Review: The Intercontinental Hong Kong

Our next night was spent at the Intercontinental Hong Kong, which is arguably the crown jewel of the entire chain. It has by far the best views of Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline of any hotel due to its location right on the Kowloon shoreline. As I mentioned earlier I used my IHG annual free night certificate (from the credit card) to book the standard room and was able to pay ~$78 USD (600 HKD) to upgrade to the deluxe harbor view room.  It was Christmas day so the room rates were well above $1000, which made this quite the deal. I’ll keep this review as short as possible since many of my peers in the ‘blogosphere’ have written about the property before.

Introduction: Christmas in Hong Kong, and New Year in New Zealand
Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge San Francisco
Cathay Pacific Business Class (Reverse Herringbone) SFO-HKG
The Conrad Hong Kong – Harbor View Twin Room
The Intercontinental Hong Kong – Harbor View Room
The Sights and Sounds of Hong Kong
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge HKG Airport
Singapore Airlines Business Class HKG-SIN-AKL
The Rees Queenstown Luxury Hotel Apartments
Great Drives near/around Queenstown (Glenorchy, Milford Sound, Wanaka)
The Hilton Auckland
Attractions in/around Auckland (Hobbiton, Mt. Eden etc.)
Emperor Lounge @ Auckland Airport (via Priority Pass)
The Park Hyatt Sydney – Opera View Deluxe King Room
Virgin Australia Business Class SYD-LAX

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Check In: The cab ride from the Conrad to the Intercontinental took about 20 minutes and cost around 20 USD. Upon pulling up into the driveway, we were immediately greeted and escorted to the check in desk, while our bags were taken out of the cab. There was a huge line at the regular check in desk and it looked like it would be a while before we got to head out to explore more of the city. One of the hotel staff members walking around the lobby must have noted my impatience and walked over to see if he could help. When we asked if there was a separate desk for Intercontinental Elite Members, he profusely apologized to me and escorted me to an area with some desks and lounge chairs where they processed Ambassador check ins. This is located to the left of the main entryway, and the desks are marked with name plates saying “Ambassador Check In.”  

As recognition of my dad’s loyalty as an Ambassador member (who knew), we were given 4 drink vouchers to be used at the hotel bar, and offered a discounted breakfast rate of 500 HKD per room. This is where I made a huge mistake. The normal rate for the buffet breakfast at the Intercontinental Hong is 500 HKD per person. This discount would’ve offered breakfast for two people at 500 HKD. You can do the math on how much I paid for breakfast the following morning for 4 people; it was nearly double what I could’ve paid had I accepted the offer.

NOTE: Please accept the breakfast offer at check in if you plan on eating here. 

Anyway were then escorted to our rooms, which were located on the fourth floor of the property. While my parents stayed in the deluxe harbor view king, we stayed in the harbor view twin located a few doors away.

The Room:

As soon as the receptionist opened the door to our room, my eyes immediately darted to the window in awe at the awesome view before us. I was happy to see amazed look on my dad’s face too as he walked in. This was simply the best view ever!

It took me a second to snap out of it and capture these pictures for you guys before the room was crowded with our luggage.

The room was furnished with two full sized beds, a desk, and a lounge chair located by the window. On the desk was a smartphone featuring free data, calls, and texts for usage during our stay at the hotel. This is a wonderful feature to have because I often plan our adventures as we are on the road, using my phone. Though T-Mobile has solved this problem for me recently, I love that most Hong Kong hotels offer this amenity. Simply the best amenity one could offer in a hotel.

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Enough about the phone, and more about the rest of the room. There was a decently sized LCD TV and a bowl of fruits next to it, which I assumed was the welcome amenity.
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On the other side of the room was a large marble bathroom like the one at the Hong Kong featuring a deep soaking tub, stand in shower, and sadly just a single vanity. The hotel featured the standard Agraria toiletries found at most Intercontinental hotels. They are a decent enough scent, but I like the ones they offer at Westin, and Grand Hyatt much better.

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The Views

And of course more about the views, they were just to die for. A note here that the Intercontinental Harbor View room is the single best place to watch the Symphony of Lights, which occurs every night along the harbor. To be frank, we ended up staying in the hotel the rest of the day (except for brief dinner outing). That’s how mesmerizing the views are from this hotel.

Enough said here are some pictures taken at different times:

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Hong Kong at night as seen from the Intercontinental HKG
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Hong Kong before dawn

The Breakfast

The next morning we had breakfast at the Harborside, which features fantastic views of the Hong Kong skyline and a LARGE assortment of breakfast and non-breakfast items. This was truly where you would definitely get your money’s worth of food out of 500 HKD. It was altogether top notch featuring South Asian, Western, and Chinese dishes. Though the service was prompt and efficient, it lacked the personal touch often seen at some other high end properties. I didn’t mind this at all because I really enjoyed myself at the Frozen Yogurt stall (I was actually the only one there).

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There were a wide assortment of fruits and fresh juices on offer and obviously the restaurant was well decorated to celebrate the holiday season.

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All the usual continental options were available: toast, bagels, english muffins, yogurt, cereal.

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There was even a pancake maker you usually find at Alaska Board Room lounges in the U.S.

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The desserts present were just to die for, I had to wrestle myself away from trying everything there was on offer. There were donuts, European pastries, muffins, cakes, freshly baked breads, and more than you can think of on offer.

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I loved the Froyo stand most of all where I had some excellent Bananas Foster yogurt with a wide assortment of toppings. The guy attending to the counter seemed pretty bored and I seemed to have made his day because I gave him something to do.

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There were made to order omelettes, and eggs however you liked them.

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There were English breakfast items as well hash browns available in the hot buffet area.

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There was even an Indian VEGETARIAN dish on offer: Smoked Eggplant, which I tried. It was very good. As far as other vegetarian options go there was vegetable dim sum (whatever that entails – never tried it), veggie noodles, fried rice, and some other dishes, which I didn’t try.

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The assortment of breakfast items and the views make this is a rather reasonable upscale breakfast. I’ve had to pay far worse prices for an inferior breakfasts in other places and they definitely didn’t have this atmosphere. It is still slightly behind in quality and scale of certain breakfasts I have had in India,  but that may just be because Indian restaurants tend to have more vegetarian options.

Bottom Line: The Intercontinental Hong Kong is truly the best hotel in town in terms of views and value when it comes to your annual IHG free night certificate. The rooms are luxurious and offer great amenities such as a smartphone. The breakfast is one of the best on offer in the city and again the views go along well with it. I wouldn’t say the hotel is entirely flawless though considering that the service was average at best when compared to other hotels in Hong Kong.

My biggest advice if you are staying here is: you MUST plan on staying in the Harbor View Room because waking up to that view is truly the best experience one can have in Hong Kong. So plan on emailing the hotel beforehand to confirm the upgrade, which can be at a very reasonable price most of the time. And also: remember to take that breakfast offer at online or at check in if you are planning on eating breakfast.