Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Free Smartphone Use During Stay

Even though I live in hotels and spend much of my time abroad, I have a fairly unsophisticated approach to staying connected while abroad. I actually don’t ordinarily use data while abroad, but instead just use wifi through hotspots and hotels. Then if I need to make a call I’ll use Google Voice or Skype.

On one hand I hate being disconnected for so long, but on the other hand I do find that I’m able to take in the sights better when I’m not staring down at my phone every five seconds.

That being said, I sure do love when a hotel gets innovative with guest amenities. And I think the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui might just have one of the most useful innovations yet.

Since March 17, 2014, they have smartphones in each room which guests can use during their stays.

You can use the phones to make free local and international calls (to Australia, China, Singapore, the US, and the UK), as well as for unlimited 3G internet access throughout the city. The phones are equipped with maps and all kinds of apps, and when you finish your stay you can erase all the data on the phone. In the event that you lose the phone you’ll be charged a fee of 2,000HKD (~$250USD).

Engadget has a full review of the experience, so check that out for all the details. The article also notes that the phone has tethering capabilities, which is pretty exciting.

Anyway, this is one of the two centrally located Hyatt properties in Hong Kong. The Grand Hyatt is located on Hong Kong Island and consistently more expensive and a bit more “old world” with a great club lounge, while this one is a bit more modern and in the heart of Kowloon.

In the future this may very well impact my hotel choice, especially since this hotel is usually a fairly good value on both paid stays and points stays.

Hyatt-Regency-Hong-Kong
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui King Harbour View Room

(Tip of the hat to Jason K)

Comments

  1. I’ve used Handy for cell phone rental in HKG twice now and it has worked out super well both times. You can pick up and drop off right in arrivals at the airport and the unlimited data means you always have googlemaps available. Nice perk to get it for free, otherwise it’s around 10CAD per day.

  2. This phone have preinstalled Skype, Hong Kong travel guide ,Kayak and all the common travel apps.
    As a Hong Konger, I think this service is a little bit pricy.It only offers unlimited 3G internet. In Hong Kong, you can easily find unlimited 4G internet for a lower price for traveller. I am proud to say,we have one of the world’s best IT infrastructure.With the world’s fastest internet service and free WiFi all over Hong Kong,it has never been eaiser for tourists get connected.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2014-01-27/where-to-find-the-world-s-fastest-internet-top-20.html#slide21

  3. Really? It will impact your stay??! For a seasoned traveller like yourself, surely you can just get a SIM card for cheaper and not lug another device around. The cost is certainly integrated into the hotel room cost.

  4. Indeed, I like the Hyatt Regency HK much better than the Grand Hyatt HK.
    Also, they are renovating some floors of the Grand Hyatt HK during the day so it can get noisy.

  5. @ Jack — I didn’t see the cost of award or points + cash redemptions go up. šŸ˜‰

    While SIM cards might make sense, to be honest I don’t usually stay in one country/region long enough for it to be worth the effort.

  6. I will be staying there May 2-4, so I’ll try out the service, I like the tethering aspect to connect my iPad to wifi. Good to know free wifi is all over as well.

  7. I just stayed at the Hyatt Tsim Sha Tsui. The phone is pretty cool. You are able to surf the web and make free international calls. The one big draw back is the phone can’t take incoming calls. So if you have friends in HK or back home, they can’t reach you.

  8. everything just gets better in asia. have you ever visited United Club in Hong Kong and Tokyo? They are gorgeous, make United Club in ORD looks like shit.

  9. Just checked out of this hotel. The Handy made our trip much easier and stress free. Great product, great hotel.

  10. Lucky.
    Just get a tmobile phone with wifi calling. They now have unlimited international data and you can make regular calls when on wifi.

  11. I’m with @Jack. In most of the rest of the world, you can get 500MB or 1GB of data and some calling/texting allowance for $10 or $15 (or less). I’ve done it in NZ, HK, Bangkok, Singapore, and Australia. Paid AU$30 in Oz on this trip, but for me that was worth it as I was going to be doing a lot of random driving around the Adelaide Hills and wanted to use my phone for navigational purposes. (Gets dark early enough this time of year that navigating by map when alone is tricky.) My Verizon iPhone 5 came SIM unlocked, and I love travelling with it. Only tricky experience was in Bangkok, where the 7-11 didn’t have nano SIMs, so we had to trim down a larger card. Speaking of SIMs, I’d better find my Verizon one for when I get back to the US tomorrowā€¦

  12. I stayed at the Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui and they too had smartphones for use while you were there to stay. I thought there must be a catch, and some kind of fee but was very surprised and happy to learn it was free of charge while we stayed at the hotel. It definitely came in handy many times we got lost, or needed to find something, or make a call.

    Must be some kind of thing with Hong Kong cause I’ve never seen this anywhere else at any other international hotel in any other city.

  13. Just stayed at this property 4/13-4/16. Phone was quite useful to call back to the states for free, and we used it while sightseeing during the day for looking up restaurant reviews and opening times of attractions. This Hyatt is in a great location close to subway, shopping and harbor, and the service we experienced at that Hyatt was fantastic. The breakfast spread in Regency Club was quite extensive with hot and cold items, and the evening reception had enough food variety you could skip dinner.

  14. I wish hotels in other places would offer this as well. Wishful thinking, I know.

    Only reason why it is available in HK is because the tariffs are so low there! And most people have unlimited internet phone plans anyway. One month with unlimited 3G and ridiculous number of minutes would cost less than HKD 100 – ~USD 12. Ridiculously cheap.

  15. Engadget article says the service is actually provided by Handy (which has already been mention in the comments). Service normally costs 88 HKD/day (~11 USD) before any promos. So if you are partial to some other HKG hotel, don’t have to stay at Hyatt Regency — just pay 50 HKD and get Handy delivered to your hotel šŸ™‚

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