Tea with a Stunning View: Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong

In August 2014, Tawn and I journeyed to Hong Kong for a long weekend, celebrating the fifth anniversary of our marriage. (Yes, I realize that it has taken more than two months to actually post the details of this trip.) While there, we decided to splurge on an afternoon tea at The Lounge and Bar at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.


Perched on the 102nd floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, The Lounge and Bar offers one of the more stunning views for afternoon tea and at HK$598 (about US$78) for two people, it is not unreasonably priced.


Having indicated on my reservation the reason we were coming for tea, the hotel thoughtfully decorated our tray with a white chocolate “letter” wishing us a happy anniversary.


The amount of food is generous – plus two full pots of tea. The savory sandwiches were a truffle egg mayonnaise on brown bread, shellfish and dill cream on white bread, and smoked salmon with lemon curd on rye bread. There were also duck foie gras pate mini puff pastries with freeze-dried passion fruit.


The sweets included blueberry cheesecake, mango choux, and peach vanilla verrine (not pictured here).


There was also hazelnut lemon cake and orange ginger canneles. I love canneles!


And of course you cannot have tea without scones. Two types were served with belberry jam and clotted cream.

The teas come from Marriages Frères, the Parisian tea company that offers so many high-quality flavors to choose from. And the china is beautiful. It was a very relaxing two hours with attentive service, amazing views, and too much tasty food. For the price, it was actually quite reasonable.


Happy anniversary honey! We should make this an annual tradition to celebrate.

Views Around Chiang Mai

While up in Chiang Mai with visitors last week, I took several pictures that I want to share. It is the height of rainy season and the surrounding countryside was particularly verdant.


On the way up Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, we pulled over to snap this picture of rice paddies terraced in a small valley.


Further up the mountain, we visited the Royal Agricultural Project, which over the last few decades has helped local hill tribes transition from growing poppies (which were used to make heroin) to growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The higher elevation provides a climate suitable for select vegetables that could otherwise not be grown in Thailand. The pictures of flowers below are from the display gardens at the project.





By visiting during the weekdays of the rainiest month of the year, we enjoyed not only the beautiful flora but also the smallest crowds of tourists I have ever seen. In fact, “crowds” is not the correct term. “Handfuls” would be more apt.


We also visited Doi Suthep, the mountain immediately to the west of Chiang Mai, which houses a spectacular temple with a golden chedi, or stuppa. This is the second time I’ve visited the temple on an overcast and damp day. The effect is interesting because the gilding is not as bright as on a sunny day, but it contrasts beautifully with the grey skies. In the above picture, I focused on a row of bells the line the temple buildings. Bells are purchased with donations and the donors can write wishes or prayers on the metal leaf hanging from the clapper.


On our final afternoon, we drove  north of Chiang Mai to the Four Seasons Resort to enjoy afternoon tea overlooking their property, which is designed to look like a rice farming village. I’ll share the pictures of the gorgeous tea service in another post but wanted to share this view of their pretty property.


View from the Athenee

Sunday afternoon I met Brian for dim sum at the Conrad Hotel, then we walked up the block to his new condo.  The complex, the Athenee Residences, is part of the Athenee Hotel, a five-star Royal Meridian property on Wireless Road near the US and British embassies.

(Yeah, a little hi-so for me, but what are you going to do?)


Brian’s unit is on the 28th floor and has views to the south and west.  At this point it is unfurnished but it sounds like in another month or two he’ll be able to move in.  It is interesting to look at other people’s homes because everyone has different values and desires when it comes to living space: layouts, size, views, etc. are all dependent on personal taste.

Personally, I’d replace the craft paper window treatments, but that’s just me.

Needless to say, at twenty-eight stories above the Big Mango, he enjoys some nice views.  It was hazy on Sunday afternoon, but here are some shots and a short video clip.


Looking to the west (and zooming in) you get a good view of the US ambassador’s residence, which is on one of the largest, most lush and most under-developed plots of land in the city center.


At the corner of Wireless and Phloenchit Roads is this property, a series of shop houses that are being slowly demolished.  I wrote about this in October.  The open space on the other side of the Skytrain tracks is the British embassy, the front portion of which (demarked by the white wall) has been sold to the Central Group.  Central, a retail chain that owns the Central Chidlom department store which is just out of the upper left corner of the frame, plans on building a mall and office complex here to connect to the department store.

Phloenchit Skytrain station is on the right hand side of this picture and Wave Place, an office/retail complex that houses Home Pro (kind of a weak Home Depot) is the large building in the upper right hand corner of the picture.

Here’s the panorama from his balcony with a little explanation.


On the way home out in the “countryside” of Soi Thong Lor, I found myself behind a pickup truck carrying two bulls.  Why in the world they were driving into Thong Lor Soi 25, I have no idea.  It is a residential alley with no outlet and, to the best of my knowledge, no farms.


The strange things you see in this city!