It is a costly thing to do, but looking down from the 102nd floor onto the one-of-a-kind Victoria Harbor with the mighty skyline of Hong Kong spreading to your feet while enjoying fine pâtisserie and a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs champagne makes you feel like you are king of the world.
There are so many things one must do when visiting Asia´s world city, yet none of them is so requisite like a typical traditional English high tea.
And the choice on where to go is almost endless! Of course, the Peninsula Hotel is one of the most classic and distinguished locations to enjoy this English tradition which is still highly popular with locals and tourists likewise.
But Hong Kong´s popular hotel icon is overcrowded at every day of the week and finding a seat without a reservation been placed weeks ago can become quite tricky.
So this time, I was looking for a new alternative deluxe experience and the Ritz-Carlton occupying the upper floors inside the world´s seventh tallest building, the ICC Tower in Kowloon, seemed the perfect alternative in terms of ambiance, atmosphere and surroundings.
The interior design of the hotel is stunning from the moment you enter through the massive glass doors with crystal doorknobs. A hostess from the greeting desk on the lower level escorted me towards the elevators and recommended me to take the high tea in the The Lounge & Bar (since she said it would feature the slightly better view onto Hong Kong Island) than at the Cafe 103. And was she right.
Having arrived on the 103rd floor (this is where the actual hotel lobby and guest check-in area is located), an escalator just left of the lift took me one floor down to The Lounge & Bar.
The two giant chandeliers and a never-ending glass facade providing a jaw-dropping panorama with floor-to-ceiling windows made me almost oversee the friendly hostess awaiting me to escort me to my table. Even though the space is designed quite high indeed, the furnishing, colors and textures do create a very comfortable and contemporary environment with all the extravagance that I was looking for.
There were only a few tables occupied by the time I arrived and it was the perfect ambiance I was looking for to enjoy this indulgence without stress. Just as if she had read my lips, I found myself on one of the plush sofas right next to the window swiftly after. Underneath me, the city and the harbor, so small that they both seemed more or less like a Lego miniature world.
Staring and almost gawking at this marvel, I almost missed Andy, my server, who welcomed me to the Ritz-Carlton with addressing me by name. After coming back to reality, I gladly ordered a glass of Ruinart chardonnay champagne and decided for the afternoon tea set with a Lemon Bush tea. His personal recommendation.
Shortly after, the champagne was poured at my table, served perfectly tempered inside a chilled glass and a little later, the tea was served.
At this time, my mind had already reached a state-of-mind that made me completely forget the world around me. My sight was nailed to the beautiful view and my palate was riding rollercoasters.
I cannot recall when I last indulged in such a calorie fest without regretting a single second of it or wasting a moment on thinking that I seriously had to exercise as soon as I would get back home.
It was simply perfect! One of these instants that each one of us should grant oneself more often in this restless world. To pay tribute to everything that you stand for and to celebrate the most important connection there is: The one between your body to your soul.
Why always waiting for a reason to celebrate? Make up your own! There are tons of reasons to enjoy life!
I spent almost two hours up in this retreat. Nibbling. Looking. Dreaming. Sighing. By the time I picked up the last crumb from the plate, I was completely relaxed and felt deeply in balance. It was already late afternoon and by the time I reached the Star Ferry again at Tsim Sha Tsui pier, evening started to fall and the glittering Hong Kong skyline reflected on the waves as the ship brought me back towards the hotel.
What a perfect afternoon. I was so full that I actually had to surrender for the rest of the day in terms of dinner, but the investment of roughly 600HKG$ (around 64 Euros) had proven to be a wonderful investment into myself. And that is always worth it.
International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West
Hong Kong, China