Chasing the Sun: InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong

Introduction
Lufthansa First Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge & Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Thai Airways First Class Frankfurt to Bangkok
InterContinental Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Bangkok
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to San Francisco


InterContinental has two hotels in Hong Kong. Their “flagship” hotel is the InterContinental Hong Kong, which is one of Hong Kong’s best hotels. I stayed there in 2009 in one of their harbor view junior suites, and I don’t think there’s a city hotel anywhere in the world that features more impressive views.

But then InterContinental also has the Grand Stanford Hong Kong hotel, which is maybe a 15 minute walk down the Avenue of Stars from the flagship InterContinental. I consider it to be one of the best hotels in Hong Kong in terms of elite benefits and overall value. It’s definitely not a five star hotel — maybe a solid four stars — but the value is unbeatable. Rates are often around $200USD, and as a Royal Ambassador member you get an upgrade to a harbor view room, club lounge access, 8AM check-in, 4PM check-out, free drinks from the minibar, free internet, a welcome amenity, etc.

And what’s why the Grand Stanford has become my most frequented hotel in Hong Kong. I first stayed there in 2008 and actually had quite a disappointing stay because I was upgraded to a club harbor view room… minus club access (and the hotel doesn’t have a club floor, so there were no added amenities). My subsequent stays in March of 2009 and September of 2009 were excellent, though.

Anyway, that brings us to this stay. We had only a quick overnight layover yet I still wanted to head into the city to see the Symphony of Lights, walk along the Avenue of Stars, etc. Upon landing in Hong Kong we took a taxi to the hotel, which took about 30 minutes and cost around $30USD (while the Airport Express would have cost ~$22).

Once at the hotel we were welcomed by the friendly bellmen, who offered to help with bags. We proceeded to the Ambassador check-in desk, though as soon as the agent saw I was a Royal Ambassador, we were escorted to the club lounge for check-in formalities.


Lobby

The club lounge is located on the first floor, and once there we were handed over to the friendly agent, who invited us to enjoy some cocktails while we were checking in (since the evening happy hour was just beginning). After a few minutes he returned to go over Royal Ambassador benefits at the hotel and also explain the club features and hours.

We proceeded to our room on the 10th floor, which was a premier harbour view room. The hotel has been renovated since the last time I stayed here, and I believe the renovated rooms are referred to as “premier” while the non-renovated rooms are referred to as “deluxe.”

The room wasn’t huge though felt very modern/fresh after the renovation. A small hallway led to the room, which featured a king bed, chair, and desk with rolling chair.


Hallway


Premier Harbour View Room


Premier Harbour View Room


Premier Harbour View Room


Premier Harbour View Room

The room featured views of the harbour. The Grand Stanford doesn’t exactly face “central” Hong Kong, though you can see it from an angle.


View from the room

On the side table was the Royal Ambassador welcome amenity, which consisted of fruit, a couple of shortbread cookies, and a box of chocolates.


Royal Ambassador welcome amenity

Near the entryway of the room was the minibar, which was well stocked. All the beverages in there are complimentary for Royal Ambassador members.


Minibar

The bathroom was small though functional. It featured a toilet, single sink, and walk-in shower with two types of shower heads.


Bathroom

The water pressure and temperature control were excellent.


Shower

All the toiletries were Agraria branded.


Toiletries

One of the other things I love about this hotel is the club lounge. Physically it’s a nice space with decent views of the harbour.


Club InterContinental


Club InterContinental

They serve evening cocktails from 6PM till 8:30PM, and the spread is impressive. They have a huge selection of cold options and also about five hot options. There are also friendly waiters roaming around to offer constant refills on drinks. My one complaint about the spread is that aside from a few chocolates they don’t serve any dessert, which is the first club lounge in which I’ve seen that.


Evening spread


Evening spread


Evening spread 


Evening spread 


Evening spread 


Evening spread 

The breakfast spread is equally impressive, with all kinds of fresh pastries and breads (including delicious pretzel bread), as well as a variety of hot options.


Breakfast spread 


Breakfast spread 


Breakfast spread 

There was also a menu for cooked to order entrees. I ordered some french toast, which was nicely presented.


Breakfast menu


French toast 

Unfortunately my breakfast experience was ruined somewhat by a guy that was trying to buy my sweater from me and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Since I was just there for a quick overnight I didn’t have a chance to check out the gym or pool, though I recall the pool being on the rooftop and quite nice.

I still love the InterContinental, and find it to be one of the best values in Hong Kong as an InterContinental elite. The location isn’t ideal, though it’s only about a 15 minute walk along the Avenue of Stars to the Star Ferry. The service at this hotel is consistently phenomenal, so I’d return in a heartbeat if the price is right.

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Comments

  1. The HK hotel scene is a paradox for me. The best views are to be had on the mainland (looking onto HK Island), but I much prefer to be on the Island… Luckily, there are so many fantastic properties there to choose from!

  2. Is there a way you can review from the perspective of elite and non-elite? Royal Ambassadorships are hard to come by so I have no idea if the place would be good for me as a lowly priority club platinum

  3. Very nice and happy thanksgiving. I think I would rather stay at Hyatt HK TST because I would rather spend 15,000 Hyatt points. Have you stayed there before?

  4. @ Michael — Wish I could, though how do you suggest I go about reviewing a hotel as someone other than me? 😀

    @ rom — Actually wanted to try it on this stay, though it was sold out by the time I booked. Looks like a good value, so I’ll give it a try next time.

  5. My favorite hotel in HK for the same reason. I always get a suite tho as a RA. I still think my favorites are the old style suites except for the bathroom.

  6. @Michael – I’ve stayed at this property as a “lowly” PC Platinum and received an upgrade to a Harbour View Room, a complimentary half-bottle of wine in the room and 4pm late checkout.

  7. You gotta try staying at the Island Shangri-La or JW Mariott for a fanastic city view over HK island and looking onto Kowloon side

  8. Lucky,

    …so you were born a Royal Ambassador? The loyal readers allow you to travel like you do….but Entitled you’re not. Please don’t forget the little people….

  9. @ Scott — Sorry if what I said came across wrong. What I was trying to say is that status allows me to review more aspects of a hotel than if I didn’t have status. For example if I didn’t have status I couldn’t review the club lounge without paying it. Also by reviewing it hopefully readers can draw their own conclusions as to whether its worth the paid premium or not.

    But there’s no aspect of my stay that’s only available to Royal Ambassadors other than the generous check-in/check-out policy and free minibar. A non-elite that booked a club harbour room would have had an identical experience I’m sure. But short of not outing my Priority Club NUMVER on the reservation I have no way of reviewing the hotel as a non-elite, and if I did that I’d only be able to review fewer aspects of the hotel.

    Anyway, happy Thanksgiving and sorry if that came across wrong.

  10. I had the same thought as Michael, though without the bitter jealousy inherent in some of the other comments. As a non-RA, I too wonder what it would be like staying in a regular room, since going to HK would be expensive enough for me without paying extra for an upgraded room.

    I know in some hotels the higher priced rooms have been nicely upgraded, and the “regular” rooms are @1980s. Thus the Trip Advisor reveiws of 40% 4 and 5 star, and 40% 1 and 2 star, depending on which category the reviewer stayed in.

    I’m not about to ask you to stay in a crummy room just to review it, after all most of the interest in this blog is about the aspirational aspects. But while you are there, could you perhaps ask to see an unoccupied regular room, so we non-elites can find out what we are going to get staying on mere points or limited price bookings? Or maybe sweet talk a maid into letting you view an unoccupied room she has just finished cleaning? :>)

  11. @ Robert Hanson — That’s something I’d be happy to try during my next stay. In terms of the rooms themselves, I think the size of my room was standard, and the only thing “premium” about it was the view.

    The room reviewed below was one of their standard non-renovated rooms:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2009/09/05/quest-to-istanbul-and-hong-kong-part-8-intercontinental-grand-stanford-hong-kong/

    Will definitely try to check out standard rooms in the future, though.

  12. Thanks for the link, that review was from before I knew of your blog, so I hadn’t seen it. If that is an unrenovated room I’d be fine with it. Looks like the standards of even basic rooms in good hotels in Asia are more reliable than in Europe.

  13. I’ll be in Hong Kong for several days during New Years, and I think what I’ll wind up doing is trying both the IC HK and Grand Stanford. As an RA, it’ll be interesting to see the difference in treatment between the two that I’ve heard so much about. Thanks for the review.

  14. @ Gerard — Please report back! Other IC is an awesome hotel but not so great for RA treatment. They don’t upgrade RAs to the club, and don’t even give you a harbour view room unless you book one. That being said, the views from the harbour view rooms are spectacular, so it’s a bit of a tradeoff…

  15. Hey Lucky,
    Any insight on RA requirements this year? I’ve got 35 not cheap paid nights at ICs and 43 other paid nights at PC properties. Other than the free night cert, AMB isn’t quite worth it as the bennies are limited and I get generally get squat on award stays. So if i don’t get RA, I’m thinking about switching back to HHonors Gold/SPG Plat….

  16. Great review of a great hotel. I was there in September and the photos depict exactly what I experienced as an AMb. I was lucky enough to get an upgrade to a suite! Staff were excellent.

    I paid for the club, which was 600 hkg/ day. The 2009 room review is in deed an unrenovated room and what they sell as deluxe vs your new premier room.
    I was so impressed I asked for a tour from the amb front desk mgr and they obliged. I saw all types of rooms, renovated, unrenovated and the corner suite as well. They have a schedule for renovation each year. The older rooms are feleling a bit 80’s and quite smokey/smelly. but they are priced a bit lower than the new ones.

    As for upgrades for Amb’s they do have a general set of rules, but not fixed.

  17. Your blogging style and photography are both fantastic. Great work. This hotel sounds like a find.

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