The Tallest Hotel in the World
      Author:Nellie S. Huang / Duncan Mavin     Source: http://cn.wsj.com     Release Time:4/6/2011 9:25:28 AM     View Times:10850
During our recent visit to the soon-to-be-opened Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong, teams of staff were stuffing cushions and dusting down light fixtures in the Chinese restaurant. Chandeliers were hanging unfinished and every hallway floor was covered with plastic to protect the carpet underneath. The head sommelier was checking the inventory of the floor-to-ceiling glass-front wine refrigerators that line the hallway to Tosca, an Italian restaurant, where staffers role-played as guests while their colleagues practiced serving them.

Opening in a ' soft' launch to the public on March 29 (the official grand opening is May 3), the 312-room Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong bills itself as 'the world's tallest hotel' - it will occupy floors 102 to 118 of the new International Commerce Centre, which dominates the skyline on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. The rack rate will start at 6,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$770) a night for a deluxe room; the presidential suite, which was not ready for viewing during our visit, will go for HK$100,000. An introductory package in April costs HK$3,888 a night, single occupancy (HK$4,088 for two), including breakfast. All rates are subject to a 10% service charge.

Mark DeCocinis, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, said, 'The overall design theme of the hotel is inspired by the city's dynamic culture - a global metropolis at the crossroads of East and West and at the same time rich in entrancing local flavor.'

The new Ritz-Carlton marks a return to Hong Kong: The hotel chain's old location, in the city's Central district, closed its doors in 2008.

'We were here back in 1993 and this is now the return of the legacy brand to the city,' said Mr. DeCocinis. 'The one thing that is the same and will remain unchanged would be the service commitment…. We have around 30% of our staff rejoining us from the previous property across the harbor.'

Hong Kong is already awash in luxury hotels. The owners of this new entry - Hong Kong property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties - and its operator, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, hope it can carve out a following. 'I believe having all the international luxury hotels will only enhance the status of Hong Kong as an international city,' Mr. DeCocinis said.

Visitors may be lured by facilities that include the highest bar in the world, a 'Chocolate Library' and a top-floor pool that will feature 144 ceiling-mounted TV screens so swimmers can be entertained while they do their backstroke.

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