On my last trip to Hong Kong, I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Wan Chai. For my most recent visit, I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott. What’s the difference? See the conversation below between me and my husband.
Carol: I prefer the Renaissance for its location and convenience to so many things.
Bruce: Yes, very convenient but what I like most about Courtyard is its western location, away from the usual trappings. No malls, very few chain stores, just a lot of small merchants trying to earn a living in a very residential area. Also, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to locations such as Shun Tak ferry, IFC (shopping), main metro station, and the convention center.
Carol: Agree with you about buying from local merchants but that comes at a price for many people. For example, most of those merchants do not speak English, whereas a common language is typical in the malls and chain stores.
Bruce: True, but the western side of Hong Kong benefits from lower prices and just learning a few words in Cantonese can be very helpful. There are many free apps for this.
Carol: The Ren is a much larger hotel, with 42 floors and over 800 rooms, and the rooms are a little larger. Also, the room amenities are nicer and they have much better views of Victoria Harbor.
Bruce: Courtyard is also impressive with 25 floors but has only 240 rooms. As for amenities, they offer a lot but I don’t care as much about the brand of the shampoo as you do. Courtyard offers a nice vista of Victoria Harbor but the Ren views are more central and overall more scenic and memorable.
Carol: Both offer a lounge to guests but the 2-story Ren lounge is larger, with more choices for food and drink. And you have to agree, this area is very appealing to those who desire night life outside the hotel.
Bruce: All true, but the Ren lounge is larger because the property has so many more rooms. Also, I have never seen the Courtyard lounge overcrowded but we have been in the Ren lounge when it is difficult to find a seat. The Courtyard area has very limited night life but in fairness, it is only a short ride away by bus, tram, or taxi.
Carol: You met the CEO of Mercedes Asia at the Ren. Have you met anyone like that at the Courtyard?
Bruce: No, definitely a different market. The Ren is certainly more upscale and being directly connected to the convention center is a plus for business travelers. But one of the nice features of Courtyard is that its small size offers wonderful personal service. I have said many times that this property has the finest Courtyard staff in the world, and the general manager is very accessible when necessary. How many hotels offer that?
Carol: But the Ren offers things such as more restaurant choices, a fantastic lobby bar, and a gift shop. Additional Ren benefits include easy walks to the Wan Chai district and the beautiful harbor view from the convention center, and it is only a few minutes to the Star Ferry to Kowloon.
Bruce: To be fair, both hotels offer buffets in their restaurants but yes, the Ren excels in all those other areas.
Carol: It seems to me the Ren caters more to business guests and leisure travelers who prefer more luxury.
Bruce: I think you can say that generally but as you know, there have been times when the Ren was actually less expensive for us. Forgetting price, I think both of us would agree that the Ren is perfect for those who want to be more centrally located or simply want more luxury. Courtyard is better for those who are on a tighter budget (generally), prefer to be surrounded by more leisure travelers, want or need more personal attention, or want to be more immersed in the local Hong Kong environment.
Carol: Good analysis. Next time let’s compare them to the JW at Pacific Place.