Fit for a Princess: A Review of the Conrad Hong Kong
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To The Point
The Conrad Hong Kong is a Hilton property that’s decently priced for Hong Kong, a very expensive city. Pros: fantastic location, excellent service and comfortable rooms. Cons: slightly dated rooms and lobby.
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A hotel that’s fit for a princess is fit for me. But let me back up and start at the beginning.
My mother was having a milestone birthday and, to celebrate, I took my family on a trip to Asia. I used 80,000 Korean Air miles (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards points before the two programs parted ways) per person to fly us in first class from New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) via Seoul (ICN).
As I boarded the second leg (ICN-HKG), the crew alerted me that Princess Ubolratana, eldest child of the king of Thailand, was on my flight and that she was hoping she could switch seats with me so she could sit with her staff. I said yes and moved to a middle seat in the 2x2x2 configuration of the Boeing 787. She thanked me by giving me a pin with a photo of her on it, and the rest of the flight went on without novelty.
When I later arrived at the Hilton Conrad Hong Kong, I noticed a red carpet pulled out. It wasn’t for mom’s special birthday, unfortunately — it was for the princess, who must have been fast-tracked through customs and, coincidentally enough, was also staying here and had beat us to the hotel.
If the Conrad was good enough for a princess, I figured, it would definitely suffice for my family and me.
I booked two rooms at the Conrad for three nights, one for my parents and the other for my husband and me. I paid for one room using 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night for two nights, partly earned with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — finally putting that large welcome bonus to use. I actually racked up a big stash of Hilton points in the past, having many old Hilton cards, so it was the perfect way to spend them. The third night, I booked with a free-night certificate, thanks to the Aspire card.
I wanted to see how using the Aspire (and my Hilton Diamond status that comes with the card for one room) would compare to booking the other room with my Platinum Card® from American Express and Fine Hotels & Resorts. So I paid for the second room, which cost 3,800 HKD ($485), putting the spend on my Amex Platinum. It wasn’t cheap, but Hong Kong is never cheap. Rates were especially high because my stay overlapped with Golden Week, a national holiday in Hong Kong that filled the city with visitors.
At least I had my FHR benefits to look forward to after forking over the pricier cash rate. When I checked my Honors account, I found I had earned a total of 49,928 points from my stay: 24,469 base points, 24,469 bonus points and 1,000 points from the My Way Hotel Benefit.
My FHR booking gave me the following benefits: an upgrade, daily breakfast, a $100 food-and-beverage credit, early check-in, late checkout and more. Meanwhile, booking the other room with Hilton Diamond status entitled me the following: an upgrade, executive-lounge access, a welcome amenity, bonus points, free breakfast and more. I wasn’t entirely clear if my lounge access (which isn’t a benefit normally offered with Amex FHR) came from my upgraded room or if the hotel gave both my parents and me lounge access as a Diamond status benefit on both rooms. I was afraid to ask though — why rock the boat?
I tried to figure out which way gave me more benefits, but in the end, I think both bookings gave my family and me a very solid variety of perks.
The Conrad Hotel was on the Hong Kong island side of the harbor next to Hong Kong Park, between the Central and Wan Chai districts. Being near the park was beautiful, and I enjoyed checking out the fish ponds and the tai chi gardens beneath the greenery of the trees. Daily park strolls were a great way to combat the jet lag. It was about a 20-minute walk from the park up to the Victoria Peak tram, which was also convenient.
I had arranged with the Conrad ahead of time for a car to pick up our party at the airport. The train would have been a much cheaper way to get from the airport to the city center, but traveling with older family members was different. After 20 hours of flying and with a nearly 11pm arrival time, we needed to get straight to the hotel without hassle. The shuttle cost $105 for four people and eight bags. Although this wasn’t cheap, my friends staying at the Mandarin Oriental paid almost double that. The service was flawless, and I appreciated the Conrad efficiently arranging this for us.
Getting around was easy using Uber and taxis. I never had an issue getting a taxi at the hotel or otherwise, and the cost was very reasonable. Uber was a little more expensive and sometimes took longer, so I recommend using taxis whenever possible. We also really enjoyed taking the Star Ferry, which offered beautiful, scenic views at a very low price.
The lobby was spacious and elegant with high ceilings, decorated in a very classic manner.
When checking in, I was told my FHR room had been upgraded to the 61st (top) floor. While I appreciated this, it was actually a mountain-view room that had no view at night, and the points room for my parents had much nicer bay and city views on the 48th floor. My mom and dad were impressed, though, and that’s all that mattered to me.
Since I am a Hilton Diamond member, both rooms were given executive-club access (or perhaps my room had this benefit from an upgrade to the executive-lounge floor thanks to Amex FHR — still not really sure). Our jet lag, combined with the short length of our trip, only allowed us to take advantage of the executive lounge once for breakfast and once for high tea, but it was still so nice to have this perk.
The one issue we ran into during our stay was that our keycards didn’t work right after we checked in. It wasn’t a huge deal, since we found hallway phones and called down to the front desk. Staff quickly replaced the keys, but mildly annoying after our long trip. At least I didn’t walk into someone else’s room like TPG did at the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport.
The presidential suite was on my floor. I know what you’re thinking, but I never ran into the princess again during my stay.
Although the hotel was spotlessly clean, the hallways and carpet were a little dated, as I would later realize much of the hotel was.
The room was large and had a classic design.
I typically prefer a more modern (Park Hyatt) look, but the room was very comfortable, so I was content.
The bed was inviting, with soft sheets, and after my 24-hour journey I practically fell in. Blackout shades ensured we got a solid rest despite the nagging jet lag.
The teddy bear I found sitting on the bed was a cute amenity gift. My parents actually got two teddy bears on their bed.
At night, there wasn’t too much to see out the window, as we overlooked a mountain, but during the day it was nice to see the hills among the city. The room was luminous, and also had a nice desk and sitting space that came in handy during my stay.
I wasn’t quite sure what the upgrade was. Maybe the perk was being on the top floor or giving me a room on the executive-lounge floor, but I was still kinda jealous of my parent’s room on the 48th floor with the amazing harbor view plus executive-lounge benefits through my Diamond status.
All the usual suspects were there: a large TV, slippers, robes, free bottles of water, fully stocked minibar and huge closet with a safe, hangers, iron and board and umbrella. Daily turndown service was a nice touch, leaving us more water bottles and closing the shades.
I loved that the room featured an in-room temperature control that actually worked as set, because I’m always hot. The only thing I didn’t like about the room was that the carpeting was a little nasty, a bit stained and old.
I was thrilled to see that there was a Nespresso machine (a real jet-lag cure) that came with free capsules. I spotted several outlets near the desk but had to unplug the lamp in order to plug my phone in.
To get an idea of how the room was a little dated, there was a Bose CD player here. Good thing I don’t have kids, or I’d have had to explain what CDs were.
The bathroom was a little old-school, but the shower pressure was fantastic, though I suspect it would have failed the TPG shower test. Still, it was close.
The bathroom had double marble sinks and a larger-than-average bathtub complete with Shanghai Tang amenities and a second television.
A separate room housed the toilet.
The hair dryer looked a little 1990s and was hooked onto the wall, but I didn’t give it a try.
I couldn’t figure out how to work the strange device in the bathroom that I eventually deemed to be a workout machine. While I knew how the scale worked, I declined to use it during my stay (more dumplings, please).
I enjoyed the animal-themed amenities. We were given a rubber ducky in the bathroom, and between that and the teddy bear, I now had adorable gifts for my nephew and niece back home.
Food and Beverage
I was pleased with the staff during my stay, from the second I was picked up at the airport until checkout. Everyone I encountered was smiling and friendly, and I loved the nightly turndown service. The concierge was also helpful with booking our ferries to Macau, and we also worked with them before our arrival on our airport pickup, with them giving us quick and efficient service.
Though we arrived near midnight, my body thought it was noon and that I needed a quick bite. The late-night room-service menu was limited (as in many hotels), but after flying Korean Air and selecting all the Asian options for meals, I was ready for a good, old-fashioned midnight burger. It only took about 20 minutes to arrive, which was awesome. A burger with fries and a Coke Zero came to almost $45, but I didn’t care, because I had my $100 food-and-beverage credit for Amex Platinum FHR benefits. And the burger was delicious. Win!
The first day I breakfasted in the executive lounge, which was perfectly fine, though limited compared to the other spreads in the Garden Café.
But the views of the harbor made up for it. They were fantastic and not unlike the view from my parents’ room.
The next two days, I ate breakfast in the Garden Cafe, both free with Hilton Diamond benefits and Amex FHR. If you didn’t have these benefits, it would’ve cost you about 285 HKD (nearly $40). Both days, I found the buffet delectable, with an expansive selection of both Asian and Western foods.
Although the view wasn’t as nice at the Garden Café as in the executive lounge, the food was more varied and plentiful.
The bar in the lobby had nightly live music and looked like fun, but we were too jet-lagged at end of the day to enjoy it. Though we were desperately trying to adapt to the normal schedule, most nights we were sleeping by 9pm and up at 4am.
The dreaded jet lag and shortness of our trip prevented us from using the fitness center (even though it was open 24 hours, so that was a bad excuse, but whatever), the spa and the outdoor pool and hot tub. The pool area looked like a chill space to hang out.
While there are endless options to use your points and miles in Hong Kong, I felt the price for quality was on point at the Conrad Hong Kong. I’d previously stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and absolutely loved that experience for the amazing views and modern feel, but it was double the cost of the Conrad for my travel dates. Although the property and rooms were a little dated, the Conrad Hong Kong maintained an elegant feel and the staff was wonderful, so I would consider staying here again, especially if I got a deal on the room rate.
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