Comparing Hong Kong Hotel Views: Ritz Carlton vs. InterContinental

This past week I spent a couple of nights in my favorite city in the world – Hong Kong.

There’s simply no other city in the world that’s quite as exciting to me as Hong Kong, and if it weren’t so expensive I’d probably move there in a heartbeat. Not only is the city my favorite, but I also love the skyline more than any other in the world.

Hong Kong skyline at night

I’ve sampled a good number of Hong Kong hotels, including the Conrad, InterContinental, InterContinental Grand Stanford, and more.

While it’s usually way out of my budget, I couldn’t help but try the new Ritz Carlton this time around, which is now the tallest hotel in the world (I stayed at the second tallest hotel in the world, the Park Hyatt Shanghai, a few weeks ago). You only live once, and when you split the cost with someone else it’s not completely, totally out-of-this-world outrageously expensive.

Anyway, reader cyby asked me whether I preferred the view from the InterContinental or the Ritz Carlton, and it got me thinking. For those of you not familiar with Hong Kong hotels, below is the Hong Kong skyline taken from Victoria Peak. The arrow on the left points to the Ritz Carlton, which takes up the top few floors of the International Commerce Centre. The arrow on the right points to the InterContinental, which is a 16 story building with a prime location right on the Avenue of Stars.

View from Victoria Peak

InterContinental exterior

Ritz Carlton exterior

So how do the views compare?

Well, at the InterContinental you literally feel like you’re on a cruise ship in Victoria Harbor. The catch is that this assumes you have a harbor view room. The best rooms in this hotel are the junior suites ending in XX16, as they’re located right in the center of the hotel. The issue is that if you don’t get a harbor view room, the views aren’t good at all, since they just face the streets of Kowloon.

The below picture was taken from junior suite 1416, which is probably about as good as the views get from this hotel. The bad thing about staying in this room is that I really didn’t want to go outside, since it was the perfect place to watch the city.

View from the InterContinental

As far as the Ritz Carlton goes, it’s literally like having a bird’s eye view of the city. The good news is that no matter which room you’re in you’ll have at least some good views, since you’re so high up. Furthermore, you really have panoramic views of the entire city, including both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. here’s the view on a nice day:

View from the Ritz Carlton

The bad news? Here’s the view when the weather isn’t nice:

The full Ritz Carlton review will be coming shortly (and I mean that this time, because it’s already written, it just has to be posted in sequence).

In the meantime, I’m curious — which view would you rather have?

Filed Under: Hotels
  1. Just like you lucky I am a huge fan of Hong Kong and went twice in a span of 6 months last year snd probably go again. I love the views from the ritz Carlton but can’t afford it so I stay at the W Hong Kong next door which has a skewed view. I love the birds eye view from the Ritz especially at night. What was the going rate when you stayed?

  2. FYI to your readers, the Sheraton is a block from the harbour, and if you get/pay for a room with a view, you’ll be glad you did.

  3. I prefer the view from the Ritz. I was in Hong Kong just a couple of months before the ICC building opened last April, so I didn’t get a chance to visit this marvelous building. I’m jealous that you got to stay there.

  4. We have a points/cash room reserved at the Sheraton for 4 nights in June (first time to Hong Kong) and were hoping this was a good location to sample the city. I am not sure if we can buy up to a view room or not.

  5. If you don’t get a harbor view at the intercon, how bad are the views? What about the other intercon?

  6. Agree with you that HKG is one of the.most amazing cities, certainly my most favorite in the world and one I try to get to as much as I can.

    I have only eaten at the Ritz, and in my opinion the views of the island from Kowloon beat the views the other way around, even from the heights of the Ritz, any day. And the Sheraton is a great property as well, as long as you have a harbour view room. You should try it next time you’re there!

  7. I think the Ritz would have a nicer view on a clear sunny day. I’ve also stayed at the Grand Hyatt HKG – it had a great view of the harbor.

  8. @ Nycflyer75 — it was about $600 all-in per night. Way expensive, but when split between two people not totally outrageous for two nights.

    @ Laura — The Sheraton’s location is great for sightseeing, so you won’t be disappointed.

    @ Kevin — Not very good with technology, though I do see thin red lines that resemble arrows, no?

    @ Phil — They’re not that bad, though I think the hotel is WAY overpriced if you don’t have a harbor view room, since the facilities themselves aren’t that great.

    @ NYBanker — The IC has a whirlpool overlooking Avenue of Stars. The Grand Stanford has one as well, but views aren’t as good.

  9. What did you think about the location of the RC? It seems a little out of the way to me, at least for the places I like to go to…and I like to walk around HK.

  10. @ Erik — I far prefer the location of the IC. You have to take a cab or the metro to anywhere when staying at the Ritz. It’s a bit of a pain, but then again I tend to leave my hotel in the morning and return in the evening when in Hong Kong, so it’s not all bad.

  11. I get this question a lot also. The views from the Kowloon-side hotels are nicer (assuming harbor views), because the Hong Kong island skyline is the more exciting one. Having said that, I prefer to stay on the island and here’s why: during the day is when I do the Kowloon-side stuff like markets, eating out, dim sum, etc. and for that I don’t mind having to take a ferry or subway. At night, though, the nightlife that I like is island-side and that’s when I prefer to be able to just walk or take a short cab ride. The best views I had were at the IC, the Shangri-La, and the Renaissance HK (island), which was also the best value. The Shangri-La has incredible service, but very “traditional” decor (i.e., lots of fabrics and wood that make it a bit claustrophobic). The renovated rooms at the Renaissance are really, really nice and the harbor view is fantastic. Plus, it’s right on the ferry pier, which is awesome. If all you want is nightlife, I suggest something in LKF…

  12. Wow.. I know where I am going if I ever make it to Hong Kong. That and Dubai are the top places I want to visit.. and if I do, you sure bet I’ll be stay as high as possible.. get the best view as possible! Ive wanted to go there since I was a kid.. look at all of those amazing buildings!

  13. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is definitely on my list of hotels to check out some day. Looks like the price is typical for a Ritz.

    @lucky: Did you have time to try out the spa by any chance?

  14. @ Dax — I actually “stocked up” on massages while in Thailand, so didn’t at the Ritz. Was tempting, though, given that it’s the tallest spa in the world.

  15. Thanks lucky for writing this post 😛 And the awesome photo of the view from when it’s cloudy…

    I do agree with A.S. though – I much prefer staying on the Island side when I visit.

    I do think the IC is at a much more convenient location, and if you want to stare at Victoria Harbour all day, you can do so without worrying (as much) about the weather. But I will say the view from the Ritz looks to be pretty special.

    My biggest problem with the Ritz is actually the location – it’s in such an isolated/self-contained part of town.

    That much all said, the renovated Renaissance Harbour View is pretty spectacular, minus the construction going on right outside…

    Clearly what HK needs are more sunny days, especially in the winter.

  16. The Intercontinental Hong Kong has the worst benefits of any Intercontinental hotel among the more than 15 Intercons I’ve stayed in throughout the world. One of the managers even admitted to me that they don’t have to upgrade members because their hotel is nearly always sold out. They tried charging me 300 USD (as a Platinum Ambassador) to upgrade to a room with a harbor view. They also charge about 130 USD for lounge access (it is never included with any room, even for Royal Ambassadors) and they don’t give any upgrades whatsoever on points nights. Stay away from them like the plague.

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