OneWorld Asian Adventure, Part Nine: Stay at the Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong

Part One: Introduction
Part Two: TPA-DFW-YYZ on American, and a fun afternoon in Toronto
Part Three: YYZ-HKG on Cathay Pacific and “The Arrival” in HKG
Part Four: Stay at the InterContinental Grand Stanford
Part Five: Visit to “The Wing” and HKG-MNL on Cathay Pacific
Part Six: Stay at the Crowne Plaza Manila
Part Seven: Stay at the InterContinental Manila
Part Eight: MNL-HKG on Cathay Pacific
Part Nine: Stay at the Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong
Part Ten: HKG-NRT on Cathay Pacific and NRT-JFK on JAL
Part Eleven: Stay at Holiday Inn Express JFK and JFK-MIA-TPA on American


Upon arrival we headed to the Marriott transfer desk located within the airport, since the hotel provides a free shuttle to the hotel. As we approached we were asked for our names, and within a couple of minutes we were escorted outside by one of the representatives, where a fancy black minivan was waiting for us. The guy couldn’t have been any nicer, and I have to say, it was a pretty nice minivan too!

Within a few minutes we were at the hotel, which is near the AsiaWorld Expo. The exterior is impressive, and not surprisingly the hotel looked new, given that it only opened a few months ago.


Marriott Hong Kong SkyCity


Hotel exterior

I’ve read good reviews about this hotel so far, especially when it comes to customer service. I couldn’t agree more. From the moment we walked in we were greeted with a smile, and even without asking were escorted to the front desk. There we were greeted by an equally friendly agent who spoke English well and checked us in quickly. He explained to us the hotel’s features and welcomed us no less than a dozen times. He informed us we were upgraded to the executive level as Marriott Gold members.

The lobby was well designed and modern, with huge windows. Unfortunately the view was of the Macau ferry terminal, which isn’t exactly breathtaking.


Impressive lobby


Panoramic views of….. the Macau ferry terminal!

After a quick elevator ride we were on the 12th floor, where our room was located. We were assigned to room 1243, conveniently enough right across from the executive lounge.


Room 1243

I’m not Samantha Brown so I won’t even attempt to describe the room, other than to say that it was beautifully appointed and still had the new room smell. My favorite thing had to be the beds. They were perfectly cushioned, as opposed to the hard-as-rock beds we had at the Crowne Plaza Manila.


Room 1243


Desk

Our view was also of the ferry terminal. Fortunately the rooms were still quiet, despite what are usually the noisy ferries on the hour every hour.


View from the room

The bathroom had all the amenities one would expect from a Marriott and even had a “rainfall” shower, or whatever it’s called.


Sink and toilet


Bathtub/shower


Conditioner, shampoo, bath gel

On the table was a bowl with three apples and a handwritten card from the front offer manager.

Dear Mr. Lucky,

We are all very pleased to have you staying with us. Should there be anything I can do to make your stay more enjoyable, please let me know and allow me to be of service to you.

Warmest Regards,
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Front Office Manager

The fact that it was handwritten impressed me. Well done!


Welcome gift

There were also two bottles of complimentary Bonaqua water near the TV.

 


Bonaqua water

We made a quick visit to the executive lounge just to check it out. As we entered the agent introduced herself and said we should let her know if there’s anything we need. She explained that evening cocktails were served from 6PM until 8PM and that we could have breakfast either downstairs in the restaurant or in the lounge. Unfortunately there were no daytime snacks (not even minor things like chips, cookies, or nuts) as is the norm at most InterContinental hotels.


Entrance to the Executive Lounge


Executive Lounge

Being an airplane geek I loved the views of the airport from the lounge. Every 90 seconds we saw heavies land, so I could have sat there all day just watching.


View from the lounge

The lounge has three computers which can be used by club guests for free, which is nice. There are few things things I hate more than paying for internet while traveling.


Computer in the lounge

After checking out the lounge we tried to figure out if there was anything to do in the area. Unfortunately there’s nothing within walking distance other than the AsiaWorld Expo, which had nothing exciting that day. The closest thing other than that is the airport.

Since we had been walking miles a day for the past week we decided to take the afternoon easy and head to the pool, which is located on the ground floor. While we weren’t fans of the fact that it was indoors at first, it made sense on second thought given the proximity to the ferry terminal.

The pool was empty and well designed, with plenty of chairs. There was also a (small) whirlpool and sauna. It was a relaxing afternoon before what we knew would be a long day, flying from Hong Kong to New York via Tokyo.

 


Pool


Lounge chairs


Whirlpool

After showering it was already 6PM, which meant it was time for dinner at the lounge. As I’ve posted several times before (to the disappointment of many), we tend to have dinner in the club lounge.

We sat down at an open table in the lounge, which there were plenty of, and within moments a friendly waitress offered us drinks. We checked out the snack selection, only to see that it was a bit more limited than what we were used to at the InterContinental. More specifically, there were several people in the lounge doing the same thing as us, and the portions that the “chef” brought out were just too small. For example, the chef would bring out only three spinach squares at a time, which would be gone within about eleven seconds. Fair enough, that’s the spirit of “evening cocktails,” but it was still a bit more limited than what we were used to. For the first time during our trip we decided we were going to go out to dinner.

 

 


Evening drinks


Evening snacks


More snacks

We went to the concierge to ask if there were any decent restaurants in the area (other than the classy 7-11, which has a casual dress code), and we were informed that the closest place was the airport. Everything else was at least 15 minutes away by cab. Not in the mood, we decided on the SkyBistro, the hotel restaurant.

This is probably my biggest complaint about the hotel. The prices at the restaurant are astronomically high. They know there’s no competition in the area and it’s not practical to go out and eat, so they just charge whatever the hell they want. In this case, it was about $20USD for a satay appetizer (what my dad had) and $20 for a personal cheese pizza (what I had). They also had a buffet, which looked excellent, but cost about $50USD/person. Oddly enough it seemed like many of the patrons eating from the buffet were locals as opposed to hotel guests, which kind of surprised me.

 


Satay


Cheese pizza

We went to bed early given the long day ahead of us, although I hardly got any sleep for some reason, despite the comfortable bed. We got up at around 6AM, had a light breakfast in the lounge (in anticipation of a big meal on Cathay), and checked out. The shuttle was immediately ready to take us to the airport.

Overall I highly recommend this hotel. It has been a long time since I’ve seen a hotel with such uniformly friendly employees. Management deserves a pat on the back for training their employees well, and the employees deserve a pat on the back for being awesome. We noticed that the average age of the employees was young, probably mid-20’s at most. Given that we paid $110USD, this was a steal and I would definitely return the next time I’m in Hong Kong and have an early flight.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Excellent stuff. Those beds do look fantastic, tho the scenery around the hotel looks a bit spartan and spotty. Perhaps that will improve with time.

  2. It’s with some sort of perverse fascination that I am reading your idiosyncratic trip report. I think it is because it is so completely out of phase with how I travel and why I travel. What is the purpose of your trip, Lucky, when you cocoon yourself up in little replica outposts of the U.S. ? You could have just stayed in New York or Houston and had just as wild an adventure.

    Okay, so you are more “The Accidental Tourist”. It’s weird to me, and, like I said, oddly intriguing….Anyway, still a fan!

  3. Thanks for the perspective, Ed. A few things I ask you to consider:

    1. When I travel internationally I spend almost the entire day walking the streets of the city, seeing the sights, etc. I’m typically gone from morning till night when I travel (or at least as much as I can be, which is sometimes a bit less when it’s boiling hot outside), and I always prefer an unstructured agenda over going with a tour group. I think that’s the best way to get to learn the culture of a country. Nonetheless, my trip reports mostly cover hotels/airlines, mainly because there are better travel guides out there for the destinations themselves, while good airline/hotel reviews are are, in my opinion. Just because I cover mostly the hotels doesn’t mean I spend most of my time at them.

    2. As much as I’d love to be, I’ve never been much for “creative” food. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I was a vegetarian for eight years, because frankly I was disgusted with meat for a long time. Yeah, it was one of those slaughterhouse videos I saw when I was younger that caused it. I always want to know what I eat, and that’s a bit of a problem when traveling internationally. I’d like to think that doesn’t make me closeminded or uncultured, but feel free to form your own opinions.

    3. I’m a miles/points whore. That’s why I stay at “chain” hotels. With the amount of points I earn and the benefits I receive, it’s hard to justify not staying at them, in my opinion.

    I’ve had some amazing travel experiences which I could have never had in New York or Houston, from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to the Bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand to the DMZ in Korea to the “land between” in Hong Kong.

    I hope that clears things up a little bit…

  4. I disagree with your reasoning for not covering the destinations beyond the properties. Good travel reading is all about experiencing other cultures through the unique perceptions, experiences and biases of those visiting and writing.

    Frankly, writing about hotels and flights (especially annoying – a complete replication of the menus) is technical, repetitive and boring. Any criticism you make loses its punch when I realize that you are there simply because you spent as little money as possible to earn as many miles as possible. Even if the food was crap, it still cost you less than most any of your fellow pax in first class (since they most likely paid more for the miles they earned – if flying on an award – or are paying full fare). When I flew non-rev as a kid (my dad worked for Delta), I flew in premium cabins on several airlines. I was grateful for the opportunity. Sure, my flan may not have been as good as a landside restaurant…that’s not the expectation.

    I would much prefer to hear stories of interactions you have with the culture. It will give more insight into who you are (which is hard to get from these pretty bland retellings). The best part of this trip report, in my opinion, was your narrative on travelling into Manilla. Your humor came burstng through, and it was a joy to read.

    I understand that you have a problem – you are a miles addict (or whore, by your own admission – very funny!). But even an alcoholic who wants to visit every bar in the USA, will focus on the experience of the bars, and will probably not write solely about what they drank at each bar (though that will be a part).

    I love to travel, and I like good travel writing. I feel like I have got to know you just by following your blog, and I’d love to live more vicariously through your many travels – not just the flights and hotel stays.

    Still (and always), like Ed, a fan.

    Eric

  5. It’s all good: there is a place for every kind of travel journal and I find yours interesting too.

    When I read this last installment on Hong Kong (and, even the one before), I got the impression that you were pretty much hotel bound. I’m glad you said that you do get out and walk around and soak up the ambience. (A long way to travel for a relatively small soak, though)

    I’m too nerdy: for me, there is a cost/benefit ratio with travel. If it takes up a lot of time to get somewhere, then I’d better have my ducks lined up and know exactly what I want to see and do when I get there. Planning a trip is half the fun for me. I never talk to a concierge for advice because (1) I already know where I want to go before I get there and (2) my hotels typically don’t have one! 🙂

    I too play some of the points games with hotels…your blog has great advice in this area.

    One thing thats very admirable is that you were able to take your father on such a splendid trip—you showed him a first class slice of travel, that’s for sure.

  6. Point taken re: writing about the actual stay, Eric. You’re right, I appreciate it. In future reports I’ll talk more about my actual travels within the country as opposed to just getting there and the confines of the hotel.

    I’m not sure if I see your point about how much I paid for my ticket, though. I don’t see how that’s relevant to the product as such. In this case, for example, I’ve now flown both SQ F and CX F. Just because I paid very little to experience both doesn’t mean I can’t compare them on equal ground. I’ve gotten the “full” experience on both, and I know lots of people enjoy reading about that. Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate *any* premium travel I can get on awards, and ultimately I realize what a great value it is. But I still think I should write my report based on the relative quality of the product, and not how much I paid for it.

    As far as the menus go, it just comes to show you how everyone’s different. In a previous report when I left out the wine selection the first comment I received was a request for the wine menu.

    Anyway, I always appreciate your comments, Eric, and enjoy your blog (especially the *incredible* pictures). 🙂

    Ed, I agree with you about planning more as well. In the past I’ve done quite a bit of reasearch online before the trip, although I don’t typically buy guide books because they’re a bit too structured for me.

    To be honest, this year has been crazy so far. I unfortunately didn’t have a whole lot of time to prep for the trip, so was going into it “blind.” That’s fine for me in Hong Kong, since it’s a city I know pretty well in the meantime and love just walking the streets of for hours, but that wasn’t the case for Manila. I should have done more prep work. As far as the second stay in Hong Kong goes, we were planning on going into the city for the evening, but our flight ended up being delayed by about an hour, which means we didn’t make it to the hotel before 3PM or so. Since we were planning on going to bed early, that didn’t leave a whole lot of time to go into the city, and considering the cost of about $50USD roundtrip for two people, we just didn’t think it was worth it.

  7. Ben,
    I’m sorry for the negative feedback from the other posters in this comments section. I would ask them to consider a kinder way of expressing what they would like to read more of and less of and with a more respectful tone. I understand you put your heart and soul into these trip reports and that they take a lot of work. It shows too, they are excellent.
    Folks, be considerate of Ben’s efforts and show him some encouragement before you would hope to question his style. Keep in mind this is his blog and not yours. If you have a problem with where he goes and how he writes about it, please find a good-natured and less harmful way to make suggestions, or simply find another blog to subscribe to. His loyal readers would appreciate it, and I’m sure Ben would too.

  8. Amen Jeremy. I think the blog and the reports are fine. If you don’t like what you see don’t read it and don’t come back.

    I’d hate to see less info about hotels and flights. I for one care about what was on the menu!

  9. I , too, find your trip reports to be honest and fascinating, and you shouldn’t change a thing. I love the flight and hotel details, but I still contend that access to some of these exotic restaurants is the main reason to travel.

  10. Thanks for your report and esp. the stay report about this property. Having plans for HKG (in summer or autumn), I am considering to stay at this hotel before or after a flight.

    The pool looks nice and big.

    Looking forward for the report of the next flight on CX and JL

  11. Ben, your travel journal is strangely addictive. I wish I had discovered it sooner. I enjoy reading it because it covers precisely the things I never do when I travel, i.e. for the sake of miles or points. Just about all my personal travel is to the same places visiting friends and family so never any tourist stuff or plush hotels. Anyway, thanks for writing. I disagree with Eric’s opinion that writing about hotels and flights is annoying. While I welcome learning more about your experience at a destination (but not at the expense of flights, menus, winelists or hotels), if that is all Eric seeks, he is probably reading the wrong blog. This is not intended to be rude, just saying that he is not your target audience. Really looking forward to reading the menus on your next two flights.

  12. Hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I also dig your reports just as they’re written. If I wanted information on what to see and do in Manilla, there’s a million places to look. But if I want to know what the executive lounge looks like at various hotels around the globe (and I often do!), there’s only a couple of places to find it… and Lucky does it best. Thanks again!

  13. First of all, I have to say I love the detail you put into describing the menus in first class, which I have not have the pleasure of experiencing.

    Though I wonder why you chose to stay at an airport hotel in HK? Could have gotten the Renaissance in TST for around the same price. It’s a mere 30 minute subway ride and saved your $20 on that atrocious looking pizza.

  14. Recently travel to HKG and Tokyo over a 7 day period and stayed at:

    Skycity Marriott HKG
    JW Marriott Hong Kong
    Grand Hyatt Tokyo
    Hyatt Regency Tokyo
    Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tui

    The lounges at the two Marriott’s were significantly better than the 3 Hyatts. Grand Hyatt Tokyo only passes out hot food – circulating tables.
    Hyatt Regency Tokyo only allows you to order 1 of 2 small samplers – fish or chicken – but just a few bits.

    The JW Marriott Lounge food looks more like what you show for the Grand Hyatt Restaurant.

    The JW Marriott also has mid-day food which includes sandwiches (such as open face Salmon and Shrimp, ham, veggie, etc), scones, cakes, deserts, etc. The dinner food is extensive. All this on the upper floor lounge.

    Most of your reviews are Hyatt’s (maybe Sheraton and IC) and OneWorld /AA.

    My experience at the SkyCity had more food that want you experienced in your review.

  15. Also – I would say the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong is not a convenient location. Long walk to the MTR. You could have taken the high speed train then taxi – maybe quicker than taxi all the way.

    JW Marriott has a great location – you can walk inside from underneath shopping mall to the MTR.

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