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Old Apr 26, 11, 10:12 pm
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Asheville, NC
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
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Hong Kong Hotels

Four Seasons Hong Kong

night image of Kowloon, April 30th, from the 45th floor Club Lounge balcony

The Four Seasons Hong Kong displays the casual elegance typical of Four Seasons. This property is as good as any hotel in the world, and its quality is reflected by the fact that the hotel averages 80-90% occupancy. Guests are welcomed into a spacious lobby with a soaring atrium, and the property abounds with beautiful details such as burled light wood paneling, etched bronze doors inside elevator cars, and attractive art throughout the property. The hotel offers 399 guestrooms and suites, two three-star Michelin restaurants, unobstructed views over Victoria Habour, and great service.

I spent two nights in a Deluxe Harbour View room that looks directly across the harbor towards the brand new Ritz-Carlton, but the views are also good on the other side of the hotel. Deluxe Peak rooms, especially on the higher floors, provide an interesting city view. High ceilings throughout the property, including all guest rooms, add to a sense of spaciousness. Because of the curved shape of the building, rooms in the middle are somewhat larger than rooms on either end, so ask to be blocked in a center room.

There are two distinct styles of rooms in this Four Seasons. Some floors are decorated with an Asian motif - with reds and golds, darker woods, and "lucky coins" in the carpet pattern. Other floors have a "contemporary" motif - more neutral colors with earth tones and lavender accents. Western guests are said to prefer the Asian rooms, while Asian guests are said to prefer the contemporary rooms! Mine was an Asian-styled room, and I loved it. Bathrooms are everything you would expect from a Four Seasons - full marble bathrooms accented with Asian motifs. Every bathroom in the hotel has dual vanities, a soaking tub, separate step-in shower, and a private toilet with closing door. And if you book a Four Seasons Executive Suite (or up), the accommodations are even more fabulous. The Executive Suite is really a full 1 BR Suite with closing pocket doors between the large sitting room and master bedroom, a large walk-in closet, and corner views.

Club Lounge access is included in Suite bookings and can be purchased as an add-on with regular guest rooms. The Lounge provides an observation deck over the harbour as well as food presentations during the day including a breakfast buffet with omelet station, Afternoon Tea, and a dinner buffet in the evening.

The Four Seasons is the only hotel in the world with two three-starred Michelin restaurants. Caprice is a gorgeous restaurant with a view of the harbour, an open kitchen, and a special cheese room. Lung King Heen serves gourmet Chinese cuisine and boasts the distinction of being the first Chinese restaurant to have been awarded a third star.

Upper House

looking up the central atrium of Upper House

The Upper House is the newest Virtuoso hotel in Hong Kong and a member of the Preferred Hotel group. This boutique hotel has just 117 rooms. Its light and airy contemporary style was designed to create a residential feeling from the moment a guest arrives on property. The hotel's name refers to the "upward journey" that guests take to the hotel itself. With no front desk; guests are immediately taken to their room where they are checked in by iPad. Guest rooms begin at floor 38, and the restaurant on the top floor (49) has panoramic views of Hong Kong and the harbor.

The restful feeling begins in the hallways whose plush carpeting, linen wallpaper on the outside wall, and bamboo baffles on the inside walls, effectively deaden the sound as you walk down the hallway. The peaceful feeling extends into the guest rooms where colors are distinctly muted.

The lead-in room category is a Studio 70 (730 square feet), but these were all occupied for our site inspection We were shown a Studio 80 with Island view. This Junior Suite provides 840 square feet of living space and has oak floors and bamboo built-ins. Bathrooms are large, all with dual vanities, and impressive views can be seen from both the huge soaking tub and from a separate rain shower. Guests have a choice of chenille bathrobes or silk Japanese yukata, and there is even a special amenity kit that guests are invited take home with them.

We were also shown an Upper Suite, a 1200 square foot one bedroom suite whose harbour view is actually enhanced by the lower buildings in front of the hotel that provide a "foreground" to the harbour.

A lot is included the price of your room at the Upper House. A complimentary "Maxi Bar" provides beer, soft drinks, mineral water, juices and snacks; guests are charged only for wine. Wireless internet is provided on a complimentary basis throughout the hotel … and Virtuoso guests receive complimentary breakfast and an Afternoon Tea for two, in addition to an upgrade if available at check-in..

We enjoyed our lunch at Café Grey Deluxe. The restaurant was intended to offer very good food at accessible prices, and the hotel was actually surprised when it learned that the restaurant had been awarded a Michelin star. Food is western, café-style, and don't pass up the molten chocolate brownies for dessert.

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

view from the windows of Tosca

“If you build it, they will come.” The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris; visitors will pay and wait in line to take the elevator (or walk) to the top of this iconic tower to enjoy the views of Paris from the top. Tourists to New York used to pay to take the elevator to the observation deck of the World Trade Center (and still do pay to ride to the top of the Empire State Building). So it should be no surprise that when Ritz-Carlton planned a hotel on the very top floors of the new ICC Building in Hong Kong, the fourth tallest building in the world, it would attract a lot of attention.

And it has. With 312 rooms starting on floor 103 of the ICC building, two restaurants — Tin Lung Heen (Chinese) and Tosca (Italian) on floor 102, and a bar (Ozone) that serves drinks, sushi, and Asian Tapas on the very top floor in Hong Kong, this is a hotel with a buzz. During my site inspection on Saturday afternoon, every table in the Lounge was occupied by visitors enjoying Afternoon Tea. No wonder!

High-speed elevators whisk guests to the main lobby on the 103rd floor in just 52 seconds; your ears do "pop" both on the way up and on the way down. Interior styling is very contemporary with an Asian motif. The lobby has marble floors, black lacquered wooden walls, and a painted ceiling in the medium of ancient ink on canvas. There is nothing at all understated about the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong; its use of colors and materials is intentionally dramatic. But nothing is quite so bold and dramatic as the "Peak-level" views afforded from each guest room in the hotel.

Guest rooms are 540 square feet, and each bathroom offers dual vanities, separate step-in showers, and complimentary internet. But most importantly, each room offers dramatic views in every direction from high above the city. The "smaller" skyscrapers of Kowloon seem strangely tiny from the view high above them. Deluxe rooms face north away from the harbour over Kowloon. Deluxe Harbour rooms have a very interesting view to the west over Kowloon's port. But if you can possibly do it, book a Harbour Island room for its unforgettable views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong. The most dramatic rooms in the house are found in the Suites, all of which occupy corners of the hotel. (And given occupancy levels, especially on weekends, you shouldn't count on an upgrade).

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has an unique Club open 24 hours per day with six food presentations, although alcohol is only served when the Club is attended. Cocktails are available, and wine by the glass is served from an Enomatic wine machine.

Last edited by DavidO; May 1, 11 at 5:32 pm
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