Facing the famous Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center and opened only in 2009, the 282-room Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is located in a prime spot of Shenzhen’s CBD area in Futian district. Effectively this is where the future of Shenzhen is to be found, and the Ritz-Carlton group could not have chosen a better site. The only thing that one may find confusing is that from the outside it just looks like a normal tall building with very little exterior design or architectural element added to it. In a nutshell, from the outside it looks exceedingly boring and not quite the posh hotel one may be looking for. It’s a shame that such a lovely well known high quality brand has not capitalized on using the finest of designs or architectural elements to make this building stick out like a sore thumb. However, once one steps inside then it’s another story altogether. Inside you’ll truly feel that this is the authentic Ritz-Carlton experience. As the hotel’s motto goes, it’s a true “Oasis of Luxury”, slap bang in the middle of China’s newest city.
Shenzhen is perhaps China’s fastest growing city both economically and demographically. Effectively you can go away for a week and once you return there is bound to be some dramatic change in either the skyline or the infrastructure. Way back in 2003 when I first arrived in Shenzhen nobody would probably have heard about the Ritz-Carlton brand, and if someone had told me that there is going to be a Ritz-Carlton hotel situated in Shenzhen in 2009, I would not have believed them because even though it seems like a short time span, but at that time it would be hard to imagine if anybody from Shenzhen would have been able to afford to stay at a brand such as the Ritz-Carlton,. But change of the rapid times and look what we have placed slap bang in the middle of Shenzhen’s CBD, a fascinating luxury 5-star hotel that outshines in every department possible.
Another ideal mark about the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is that it’s located only around a 45-minute drive to Hong Kong airport, and around a 30-minute drive to Shenzhen airport. The first thing you notice is that this is a something special that has been bought to Shenzhen. All of the hotel’s 282 rooms and suites achieve new levels of luxury and sophistication. All the rooms are equipped with the latest technology, including a fully integrated TV and internet system, with video on demand, satellite television and high speed internet. For the most luxurious experience, why not pamper yourself in one of the suites where all the rooms offer a balcony that offers stunning views across Futian.
The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is also a one-stop shop for living, working and chasing the essential pleasures of life. The rooms are all strongly Chinese in design and Feng Shui but also very much international at the same time; with lush furniture and pampering bedrooms adding marvellous indulgence to every unit. Perhaps you would like to have a look at the TV menu, which looks rather like an Emperor’s scroll, and hence will make you feel like an Emperor too.
Luxury toiletries in the Club floor rooms and suites are provided by the well known Italian designer brand, Acqua Di Parma. There is a dedicated coffee machine as well that provides freshly brewed coffee by Nespresso. Now, that is sheer luxury to enjoy in a young and dynamic city such as Shenzhen.
Tribute has to be given to the Swiss-born General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen, Mr. Iwan Dietschi who has done a tremendous job in training and coaching his staff on how a perfect luxury customer service should be provided to people in China. It’s a challenge to find the right quality of staff that fit the criteria of The Ritz-Carlton brand anywhere in the world, but even more so in an emerging market such as China. In China you can have the most luxurious brand in the world, but if the quality of the service and the customer service from the staff is not matchable to that brand name then it is quiet essentially a waste of time and money for the corporation. Mr. Dietschi, a native from Lausanne and who has worked in Ritz-Carlton hotels world-wide, has fought that challenge well. Examples of this are evident everywhere in the hotel from the cleaning staff right the way through to the check-in staff. Every staff member greets the customer before the customer greets the staff member, everyone speaks excellent quality of English where there are no misunderstandings between customers and staff, every staff member understands western culture and etiquette well, and the staff never forgets what the customer ordered, and these are some of the true hallmarks of a high quality service.
Altogether there are seven dining options of which the Paletto (Italian cuisine) and the Xingli (Cantonese cuisine) restaurants are the jewels of The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen when it comes to spoiling yourself to luxury food and wine. Both have a different flavour when it comes to the authentic environment that reflects the cuisine that they are serving, though both venues are romantic, peaceful yet laid in a contemporary setting. The lobby lounge is the place in Shenzhen for business deals to be made over a drink or two. People in the city are starting to realise that The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is the place to be and be seen at.
The Xingli is a high quality restaurant located on the 4th level of The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen that provides a true authentic Cantonese cuisine. Ever since it’s opening in 2009, the Xingli has become somewhat of a preferred place where business deals are made during lunch, or for team-building, or even for those who want to see and want to be seen in Shenzhen. A key addition of the restaurant is its 19 individual private rooms that cater to all the guest’s needs but is rather reserved for personal meals and business functions. The ambiance is one of peace, tranquillity and class. Quality is something that would touch anyone’s lips once they take their first bite.
Exceedingly opulent in its surroundings, the restaurant combines contemporary facilities with an elaborate classical invention and design that would please anyone’s eye. For family gatherings this would be the ideal place to relax, unwind and catch up on some gossip either for Chinese breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The key of the Xingli is its beautiful presentation of around 100 items of dim sum, main courses, soups and desserts. If you want to divulge into the perfect Cantonese culinary experience at the Xingli, then try starting off with a chicken soup of assorted vegetables blended in two flavours. Even before you tuck your spoon into the soup; it’s the beautiful presentation of the dish that is more pleasing to the eye. You just wonder how the chef manages to get the two flavours separated in the bowl. Lovely colours of the green and white vegetables are neatly separated.
Continuing with the concept of eating a healthy yet scrumptious meal for lunch (or dinner), it would be a wise decison to go for the fried broccoli with crab meat. The well cooked broccoli has a lush green colour, which indicates that it’s strongly fresh, and is provided with a generous layer of melting cheese. The crab meat is not as big in portions as one may imagine it to be because it is shaped into minute brightly orange coloured cubes that are kindly sprinkled onto the mouth-watering broccoli cuts.
If that’s not enough to wake up your taste buds then tuck into the fabulously cooked pan-fried cod fish with honey sauce. It’s not easy to find cod fish in China, and so therefore The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen is very fortunate enough to have imported this fish from overseas. The cod fish tastes fresh and the honey not only adds to the flavour but tends to give it a bit more of a glow to the skin of the fish. The Xingli can be described as an expert examination of a restaurant that strives to provide the upmost best quality in terms of authentic Cantonese cuisine. The Xingli has an almost obsessive reverence for its fabulous food and wine, lovingly presented for purposeful and practical use to share with like-minded individuals.
Irrespective if you are residing at The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen or not, it would be worthwhile to try out a few culinary delights at The Paletto, the hotel’s fine signature Italian restaurant. Located on the second floor of the hotel, The Paletto, with its 80-seats, focuses on providing a luxurious and attractive presentation and taste of authentic Italian food with a modern twist.
The Paletto is a restaurant that would make you go completely fanatical about Italian food. A wine cellar in a glass enclosure greets visitors upon arrival. While in the foyer there is a display of all things Italian food, such as cheese and wine. The overall lighting effect at the Paletto creates a romantic ambiance that would provide a wonderful evening for anyone wishing to stay away from the city’s sheer hustle and bustle but take life on the relaxed pace.
It’s so good that you would want to return back again and again and perhaps even more so that you may end up eating there every day of the week. I really don’t know who I would ask to join me when I return back- I just wanted some of that roasted wagyu beef carpaccio in a beautiful cylinder shape with bread salad filling.
The presentation is immaculate, especially when it’s joined with a caramelized red onion, garlic flavoured tuille and sweet bell pepper salad. This is work of genius by chef Massimo Miglietta who brings a wealth of over 20 years of international culinary experiences and an impressive portfolio as a celebrity chef (Miglietta has been a personal chef to Chelsea and England footballer Frank Lampard in the past). His culinary experiences extend to the finest of whos who in the gastromical circle as he is a protégé of the acclaimed 3 Michelin Stars Chef Marco Pierre White and worked in White’s prestigious establishments in London.
If I were you, I would commence by crunching into the traditional Italian bread sticks and buns that are presented. Then, for your appetiser, pick something that would hit your taste buds immediately; pan fried foie gras, port wine. It would be a good suggestion to inquire the wine recommendations from restaurant manager, Michele Cantini. His recommendations of the wine, and his suave style of wine tasting, will just knock your socks off. Cantini, a native of Tuscany, believes that a restaurant is a sanctuary where people should surrender themselves to the finest cuisine. He correctly stands by his words.
For the main course it is highly recommended to order the Papillote a le couteau fettuccine’s nest with a dash of white truffle flavour that is surrounded generously with a brilliant salmon roll. The whole sculpture is garnished beautifully with a display of king prawns & lobster filling. If fish tickles your fancy than this is the kind of dish where you’ll just lick the whole plate clean (I nearly did that).
If you love art, like I do, than you’ll love the parsley and garlic coated black cod fish presented with a lovely fennel salad that has a irresistible sun dried tomato lime custard. To be exact if you believe in love at first sight when it comes to food, then this dish will just make you eat your heart out. I suppose the touching part of it all is that the plate on which you are served is also shaped like a fish, complete with a hole that represents the wide eye.
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