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Old May 26th, 2010, 01:01 AM   #6701
James.Kayn
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reminds me of the old World trade center but i like this tower looks sexy.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 07:14 AM   #6702
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I don't understand how those flickr images work. I can't find any larger sizes, but they appear smaller on the actual website than they do on this forum. Am I missing something?
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Old May 26th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #6703
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You can probably retrieve links to (slightly) larger images if you're a registered user, that's my guess.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 06:26 PM   #6704
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What an amazing view of the Victoria River! When will the observation deck open?
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Old May 26th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #6705
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAdrian View Post
You can probably retrieve links to (slightly) larger images if you're a registered user, that's my guess.
I am a registered user.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #6706
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image hosted on flickr


http://www.flickr.com/photos/teapotao/

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


http://www.flickr.com/photos/e1athk/
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Old May 26th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #6707
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uaarkson View Post
I am a registered user.
Well i'm not. Maybe the site creates different image sizes regardless of them being shown or not. So modifying the URL might get you what you want? (filename_o.jpg)
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Old May 27th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #6708
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image hosted on flickr


http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4645021702/

image hosted on flickr


http://www.flickr.com/photos/felixwoo/4644906700/
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Old May 27th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #6709
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Quote:
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pure elegance.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #6710
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another great panorama of HK....
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Old May 29th, 2010, 12:59 AM   #6711
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This tower completes the skyline
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Old May 29th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #6712
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image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr
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Old May 29th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #6713
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unbelievable...
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Old May 30th, 2010, 01:22 AM   #6714
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Why do the best photographers always upload their panoramas so small? It's infuriating.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 01:29 AM   #6715
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Great tower but appalling surroundings What happened to the 'West Kowloon Cultural District' project?
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Old May 30th, 2010, 05:48 AM   #6716
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uaarkson View Post
Why do the best photographers always upload their panoramas so small? It's infuriating.
Xavibarca/Ribarca doesn't.

Humongous panos - and I love him for it! Needs to get rid of that watermark though
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Old May 30th, 2010, 06:05 AM   #6717
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Wow amazing pics deathstar!! My mother is from Hong Kong and I'm damn proud of that. Such an amazing city wow
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Old May 30th, 2010, 07:28 AM   #6718
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Respect and hard work key to hotelier's success
17 May 2010
SCMP

Starting as a 12-year-old dishwasher in his uncle's Italian restaurant, Mark DeCocinis learned the hospitality trade from the bottom up.

Now the child dogsbody is a top chef and executive at one of the world's most respected luxury-hotel chains - The Ritz-Carlton - and is overseeing the opening of the brand's new property atop the 118-floor International Commerce Centre (ICC), above Kowloon Station.

At 57, the father of two is boss of 17 Ritz-Carlton properties across the Asia-Pacific region and says the key to his success is simple - respect people and keep learning.

"You have to respect your customers, your colleagues and yourself," DeCocinis says from his temporary office in the hotel, which is still under construction, on the top 16 floors of the city's tallest skyscraper. "We are not servants to customers. We are ladies and gentlemen that serve other ladies and gentlemen."

As the boss of what will be the world's tallest hotel, DeCocinis has a remarkably down-to-earth style, and does not mind getting his suit and shoes dirty being a personal guide around the construction site.

"This will be the bar area, and here is the swimming pool,'' he says, excitedly pointing to what is still a big hole on the top floor.

Along with his duties as regional vice-president in charge of Asia-Pacific, DeCocinis will be the general manager of the hotel. He wants the new property not only to serve hotel guests, but also become a hub for the city's elite.

"We want it to become a new social gathering centre in Hong Kong," he says. "Besides business and leisure travellers we want Hong Kong people to come here for dining, for social gatherings and weddings."

Already 100 wedding banquets have been booked despite the fact that the hotel will not be opening its doors until early next year.

The opening will mark a return of the Ritz-Carlton brand to the city after its Central hotel closed in 2008.

The new Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong will certainly have a bird's-eye view - its top floor will be located 490 metres above the ground, the same as the top of The Peak, with a reception area on the 102nd floor. The hotel will have 312 rooms, including 80 suites, from the 102nd to 118th floors of the ICC - the tallest building in the city. The swimming pool will be on the top floor, and there will be six restaurants and bars, staffed by 500 people.

DeCocinis was born in the Southern Italian city of Salerno, where his father was a tailor. When he was still a child, his family moved to New York. He took the part-time, after-school job at his uncle's restaurant to earn a few hundred US dollars a month.

"Money was not important, but as I was keen to be a chef I wanted to learn about the kitchen," he recalls. "I first learned about cooking from my mother and then others."

"I learned how to use food to make people happy. This led me to enter the hotel business, where you have to make people happy through good food and good service."

It is not his cooking skills alone, however, that got him to the top. He also studied business planning and marketing at university before kicking off his 30-year hotelier career at the New York Omni Hotel. His first job was a good training ground, involving everything from concierge to front desk, to catering.

In 1989 he joined the Ritz-Carlton, Boston as assistant food and beverage director, before moving to Shanghai in 1998 to head the group's first hotel in the mainland.

Under his regime in the past five years, the group has doubled its hotels in Asia. His ultimate goal is to nearly double the current 17, to take advantage of the growing Asian economies and in particular Chinese demand for luxury hotel services.

He is now based in Hong Kong, where he lives with his wife and two sons, aged 16 and 13.

Hong Kong has many other hotel chains. What will you do to fend-off competition?

There are some big names, such as Shangri-La, Four Seasons, The Peninsula, and Mandarin Oriental and they are all very good. To compete we have to make sure we have good people. Our selling point will be our facilities and spectacular view as we will be the tallest hotel in world. But one day there will be a newer and taller hotel opened. The guests will only return for the staff they remember: so the people are the key to retaining loyal customers.

Do you think the fact the hotel is located on the Kowloon side will be a disadvantage? Most of the big companies are based in Central.

The Ritz-Carlton is a deluxe brand that serves the top three per cent of travellers. We focus on and serve only this luxury market. ICC is the right location as all the major financial companies, such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank are located in this building. There are also major luxury brands in the shopping mall and many Hong Kong people come here for shopping and leisure.

We plan for 60 per cent of our clients to be business travellers and 40 per cent to be leisure travellers.

They will find this is a good location as the high speed rail terminal will be the gateway to China, while it only takes a few minutes on the MTR to Central or the airport. The West Kowloon Cultural District will be here too.

As the tallest hotel worldwide, do you worry about the fire safety issue?

We take fire safety very seriously. When we designed the hotel, safety and fire prevention was the priority. We have all the technology to ensure fire safety and evacuation plans will be in place.

Besides Hong Kong, what are your other expansion plans in Asia, and China in particular?

We will open in the IFC in Pudong, Shanghai in June. This will be the financial, residential and shopping centre of Shanghai. We will also open hotels in India, Thailand, Malaysia and in other Chinese cities. We now have eight hotels in China including Hong Kong and Pudong properties. We have an eye on other second-tier cities such as Qingdao and Hangzhou. Since 2005, we have doubled the number of hotels in Asia from 7 to 17 and we will further expand the total to 30 units by 2015.

The Ritz-Carlton opened its first hotel in China in 1998. Do you think the group has expanded too late in China, when some hotel brands have been there since the 1970s?

We did not go to China earlier as we believed the country was not yet ready for very luxurious hotels. We only serve the luxury market so we waited until the demand was there. The market was ready in all the Chinese major cities ten years ago and now many second-tier cities are ready too. These will become the next step in our development.

Has the global financial crisis hurt your business, and do you think the worst is over? What is your outlook for the coming year?

Many financial companies were hit hard hit by the financial crisis and many of them are our long-term customers. They have cut travelling budgets and we have worked with them closely to fit in with their needs. This has been a way to support each other during the crisis. So, even though this business dropped about 25 per cent during the crisis, our loyal customers have remained with us. We took the same approach to our suppliers. We wanted to have the best price, but we also want them to be able to make a profit. This would allow them to continue to supply quality products for our customers.

Overall the downturn was very short in Asia as the Chinese business and leisure travellers are coming back again. We are about 80 per cent above the same period last year. Overall, we believe we can have 20 per cent growth in revenue this year. The occupancy rates are also improving very well since businessmen are travelling again.

What do you think are the major opportunities and challenges for your business in the next five years ?

The major challenge is for us to select the right people, give them the right training and make sure they know our customers well. It is important to ensure our staff recognise the customers' faces and their family members. If we can hire the best people and make sure they are happy, they will serve the customers happily. We give what the customers want, not what we think the customers would like. If the customer wants water, ask if they want it hot or cold before serving them.

Do you find the hotel business has changed a lot from the time when you first joined the industry?

Customers are more global nowadays. The major changes are in the luxury market - 30 years ago most customers were from the US and Europe but now Chinese customers are growing to become an important part of the market.

Do you ever lose sleep when you see your hotels have many empty rooms?

During the Sars outbreak in 2003 the occupancy rates in Hong Kong dropped to about 7 per cent and in China they dropped to about 10 per cent. Under that situation, I lost sleep as I needed to think of ways to keep jobs for my colleagues. Senior management had their pay cut and worked one day less. This allowed us to pass through the crisis. I could sleep well again when the occupancy rates got back to 70 per cent two months after the outbreak.

Do you stay only at a Ritz-Carlton when you travel?

No, I stay at other hotels. Sometimes it is good to try and learn from others.

With your busy schedule how do you find time for your family? Do you have hobbies?

I cook with my family whenever I have time. We also enjoy running. I have been running marathons since I was 30 and have completed 18. I run every morning near where I live in Repulse Bay.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 06:58 PM   #6719
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koobideh View Post
Wow amazing pics deathstar!! My mother is from Hong Kong and I'm damn proud of that. Such an amazing city wow
Oops - might have misled. They're not mine - Ryan Cheng's pics.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehoba
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Old May 30th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #6720
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Originally Posted by AltiusAltiusAltius View Post
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Great tower but appalling surroundings What happened to the 'West Kowloon Cultural District' project?
Skatepark ?
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