Sitting at a vertigo-inducing altitude of 1588 feet, the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong literally touches new heights in hospitality
There are rooms with a view, and then there are rooms that induce a heady sense of being on top of the world. Any guest checking into the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong will get an eyeful of the latter- panoramic vistas of Victoria Harbour and a steel-and-glass HK skyline. As the world's highest hotel, the record-breaking property occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Center, with 312 rooms in all. These come packed with state-of-the-art amenities including wi fi, iPod docking stations, Bluray DVD players, and supersized flat screen TVs.
Those who like the feeling of floating on the lip of a precipice and have no vertigo can visit the hotel's top-floor gym and infinity pool that promise to offer what may well be an unnerving experience.
The hotel boasts of a steady stream of design and architechture geniuses - the sumptuous interiors are designed by Singapore's LTW Designworks (the team that designed the Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia, and the Mandarin Oriental Sanya Hainan, China), a spa designed by ESPA, and restaurants (Cantonese and Italian) by Japan's Spin Design Studio and Wonderwall. There's even a chocolate library, a pool with an adjacent 23 x 92 feet LED screen, a bar with crystal fire pits, and an outdoor terrace lounge-also the highest in the world-on the 118th floor. It's like going to a hill station, at a salubrious height of 1588 feet. Guaranteed to get your head reeling.
For bookings and more information, log onto: www.ritzcarlton. com/en/Properties/HongKong.
Escape to Kerala
Rain Country Resort's allwood Kerala illams (homes) stand tall amidst the lush foliage of Wayanad. The stark minimalism of this 23-acre property, high up a hill, is more austere than understated. Like all plantation stays, it's far away from any lights but its own. Short treks are organised by the management; there is a small freshwater lake where guests can have a dip (lifejackets are provided). The resort can arrange for in-room massages, campfires, and candlelit dinners, upon request, should you wish to make use of the quiet nights. There are no phones or TVs, only raw and unbound nature all around. Located 11 km from Vythiri, at Lakkidi, the resort has nine cottages and tariffs range from Rs 3,000-Rs 4,800 on double occupancy. There is an additional 15 per cent luxury tax.
Visit www.raincountryresort. com for more.
Vienna on foot
Whether it's a generous dose of culture, an indulgent escape, or simply good old-fashioned sightseeing, your search for that perfect summer vacation ends with Austria. Consider Vienna, the capital city steeped in history, art and culture. Much of Vienna can be explored by foot-as you admire its majestic architechture while strolling through the bylanes. Relax over coffee and cake, explore museums and art galleries, swing high above on the Prater Wheel, and as dusk falls, enjoy a glass of local wine by the Danube. The coffee house tradition in Vienna dates back some 300 years. Take a break from sightseeing at one of the many Viennese coffee houses. Enjoy coffee served on a silver platter and watch the world go by. Sample some of the delectable local wines grown in the neighbouring areas as the sun sets.
More info on www.austria.info
Art and Amsterdam
Tired of the long queues at the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum when hopping around Amsterdam? Consider these alternatives to the heavyweights: housed in a magnificent 17th-century former home for the elderly, the Hermitage Amsterdam (http://www.hermitage.nl/en/) brings treasures from the main St Petersburg museum to Amsterdam. Since its opening here in June 2009, the Hermitage has staged a series of blockbuster exhibits, the latest of which, running till September 16, 2011, is Splendour and Glory: Art of the Russian Orthodox Church. Also look out for the work of 19th-century photographers George Breitner and Jacob Olie, intermittently the subject of exhibitions around town. Or check out Foam photography gallery (www.foam.org) for shows as well as exhibitions by big names such as Mario Testino, Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.
Summer splendour at Devi Garh
Located in the picturesque hills of Aravallis, Devi Garh, the 39-suite boutique hotel, set in a 18th century Rajput fort-palace, is chic minimalism at its best. The property's finest asset is the level of privacy and customised care it offers its guests. The imposing grandeur of the palace resort is a delightful combination of ethnic charm and contemporary comforts. The unconventional usage of space and colour complements and enhances the mood of this private haven.The stylish pure-white restaurant serves both local and international gastronimical delights. For a relaxing weekend, unwind with yoga on the ramparts of the palace at sunrise followed by a treatment in the Serena Spa. Summer would be a good time to visit the spectacular resort as the property is offering a 'Joyful Getaway' package priced at Rs 25,000, for two nights/ three days that includes accommodation in a Garden Suite on a double occupancy basis, breakfast and lunch or dinner, usage of gym and the internet, and complimentary stay for two children up to the age of 12. The package is valid till October 15, 2011.
Visit www.deviresorts.in for more.