Long time Marriott Rewards member here, first time posting.
Traveling less for work than I used to, but have stayed at dozens of Courtyards over the years. I understand that Courtyards are lower-tier hotels and, based on many of the changes regarding attitudes towards elite members, I agree with most of unfavorable feedback here.
Now, as far as Courtyards in Asia, let me shed a little light. I am currently staying at a Marriott Courtyard in the Sha Tin area of Hong Kong. This is like no Courtyard I have ever seen and can easily pass for a Full Service Marriott. Got upgraded to a river-view room on the 29th floor, access to the executive lounge on the 30th floor, excellent breakfast in the MoMo Cafe (no Bistro here), very comfortable and well appointed rooms. Granted this hotel is only a few months old, so everything is very fresh, and boy is it great. Pricing included breakfast and was reasonable.
I'm not asking the Courtyards in the USA to match this level of service and style (I can only dream), but it would wouldn't be a bad idea if Marriott corp sent a few US Courtyard GMs over here to learn a thing or two about service.
Wonderful write-up, fteixeira!!! Thanks for the info. Honk Kong seems like such a nice place to go.
Do you know any Chinese or French? They do speak French there, don't they?
I've stayed at some really nice CY's in the states, even though some do have bistros. But unless the rate and amenities are the best I can get, I won't be staying anyway. It was the same before the bistros. If the breakfasts wasn't free or cheap enough, we just went out. It is a real shame they do have the lowest regard here, because some are not. A brand new high rise CY (not like that one in HK by any means) in Homestead, FL is one that is meritorious, even without breakfast.
Hong Kong was a British colony until the lease expired and it was repatriated to China.
They speak Catonese Chinese and English.
The wife of my college friend an American born Chinese (ABC) grew up in DC speaking Mandarin and had problems with the Cantonese so uses English alot.
As far as I know its the former French colonies (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), though I don't know if they have continued the practice into this generation as they were not fond of the french. It is also a 3rd language taught in schools in many countries, including those that favor English due to business.
"The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, referred to as "the Handover" internationally and "the Return" or "The Reunification" by Mainland Chinese, took place on 1 July 1997, and marked the end of British rule in Hong Kong."
GemPrincess's information is dead on. From my experience, it is very easy to get around HK. Most signs have english, the MTR (subway system) is great, and most people speak at least some english.
Pretty much all young or middle-aged professionals speak very good english. English is spoken in all the major hotels. The only problems I had encountered is asking an "older" person (no disrespect) for directions or suggestions. Most of these folks know very little to no english. The other problem is a good percentage of taxi drivers have trouble understanding me. To insure proper communication, I generally ask the hotel desk staff to write the location I'm interested in on a note and I give it to the driver. This works well. The driver appreciates it. Also, get a hotel card with the hotel location and phone number....Handy to get yourself back to the hotel!
HK is a world class city that everyone should visit at least once. The views from Victoria peak are amazing on a clear evening, rivaling any skyline in the world.
When traveling in Asian countries, or any country where the language has an alphabet different than what we are use to in the US and Western Europe, I always carry a stack of hotel business cards with me. Usually they have the name and address in both English and the language of that country.
A little trick that a friend of mine from the UN taught me on my 1st trip to Bangkok.
Especially in the small towns in the north of Thailand on the border, and with the tuk-tuk and rickshaw drivers.
A great hotel like the Bangkok Oriental, will not let you out of the door without a stack of cards. Every other day I had a car service gratis of my friend with Thai relatives that took us touring along with my GF living incountry as her husband was working for the UN there. Every other day, my GF would have their driver take us around. But sometimes we just wanted to run out and do some things on our own in a Tuk Tuk.
Agreed. While there are definitely some bad hotels in HK, most established ones keep the level of service high. Asian visitors would not stand for sub-par service if they are paying good money. In the USA, we tend to "just take it". Why don't we all start singing "We ain't gonna take it!"?
I'm moving tomorrow to the Marriott Courtyard on Hong Kong Island (in Sai Wan area). First time staying there. I hope it's 1/2 as nice as the Courtyard in Sha Tin.
Most Asians will stay with family or friends when traveling.
so if they end up in a hotel, and decide to actually spend money to sleep somewhere, the service has to be great. They are less concerned with the aesthetics than westerners, but the food and service has to be great to get them to spend the money.