A name that is a synonym for ‘luxury’, bearing a legacy dating back more than a hundred years, and despite its tumultuous journey and changing ownerships, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has kept the flag flying as a luxury brand. When the first of the Ritz-Carlton arrived in Bengaluru, India, it was time again to check out this iconic brand.In a two part series, as a prelude to our report on the Ritz Carlton in Bengaluru, we bring you an exclusive report for the readers of The Luxury Chronicle, from our globe-trotting reader Jennifer Ann, who spent a few happy days at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park in New York last November, and compared it to her previous stays at Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta in Indonesia and the Ritz Carlton located in Golden Triangle business district of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park in New York opened in 2001, refreshingly sans the Bostonian frost, the snooty pretentiousness of the Ritz-Carlton, Boston, where until the Sixtees, they would verify the pedigree of its guests before letting them stay, and shockingly, until 1970, barred unescorted women from entering the Ritz Bar or lunching alone at The Café.
Jennifer Ann At The Ritz Carlton
Battery Park, New York – November 2014
A telescope at my window focuses on the green visage of the Statue of Liberty, standing alone, with the waters of the Hudson River as the back drop. As I look out of the large windows of my spacious room, I can’t help but imagine the difficult life early settlers to the US must have had to endure after they disembarked at the Ellis Island checkpoints.
A grand stand view and a spectacular location are the two staple features to be expected from most Ritz Carlton properties, and this one here in down town Manhattan is no exception. The blending grey shades of the sky and the waters of the river, the autumnal hues of the tree tops, the boats in the water – my travel fatigue drains away.
Breakfast is a treat that I fully enjoy. Unlike many hotels, the breakfast here is not laid out as a buffet but can be personalized via their à la carte offerings, with options of having it sent up to my room (having ordered it the night before) or venture down to the restaurant. The two other meals I had at the hotel were equally delightful, as my palate got to savor the old favorites – pate de fois gras, fresh country bread and the most lip smacking lemon meringue tart. I also discovered, what was for me a new taste, Atlantic Char – a fish grilled to perfection that tasted something like salmon.
The staff was helpful and polite. The cosmopolitan nature of New York, in my case, was represented by Rahman, a Bangaldeshi guest services staff. I reveled momentarily, in having got this opportunity to be able to converse with him in Hindi, much to the surprise and delight of those around us. Unexpectedly encountering a familiar dialect from the mother country in a distant land can be such a balm.
We used the Board Room on the 14th Floor for an important meeting. This was a few levels higher than where my room was at, and once the mist and fog lifted, the view from the window was spectacular. My almost perfect stay at the Ritz Carlton, Battery Park was marred by the inefficient internet and phone connectivity on the 14th floor. If only this facility worked efficiently, it would’ve made our lives so much easier.
But all in all it was a good two-day trip. On the evening that I was to check out, a pleasant surprise arrived at the door. It was a most appealing chocolate formation in the shape of – you guessed right – a Statue of Liberty!
Over my years of travel I have enjoyed the hospitality of other hotels in the Ritz Carlton chain as well, such as the Ritz Carlton at Jakarta, Indonesia and the Ritz Carlton in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta In Indonesia
The Jakarta property is huge, opulent and spacious. The most appealing aspect of this hotel for me was the ‘Ladies Only’ floor. Perish the thought if you expected to be accosted with the sight of professional women wandering around in hair rollers or bath robes, as it was all very elegant and proper. What I enjoyed most was that distinct feeling of camaraderie. The Sunday brunch was a special treat. Even if one did not indulge in the French bubbly, the smoked salmon pretty much made up for it. The hotel is located fairly close to many of the shopping plazas that Jakarta is so famous for, and it was possible to step out for a leisurely stroll.
By comparison, The Kuala Lumpur Ritz Carlton is in the elegant heart of the bustling city. The rooms are comfortable but compact, unless of course you get lucky like I did. On one visit I got upgraded to a suite with the fancy butler and all the frills. I am not complaining. For anyone planning to stay at this hotel, a word of advice – please don’t step out till you have savored the buffet breakfast on the first floor. I would give an arm and a leg to be there once again just to dive into the delicious Eggs Benedict. I have never tasted better in any other part of the world and the proof is in tasting it.
I plan to visit the new Ritz Carlton in Bengaluru soon. I am sure it will be just as fine a place as the others.