Nothing Grand about this place and certainly not it's management. Is this hotel really so desperate to rip off guests or is it just the "A Director of Guest Services that might be well advised to check his attitude compatibility with his designation"?
Photography Backpacking to Hong Kong. Checking various hotels through the various channels I finally ended up booking the Harbour Grand, which turned out to be a fake not only in realistic product photography but also in "hospitality".
After some 3.5 hours delay sitting in the plane almost all day I arrived late at the Harbour Grand and was pleasantly surprised about the smooth and smiling check in by Zie ….. The first impression of the hotel however already was dull and dark rather than bright, vibrant and welcoming as their product photography over promises.
The rooms are rather small and without taking measure one would doubt the internet shared sqm sizes just from eye measure. I was granted an availability resulting "upgrade" to a "premier harbour view room" turning out to be a "premier construction view room". The room appeared as dull as the first impression with some interesting design elements like a jacuzzi/shower with mirror or a mirror over the handwash basin sort of preventing you to wash your face without either bouncing against it or spilling water on the floor. Stylish idea, poor execution.
Internet is advertised free of charge and good to see was the hotel in fact thought this further and enables two devices per room to be connected. The high speed however turns out to be lame and can be considered "high" with occupancies of 10 -30 % at best. Since I was curious I tried to run a speedtest but a savy IT team seems to have barred such services, obviously for good reason. Just good it is free I thought, otherwise I'd be complaining about a lame chargeable service. Only after check out I had to realise I was ripped off being charged internet usage advertised on Agoda as "free LAN and WiFi".
Breakfast is served only until 1030 but the service is quite pleasant. The atmosphere is rather canteen style loud but the buffet choice for a 4 star hotel is quite good. The egg dish station however is continuously overloaded with guests queuing and you really need to pick the right moment in time to get an omlette or so. The coffee was so lala. Surprised about the breakfast bill they bring you daily half way through the breakfast I asked the team every time what this is about since my breakfast was included in the room rate. Always book a b&b package and although this was the first time I booked through Agoda I was till my check out convinced which is why I questioned this every time they made me sign for breakfast. The staff then told me this is standard procedure verifying breakfast consumption only, the last day in fact I was even more surprised when the breakfast all of a sudden had an even higher price. Leaving the restaurant I emphasised at the counter again my rate was including breakfast, which had been confirmed by the restaurant staff before. Again the ladies behind the counter advise me of this to be the usual practice.
The weather was horrible so I had the choice of being stuck in a dull room with lame internet or discovering the city in between the rain showers which I tried to manage as good as I could.
In between I wanted to get to the hotels rooftop terrace showcased on the website which for a hobby photographer was one reason to choose this hotel, I had to realise the same was closed for construction which I had not been informed until the staff on the 41st floor advised me of the same. The lounge, not part of my package, and a restaurant with amazing view over the harbour was however open. Not an option to photograph but at least to enjoy the view for a few minutes.
Not one word was mentioned on the hotel website or Agoda about construction work on the rooftop terrace, obviously a hotel feature a guest would like to see and enjoy. No word about the pool maintenance work. No word about the construction site right next to the pool with diggers in the mud literally some few meters away only resulting in obvious noise and pollution.
The last evening coming back to the hotel I realised I had to extend my stay for another one or two nights to finish some paperwork in town so I checked the internet what's available in town and of course also checked the Harbour Grand. Since I was already in the hotel I decided to call the front desk like several times before for other matters realising again no one really bothered to pick up the phone despite the fact that when ever you passed the lobby there were 5,6,7 staff.
A bit annoyed I pressed the button for Guest Service and when the telephone operator picked up the phone I asked for the Guest Service Manager, I was passed to a gentlemen who introduced himself as the duty manager. My request for an extension was responded to with HK $ 1900 or HK $ 1960, I was quite surprised if not to say annoyed about this strange business practice since the hotel was advertising through Agoda and other channels just over ~HK $ 1300. Suspicious I inquired about the reasoning for this approach and was advised "ahh, let me check if I can do a discount"…, which considering the rate available in the market for some of the 5* hotels I gladly declined advising I will book elsewhere.
Another strange thing was the various papers/messages I found underneath my door every time I came back to the room. I in principle put the "do not disturb" sign on since I tend to have very sensitive I value photography equipment with me which I don't like to be moved around or similar. Coming back to the room I find a notice for the housekeeping not being able to clean my room which is what one is used to also from other hotels. In this special hotel I however had almost daily more of such notes apart from the housekeeping. One day it was that the hotel would enter my room the next morning for pest control purpose, no request no touch of hospitality but a stone cold information by means of a pre printed cardboard notice under the door. The other day I was advised that the last two days of my stay there was some pool maintenance requiring closure of the pool. While the hotel already called the first or second night trying to sell me an extension, which I at that point in time didn't require they seemed to opt for a sequence of "message under the door style" of guest communication rather than guest service.
In between I needed a taxi and the gentlemen at the door advised me it is most difficult for the hotel to get taxi for guests and he had already sent 3 bellboys to fetch some, the queue was building up…
The last day then I had a late breakfast which was apart from the strange situation with the above outline breakfast slip and differing price managed well by the restaurant supervisor. The staff overall, pretty much with one exception was quite pleasant.
With this accumulation of odd situations the worst however was still to come upon checkout. I went to the reception to check out, as usual 5-6 staff with 4 of them busy. Approaching the one staff that only looked at me when I asked she pointed me to another counter as she was obviously too busy talking to her colleague. At the next counter I waited then until the young gentlemen behind the reception indicated he was ready for me. I asked for check out and was advised that there were only breakfast charges but he wanted to correct one breakfast charge as it wasn't discounted yet. I obviously objected immediately advising I had booked a bed and breakfast package via Agoda. The young gentlemen check and advised me that this must be a misunderstanding as my reservation was indicating "breakfast - no", in fact folding his reservation paper so I couldn't see the other half he showed me the breakfast column indicating "no". I again advised that I'm sure I had booked a bed and breakfast package which I in fact always do. The young gentlemen insisted and since I had explained to him the experience with the breakfast bill in the restaurant he obviously also doubted the situation and opted to get his manager. A minute later a young gentlemen passing his business card "Director of Guest Service" appeared. I started again to illustrate the experience with the breakfast signatures and without even showing the slightest interest the young man insisted in the charge. I repeated but without success. The body language and attitude of the young man was everything other than hospitable and since the argumentation was ignorant I advised him that they would have the obligation to at least advise me the breakfast is chargeable especially since I queried the signature daily in the restaurant. Without checking or showing any sign of interest the "Director Guest Service" insisted for me to pay my bill. After some back and forth several times I finally gave up advising the young man he would hear from me as I thought to dispute the charge with Agoda and my credit card institution. I was obviously surprised and most upset about this shady business practice more even about the ignorance as I only realised when I had walked out the door with my bill in hands that I had not only been charged for breakfast, I had on top of it been charged two different prices for exactly the same breakfast buffet and further I had been charged HK $ 130 for the "in-room internet" which I was advised would be free up to two devices.
In all the years I come to Hong Kong now this was really the worst hotel experience ever. Had one not so wow stay some 2-3 years ago but there the management response at least was professional. The Harbour Grand Management can at best be called ignorant and arrogant.
Since I opted for a way better hotel booking my extension I checked later the reservation with Agoda and had to realise I indeed had a confirmation excluding breakfast, which however does not justify the continuous miscommunication of the Restaurant staff and less it justifies the attitude of the so called Director of Guest Services. Neither it justifies the internet charge, fake over promising pictures, no information about various construction works….
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The multi-award winning Harbour Grand Hong Kong is ideally located in the heart of Hong Kong Island and just few minutes walk from the MTR station with easy access to the city's business, shopping, dining and fashion districts. All 828 contemporary-designed guestrooms and suites enjoy stunning views of Victoria Harbour. In addition to the 27-metre outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, spa facilities, a total of 12,685 square feet of meeting spaces, there are also 5 distinguished restaurants which accent Cantonese, European, Japanese and international cuisines, with Le 188o Restaurant and Lounge boasting a 188 degree panoramic harbour view. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Harbour Grand Hong Kong Hotel Hong Kong