Hong Kong and Macau: Conrad Macao

Delta Economy Comfort ECP-ATL-SEA-NRT-HKG
W Hong Kong
Exploring Hong Kong
Conrad Macao
Exploring Macau
Conrad Hong Kong
Delta Economy Comfort HKG-NRT-SEA-ATL-ECP

Although for my first few nights in Hong Kong where I stayed at the W Hong Kong to take advantage of my SPG Gold status and some of the Starpoints I had saved up through the year, for my two nights in Macau I decided that I wanted to take advantage of the Hilton HHonors Diamond status and all the points I accumulated thanks to all my work travel in 2013 (I usually stay at Hilton-branded properties for work for whatever reason). Given the properties on the Cotai strip, that left me with the Conrad Macao. Paid rates for regular room weren’t too bad, hovering around $240/night, but I was after redeeming points and 40,000 at HHonors points per night it seemed like a pretty good deal, especially compared to the Conrad Hong Kong which wanted 80,000 points per night. I had read many reviews of the property online in advance of booking my two night stay, but the common thread seemed to be that they take very good care of their Hilton HHonors elite guests, specifically Gold and Diamond members. There are two types of suites available that I had heard of upgrades to, the Deluxe Suite which measures 1,119 sq ft and the Premier Suite measuring in at 1,679 sq ft. I knew that I would be happy with either suite if I got the upgrade and I knew that there was an excellent chance that I would get it.

Just as with the W Hong Kong, the hotel’s Guest Relations Manager had reached out to me roughly a week in advance by email to give me a run down on what my benefits were as Hilton Diamond member, and to verify my arrival time or if I needed any assistance with transportation arrangements to get to the hotel. Since I was taking the ferry from Hong Kong, I didn’t really need any assistance with that (it’s not exactly difficult to buy a ferry ticket) and there wasn’t anything that I needed pre-arranged by the hotel since I tend to decide on everything at the last minute. Still, just as with the W Hong Kong reaching out to me, I appreciated the gesture to try to address anything that I may have needed in advance.

In order to get from Hong Kong to Conrad Macao, I headed to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal and booked myself a one way ticket in First Class (approximately HK$220 or US$28; Coach is a little cheaper) on the Cotai WaterJet which instead of going to the “main” Macau ferry terminal, takes passengers to the Mo-Taipa Ferry Terminal which is located right next to the Macau International Airport and a short bus or cab ride to the Cotai strip. One thing to remember that while Hong Kong and Macau are both SARs of China, so prior to boarding the ferry at the terminal, one must pass through Hong Kong Exit Immigration (just as painless as entering) and then on the other side pass through Macau Immigration.

Hong Kong -> Macau

The ferry ride itself takes roughly an hour and depending on sea conditions can get a little bouncy. Nothing too bad for my journey and I pretty much just sat in my seat listening to music and snacking on the snack box that they passed out shortly after we pulled away from Hong Kong. I was also seated in the center (they do assign seats), so there wasn’t a window for me to really look out either. The big advantage it seemed to booking First Class on the ferry is that they hold back the Coach Class passengers until the First Class passengers disembark at the other end. That meant being the first off to make the sprint to Macau Immigration and Customs and not getting stuck behind a hundred other people. Just as with Hong Kong, the immigration process was very painless and I moved through without any issue.

Cotai WaterJet First Class Snack

As you exit the terminal, one finds many, many busses lined up outside all waiting to take passengers to all of the various hotels and resorts that are on the Cotai Strip; this ferry terminal pretty much seems to exist solely for the purpose of getting people from Hong Kong to these places. It didn’t take long to find the line up of bright green busses for the Sands Cotai strip complex which contains the Conrad Macao, but also a Holiday Inn and a Sheraton; the Sheraton actually takes the distinction as the largest SPG property in the world with a claimed 3,896 rooms! That alone is probably a good thing I decided not to stay there!

After the 10 minute bus ride from the ferry terminal, I found myself walking into the lobby of the Conrad Macao. I didn’t notice a specific counter reserved for Hilton HHonors members, so I just walked up to the first available agent that I saw. After being checked in, another member of the staff, an woman named Shirley, led me to my room. Along the way, she would point out some of the features of the hotel as well as answering a few questions that I had about the hotel and Macau. She punched the button for the 22nd floor on the elevator and up we went.

Conrad Macao Entrance

The Room
After getting off of the elevator, she led me to the end of the hallway to room 2226. Upon opening the door, I was very much impressed. Sure, they had not upgraded me to their largest suite, but this one at 1,119 sq ft was still very large – even larger than my apartment back home! She showed me all the features of the room and then left me to my own to check it out.

First of all, the most impressive thing to me, most because I had never seen this in a suite before (I’ve stayed in suites before, but usually more of a smaller or junior suite – nothing this massive) was the media room! This totally separate room, located next to the entrance to the suite had it’s own TV, DVD player, and (what I think was) a 7.1 surround sound system with a Yamaha receiver at the heart of it. Of course there was a couch too, because one does need to sit somewhere.

Deluxe Suite – Entry (Media Room To The Left)

Deluxe Suite – Media Room

Deluxe Suite – Media Room

Then there was the living area which featured a dining area with a table for four, a desk (which I don’t think I actually ever sat at), and the living room which had another TV and a decent sized couch. From there you could also look out the windows which unlike rooms on the other side of the hall look out towards the Venetian, the City of Dreams complex, Macau International Airport, and Taipa Village (the other side of the hall faces the middle tower of the complex which is the Sheraton Hotel).

Deluxe Suite – Living Room

Deluxe Suite – Living Room (Looking Back Towards Entry)

Deluxe Suite – Dining Table

View From The Room – City of Dreams Complex + Macau International Airport

View From The Room – Venetian Macao + Taipa Village

The bedroom is just off the living room and is pretty much a standard hotel bedroom. When I came back later in the day after checking some things out the turndown service was completed and they left a Conrad Macao bear on the bed placed slippers on the floor next to the bed. Unfortunately, the slippers did not fit my size 13 feet…

Deluxe Suite – King Bed

Finally, I checked out the bathroom. It was pretty large, having ample space for multiple people with two sinks, large amount of closet space (with his and hers everything it seemed), separate toilet room, large bathtub, and a massive shower. I would joke when showing people pictures of the room that the bench in the shower is so that you can take a break on the long walk from the shower door to the shower head. If I had to guess, I would say that it was 6-7 feet to the left of the bench; so far from the door, that I partially wonder why they even bothered putting a door on the shower as there is no way water could get out.

Deluxe Suite – Bathroom

Deluxe Suite – Bathroom

Deluxe Suite – Massive Shower!

I made my way back out to the living room and noticed an envelope on the desk addressed to me. In side was a letter from the same Guest Relations Duty Manager, Paweena, that had emailed me the week prior. Inside was the run down of the benefits I would get during my stay for being a Diamond member:

  • Buffet Breakfast from 0630 to 1030hrs daily at Grand Orbit Restaurant (Level 1) or an American Set Breakfast from in-room dining or a “Lounge” or “Asian” Set Breakfast from 0700 to 1030hrs at The Lounge, in our Lobby
  • Afternoon Tea from 1500 to 1800hrs daily at The Lounge, in our Lobby
  • An evening cocktail from 1800 to 2000hrs daily at The Lounge, in our Lobby
  • Complimentary in-room internet and wifi access
    There was also a hand written note from her as well welcoming me to property as well. Between the room, the benefits, and the handwritten note, I knew that this was going to be a good stay and a great hotel. As a side note, I think the last time I had a hand written note left in my room from a hotel was my stay at the Sheraton Anchorage in 2012…

    A Welcome Note…

    Food and Beverage
    If we consider the entire Sands Cotai Strip complex as part of the Conrad Macao, then there are many, many options to chose from given that you have three hotels in the complex (Holiday Inn, Conrad, and Sheraton) and between the towers is pretty much a large mall, including restaurants and a food court.

    Given my arrival time, as soon as I finished checking out the room, I made my way down to the Lounge. Actually, I would come here both that night and the next night before heading out for dinner. I mean, we’re talking free alcohol here, right? After identifying myself as a Diamond guest at the podium, they invited me to sit wherever I liked, which I went for a couch since it wasn’t very busy. A drink menu was brought to me which listed out all of my complementary options which included several beers and liquors as well as two specialty drinks. That first night I went with a fruity, frothy drink which had many, many types of liquor dumped into it, of which I enjoyed a few to get a buzz going. They also brought out a tray of assorted nuts to snack on while I sat and enjoyed my drink. I was told that only my first drink would be complementary and they did charge me for the second. That was ok by me, but the second night that I was went there for my pre-dinner cocktail, I had multiple drinks and was not charged a single cent for any of them. Overall the service was pretty good and the waitress on the second night was very friendly and stopped to chat for a bit, probably because it was a bit slow. I don’t think there was ever more than a few people at a time in the lounge. It could be that it was part location (it can be loud as it is in the middle of the hotel entrance and passageway from the Sheraton to the Holiday Inn sides), or perhaps there just were not many Hilton HHonors members or ??? While I understand there used to be a much larger lounge located elsewhere, for my purposes it did the trick. It was also while sitting here that I realized, I was a bit of an anomaly. Which by that I mean that I was probably one of very few Americans. Most were obviously Chinese, more than likely from the mainland, with a pretty sizeable contingent of what seemed to be Russians. This was definitely not like Hong Kong.

    The Pretty Empty Lobby Lounge

    Enjoying A Fruity Drink

    And A Different Fruity Drink

    For breakfast that first morning in Macau, I opted to try the Grand Orbit restaurant that I had the option to take my complementary breakfast at. It’s actually located in the mall between the Conrad/Holiday Inn and Sheraton sides and a bit towards the back. It had a fairly comprehensive buffet, but it was not quite as good as the one at the W Hong Kong I had several days prior. I had my few plates, left a tip and then headed out to explore the city.

    Breakfast At The Grand Orbit

    The second morning, I decided to take my breakfast in the room. Really the main driving factor here was that morning my alma mater, the University of Central Florida, was playing our “rival” the University of South Florida on national TV back in the US. Prior to my trip, I did some research and found that Fox Sports Asia would be broadcasting the game live from ESPN! I was ecstatic that I wouldn’t get to miss this game, and opted for an “in-room tailgate”. Going with the American Set Breakfast, it was pretty comprehensive including: cereal, yogurt, a bread basket, omelet, hash browns, a grilled tomato, OJ (probably not Florida fresh!), and coffee. I thought I had timed the delivery such that it would show up a little bit before the game started, but back in America another game had been running late and so I had to sit there and watch the previous week’s Navy v. San Jose State game. This meant by the time Fox Sports Asia picked up the ESPN feed, a good chunk of the 1st quarter was already done (and UCF wasn’t doing that hot). But back to the breakfast…overall, it was pretty good and they definitely had the complete setup with everything I could have needed. The only downside is that when the delivery guy presented me a check – it should have been free, but I went ahead and wrote in a tip and signed, figuring that it could be taken care of at the front desk. I knew trying to resolve the issue in my room with a language gap was not going to be fruitful, and honestly the reason for the mix up was probably due to a language gap between me and the person who took my order. When I checked out, the agent quickly corrected this when he spotted the error. This alone was probably the only misstep I think I experienced at this hotel, and all things considered, that really isn’t that bad.

    Room Service Breakfast

    $5 Says I Was The Only Person In Macau Watching UCF Beat USF…Great Use Of The Media Room!

    This was a vacation, and being this week was all about not thinking about work and relaxing, I wanted to take advantage of getting a massage. Especially by the time of my second day in Macau, I had been walking around all day across there and Hong Kong with my messenger bag slung across my back and feeling the effects of that. The in-house spa at the Conrad, Bodhi Spa is located on level 3 of the hotel and has access to both the Conrad and Holiday Inn elevator banks. As a result, I’m curious if the spa is shared with the Holiday Inn, but I cant seem to find any evidence of one way or the other online.

    I only decided to book my appointment at the relative last minute after getting back to the hotel from a day of exploring the city. Luckily they had an open spot for 15 minutes later for a 90 minute Balinese massage, which was excellent news! I headed downstairs to the spa and right when I walked in, they addressed me by name right away and led me off to a small waiting “alcove” where they brought me some tea while I waited for the therapist to come and get me; I didn’t need to take a shower before hand since I had just taken one in my room, so I just tried to start relaxing. When my therapist came to collect me, I was asked the usual questions about where I wanted focus and was then led to the treatment room.

    The room itself was pretty large and featured counter space for me, a large bathtub (which I wouldn’t be using), massage table and more. After getting changed the therapist came back in and started by washing my feet. I’ve had a few massages over the past few years, but I hadn’t experienced a pre-massage foot wash before. Not a bad idea though, if your feet feel clean and cool you generally can feel more relaxed…or at least for me that is the case. From there it was to the massage table where the 90 minutes of working my muscles started. The therapist was very good at the technique and I was in a state of semi-melted relaxation. Just as with any massage, I just wish I had booked a slightly longer session. For the 90 minute treatment it was MOP$1180 or just under US$150. Given that a comparable massage at some places in the US would probably be more expensive, especially at a hotel (I think I paid $150 for a 75 minute massage at the W Atlanta Midtown in July 2013), I can’t really complain too much. Overall, I was impressed and found their facility very clean and relaxing.

    I used the Concierge staff for a few things throughout my stay. The first and most important thing was getting from them a card to give to taxi drivers in Macau which has the hotel name printed in Chinese so that you can get back to the hotel. Outside of the hotels, knowledge of English was pretty spotty which resulted to me doing a lot of pointing at pictures to be taken to places. In fact, I’m told Portuguese is barely spoken as well, despite over 400 years of Portuguese rule. Second, they also sell local SIM cards provided by CTM (the major local GSM provider) for MOP$100 you get enough service to last a short trip. My only regret is that I accidently activated the ‘3G Data Package Plan 1’ which is only 50MB at a listed cost of MOP$50 (although it appears they only deducted MOP$35 when I activated), when I could have gotten the second package plan which gave you 300MB for MOP$100, or the total value of the SIM. I did get a bonus credit of MOP$10 after activating the service. For whatever reason, between my two phones it was a little tricky to get data service to get fully functional, but after an agonizing 30 minutes I eventually got it working on my phones. Third, they helped me check out whether or not Fernando’s was open (a Portuguese Restaurant on the south side of Macau) for dinner on my second night and getting me a ferry ticket for my journey back to Hong Kong when I departed. I don’t normally use Concierge desks at hotels, but for my time in Macau they became pretty indispensable to help me navigate this foreign land.

    Overall Impression
    As I mentioned earlier, this was my first stay since making the jump from HHonors Gold to HHonors Diamond status, so I didn’t have a good baseline as to what to expect from being a Diamond member. Unfortunately, I think the Conrad Macao set the bar pretty high for what to expect as a Diamond customer! They really did a fantastic job of taking care of me, especially the super flexible complimentary breakfast options, incredible upgrade, and extremely friendly staff who took care of everything for me. I don’t think I could have asked for a better stay at that hotel…well I mean it would have been better with the even larger suite, but I’ll let that one slide. I would say that if I ever make it back to Macau, I would definitely pick this hotel again even if I still am not a Diamond member. I hear that they take pretty good care of Gold members too. Basically to sum it up, they know how to treat HHonors elite members and I think that is great, especially since some hotels just don’t seem to get that, like my stay for New Years at Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front which was terribly disappointing. Hopefully, I’ll be back in the future!

    Cotai Strip As Seen From Taipa (Conrad Macao Is The Forward Half Of The Front Tower In The Middle)

    This entry was posted in Hilton HHonors, Hong Kong and Macau, Hotels, Macau, Travel, Trip Report. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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