21 Apr REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong meets all levels of luxury. Panoramic views of Victoria Harbour can be seen from, Ozone, one of the world’s highest rooftop sky bars, or right from your room.
REVIEW: The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
I took advantage of the Marriott-SPG merger by booking the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong at a lower rate than usual. Normally 1 night at a Category 8 hotel costs 70,000 points/night, but through the merger process, we found ourselves with temporary reduced pricing on luxury brands like the Ritz, at an astonishingly low cost of 60,000 points/night. Unfortunately, this didn’t last very long as Marriott quickly increased their redemption rates after March 5, 2019 as planned. Redeeming at a Category 8 property increased to a whopping 85,000 points, making top-tier redemptions a lot harder and out of reach for some…
One of the good things about Marriott’s loyalty is the “5th Night Free”. By booking 5 nights on points, I automatically triggered Marriott’s “5th Night Free” program, which allows you to get a 5th night free when booking 4 nights using points.
All in all, 5 nights at the Ritz cost me 240,000 points (instead of 300,000) and $0 in taxes. In terms of CPP (cents per point), a fully paid room for 5-nights would’ve cost me $3,232 CAD, making the CPP on this redemption 1.35c, a great redemption by TPG valuation standards who values Marriott points at 0.8c.
As a side note, to boost my points earning power, I carry the Marriott Bonvoy AMEX which allows me to earn 5x points on Marriott hotel properties. I also get 1 free night every year by carrying the card. The Marriott Bonvoy AMEX is great way to increase your points earning power if you travel often for work and leisure.
Marriott gives you a free night when you book 4 using points, saving me 60,000 points.
Anytime you can stay at a luxury hotel for free is a good thing.
The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is located in West Kowloon directly inside the International Commerce Centre (ICC). It’s actually connected to the Elements shopping mall which mean there are lots of transport and dining options. The nearest MTR station is Kowloon station on the Tung Chung line, which connects easily to Central or Tsim Sha Tsui. Alternatively, Austin station on the Tseung Kwan line is also a short walk away. Bus options are available too, with both double decker and light bus accessible from the mall. Kowloon station is also on the Airport Express line making it easy to get to and from HKG International Airport. The trip to HKG takes between 25-30 minutes.
If you prefer riding in style from HKG to the hotel you can book the following limousine service options from the Ritz:
- Mercedes Benz S Class 300 limousine (previous car shape) at HKD 1,150 per vehicle, one way (up to 3 guests with 3 suitcase)
- Mercedes Benz S Class 320 limousine (current car shape) at HKD 1,350 per vehicle, one way (up to 3 guests with 3 suitcase)
- Mercedes Benz V Class 7-Seater Van at HKD 1,550 per vehicle, one way (up to 7 guests with 10 suitcase)
- Rolls-Royce Phantom at HKD 2,250 per vehicle, one way (up to 3 guests with 3 suitcase, subject to availability)
Limousine booking do require advance reservations, so you’ll need to provide your flight information and the hotel will take care of the rest.
As Mel and I were going to be arriving late into HKG, around 2am, this meant no access to Airport Express (they stop running at 01:15) and I didn’t want to bother with having a taxi driver taking us the long way, so I decided to book the S Class 300 as a surprise for her (I had missed her birthday a 2 weeks prior). We were given further detailed instructions on where to exit and wait. Unfortunately, I think there was a miscommunication between the hotel and the driver as we were left waiting at HKG arrivals with no one to meet us at the waiting area. I called the hotel front desk and they quickly sent someone to pick us up in the end. Of course, the most important thing is that we got to the hotel, but this was definitely a missed touchpoint in service delivery for a luxury brand.
Meeting point map guide provided by RC staff
Marriott’s Service Deck at HKG Arrivals. They close the desk after 1am, shortly before we landed…
Mercedes Benz S Class 300 limousine
A quick 25-minute ride to the hotel from HKG
I would’ve liked to provide more details on our check-in but since we checked in around 2:30am there was really nothing going on or happening in the lobby like our experience at the Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. We were just looking forward to crashing after a long transit. They did provide us with 2 free drink coupons to redeem at the Ozone rooftop bar, and a voucher for a HK$250 savings on any 80 minute spa treatment.
Prior to arriving, I asked if the hotel could do me a small favour and leave a celebratory cake as a surprise for Mel’s birthday on the 2nd night (since I knew we’d be getting in late). To both our surprises, they had brought it in on the 1st night along with a nice greeting card. Nothing like a nice chocolaty dessert before bed after 24+ hours of travelling. Huge thanks to the staff for accommodating my request.
Special thanks to the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong team for the complementary cake to celebrate Mel’s birthday
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Lobby – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Our Deluxe Room had floor to ceiling windows which meant you got a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour (when it was sunny), the city, and miles of mountains. Note that on rainy and cloudy days you view will be totally obstructed by the clouds. One of the features of the harbour view is to see “A Symphony of Lights” at night from the comfort of your own room. You can download their app directly on your phone and have the show’s music directly in your room.
Night View of the Victoria Harbour from the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
Here is what the room actually looks like:
A very comfy King-sized bed for the next 5 nights
A big enough bathroom for the both of us (mainly her) – 2 sinks, bathtub, shower, water closet. Complete with your standard RC amenities.
Once again, the Ritz-Carlton showers pass TPG’s Shower Test!
Plenty of space for us to lounge. I’m a huge fan of RC’s room designs.
I’m a huge fan of the Ritz if you haven’t figured it out by now. Almost all of my overseas trips to the APAC region have included a stop at the Ritz-Carlton. I love the bespoke experience and hospitality that the RC APAC staff provide along with the contemporary room designs. I never have to worry about the “stay” portion of my trip going wrong. Generally speaking though, Asian hospitality is quite good wherever you go or stay, whether its the Ritz or Courtyard, you’ll find great service pretty much anywhere in Asia.
While we didn’t use the facilities, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has a fitness centre that’s open from 6:00am to 10:00pm with the main attraction being the indoor infinity pool on the 118th.
Main Gym Area
Lots of treadmills and elliptical machines
Towels and fruit infused water on demand
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong features an indoor infinity swimming pool with amazing views of Hong Kong skyline – Image Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
In terms of dining, there are no shortage of options. In fact, you have 6 different restaurants/types of cuisine to choose from. Whether you’re craving some warm & tender Italian meatballs, local Cantonese cuisine, or just want some champagne and caviar, there’s something for everyone’s appetite and palette.
Here are the restaurants to choose from:
Tosca: This Michelin-starred restaurant was inspired by the beloved opera and features inventive Italian cuisine, Victoria Harbour views and an open kitchen.
Tin Lung Heen: Authentic Cantonese cuisine with a focus on Dim Sum is offered at this two Michelin-starred restaurant.
Ozone: The world’s highest bar offers a sleek, modern setting with live music, DJs, creative cocktails, sushi, tapas and a Sunday brunch.
Café 103: Located on the hotel’s 103rd floor, this aptly named café features an elegant setting for the signature Afternoon Tea. Lunch and dinner buffets feature international delicacies.
The Lounge & Bar: This all-day dining venue offers a spectacular view of Hong Kong morning and night. An a la carte menu, organic salad bar, Afternoon Tea and cocktails are offered.
Almar Caviar Bar: The world’s finest caviars and the famous Balik salmon fillet are presented with champagnes and vodkas. Ideal for a pre- or post-dinner outing.
Mel and I opted for some local eats within the city each day so we didn’t end up dining at any of the restaurants in the evening. But looking for some snacks on our last night, we decided to head up to Ozone and redeem our drink vouchers. Because we were redeeming, they had a specific cocktail menu that we had to choose from – there were still lots of options available – in fact some drinks were on both menus. We settled for 2 cocktails and a plate of veggie tempura – note that their menu is seasonal and changes often. Our French bartender, also provided us with a dish of olives and nuts to snack on, as well as good company and conversation on his ex-pat experiences. As a hotel guest, you’ll also receive a glass of complimentary champagne, per person, which was delightfully welcomed. But that’s not all, if you have status with Marriott, you’ll also get a discount off your bill. In my case, I re-qualified for Gold in 2019 and received a 15% discount which I gave right back in form of a tip to the staff.
We enjoyed a delicious veggie tempura appetizer and cocktails before departing for Singapore
I always enjoy staying at the Ritz when I can, I find the overall experience to be bespoke and high-class. The Ritz brand pays attention to all the details and that’s I’ll always appreciate and enjoy. What made my stay good was that there’s nothing to complain about – everything went according to expectations. What made it a great stay, were the little enhanced touchpoints along the way, including getting my celebratory cake request accommodated, a room with a view of Victoria Harbour (as requested), and complementary champagne at the bar. The hospitality experience wasn’t exactly what we had in Tokyo, where they would greet and follow you in and out of the elevators – in fact there was minimal interaction with staff from the moment we entered the hotel to our room, but I’ll be honest – I think I preferred it that way.
Overall, I loved my stay as it was in a great location, we got to enjoy some free drinks at the rooftop bar, and everything went along as expected. The only complaint I have is the increased redemption rate for luxury hotels, from 60,000 to 85,000, a 42% increase…I guess it’ll take a lot more longer now until my next luxury redemption.
Some images by William Chan and Ritz-Carlton Tokyo where indicated.