Review: InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong

IHG operate two hotels under its flagship InterContinental brand in the fragrant harbour, Hong Kong.

Both InterContinental properties are located on the Kowloon Peninsula, with most traveller attention seemingly focused around the flagship property in Salisbury Road.

We were interested to try out InterContinental’s other Hong Kong property, the Grand Stanford – located in Tsim Sha Tsui East.

As an InterContinental Royal Ambassador member, our reservation for a base room was automatically upgraded well in advance to be a King Bed Junior Harbour View Suite.

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The Grand Stanford gets its name from its owners, K. Wah Group, which manage hotels in Hong Kong as Stanford Hotels International and in the United States as Stanford Hotels Corporation.

Opened in 1981, the hotel later underwent a US$38 million renovation which was completed in October 2005. It has 570 rooms.

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Arriving at the property on Mody Road, the doorman seemed too busy for us so we opened the other (unmanned) door and walked in.

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The lobby was busy. Every check-in desk seemed to be occupied (including the Ambassador desks located on the right), so we waited until we were called up. The staff politely told a guest that arrived after us to wait their turn.

The agent handed over a Royal Ambassador welcome letter, along with a bottle opener as a welcome gift. We were then sprung with a question. Did we want a “suite room or a regular room with club access”?

We take a dim view of InterContinental properties that put members on the spot at check-in like this. The correct way to handle a choice like this is a polite e-mail in advance, rather than trying to engage in horse-trading at check-in. Even better, provide a Suite with club access – that is what the other InterContinental in Hong Kong does these days.

We passed on paying for lounge access. The ‘discounted’ rate for Royal Ambassadors of HK$770 (single occupancy) is about AU$140, while HK$990 (double occupancy) is about AU$180. Regardless of what a hotel club lounge is like, we’d suggest that kind of money would be better spent at a steakhouse.

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The lobby of the Grand Stanford is very nicely done, although lacking the harbour vistas of the InterContinental Hong Kong.

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The hotel is one big square, with the lifts located on one side of the building rather than in its core, so it was quite a walk to our suite.

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The King Bed Junior Harbour View Suite is more a full suite than a junior suite: the bedroom was separated from the living room by a sliding door.

The air conditioning was set to 20 °C (68 °F), which felt positively arctic compared to the temperature outside. We bumped up the temperature on both air conditioning controls in the suite as soon as we could.

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From reading online, we’d arrived at the hotel with the impression that the furnishings of the rooms at the Grand Stanford wouldn’t be great. That proved to be misguided. As it turns out, the suite was very nicely furnished.

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As a welcome amenity the hotel had left some fruit with half a dozen chocolates in a box, a plate of sweet things and a bottle of Wolf Blass 2013 Bilyara Shiraz.

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We did find it slightly odd that the massive walk in closet was located off the lounge area, rather than the bedroom. This is probably dictated by the shape of the space available.

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There was some kind of condensation on the outside of the windows in the evening, which slightly obscured the harbour view. It is important to note that while the hotel faces Hong Kong Island, it doesn’t quite face Central so you aren’t going to have a direct view of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong.

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The bedroom had two separate spaces that could be used as a desk.

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The main workdesk had HDMI, RCA and VGA ports for connecting devices to the bedroom TV. It also had a single universal power adapter and a complimentary smartphone.

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These smartphones, by handy, seems to be popping up everywhere in Hong Kong hotels. It is offered complimentary at the Grand Stanford and includes unlimited 3G internet as well as unlimited phone calls to Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, China, Germany, Japan, India, Singapore and South Korea.

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The Grand Stanford also provides complimentary internet to all guests. We were satisfied with the connection: a low ping, coupled with reasonable transfer speeds.

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There were two bottles of complimentary hotel branded water next to the bed and two more next to the sink in the bathroom.

The bed was comfortable and delivered a good night’s sleep.

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The pervasive stonework in the bathroom gives it a refined ambiance.

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There were two full sets of large 100 mL bottles of Agraria Lemon Verbena amenities: one in the shower and the other by the bath.

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The television didn’t seem to be great quality. In any event, switching televisions off is one of the first things that most Miles Down Under contributing editors do on entering a hotel room. While all levels of InterContinental Ambassador members get a free pay-per-view movie, it isn’t something that we can imagine ever taking up.

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The living room had a Nespresso machine in the corner. The box containing the coffee capsules had a sign on it which said in both English and Chinese that they would be replenished once per day.

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Below that is the mini-bar. The selection was not as vast as that offered by the InterContinental Hong Kong.

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While the drinks would all be complimentary as a Royal Ambassador member, we left them largely untouched.

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We did chuckle that the hotel also had a price list out for practically everything in the room.

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The hotel’s gym and pool complex is on the hotel’s 18th floor, which is accessed by taking a staircase from the 17th floor.

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A quick sign-in at the reception desk and we were free to use the facilities.

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The Sun Court Pool is located outside. While the gym had a few users, the pool was deserted.

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One last thing: the Grand Stanford is about five minutes walk from the MTR. Take exit P1 from East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station.

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We were disappointed by the recognition of Royal Ambassador status at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong. While the InterContinental Grand Stanford is usually priced slightly lower than the InterContinental Hong Kong, Royal Ambassador members will end up paying about AU$180 extra if you want a suite with club access here. Definitely something to factor in to your considerations if you are weighing up which property to stay at. While our suite at the InterContinental Grand Stanford was very nice, the views and location certainly aren’t a patch on the InterContinental Hong Kong.

There are a large number of excellent hotels in Hong Kong – so many will prefer to forgo the views and focus on proximity to where they need to be (which will often be Hong Kong Island rather than Kowloon).

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