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My review of the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel

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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.

Conny Urban

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.


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Comments (60)

  • Andrew says:

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

  • PT says:

    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.

  • Reddot says:

    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?

    • CV3V says:

      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).

    • Jon says:

      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.

    • Reddot says:

      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!

      • Rob says:

        Frankfurt is a shocker. One of the two buildings used to be a HI which is why.

    • 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.

  • Kathy says:

    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?

    • EF says:

      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

      • Kathy says:

        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.

        • mark2 says:

          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.

  • AndyR says:

    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.

  • Relaxo says:

    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

  • 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)

    • Rob says:

      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’ ….

      • Chris says:

        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.

        • Reddot says:

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

  • CV3V says:

    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.

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