Since the beginning of this year, the Grand Hyatt has been renovating its rooms (see news, December 2012), a process that will continue until the end of 2014 for every room except those on the Club Floors, which will apparently be sorted in “phase two”.
At the time of writing, three floors of Grand Deluxe rooms have been completed — 24, 25 and 26 — with three more due to be finished by February. This review concentrates on the renovated rooms (for a review of the “old rooms”, see our previous visit to the hotel in 2007).
Note, though, that while the works continue there is noise and disruption between the hours of 1000 and 1700, an important consideration if you intend to sleep during the day or even work in your room.
The hotel is employing “buffer” floors to lessen the noise, but I still experienced it on my final morning when I was working while waiting to go to the airport at lunchtime for my flight home.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The Grand Hyatt is five star, from the marble-clad lobby to the views of Victoria Harbour from its 11th floor spa.
It opened in 1989 and the lobby area has a dramatic, slightly imposing air with sweeping staircases, a central, almost architectural flower arrangement and sculptures dotted around the public areas, along with large works of art.
As usual, however, I arrived via the back entrance, on the free shuttle bus from the Airport Express station (it’s also the quick route to the Wan Chai MTR through the Hong Kong Convention Centre to which the hotel is attached). I dragged my bags up the hotel steps and entered the hotel on the mezzanine floor.
The moment I was seen by a member of staff, not a doorman, he offered to help, and escorted took me and my bags to reception. He was all smiles and made inquiries as to how my journey to the hotel had been.
WHERE IS IT?
Attached to the Hong Kong Convention Centre, which can be reached through the hotel and from there Wan Chai MTR station is about a five-minute walk away from the hotel’s reception.
The hotel has 549 rooms from the 12th floor up to the 36th. The new Grand Deluxe rooms, one of which I was staying in, have been designed by BAR Studio and have a much more spacious feel.
In fact, somehow they seem to have added an extra 4 sqm from the figures I quoted in my 2007 review for an entry level room, from 36 sqm to 40 sqm, largely by opening up the bathroom so it is part of the room, although the division can be reinstated by pressing a button for a blind to descend.
Room with a view: A Grand Deluxe harbour room
The bathroom is part of the bedroom, although they can be separated by a blind
If you are travelling alone, it’s great to have natural light flooding through the room into the bathroom, especially if you have a Harbour View Room (60 per cent of the rooms have this, at a premium, the rest have City Views). All the bathrooms have marble baths and glass-walled shower cubicles.
The intention is to try and make the rooms more “residential” — a catchphrase much in vogue among hoteliers at the moment — and this means having a “living zone” adjacent to the windows, with a chair to look out and relax. I was more impressed, however, with the much larger wooden work desk, allowing you to spread out while still having a table large enough to dine for two.
The room colours are much brighter than the previous generation of rooms, with neutral tones of stone and timber, but with splashes of colour as well as almost abstract black and white photographic prints of old Hong Kong, or perhaps China.
There are coffee/tea making facilities, very comfortable beds with down duvets covered in Egyptian cotton bed linen.
Wifi is available at two speeds — free of charge for light use, and paid-for high speed (HK$160 for 24 hours). Note you also pay for it in a Club Room, it is not included as part of the additional amenities.
All rooms have a laptop-sized safe, iron and ironing board, large flatscreen TV, plenty of power points (UK plugs) with adaptors supplied, while the bathrooms have a drawer full of amenities you might have forgotten, and even a small pair of scissors.
Also good was having a master switch for the lighting operable from the bed, allowing for complete blackout when it was time to sleep, or just a spot reading light at the bed. The air conditioning, meanwhile, could actually set the room temperature at the figure quoted, rather than some approximation.
A few niggles — even in the redesigned bathrooms there still aren’t enough hooks for hanging towels on to dry, and mine were replaced every evening when I returned. I also think all hotels ought to have a recycling bin alongside a normal one, for all the newspapers and plastic bottles. Lastly, the air conditioning control was by the bed, but the glow from its panel cast too much ambient light.
The Grand Club lounge is split-level and on the 30th and 31st floors with great views of Victoria Harbour. Note that Grand Club rooms are 29, 30 and up to 36, though floors 31-36 are accessed by a separate lift.
Split-level: The Grand Club lounge is on the 30th and 31st floors
Security is good, all floors can only be accessed by room key card, and when I was unsure on the first evening of my room number and sought confirmation from reception, without photo ID I had to be accompanied to my room to show my passport.
There are three private boardrooms available for the exclusive use of Grand Club guests, soft drinks available throughout the day, breakfast and drinks in the evening, although I never got back early enough from work to see them.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Lots of options. These include One Harbour Road, designed as Taipan’s house on the Peak during the 1930s, for fine-dining Cantonese; the Grand Hyatt Steakhouse, which includes a seafood and oyster bar, a salad bar, wine room and small cigar “tasting” room; Italian restaurant Grissini; and Japanese eatery Kaetsu.
However, the one I tried for lunch one day was the new Teppanroom. I didn’t have to eat for the rest of the day after the set four-course menu ($430) all prepared on the teppan table.
There is also the Grand Cafe lobby restaurant; the Champagne Bar, with live entertainment in the evening; Tiffin, a buffet lounge off the lobby; and The Grill outdoor by the pool on the 11th floor. Finally, the Waterfall Bar is also located outside by the pool.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The business centre is on the ground floor and has video-conferencing facilities, computer workrooms, conference calling, a reference library, private meeting rooms and can arrange interpreters.
On the first floor, there’s also The Residence, a suite of three function rooms connected by a kitchen area, which doubles as break-out space.
In total, there are 22 event venues, including the Grand Ballroom, which can take up to 950 people theatre-style, and The Poolhouse overlooking the hotel’s swimming pool and gardens.
These are on the 11th floor. A gym has all the normal running machines and a free weights area, but is small for the size of the hotel and gets busy in the morning.
The 7,400 sqm Plateau spa has several treatment rooms, including ones with views out over the harbour, while the 50-metre heated outdoor swimming pool is open year-round.
In addition, there is a 400-metre jogging track, a golf driving range, two floodlit tennis courts and two squash courts that are shared with adjacent buildings.
A great choice for a five-star stay in Hong Kong. The Wan Chai location is convenient for most places courtesy of the MTR station, and the views across the harbour are rare even among five-star hotels, so it’s great that the new rooms make the most of them.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 549 rooms, in many different categories from the unrefurbished entry level Grand Rooms to Presidential Suite. Refurbished rooms are Grand Deluxe.
- HIGHLIGHTS The position, good for the Convention Centre, the MTR and the views (providing you pay more for a Harbour View Room).
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in January start from HK$3,927 (£310) for a Grand Deluxe room.
- CONTACT hyatt.com.