Two of the world's leading luxury hotel groups have booked prime locations at Union Square to serve people using the ICC Tower and visitors to Hong Kong as a whole. The W Hotel chain, the boutique hotel wing of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, will take up residence in one of The Cullinan towers alongside the ICC, while the Ritz-Carlton will occupy the top 16 floors of the 118-storey International Commerce Centre (ICC) to make it the tallest hotel in the world. For the Ritz-Carlton, it also means a farewell to the Hong Kong Island side of the harbour, where its premises in Central will be redeveloped into offices, and a venture into a new era with a six-star hotel helping to form the centrepiece of the West Kowloon project. The new hotel's ballroom, for instance, would be able to accommodate 500 people compared with 280 in the Hong Kong Island ballroom, Mr Lettenbichler, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong general manager, said. The district offers W Hotel what Sherwood sees as the best possible location for the brand's first foray into Hong Kong when it opens its 400-bedroom premises in the first quarter of next year. The 300-bedroom Ritz-Carlton will have to wait until 2010, when the ICC Tower is completed, for its grand opening. 'It's true that there were very few suitable locations in Hong Kong. But looking around the whole of Kowloon, this [location] is definitely ideal,' said Stephen Ho, vice-president with Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts, which also runs the Sheraton chain. Mr Lettenbichler said the location would provide the 300-bedroom hotel with more space and enable it to target a modern, trend-driven clientele without losing its traditional customer base and reputation for comfort. 'It is going to be unique occupying the top floors of a 490-metre high building, not only from a view standpoint but in the direction we are going as a hotel group,' said Mr Lettenbichler, who is also regional vice-president of the Ritz-Carlton Group, and chairman of Hong Kong Hotels Association. 'Within the ICC Tower itself there will be massive office space and the area is already being seen as posing a big chance for the corporate finance community to move out of Central,' he said. 'It is not just the hotel which is an attraction, but the whole complex and its relationship with retail, the workplace, and leisure and entertainment.' Mr Ho and Mr Lettenbichler pointed to opportunities offered by the transport network with the Union Square's proximity to Kowloon Airport Express Station, future rail links to the New Territories and the mainland, and bus and taxi ports beneath the complex and pick-up and drop-off points on the approaches to the ICC entrance and The Cullinan. 'We look at it as the future with a lot of activities once the whole cultural hub complex comes about,' Mr Ho said.