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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Citi PrestigeUpdate: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Hong Kong isn’t lacking for spectacular hotels, including the Conrad Hong Kong, the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Hyatt, InterContinental and The Peninsula. Unless you’re venturing far outside the city, you’ll probably center your hotel search around two main areas: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Hong Kong Island is home to the financial district and Victoria Peak, while Kowloon has a few more tourist attractions and shopping destinations. Because my traveling partner and I were in town for a mix of business and pleasure, we focused on Hong Kong Island in order to make the business portion of the trip slightly easier.
Our status with Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton meant free breakfast with all three, and Hyatt and Marriott scored us lounge access (Hilton Gold only gives you lounge access when you’re staying on the executive floor). So we focused our search on Hyatt and Marriott properties because we knew we’d get a ton of value out of the breakfast and lounge.
The Renaissance — a Marriott property — had the best rate of the three available properties. And while you can use your Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card (5x on participating Marriotts), the total value would have been lower than the flexible earnings of the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on all travel) or the Citi Prestige (3x on hotels).
Our Cathay Pacific flight from New York (JFK) landed just before 6:00am, and after a short stop at The Arrival for a shower, we hopped on the Hong Kong Airport Express railway to Hong Kong Station (only three stops), then transferred to the Island Line metro and took it two stops to Wan Chai, the closest station to the Renaissance.
The Renaissance is part of a massive complex of buildings, including the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, which are all connected via elevated walkways. It can be a little confusing to find the entrance if you’re at street level, especially because the Renaissance has multiple entrances on multiple levels.
The easiest way to find the entrance — if you’re not taking a car — is to use the walkways connected to the metro and “walk through” the buildings to the second-floor entrance to the lobby (just follow the signs). At the Wan Chai station, use the exit marked “A5” and stay on the walkways for about 10 minutes; you don’t have to actually walk on the street. In total, it was about an hour on public transportation from the airport to the hotel.
Though the hotel was a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the city and nightlife — about 25 minutes from any real attractions — Hong Kong’s amazing public transportation made it easy and affordable to get around. Cars were readily available and the subways easy to navigate.
Since this was our second stay at this property, it was a familiar trip for us, and we arrived at the check-in desk a little before 8:00am. There was no line, so we were able to check in quickly (there was a dedicated Platinum and Gold check-in line, but every front-desk agent was available). Although we’d requested an early check-in (8:00am) via the Marriott Mobile app the night before, we didn’t expect to get into our room quite that early, especially since the official check-in time was 2:00pm. But, we were in our room within 10 minutes of arriving at the hotel.
The agent also let us know that breakfast was still being served. As I mentioned up top, we received complimentary breakfast because of our Marriott Gold status, which we had because we matched through SPG Gold status, a benefit of the Platinum Card from American Express.
We booked a standard Garden View Room and were upgraded to a queen room with a stunning view of Victoria Harbour.
The door opened into a small hallway with a wardrobe on the right and the bathroom on the left. The bed was flanked by two nightstands; on the right was a console with the minibar, a tea set and a TV.
The bed faced a wall with a TV and shelves that held a tea kettle, tea accoutrements and the minibar.
The Renaissance really took advantage of the phenomenal view and emphasized it throughout the hotel. In the room, the hotel left a postcard on the window ledge to help identify buildings in the skyline, and the chair was perfectly positioned to curl up and watch boats in the harbor.
By the window was a lounge chair and workspace. The desk was large enough but oddly positioned, and the only outlets were tucked into the console by the TV; I had to lift a cabinet door to find them.
However, outlets were easily accessible on the left side of the bed in a cubby about a foot from the telephone, and multiple converters were in the room for our convenience. (FYI, Hong Kong uses British-style power outlets.)
Since we’d be spending a fair amount of time working, we were happy to see an easy Wi-Fi sign-on process (just click once, and you’re connected for your entire stay). The Wi-Fi was fast and reliable enough to stream videos.
The bathroom was roomy, though you had to remember to close the blinds for privacy from the bedroom — not a big deal, but not ideal.
There was plenty of under-vanity storage, and the bathroom was stocked with Tokyo Milk toiletries, as well as the shaving kit we requested before arrival using the app. The shower area was modern and spacious.
Food and Beverage
Marriott Gold members received complimentary breakfast in the lounge and restaurant, Café Renaissance, and afternoon tea and happy hour, also in the lounge. So we were never lacking for access to complimentary food and beverage.
During breakfast in the lounge, there was a selection of fresh fruit juices and fruit, continental breakfast, dim sum and an omelet station.
The food was on the second level of the three-level lounge, so if it had been loud, it would’ve been easy to move to another level for a quiet place to work.
During afternoon tea, there were scones and sandwiches, and during happy hour, the lounge offered spirits, champagne and wine, as well as a daily cocktail (I particularly enjoyed the Campari and orange!), plus dim sum, ham and cheese, sushi and a hot buffet. There was fresh sushi every afternoon.
As Gold members, we also took advantage of complimentary breakfast at Café Renaissance.
The selection was huge (almost overwhelming), and the value was enormous. There were multiple stations with fresh fruit and smoothies; a bakery’s worth of sweet and savory breads and pastries; cheese and ham; a salad bar; a yogurt bar; a waffle, pancake and crepe station; a dim sum station with made-to-order noodles, dumplings and buns; a made-to-order egg station; and a station of Western breakfast options.
Should you have somehow missed any of the available complimentary food opportunities, there was also the lobby restaurant and bar, and a snack-food store in the lobby.
The store stocked fresh fruit, beverages, salads, and sandwiches.
There was a complimentary shoeshine service, which was fast and competent. A pool and garden were on the 11th floor (though it was closed during our stay), as were a playground and a tennis court. The walkway and garden also connected to the Conrad.
The fitness center was large and well-maintained, with a separate studio for yoga and stretching, a sizable area for machines, and a row of treadmills and elliptical machines with a great view. It was also open 24 hours, so you could get a workout in whenever your schedule allowed.
I loved this property and would absolutely recommend it. Though it was a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the city and nightlife, Hong Kong’s amazing public transportation made it easy and affordable to get around. The complimentary food and beverages available at the restaurant and the lounge were plentiful and delicious, and the gym was spacious and well-maintained. And I loved that we had the opportunity for an early check-in — much appreciated after that long-haul flight.
And of course, those views.
All images by the author.
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