Megan and I took a two-week tour of Southeast Asia during our honeymoon in August/September of last year. Now it’s time to wrap up the trip report after a holiday break. Here’s the Trip Report Index:
- Booking the Honeymoon
- Asiana Airlines Business Class (SEA-ICN, HKG-ICN, and ICN-SEA)
- Seoul-Incheon Airport and Singapore Airlines Business Class (ICN-SIN)
- Singapore Zoo
- Singapore Airlines Business Class (SIN-DPS)
- St. Regis Bali – Part 1
- St. Regis Bali – Part 2
- Day Trip to Ubud
- Thai Airways Business Class (DPS-BKK and BKK-HKT)
- St. Regis Bangkok
- Westin Siray Bay Phuket
- Day Trip to Phi Phi Islands
- Thai Airways Business Class (HKT-HKG)
- Conrad Hong Kong
On our only previous trip to Hong Kong, Megan and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, which I would normally return to in a heartbeat. However, the Hilton HHonors devaluation motivated us to redeem our remaining points for a couple stays at the Conrad Hong Kong at only 50,000 points per night under the old award chart. It has since increased to 85,000 points per night.
This stay was booked through my account, though between the time of booking and our arrival my Gold status lapsed while Megan obtained it through a promotion. It was worth communicating to the hotel in advance that Megan would be staying in the room — and also that it was our honeymoon. Don’t ever be ashamed of spreading that around that when you get married because it’s (hopefully) the only time you’ll get to do so and the wedding itself was probably more about your parents impressing your friends than it was about you. In this case, the hotel responded that they were happy to extend her Gold benefits to my reservation and pre-blocked us into a room on the 52nd floor with an excellent view of Victoria Harbour.
Not surprisingly for Hong Kong, the room was a bit on the small side, but it was very well designed and did not feel cramped. I can’t think of anything I would have changed. The entryway included a large closet on one side and coffee and tea station on the other.
In the bathroom were a separate tub and shower plus double sinks. We even got a rubber duckie! However, the bath amenities by Aromatherapy Associates were not very impressive. Each smelled very different from the other, and not in a good way. The packaging also seemed pretty basic. I’m not expecting Remede at every luxury hotel, but I’ve seen better at cheaper properties.
The main room had ample shelf space, including a large desk overlooking the harbor and a smaller desk to the side. There were fresh flowers, a Bose clock radio, and lots of easily accessible electrical outlets.
The bed faced the view as well and was very comfortable. Not a bad place to be sick, eh? It came with a couple of Conrad bears, too!
And once I got my appetite back, there was a welcome amenity of fruit and chocolates in a cute little steamer basket. The chocolates were refilled on our second day and a bottle of Champagne added to congratulate us on our honeymoon.
Gold members upgraded to an executive lounge floor are entitled to breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening canapés. However, I strongly recommend taking breakfast in the restaurant on the ground floor, which is also permitted. The lounge is very narrow, and the closely packed furniture does not make the situation any better. The restaurant lacks views but has more space and a greater variety of food.
The food and service at the executive lounge was obviously better than one would expect at a domestic U.S. lounge, which are typically basic affairs. There were separate menus for breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening canapes. In addition to large spreads on the display tables, there was also warm food in ovens and cold food in the refrigerators (including a wide variety of juices and yogurts). My one disappointment was that they didn’t have a more professional coffee machine beyond the Nespresso.
No doubt the low award price is one reason the Conrad has been a favorite of many travel bloggers in the points-and-miles community compared to paying the former 22,000 points for a stay at the Grand Hyatt. The Conrad also has a more central location and tends to offer better views. But the new comparison is between 85,000 Hilton points or 25,000 Hyatt points, and I think Hyatt wins. Also, taxis are cheap and I spend far more time in the lounge than I do in my room at urban hotels.
In this particular case, the Conrad was definitely better positioned nearer to the shopping and touristy areas of the Central district on Hong Kong Island, as well as Hong Kong City Park and the zoo, which I always enjoy.
I was not able to walk very far without resting due to the pain from my food poisoning. On the afternoon of our second day, I finally broke down and asked the front desk about seeing the hotel doctor — but it was a Saturday and he had already left after a half-day that morning. Instead, a very concerned duty manager provided us with directions and a taxi to a nearby hospital. There was a long-ish wait, but the service was good and the doctor seemed to appreciate chatting with someone who had some background in biology.
I also regret that I was not able to fully enjoy the excellent cuisine in Hong Kong. The doctor told me to stick to congee and white bread — two things I wouldn’t eat even if I were healthy. I didn’t really want to follow his instructions, but, in fact, I had a hard time eating anything more substantial. Megan and I celebrated our final night with dinner at the Conrad’s Chinese restaurant, The Golden Leaf. Megan says it was good, but it’s difficult for me to provide my own review. The service was certainly excellent. Even dinner the previous evening at Tim Ho Wan was not that appetizing.
At some point I hope to return to the Conrad Hong Kong to re-experience it under better circumstances, but I still think I would prefer the Grand Hyatt. The Conrad’s bar and lounge in the lobby area appeared to be excellent.
The room itself was superior to my only available comparison at the Grand Hyatt, which had no view and somewhat odd decor (the pictures I’ve seen of the Hyatt’s suites further discourage me from using a suite upgrade there).
But the Hyatt’s lounge is better, it also has great bars and restaurants, and has a pretty marvelous pool deck, where I enjoyed spending my downtime between treks around the city. The Conrad’s pool was disappointing. It was a pretty generic suspended tub with not much space around for sunbathing. So, yes, I’m spoiled. But anyone who reads this blog knows I love breakfast and cocktails by the pool. Megan does too. Especially on our honeymoon!
If I can give one last shoutout to the Conrad’s staff, the bellman who helped us on the day of departure was excellent. In addition to the usual assistance and friendly service, he volunteered to arrange a flat rate for our ride to the airport. I was down to my last few Hong Kong dollars and was worried about running short. In exchange, he got a more generous tip and it turned out our driver only lost out on about HKD 3. (He kept his word even though the meter still ran and it turned out I did have enough to pay the full fare). A small gesture, but it definitely helped ease my worry and helped end the trip on a positive note.
And then there were none. This trip report series is over. Thanks for reading, and I’m sorry it took as long as it did. Now it’s time to get to work on a backlog of individual hotel reviews from the past six months…