My review of the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel

This is my review of the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel.

I am going to run a few hotel reviews from our recent Asia trip, although they will be shorter and less detailed than usual.  As these were not ‘official’ trips, I didn’t get a guided tour or to see any rooms except my own.  I also didn’t check out many of the hotel facilities as we were out and about most of the time.

Here are two key things to know about InterContinental Hong Kong:

The hotels is closing from April 2018 for at least a year for a full refurbishment.  This is needed, to be honest, as the rooms are starting to look dated.  The emergence of a brand new Rosewood hotel next door has presumably focused minds.

The building work on both sides of the hotel is a pain, ruining the pool area and making entry and exit to the hotel tricky.  It was not noticeable from our room.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

As I wrote in an article before I went, the real reason to stay at the InterContinental is the view.  No other hotel in Hong Kong enjoys the same view over the harbour.  (The hotel is the brown central building in the photo above, taken from the ferry.)

The location is very, very central.  The tower to the left of the InterContinental is the The Peninsula hotel.  The Star Ferry is just a minute or so further on, as is the h-u-g-e Harbour City mall which contains enough luxury shopping and restaurant options to keep anyone happy.  Nathan Road, home of Chungking Mansions etc, starts at The Peninsula.

I wrote in my earlier piece that you should only book a harbour view room at the InterContinental Hong Kong, although other readers felt that a streetside room with Club access – the club lounge overlooks the harbour – was similar money, kept you fed and watered and still let you enjoy the view from the lounge.

We booked for four nights.  One night was on an InterContinental Ambassador free weekend night voucher so we only paid for three.

Ambassador members get a guaranteed upgrade.  The upgrade path at this hotel is well known.  I booked a Deluxe Harbour View Room, knowing that it would be upgraded to a Junior Suite Harbour View.  As it happened, we were upgraded even further and given a Harbour View Executive Suite.  We had two of these, one for my wife and daughter and one for me and my son.  As it turned out, we had been upgraded so far that we could have got the kids into one room.

You will not be upgraded from a street view room to a harbour view room unless you pay a supplement. This is important to know.  If you want to book a reward night here – which only books into a street view room – you would need to pay cash if you want to get onto the other side of the building.

We had two of these suites – this is the one my son and I shared.  I’ve stayed in worse rooms :-)

InterContinental Hong Kong review

The room was well kept.  The curtains and window blinds were automated, the bed was great, there was a decent desk with enough sockets.  It did a feel a bit 1990’s, however, and when we moved on to Tokyo the difference was stark.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

The suite came with a huge bathroom …..

InterContinental Hong Kong review

…. and this slightly odd wardrobe (on the left) and dressing area behind.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

This was the view from the room next door – we were on the 14th floor out of, I think, 16 – which my wife and daughter shared.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

The InterContinental Hong Kong has some excellent dining options.  As well as a Nobu, Alain Ducasse has just opened a new fine dining fish restaurant called (slightly unfortunately) Rech.   We didn’t use either given our young children.

This is the main lobby lounge where – just to prove we keep on working 24/7 at HFP! – I had a meeting one night with the aviation correspondent from the South China Morning Post.  We were given vouchers for 2 free drinks per room – so 4 in total – which my wife and I used here.  This was an Ambassador benefit and, with drinks running at the equivalent of £10+ each, quite valuable.

I also receive a £13 food and drink discount voucher for being a Spire Elite member.  You’ll need this – food is extortionate here, with a standard margharita pizza costing £30.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

One level down is Harbourside, where breakfast is served.  This is also expensive (roughly £30 for adults, £23 for children) but also impressive so it is worth booking a B&B rate if you can.

It isn’t that easy to have breakfast somewhere else as the shopping centre next to the hotel has been demolished.  You are looking at a walk of at least 6-7 minutes to find a food and beverage venue outside the hotel and the building work outside the entrance makes nipping in and out more than necessary a pretty unpleasant experience.

InterContinental Hong Kong review

Here is a sign of how the building work is impacting the InterContinental Hong Kong.  This is the ‘brochure’ shot you’d see online of the infinity whirlpool:

InterContinental Hong Kong review

…. but this is the other angle:

InterContinental Hong Kong review

And the main pool …..

InterContinental Hong Kong review

….. and if you look right:

InterContinental Hong Kong review

The entrance in and out of the hotel is equally chaotic.

I should say that, from our rooms, we couldn’t hear any construction noise.  The workers seemed to finish fairly early.  It certainly isn’t a pretty sight though.  I don’t know what the view is like at the moment from the street side rooms but you would probably see quite a bit of this mess as it is wrapping around the hotel at the front.

Conclusion

If you want the full Hong Kong harbour view experience, the InterContinental Hong Kong is a good place to stay (in a harbour view room!).

Using an Ambassador free weekend night certificate is also a good way to keep down the cost of your stay in what can be an expensive city.  Another option for luxury Hong Kong on a budget would be to use IHG Rewards Club points and then pay to upgrade, either for club lounge access (which I never saw, although it has a good reputation) or for a harbour view.

At the very least, pop in for a pricey coffee in the lobby lounge and enjoy the view!

The InterContinental Hong Kong website is here if you want to learn more.

PS.   Ocean Park ….

If you are thinking of taking young children (ours are 9 and 5) to Hong Kong, I can strongly recommend the Ocean Park theme park.

A new subway line literally takes you to the door.  And, unlike most theme parks, Ocean Park has something for everyone.  As well as rides – many of which are well suited for the 5-10 age group – there are animals (including giant pandas, see below), there are dolphin shows (see below) and, as half the park is at sea level and the other half on a cliff top, a great cable car ride with amazing South China Sea views to get between the two halves.

Ocean Park Hong Kong review dolphin show

and

Ocean Park Hong Kong review panda

We had a great day, and I write as someone who usually hate theme parks.  I would happily go back to Ocean Park.

I can also recommend the Bird Market and, on the way if you go via the MTR, the Goldfish Market for kids, as well as the usual stuff – the Star Ferry trips across the harbour and a trip up The Peak via the cable car.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Is IHG surpressing negative reviews on its website?
REGISTER NOW - IHG brings back its generous 'Accelerate' offer for Summer
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Thanks Rob, great tips – I will be going with young kids in August for three nights. Hopefully the panda area an Ocean Park will re-open by August (currently closed for mating season according to the website – my daughter is checking on an almost daily basis!).

    Most of my points are held in Amex MR and so we are limited to Club Carlson, Hilton or SPG/Marriott. I am gold at Club Carlson and SPG/Marriott, diamond at Hilton. We were edging towards the JW Marriott. Does that seem like the best of the bunch available to us?

    • If you do The Peak (which you should – amazing views!) then book a “tour” via Klook – you meet at an MTR station and they walk you up and straight on the tram – the queues were absolutely huge the day we were there so this was a great time saver. You don’t get to jump the equally long queue coming back so we just took an Uber

      • the pitch says:

        If you have an octopus card you can also touch in at tram and avoid the queue to buy tickets.

    • Genghis says:

      We went to the JW Marriott fish bar for dinner last year. Very good John Dory. Hotel looks impressive but no idea re rooms etc

      • Here in HK too! I may try the Mariott for a couple of days and will report if i do!

        • We did The Peak midweek and there was no queue at all. Weekends are chaotic I admit.

        • Over time I’ve done all three hotels in Pacific Place – Shangri-La many years ago, decor fab; JW one night recently, room smaller but good harbour view, fish restaurant terrific; Conrad the best upgrade to two room suite, terrific top floor lounge…. And all on top of a vast shopping complex and MTR station; walking distance to HK Park and Peak Tram…On balance prefer Island to Kowloon.

    • Good spot- I always wondered where Squills Towers was :) .

      • How could it possibly be harry( squills), he would never pay cash when he could use avios:)

        • Only on HfP could someone get higher respect for being able to pay in points than cash! :-)

      • Mr Barber is from Peterborough…Squills is from the SW! :)) Loved the BA advert on that page, suggesting that BA is amazing and everybody gives it great feedback!

        • Yes-Squills, from Peterborough? You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the papers!

          So, I reckon that Squills paid cash (for once) and that Squills Towers is in Majorca ! :) .

          • the real harry1 says:

            what? – he only got £2.50 per passenger?! as in, all I can expect is 250 Avios each leg?

            Not accepting that…

            Nope, still to make my legal claim but just biding my time & taking the flights first.

          • the real harry1 says:

            ah my mistake – I see he didn’t get any compo, he got his F&B reinstated

            I think his ballpark figure of the required compo is about right…

  2. We did not particularly enjoy ocean park, apart from the panda bit which was fantastic. We found it a little run down and the local approach to queue etiquette very different to our typical behaviour.

    We did find the chi Lin nunnery brilliant, and oasis of calm in the middle of a very in your face city.

    The afternoon brunch in the downstairs restaurant was very good and reasonable value, and sitting in the bar with a cocktail and the view is simply a must do!

    • Hong Kongers hate what you call the “local approach to queue etiquette” too and that’s why they don’t go to Ocean Park any more.

      • Concerto says:

        The problem is that there are so many mainlanders with no manners in HK.

        • When I was in HK a few months ago I was at the end of a queue 6-7 people long to add credit to my octopus card at a metro station. Some young guy tried to go through the barriers and discovering he didnt have enough credit turned around, looked at the queue and then just walked up to one of the agents behind the desk and tried to give her money to top up his card. Thankfully someone else in the queue immediately called him out on it – in Chinese – and the guy very reluctantly went to the back of the queue with a lot of sighing and huffing, as if it was the most unreasonable thing in the world that he should to wait for those who were there first. I have no idea if he was a mainlander but I would have loved to have asked the guy why he felt he had the right to skip ahead of everyone else.

          • We were at Ocean Park midweek and there were literally no queues – we walked straight on to everything. Which was probably why I liked it.

            The pandas were also mating when we were there, clearly they like to drag it out!

  3. Still a huge building site then. Has been for 2 years.
    You try posting pictures and mentioning this on TA.
    The guy at the pool was offering ear plugs the noise was that bad

  4. Concerto says:

    None of that stuff, the carbuncle that is the IC or Ocean Park, existed when I was little in Hong Kong. I can’t think of another city on the planet that has been so destroyed as Hong Kong. Now you can barely see the harbour from The Peak because of all the obscenities that have been built down in Central. In fact, why don’t they just concrete over the harbour while they’re at it? And that concert hall, just a few steps away from the IC, has to be the most ugly building this side of the galaxy. Can you imagine? One of the greatest views in the world and there’s not even a single window out of the concrete slab facing the harbour.

  5. Looking forward to the review of the deluxe suite in the Chungking Mansions I’m sure you’ll be posting tomorrow!

  6. I did get upgraded to a harbour view room on a points stay 3 years back as an IHG Platinum but i think I was very lucky. I also got 2 free drinks in the bar for being Platinum, sounds like this has changed. It’s a nice hotel and the harbour view is amazing for the first night but you very quickly get used to it(dare I say bored of it) after that. If you are on a budget and dont mind the faff of moving, you could book 1 night with the harbour view and then a cheaper room for the rest of your stay. If i was staying in this hotel again I would not pay extra for the harbour view now that i have had it, but I agree that everyone should do it at least once if they can.

    • Waribai says:

      Ditto we got upgraded in this way too when we went just before Xmas 2014. I wrote to the manager before we set off and cheekily enquired abotu the possibility of the upgrade. Granted policy might have changed since then,

  7. We had 5 nights in HK last summer with our 6 yr old. Based in those pics, thank God we picked the FS!!!
    In 5 days we hardly left the FS pool, partly because it is stunning, partly because after 2 weeks on the mainland it was all we wanted!

  8. The £13 F&B voucher for being Spire – is that the welcome amenity (instead of points)?

  9. Fully echo Rob’s comments. Stayed there for four nights in October as an IHG Spire. We did use the pool for a morning, and complained about the noise – and were given a complimentary lunch as compensation.

    The service at the hotel is exemplary across the hotel, from check-in, room service, restaurant to the bar. This is one feature that makes the hotel outstanding.

    But we will be glad when the building work finishes and with the rooms being upgraded, this will again become the hotel of choice for us in 2019 onward.

  10. Oh dear, it looks like living on a construction site. I have booked this IC for 3 nights in Feb 2018 using points. Does anyone have experience of IC Stanford or even the Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo in Hong Kong?

    • Hotel Indigo was excellent, modern well equipped rooms and in a busy location. As Spire was given a corner room, with floor to ceiling windows on 2 sides and located directly below the pool which juts out from the building with a glass floor – so could watch the swimmers, from below!

      HIEX soho is only a few years old and also good, bit of a walk to underground, and breakfast was a bunfight with the mainlanders (as was getting in n out of the lift, but that’s another story).

    • I stayed at the IC Grand Stanford last month, having stayed at the IC last year and discovered the building works…

      I think I actually prefer the Grand Stanford. Only a few minutes walk further along the road (and closer to the East Rail line if you need to use it), not quite the same view but perfectly ok. Service was exemplary, especially in the lounge, the only disappointment there being that it’s on the first floor so you’re looking directly out onto the adjacent road, but I found it an excellent place to work or relax (aside fom the occasional inconsiderate moron of the “I’m sure you’d all just LOVE to know every time I get a text message, and aren’t these little tappety-tap keypad tones just DELIGHTFUL” variety, but I suppose you get those everywhere and sadly it seems to be a trait of hotel staff throughout Asia that they don’t want to risk offence by actually enforcing the lounge rules…). Grand Stanford is a lot cheaper too, so you can more or less get a club room for the price of a basic room at the other IC. Rooms are a decent size, comfortable, perhaps a little dated but no worse than the ICHK. I’ll definitely be going back. Can’t comment on Indigo yet, but I have a booking there for later this year.

    • Thanks Jon and CV3V for the feedback. I have a free night voucher to use up (the other two nights are 60,000 points each). I have found old ICs are pretty disappointing – think Moscow and the worst of all, Frankfurt. Will have to make up my mind!

    • BlueThroughCrimp says:

      I stayed in the then Grand Stanford Harbour View in ’97, and paid a quick visit in 2013 when I was staying along the road in the Shangri-La.

      In ’97 I didn’t have a Harbour view in the Harbour View, and was a little disappointed in that and the lobby was underwhelming when back in 2013.

      However, I couldn’t recommend the Kowloon Shangri-La any higher, it was superb.
      A king Horizon Club Harbour View room had a great view, and access to the same floor lounge for breakfast, and various other food servings, along with a highly efficient, and ever so friendly lounge host that made our stay there one that our family has talked about for a long time.

      The KSL even produced a cake for my mother’s 70th birthday, which we were celebrating, although not at the time we stayed there. Great service.

  11. OT: I am mulling the idea (if I can hit my accelerate target) of using points to pay for Ambassador and using the free night voucher at the IC Sydney. I will hopefully have enough points for Ambassador and then to book one reward room, and would pay cash for a couple of nights. I’m not normally a luxury hotel person (in fact will be in hostels for the rest of the trip!) but it’ll be at the end of a big trip and I quite fancy the idea of ending on a high.

    I know the Ambassador room rate is the best flex rate, and that there’s no way I’d get an upgrade to a club room. I’d quite like to get access to the club for one night (probably my last) to enjoy the facilities. Does anyone know what the supplement charge for Club access is? Would I be best off booking a standard room and paying the Club supplement for one night, or making one of my cash bookings the cheapest Club level room and moving to it for the last night?

    • Hi Kathy

      Currently staying at the IC Sydney. Club upgrade was AUD145 midweek and AUD195 for weekends (though in Feb it was AUD165 midweek and AUD225 weekends so might be variable depending on season?). I emailed the front desk about a month before to get a quote.

      But if you are getting Ambassador and want Club access then I would suggest using the Ambassador certificate to book 2-4-1 nights directly into a Club room. I am paying AUD480 for two nights (using Ambassador certificate) compared with AUD390+120K points if I had used points and then paid for Club access.

      Have a great time, Liz

      • Thanks, Liz! I’ll be there in early March next year so I think I’ll take the Feb rate as my rule of thumb. I was originally thinking of booking the Club room as the 2-4-1 but checking the best flex rates for a club room they’re showing at over 650 AUD at the moment, which put me off.

        Doing the maths there’s not much in it, though:

        2 nights for 650 AUD (Ambassador) + 1 night 60 k points + 336 AUDx2 = 1322 AUD

        Vs

        2 nights for 459 AUD (Ambassador) + 1 night 60k points + 336 AUDx 2 + 165 AUD Club supplement= 1296 AUD

        Because of the timing of my trip I’d have to do the Ambassador nights first rather than last, but nevermind – I can live without breakfast overlooking the harbour for my last morning in Sydney.

        Mind, this is all theoretical at the moment – got to earn the points first.

        • When you get your Ambassador welcome pack see if the letter and brochure promise you 25,000 points. Mine did and I got them with a struggle.

  12. If you fancy a bit of exercise there is a fantastic hike on Hong Kong Island called the Dragons Back. A small beach at the end where you can reward yourself with an ice cold Tsingtao.

  13. Great timing, Rob! Im currently in the midst of planning my first HK trip. Hoping to spend a week there & in Macau for a wedding only on points redemptions with a mix of IHG & Hilton properties. Does anyone have experience staying at the CP-Kowloon East? I think for 35K/night seems like a good compromise between IC & HI-Ex. However it looks like it is at one end of the city so not sure if its better to stay bang in the centre (e.g. mongkok, tsim sha tsui). It seems like the metro system is well connected though so maybe not so much of a concern? Are there any advantages to staying on Hong kong island rather than Kowloon? Any other location/redemption suggestions also welcome.

    • the real harry1 says:

      the night life is better on Central

      the street life is better Kowloon side

  14. gastrocnemius says:

    You missed out by not visiting the Club lounge, Rob.

    By far the best hotel lounge I have ever visited, with a huge range of food and beverage offerings in the evening, including champagne (Perrier Jouet when I was there last year)

    • Need to my eldest to get a bit older so she can supervise the little ‘un and we can do that. We were all in the lounge at Conrad Tokyo but that was a bit of a bunfight, not really a ‘relaxed adult environment’ ….

      • My wife and I stayed 3 nights recently (mid March). Am Spire Ambassador and booked Club room with pool view and were upgraded to a Deluxe Harbour View Room with balcony on 3rd floor. We would agree that the Club Lounge is exceptionally good and the hotel offers a good central location. The weather was only a cloudy 17 degs for us so whilst the pool was great for a swim no one was sunbathing anyway. Having also stayed at the IC Grand Standford, we found it’s location to be less convenient and it certainly hasn’t got the same ‘wow factor’. Great site by the way and really enjoy all the useful background info and brilliant banter from your regulars. Well done everybody.

        • Thanks for the feedback on IC Grand Stanford Chris. Will stick to this IC for my redemption and probably purchase Club Lounge access.

  15. When I went to HK a few yrs ago nothing about the IC appealed, the review just confirms it, in fact it looks worse now. There are so many better equipped, more modern and better hotels to choose from (indigo, Shangri-La etc).

    Staying on points in an IC to then be ripped off by paying the full price for breakfast seems a bad deal.

  16. I spent three days there in March. Booked Ambassador weekend plus Barlaycard free night in Harbour View room and was upgraded to Delux Harbour View Room on the 14th floor.

    I can recommend going to the YMCA for a good value breakfast. It is 3 minutes from the Intercontinental and costs £9 for full English.

    • Steve

      How do you use your Barclaycard free night to secure the Harbour View room? I only see a standard room when trying to book it.

      • I e-mailed the hotel to ask if I could stay in the same room for the three nights. They charged me £70 to upgrade the free night to a Delux Harbour View room.

  17. the real harry1 says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/29/ba-delays-scrapping-free-airline-food-following-pensions-legal/

    well it only encourages me to bring my wee action – which I shall certainly do – about early September

  18. One thing to mention is that Intercontinental Hong Kong has one of the best cantonese food restaurant in Hong Kong: Yan Toh Heen

    The dim sums there are very good and the abalone is superb. Price wise, it’s around 1500 hkd (£150) for two persons for lunch but is worth it.

    • the real harry1 says:

      slightly pricey @ £75 each for lunch :)

      • milgom says:

        Well yes, but it’s a 2 michelin stars restaurant and one of the best cantonese restaurant in the world in my opinion so it’s still priced ok :)

        • the real harry1 says:

          worked in HK for 3 months – I’d actually never have gone to a hotel for lunch/ dinner (though safe option) given the wonderful alternatives at 30% the price :)

          • milgom says:

            Oh I agree, I also love eating at Dai Pai Dongs and it’s definitely cheaper.
            Hong Kong is a city with great food all around but that doesn’t stop the fact that Yan Toh Heen (Lung King Heen is also great). is amazing and is a different experience to what you can have in Dai Pai Dongs.

            I find that an average food in Hong Kong is great in really high end restaurants (not all though, Cuisine cuisine is mediocre) and is great in the small cheap restaurants or Dai Pai Dongs but restaurants in the mid range tend to be poor value for money.