I recently wrote a post about the best Hyatt Properties Worldwide to use your 2 Free Nights from the Hyatt Card. Well, guess what, I also have the Citi Hilton Reserve Card, and that also comes with 2 Free Nights once you meet minimum spend. So it’s back to the drawing board, and time to cross reference the hotels on offer from Hilton to use these free nights.
Hilton, during their last massive devaluation decided to change their hotel Categories to 10, and also include a seasonal range for point redemption –for Category 10 Hotels the range is 70,000-95,000 per night, for Category 9 Hotels it is 50,000-80,000. I decided, that based upon the delineation that Hilton created when they moved to a 10 Category System to include both Category 10 and Category 9 Hotels (in a follow up post for the sake of brevity) because there are only a few Category 10 Hotels, and whilst these do seem to offer the best overall value per cent in general, the difference between the Cat 9 and Cat 10 is quite narrow.
The Citi Reserve Hilton Visa 2 free nights are more restrictive than the Hyatt 2 Free Nights in that they are only good for weekend use, which Hilton deems to mean Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Also, they have a list of excluded properties, which further trims the field; and yes, of course these are going to be some of the most expensive and exciting hotels within the chain. However, there are a lot of options remaining.
All Inclusive Properties:
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Central Pacific -Costa Rica
Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa
Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa
Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort
Hilton Hurghada Plaza Hotel
Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort
Hilton Nuweiba Coral Resort
Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
Hilton Puerto Vallarta
Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
Hilton Sharks Bay Resort
Conrad Koh Samui Residences
Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
Kingston Plantation Condos
Hilton Surfers Paradise Residences
Royale Palms Condominiums
Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Hotel-Center Strip
Grand Waikikian Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
Hilton Club New York
Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites – Las Vegas (Convention Center)
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at SeaWorld
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at South Beach
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at the Flamingo
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on International Drive
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites on the Las Vegas Strip
Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
Kings Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
Parc Soleil Suites by Hilton Grand Vacations
Park City Hilton Grand Vacations
Valdoro Mountain Lodge by Hilton Grand Vacations Suites
West 57th Street by Hilton Club
Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
Las Casitas, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Qasr Al Sharq, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
The list, despite appearing quite lengthy really isn’t that painful.. Many of the properties on the ‘distinctive’ list are actually sub properties within a larger hotel –E.G. you can still stay at the Grand Wailea, just not on the Ho’olei side of the property, the same with Las Casitas (linked to El Conquistador in Puerto Rico) so you are still able to visit these locations, just your bedding might be different as you are staying in the regular hotel. This is true also of one of the top redemption options, the Conrad Koh Samui – this hotel is still bookable using these vouchers for free nights, just not at the ‘Residences’ side of the property.
With the removal of the Iru Fushi Resort Maldives from the Hilton Family there are now only 9 hotels in the Category 10 Level. These do offer some of the best value per dollar (within the chain at any rate..) of any of the hotels.
Hilton Category 10 Properties by Price
Just like with the Hyatt Review, I decided to start sorting by Price, this provides us with the purest ‘bang for your buck’ however I remain concerned that these large chain properties do over inflate their prices, so have included an alternative option for each property using the TripAdvisor score and cost – in other words, according to other travelers, what would be considered the best per location based on price.
From the above, this year I have personally stayed at the Rangali Island Conrad – here is my review with a video walkthrough of the King Villa for perspective. On that same trip I also stayed at the Conrad Tokyo.
The two properties highlighted, Tokyo and the Maldives are both very good options for your two free nights. I personally view them differently in that I would fly to the Maldives JUST to stay at the Conrad Rangali Island, because that hotel is such an aspirational property. Tokyo on the other hand I would not visit because of the Conrad Tokyo, but it is a decent place to stay there when visiting. Price wise I would certainly pick the Park Hyatt in place of the Conrad, in other words I would never pay for a stay at Conrad Tokyo.
I’ll also mention the Conrad Koh Samui, as it is often touted as one of the premium properties within the chain, and I have to agree it does look like a great place to stay. My negative towards it is that the island itself is a little crummy in my opinion. We have traveled to Thailand on several occasions and the sex trade is a little too in your face for me when traveling with family. As such, you should consider the stay to Koh Samui to be a very much resort oriented stay, rather than one where you can really enjoy the island. If you are one for exploring more I highly recommend its neighbor to the North, the less developed, and much less sleezy Koh Tao.
Hilton Category 10 Properties by TripAdvisor Score
The Odawara Hilton Leads the pack, but that is because there was only one real hotel in Odawara. I really wouldn’t recommend going there either. Odawara is a seaside town to the South of Tokyo, it is the perfect escape for the Oyagi Businessman and whilst I have never ventured into the property I have visions of an aged, and smoky building aimed at aged and smoky clientele. I opted to compare this property with Shimoda, which is somewhat further down the coast, but a very nice journey via train and the entry point to the Nana Shima Island Chain (7 Islands off the coast of Tokyo that are great for camping).
Hilton scored highly in the Seychelles, but I also find this data a little confusing, since it was listing the Northolme and Labriz as No.1 in their relative towns, but there are over 85 hotels spread out throughout the Seychelles and the way TripAdvisor lists them it is almost like everyone is No.1… personally, if I was to stay at a Hilton here I would keep my eye on a new build property, the DoubleTree (a Cat 8 Property ) that looks like is open for booking in October 2013 for 70,000 HHonors per night, or $429. The other two properties on this island seem a little dated from the reviews I saw.
Hilton Category 10 Properties by Location
I decided to sort by what I felt were the most exciting locations here, Bora Bora beat the Maldives only because I haven’t been there yet. I think again, despite not an amazing TripAdvisor score the Bora Bora Hilton is one of those places that you would fly to just to stay at that hotel, in other words that is your Tahiti experience. As such, you need to consider how many nights you will be staying, just as you would in the Maldives, and look at the two free nights as a discount on your overall stay – probably looking at adding at least 2 more nights to make the journey worthwhile, or as many as you need to find your relaxed grove.
I found it a lot harder to identify a real winner by using the TripAdvisor data, for some reason when I did this same analysis for The Best Hyatt Properties Worldwide – to use your 2 Free Nights from the Hyatt Card it was easier for me to work with the data. However, based upon my experience of visiting several of these properties, or knowing the towns they are in, such as Koh Samui, Odawara and New York I can get a good grasp of where the value is.
My winner, for the perfect use of the Citi Hilton Reserve Two Free Nights is the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Runner up, Hilton Bora Bora, and in third place. I am actually, based upon this report, picked the Seychelles and the Category 8 DoubleTree. If it is high season and you are being asked for 70,000 per night it is worth using the Two Free Night Vouchers, in low season, if you can catch a cheaper points per night rate then I would hold onto the vouchers.
However, I believe that the finalists for the best Category 10 Hotel are all in the realm of ‘dream trip’ so they may not be useful. Furthermore none of the above three finalists really work with my travel plans, so I dug into the Category 9 Hotels to see if I can find something that I can actually use these nights on before they expire in April 2014.