Elite Status

Intercontinental Grand Stanford for Valentine’s Day

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This year has been a low-key Valentine’s Day, but last year I spent a week in Hong Kong over the holiday. It was a great chance to try out the new ANA First Class and Cathay Pacific First for the first time.

It was not a good time to see the island though. The days were increasingly foggy, by the time I checked out for a night in Macau, I wasn’t even sure there were buildings across the harbor.

 Day 1
Day 2 
Day 3 (last day)

While planning the trip it took a little while to choose a hotel for my first stay in Hong Kong. At the time I was both a Hilton Diamond (with enough points for an award stay) and an Intercontinental Royal Ambassador with a love for the friends & family rate. After reading reviews of all the properties on travel forums and figuring out what sightseeing I wanted to do, I decided to go with one of the Intercontinentals on the mainland and set about emailing each property to figure out my best option.

True to reviews, the IC Hong Kong was stingy with their upgrades and unfriendly in their communications. To get a harbor view required booking a Deluxe Plaza View room and paying an additional $140 a day to get lounge access for two. The IC Grand Stanford was much warmer in their emails and offered to upgrade from a Deluxe room to a Deluxe Harbourview Room with complimentary club access OR to a City View Suite. If I booked the Deluxe Harbourview Room, I would get either the Executive Harbourview Room with club access or the Deluxe Harbourview Suite. Club access was available for purchase for $90 a day.

I chose the Harbourview Suite and was not disappointed. Even with the thick fog, the view was incredible and after long flights, having 1 1/2 baths was nice…I LOVE the RA benefit of free mini-bar, and the movie was great when we didn’t immediately adjust to the time difference. We also enjoyed the complimentary shuttle to the ferry pier when we didn’t feel like making the 10 minute walk.

Living Room
Welcome Amenity

The club lounge was on the second floor but still offered a nice view of the harbor. The breakfast, tea, and evening cocktail presentations were nice. Service was a little inconsistent.

The first evening there, Valentine’s Day, we were the only folks in the lounge and were treated to an angry argument between two of the lounge employees. (Apparently someone had moved someone else’s flowers…). What surprised us the most was that they chose to exchange insults and curses in English, so we were crystal clear on what they were saying.

They, and their manager, later came over and apologized, but the whole thing was extremely awkward. Subsequent meals showed that if you were lucky enough to get the manager or other attendants you’d get great service, if you got the woman who started the argument it would be perfunctory.

The spa was in the basement and extremely basic. If you want a day spa experience, taking the complimentary car to the award-winning iSpa at the IC Hong Kong will yield a more enjoyable experience.

The IC Grand Stanford is more off the beaten path for tourists, and you can only see one or two buildings for the laser show, but I think it’s a better value for Ambassadors/Royal Ambassadors looking for a great overall experience.

Note: My sister stayed at the IC Hong Kong as an Ambassador a month later. She enjoyed the location and the hotel decor, but did not feel like a valued guest and didn’t think the additional room cost was worth it.




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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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