push local standards - and room rates - in the high-end hospitality sector to record levels. The two properties will contribute the first new supply of luxury hotel rooms to Hong Kong Island since the Ritz-Carlton hotel opened in 1993, just in time for this year's peak tourist season. The 113-room Mandarin Oriental in the Landmark complex in Central, a boutique hotel catering for deep-pocket leisure travellers, is accepting bookings from September 1. The 'six-star' 396-room Four Seasons at Hong Kong Station will open its doors on September 15. A Landmark Mandarin spokeswoman declined to say how strong the demand for rooms had been, noting only that bookings were satisfactory. Landmark Mandarin's internet rates for standard rooms start at $2,700 per night and top out at about $5,000 for low-end suites. Standard Four Seasons rooms range between $3,200 and $3,650 per night and up to $9,000 for a one-bedroom suite. Rates for special suites in the two hotels will soar well into five digits, observers say. The presidential suite at the Island Shangri-La fetches $26,000 per night. Discounts will be offered to corporate travellers, but both hotels claim that individual visitors can expect to pay published rates. Average room charges in the city continue to inch up towards levels last seen in 1997. Room tariffs at Hong Kong's top-tier hotels jumped 20 per cent to $1,529 in the first three months of this year after rising 16 per cent last year. Hong Kong Hotels Association executive director James Lu believes the new rooms will be absorbed easily, given the opening of the Disneyland theme park in September and the large number of major exhibitions to be held in the city next year. 'The market is able to digest the new supply, especially after the opening of AsiaWorld-Expo in December and the 20 to 30 exhibitions to be held next year,' Mr Lu said. Other major upcoming events include the six-day ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation in December this year and the annual global conference and exhibition of the International Telecommunications Union in December next year. Existing upmarket hoteliers are not taking the new competition lying down. Many are planning or have already implemented major renovations. The existing Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Central will spend US$110 million on a complete revamp of its rooms and the hotel facade from the beginning of next year to 2007. In its first major facelift since its opening in 1991, the Island Shangri-La is to unveil today 565 upgraded rooms and suites and other renovated facilities such as restaurants, public areas and function rooms. 'It is the largest-scale renovation since the hotel opened 14 years ago,' Island Shangri-La general manager Franz Donhauser said yesterday. 'The market is so strong that there is enough business for all of us.' Average room rates had been boosted by 20 per cent, Mr Donhauser said. Occupancy averaged 75.7 per cent in the first half. An Island Shangri-La room with sea view starts at $2,550, about 18 per cent higher than in 2003. Charges for a suite were 18 per cent higher at $4,800.