Apparently the fact that I’m staying at a Courtyard Hotel this week sent shock waves through the Twittersphere and realm of Facebook. Those who know me well were shocked by my Foursquare check-in at the Courtyard Marriott in Hong Kong this past weekend. Well, not to worry, there’s more than enough nights to go around.
As my readers know, I’m a loyal Platinum Starwood member, and in fact, I’ve already stayed at Starwood Hotels 95 nights in 2012. I will have 3 nights next weekend at the Westin Macau which will bring me to 98 nights and will hit 100 SPG nights by the end of July. I finished 2011 with 98 nights at SPG.
Now, back to Marriott. I have gold status with Marriott, and I’d like to maintain my status for a few reasons. 1) I need a backup hotel with Starwood hotels are too expensive for my budget (yep, it’s true, I have a budget.) 2) I can transfer my Chase Rewards Points to Marriott (I haven’t done this yet…but it’s a good option to have) 3) I’m just shy 250,000 points with Marriott and I’d like to reach that number (through actual earn, not transfers. I know, crazy…) and finally 4) I liked the promo they were offering for summer and because of this trip, I’ll earn an extra 40,000 bonus points.
Onto the hotel. The Courtyard Marriott Hong Kong (hereafter called CMHK because I’m too lazy to type it out each time) is a very lovely hotel. When I arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport, completely exhausted and bedraggled from my long trip and extended lay-over in South Korea, I was greeted by a rep from the hotel. He immediately took my bags and offered me a cold water. That was exactly what I needed. He informed me that the car ride to the hotel would take about 30 minutes and asked if I wanted to use the toilets. While I used the toilets, he watched my bags and waited for me.
The hotel car was a Mercedes (no idea what class…I was too tired to look) and the driver was very friendly. The driver called ahead to let the hotel we were about to arrive and they greeted me at the door. The valet took my bags and a front desk agent escorted me to check-in. Within about 5 minutes I was checked-in, had learned about the executive lounge access, free internet, free breakfast and that my room had been upgraded to a harbor view.
I headed up to the room and was very pleasantly surprised at how modern and fresh the room was. The bathroom was small, but very nice. The room isn’t palatial in size, but then again, it is Hong Kong. The room had a partial glass divider between the entry and the room which almost made you feel like the room was bigger than it was. The king size bed was comfortable as were the pillows. The room had dark wood paneling and natural wall paper which made it feel contemporary. The room was state-of-the-art – there was an audio-visual panel with plugs to allow a computer/iPad/notebook to connect to the TV, there was wifi and wired internet access, the window shades were electronic! At the push of one button the black-out shade went up or down and with the tough of another button the privacy shade went up or down. In addition, there were plenty of outlets in the room – especially next to the bed – there’s nothing I hate more than having to search high and low for a plug near the bed!
Since I checked-in after midnight, it wasn’t until the next morning that I really saw the spectacular views of the harbor. Although looking straight down wasn’t so appealing, if you just looked out across the harbor it was awesome. The hotel sits next to a highway and so at times there can be some unwanted noises and next to the highway is a gigantic wholesale seafood distributor so at times there can be some unwanted smells outside the hotel. The neighborhood surrounding the hotel is a bit industrial and somewhat residential. The majority of the shops do not cater to tourists and communication can be challenging. You have to walk quite a distance from the hotel to get to the more popular areas of SoHo or Hollywood Road where there are tons of shops and restaurants.
As a gold member, not only is internet free, but so is breakfast. At the CMHK gold members get a choice of breakfast in the executive lounge or at its restaurant, MoMo. I chose to eat at MoMo because the breakfast buffet was impressive (not like any of the buffets I’ve experienced in Thailand, but for a Courtyard, it was unreal.) Another nice bonus was that one of the waitresses was/is incredibly friendly and gave me a lot of great tips for sightseeing. In addition, she remembered me every day and made a point to say good morning and ask how I was. Turns out she’s from Las Vegas and it was nice to have someone to chat with about the difference between the US and Asia. Overall, the staff at the hotel is fabulous. Everyone goes out of their way to help guests and really made my stay very pleasant.
One of the great parts of having a room with a view was watching the astonishing thunderstorms roll in and consume the harbor. There were some days when you couldn’t see across at all and the storms would move very fast.
Even though I don’t love the neighborhood that the CMHK is in, it’s close enough to other areas that it’s not a deterrent. Also, it’s the only good chain hotel in a reasonable price range in the Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong. I would highly recommend the CMHK if you’re in Sheung Wan or Central and need to stay around $130 – $150 USD a night. (Your other choices are a Ramada for around $90 USD/night, a Best Western which just had its soft opening this week and is advertising rates around $140 USD/night and a bunch of other no-name hotels. Otherwise, you can try the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental or the Conrad – all upwards of $400 USD/night) So for the rate, I’m very pleased with the CMHK and surely will return.
So, where does this put me for the year with Marriott? It will put me at 28 nights and I have 1 more night at the SkyCity Marriott hotel before I depart Hong Kong….no idea what I was thinking choosing a 7am return flight…so I’ll stay near the hotel, and again, that means another visit with Marriott. I’m not sure if I’ll have another 21 nights in 2012 at Marriott, so I might miss gold this year. We’ll just have to see how the year of travel turns out.