Hotel rooms with a view
An incredible view of the Victoria Harbour skyline, Hong Kong. (Alain Evrard/LPI)
There are certain hotels whose little luxuries are well worth charging to the expense account, and others with such stellar city views that they are a pity to miss. Combining the two, the following options – all reaching for the skies – are the cream of the business-trip crop.
Until Hong Kong's new Ritz Carlton opens its doors in December 2010 to assume the accolade of the world's highest hotel (set to occupy the 102nd to 118th floors of International Commerce Centre), opt for the Mandarin Oriental which, though not quite as tall as some of its loftier neighbours, offers impeccable service and Michelin-starred French cuisine at its Pierre restaurant, along with expansive views out over Victoria Harbour. Business travellers will enjoy technical support courtesy of the hotel's "I.T. butlers" and ample meeting space in the Connaught Ballroom.
Wind down after a taxing day with a drink at the 31st floor Troubadour bar (beware - or embrace - the karaoke, depending on your taste for performance) of Moscow's statuesque Radisson Royal Hotel, situated on a bend in the Moskva River. Alternatively take an executive room in the recently renovated Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya for top city views from one of Moscow's original "seven sisters", a series of imposing Stalinist neoclassical skyscrapers.
On a clear day, from many of the rooms of the 73-storey Swissotel The Stamford, you can see not just across Singapore itself but also into both Malaysia and Indonesia. Situated right beside Turn 9 of the Formula 1 race track, this five-star urban oasis of spas, pools, tennis courts and eleven restaurants (dine at the giddy Equinox Restaurant on mesclun salad with candied shiitake mushrooms and Moroccan spiced rack of lamb with feta crust) along with top notch business and conference centres, can't help but leave you feeling on top of the world.
Bangkok's four star Baiyoke Sky Hotel, towering 88 floors over the city, might be Thailand's tallest option for rooms with a view, but moving one notch higher on the luxury scale (whilst admittedly descending somewhat in terms of height), you will find fine views and excellent service at the Peninsula Bangkok whose rooms all look out over the Chao Phraya river. If you're seeking the ultimate retreat, check into the 34th floor Peninsula Suite, easily reached by helicopter (there is a landing pad on the roof) and equipped with its own gym and 24-hour butler service.
Currently the world's highest hotel (though not for long, once Hong Kong's Ritz Carlton opens its doors) the Park Hyatt Shanghai (100 Century Avenue), occupies the 79th to 93rd floors of the city's tallest building - also home to its World Financial Centre - and is perfectly situated for those who need to be at the heart of Shanghai's business district. To wind down from a day of high-powered discussion, exercise with an expert in the hotel's Tai Chi courtyard, revive in its Water's Edge spa, or listen to live jazz whilst watching the city's evening twinklings at the 100 Century Avenue bar.
Probably the world's best-known destination for dizzying architecture, Dubai isn't short of luxury rooms with a view. Whilst the Armani Hotel inside the Burj Khalifa - currently the world's tallest building - only occupies diminutive levels five and six of the total 160 floors, Giorgio's foray into hotels makes up in chic what it lacks in stature. Guests, moreover, are free to zoom up to the Burj's 124th floor observation deck for the best of Dubai skyscapes. Meanwhile Dubai's iconic sail-like Burj Al Arab, located on its own manmade island and one of the world's most luxury hotels, offers incredible views out over both city and sea. Arrive by BMW, Rolls Royce Phantom or helicopter, let your butler unpack your luggage, conduct your meeting in one of the 27th-floor boardrooms, then take your pick from more than a dozen types of pillows and duvets, to ensure you get a heavenly night's sleep.