Tallest Building in Hong Kong Has a Luxury Hotel

PHOTO: Shown here is the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong.
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If you ascend the shaded trails of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island, you will eventually find yourself gazing into the distance, eye-level with the third-highest roof in the world.

Dominating the relatively sedate West Kowloon skyline, on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour, is the tallest building in Hong Kong, the 1,588-foot International Commerce Centre, which finished construction in 2010.

For the complementary perspective, looking south, you'll have to visit the ICC's new rooftop bar at the brand new Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, scheduled to open March 29.

Last week, as an army of construction and hospitality workers buzzed about, excitedly focused on opening day, Regional Vice President and General Manager Mark DeCocinis offered ABCNews.com a tour of the luxury hotel, which occupies the top 16 floors of the 118-story tower.

"With the amazing hardware in place," DeCocinis said, "what is happening from now till the opening would be training, training and training."

Indeed, during the tour, test meals were being prepared and served, and groups of workers huddled together in strategy sessions, pausing to cheerfully proffer a "good afternoon" to DeCocinis as we strode past, dodging vacuum cords and wet paint.

DeCocinis mirrored the chipper eagerness of his staff, beaming like a proud father as he showed off the design touches in the hotel's fine dining facilities, which include Chinese Restaurant Tin Lung Heen, Italian restaurant Tosca and a chocolate-themed lounge named the Chocolate Library.

But the venue with the most buzz, DeCocinis said, is the rooftop bar OZONE, featuring Asian tapas, sushi and an open-air lounge.

"Our friends in the offices below us are waiting for this to open," he said with a laugh.

Ritz-Carlton Eyes Expansion

Although DeCocinis is proud of the aesthetic flourishes, he insists that the defining strategy of Ritz-Carlton is its focus on service, and that this credo is responsible for allowing the chain to rapidly expand within China, which he described as "the most buoyant and economically aggressive region in the world."

His assuredness is well-earned; his tenure at Ritz-Carlton began in 1989 and since then he has helped to shepherd the opening of all 7 Ritz-Carlton locations in Mainland China, as well as hotels in Jakarta, Tokyo and Krabi.

"We believe that service is the DNA of the Ritz-Carlton brand," he said. "This will be what makes our guests keep returning to our hotels."

There is one potential problem, however. The Ritz-Carlton, billed as the world's tallest hotel, will likely lose that distinction in 2014, when the J-Hotel opens near the top of the 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower.

When approached with this bit of trivia, DeCocinis smiled warmly, and repeated his mantra. "It's not about the height. I am sure there is another hotel that is even higher under construction somewhere. What is most important is service."

If you'd like to judge for yourself, the hotel opens next Tuesday, and is taking reservations now at RitzCarlton.com. Their level of service comes at a premium price, with rack rates starting at around $770 per night.

If you'd like to save a little money while experiencing the ICC, the 100th-floor observation deck, Sky100, is debuting in April. For more information, visit HERE.

And, for a completely free view with some mercifully fresh air, you can't go wrong with Victoria Peak.

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