A Tale of 8 Hiltons* | Australian Frequent Flyer
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A Tale of 8 Hiltons*

Anna

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*Hilton brands included

HH gave me diamond status for 90 days and said they would extend it for a year if I make 8 stays in the next 3 months. With a forthcoming UK trip involving 10 nights in hotels, I channelled Celeste Barber and said 'challenge accepted!' :D

I can see the point of airline status but I've never really bothered with hotel status, generally preferring to choose hotels on the basis of price and location rather than the possibility of a free bottle of water. So this trip will be a test for me to see if maintaining hotel status is worth bothering about.

I've had HH diamond before, courtesy of the VA plat status match. Diamond didn't impress me then, as most places I stayed at didn't have lounges and I usually prefer to eat breakfast in peace in my room. Let's see if this trip changes my mind about the value of diamond status.
 

Anna

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Hotel no. 1 was the Hilton Garden Inn in central Aberdeen. On booking I requested early checkin for 11am arrival after the long journey from Aus, and this was granted (Diamond score +1). At checkin I was told I'd been given an 'upgrade' to a room with a king size bed, instead of the Queen Evolution room I'd booked (£114.95 for 2 nights booked non refundable in advance). As the view is of a nearby apartment block (interesting viewing at night when people don't close their curtains :eek:) and the only other noticeable thing is that I now have a bathtub, I'm rating the 'upgrade' as Diamond score neutral. Initially I thought I only had the bathtub, and just when I was thinking 'how British', I noticed the shower behind the door :)

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At this hotel, Diamond also won me 2 small glass bottles of water (plastic bottles of water that I can carry with me and refill are 10p each at the local convenience store), a 10% discount voucher for food at the inhouse restaurant, and a voucher for '1 small glass of house wine'. Diamond score 1, minus half a point for specifying 'small' glass of wine = 0.5. I mean, just say 'glass of house wine' and instruct the staff separately on what size to pour.

The receptionist informed me that as a diamond member my preference was recorded as being for bonus points instead of free breakfast. I have no recollection of expressing such a preference but it suits me for this stay.

Diamond did not get me any of the following in the room - shower cap, cotton buds, note pad, pen or bathrobe. I know I can request them but tbh for a Hilton-branded hotel I'm surprised that I have to. If it was DT I wouldn't (wouldn't be surprised I mean). Also there is a small fridge but nothing in it except a sign saying that supplies are available to purchase in the pantry next to reception.

Overall I'm happy with the hotel for the price and location. Diamond status remains on probation. People often cite lounge access as being a good aspect of Diamond, but it's hard for me to value that very highly when many of the hotels lack a lounge o_O

PS In typical Hilton-brand style, the alarm clock is wrong by 2 hours 10 minutes but only the maintenance staff can fix it :confused:. Seeing I already have no idea what time it is due to jet lag, this isn't at all helpful o_O
 
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hydrabyss

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You may not be aware but upgrades are not part of the Diamond benefit when staying at a Garden Inn and in your Honors profile under Myway Hotel Benefits you can select points(750) or hot breakfast.
 

Anna

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Final Diamond score for Hilton no. 1 is up by +1. I went to the restaurant at 6pm. It was empty apart from one table but the attendant announced it was fully booked and I could eat in the bar. As I wanted at least some vegetables and the bar menu was all burgers, fish and chips or expensive steaks with salad (plus was full of loud Englishmen who I think were up on a golfing stag weekend) I requested if they could please make room for a Diamond member who only wanted a main course and would be out quickly. She went and asked her manager and I was allowed a table and had a very nice vegetarian risotto. Only one other table arrived in the half hour I was there :rolleyes:

Oh, and despite what it said on the voucher the size of the wine pour was very generous. 200ml of Chilean merlot ;) But I'm not giving back the deducted half point because the voucher made it sound like 'we want to welcome you but only a small amount' :confused: Also I requested they fix the clock to the correct time but they didn't do it.
 

Anna

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Hotel no. 2 was the Doubletree Aberdeen Treetops, deep in affluent-looking Aberdeen suburbia and with free parking. The room I'd booked was a queen guest room (£56.45 for one night advance purchase non refundable). The room I got I'm sure must have been an upgrade because it had 3 large windows, one vast and one normal size tv and a separate little sitting area. I'd hesitate to call it a suite though. It had - bathtub, bathrobes, slippers, notepad, pen, clock with correct time. It did not have - fridge, shower cap, cotton buds. There were several stairs involved in getting to the room and the guy who helped with my bags told me it was at the posh end of the hotel lol.

On checkin the receptionist didn't say anything specifically about being Diamond but she gave me my room key at 9.30am, a chocolate chip biscuit, 2 bottles of water and 2 drink vouchers. She also said that I was entitled to free breakfast.

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The bar seemed to be full of locals, which gave it a buzzy vibe. The wine pour here was so huge I couldn't even finish one glass - it must have been 250ml. I asked for the house red but the barman said he would recommend an Argentinian Malbec instead and it was very nice.

Diamond score for hotel no. 2 is 4 points. Still no lounge though (not that I'd expect one in a DT, but my purpose here is to work out whether Diamond for me is worth having. There's no point telling me Diamond gives me lounge access if there's no lounge to access).
 

Anna

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Hiltons and Conrads in Asia and Europe often have lounges.
When I stayed at the Hilton on Orchard Road last time I had diamond there was no lounge. I know some of the hotels have lounges, I'm just not currently convinced that enough of them have lounges for lounge access to be a worthwhile diamond benefit for me. YMMV.
 

I love to travel

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When I stayed at the Hilton on Orchard Road last time I had diamond there was no lounge. I know some of the hotels have lounges, I'm just not currently convinced that enough of them have lounges for lounge access to be a worthwhile diamond benefit for me. YMMV.
Oh dear someone gave you some bad advice. That hotel has a great lounge and as a diamond was always proactively told about it.
 

moa999

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The Garden Inn brand is NOT Hilton.
Usually much poorer, often 3*, though that one looks quite modern and decent decor.

For most Hilton clocks just unscrew the setting screw or open the battery terminal and you'll find the settings switch..
 

DC3

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The Garden Inn brand is NOT Hilton.
Usually much poorer, often 3*, though that one looks quite modern and decent decor ...
Yes. I find HGI to be on par with many Hampton Inns, although at Hamptons (in the USA anyway) they usually lay on a very basic meal and some beers and soft drinks in the early evening, Mon-Fri, and everyone gets a hot breakfast. Definitely 3-star at best, sometimes less than that, but relatively consistent in the offerings.

Good reviews, Anna. Keep them coming.
 

JohnPhelan

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Doubletrees are generally far superior to Hilton Garden Inns. (Especially in Asia - the Doubletrees are excellent.)
 

Anna

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Hotel no. 3 was Hampton by Hilton in the global centre for excellence in subsea engineering (Westhill, Aberdeenshire, on the off chance you didn't know). My bossy GPS guide insisted it didn't exist but it was wrong and went into a white screen sulk as a result. In other words this is a new hotel in a fairly newly built up area. The hotel is from the cubist school of hotel design with some possible Mondrian influence.

The receptionist thanked me for being Diamond and I got my room key at 10am. As far as diamond benefits go, that was it. I was given a voucher which was good for 1 non alcoholic drink and 1 'snack'. So I had to spend £6.35 on a medium (ie, huge) glass of Aussie shiraz. I had the choice of medium or large. Large must be half a bottle's worth. There was free hot breakfast but that's for everyone, not a Diamond benefit.

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The shower had a useful rail to keep you out of that dangerous corner. Why don't more hotels do that? Very risky for them I'd say.

This was the first hotel where I didn't have to go crawling on hands and knees to find power points to be able to charge devices. Hallelujah, in this hotel I could even have the devices charging while I was reading on them in bed.

The maintenance guy accompanied me to my room because he had the delightful job of changing the time on 170 Hilton clocks for daylight saving. He'd done 60 and he showed me the blister developing on his thumb from the stupid Hilton clock design.

There was a notepad and pen but no fridge and no bathroom amenities as the soap and lotion were in wall-mounted dispensers. The tv was small. Naturally there was no lounge. I'm pretty sure I was given exactly the room category I booked, ie basic (not complaining).

Diamond score for this hotel - nil. They're lucky it's not a negative score in terms of encouraging me to get on their hamster wheel of trying to maintain Diamond. As a customer though, I was pretty happy with the new feel and the up to date design.
 
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Anna

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Oh dear someone gave you some bad advice. That hotel has a great lounge and as a diamond was always proactively told about it.
Look this is way off the actual point of my thread but in 2013 when I was there, there was no lounge. Maybe there is now. Maybe there is usually. But not when I stayed there. Maybe it was being renovated as many areas of the hotel were at that time.
 

DC3

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Hotel no. 3 was Hampton .... I'm pretty sure I was given exactly the room category I booked, ie basic (not complaining) ...
Yes, Hamptons generally will have pretty much a choice of either twin beds or a double. No real upgrade options. No executive-type rooms as you will find at a Hilton Hotel.
 

kermatu

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Enjoying your write-ups. Thanks for posting.

DTs are generally great, in my experience. Especially if you find one with a lounge.
 

Anna

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Hotel no. 4 was another Doubletree, at the beach at Aberdeen. Having some technical hitches with the photos today sorry.

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This was an actual real proper upgrade to the 'Platinum Club' which is in a separate building with its own lobby, but as there was nobody there the bar in the main building was more inviting. There were also chocolates in the room, the DT choc chip cookie and a fridge with free mini bar (soft drinks only). The minibar is instead of a drink voucher (so I was told after asking).

The radiator in the room was set at a bracing 14 degrees o_O which I quickly turned up. The bathroom had a shub which doesn't bother me but I know others dislike that. The soap etc were in wall-mounted dispensers again. Notepad and pen on the table. Didn't open the wardrobe to look for a bathrobe.

The room wasn't immediately ready on my arrival, not that I necessarily expected it to be at 1pm, but it was only a 5 minute wait. The receptionist thanked me for being Diamond and told me I'm entitled to breakfast.

Diamond score for this hotel is 3. So far Doubletree is doing the best job of encouraging me to think Diamond is worth having. I've still got 3 'real' Hiltons and a Curio to try though. Maybe they'll even have lounges :p
 
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Anna

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Hotel no. 5 was the first 'real' Hilton of the trip, the Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh. I'm going to come straight out and say that after the sunshine and general easiness of Aberdeen, I didn't like Edinburgh as much - crowded, bitingly cold to the point that one day snow was forecast (but disappointingly didn't eventuate) and rainy. And the traffic was terrible for a city of 1 million. The hotel was the largest so far and on checkin felt very impersonal as if the arriving guests were there to be processed not welcomed. One woman behind the desk did not smile once at a guest the whole time I was there (on my 4 visits before I was finally checked in correctly) although I did see her smile a bit at one of her colleagues.

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When I arrived at 1.30pm no room was ready. Ok but kind of disappointing if you're expecting Diamond status to make life easier. So I rejigged some bags to go out exploring, went back to the desk, got someone else and guess what, suddenly there was a room. I suspiciously enquired if it was the same room category as the one they intended for me, which I had been told was an upgrade to a king size bed, and was assured it was although on level 2. So I accepted that room only to find it was right next to the lift. I hate rooms next to lifts not necessarily for the lift noise but for the noise that people make coming and going, chatting loudly as if all those doors are to empty rooms. Back downstairs with my bags and said I would wait for my original room. Fine, although I was asked 'you didn't do anything in the room up there did you?'

I got back to the hotel about 6.30, got my room key and was pleased to find my bags in my room.

To be continued because I've just been given a plate of cheesy bubble and squeak to eat on the wifi equipped train
 
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DC3

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... I was asked 'you didn't do anything in the room up there did you?' ...
Hopefully just to check whether Houskeeping should tidy-up before reallocation of that room. However, probably there were better ways to ask you about this.
 

Anna

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The Edinburgh Carlton was the first hotel to have a lounge, so I trotted down there expecting to be wowed by a sumptuous array of canapés and drinks. Oh dear. Having been assured at reception that my room key was set up for lounge access, turns out it wasn't. Embarrassing to get a big red light and beeping noise at the door and slightly annoying to have to go back to reception. For the fourth time.

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Here is the lounge after it had cleared out a bit. When I finally managed to get in, there was one table free, surrounded by a generous amount of crumbs, so at least that reminded me of QF's J lounge at SYD dom and made me feel right at home :p It was not a big lounge but nice enough. There was some blue cheese (there had obviously been other cheeses too earlier, judging from the smears on the platter), no fruit left, some yogurts, some chocolate bars, some biscuits and oatcakes but the best thing was some hot salmon with sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. There were spirits, beers, white wines in the fridge and the red wines on the shelf which appeared to be unopened. I decided to have an alcohol free day, but I enjoyed the salmon and the unexpected but welcome chance to eat some vegetables with it.

Back in my room, the clock had not been changed for daylight saving. But at least this clock had a manually operated screw, unlike the Aberdeen Garden Inn where it needed a screwdriver to be able to get to the settings switch. So I fixed the clock myself. Kind of sloppy that the hotel hadn't bothered, frankly. They'd had 4 days to get round to it. (Did I mention the second Doubletree I stayed at didn't have a clock at all?)

No bathrobe, no cotton buds, but a shower cap, notepad and pen were in the room, and a liberal quantity of chocolates (yum!) and a welcome letter. Sorry no photo of the chocs :D Can't think where they went. No bottles of water or discount voucher for the hotel restaurant. Proper soap, not liquid dispensers.

Being a hotel in a really old building, there were some quirks like squeaky floorboards, sloping floors and weird steps in the corridors (4 steps down then later 5 steps up in the corridor to my room, difficult with bags when I left but the porter Nick was really cute). On the whole I was pleased with the room and the (narrow) view of Arthur's Seat.

All the other hotels had all-Twinings teabags in the room. This one had Twinings except for the everyday black tea which was Tetleys. No biggie just a noticeable difference.

Housekeeping came the next day while I was out and for some reason did not wash the used cups or glasses although they did everything else that would be expected. They also managed to leave the floor messier than before with little shreds of paper on it that hadn't been there when I went out.

I was told I was entitled to breakfast in either the lounge or the restaurant but didn't bother. By the size of the lounge I'm guessing breakfast would be a zoo in there.

The second night I went to the lounge again. There were someone's 2 feral kids running amok, opening the fridge doors and leaving them open and pushing in front of people at the food displays. There were no clean tables so I walked out. The bar menu was unappealing with all high-salt, high-fat heavy dishes and I just felt like a snack. So I went back to the lounge later and the brats had gone thank goodness but still the same dirty plates and glasses on most tables that had been there the first time. I found a clean table and the evening's hot dish was party pies with baby carrots. It was nicer than it sounds. There was some fruit left this time too. I didn't try the alcohol as I'd already had a glass of wine with a cousin.

How I feel about this lounge is - meh. I wouldn't be rushing back to this hotel for its lounge, despite the vegetables :D

How do I feel about Diamond at this hotel? The receptionists all acknowledged that I had diamond, and I got a king size bed having booked a queen, but getting a king size bed happens quite often in hotels even when you don't have supposedly high status and Diamond didn't get me my room ready on arrival. Yes I got lounge access this time. I could have paid for that if it was vital to me, without needing to maintain status to get in. So all in all I'm giving Diamond a score of 2 for this hotel, mainly for the chocolates :cool:
 

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