Master Thread HHonors properties on Phuket: Which of the two do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by NYCUA1K, Sep 2, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    As part of my 2014 annual Year-End Asian Escapade(tm), I plan to redeem HHonors points for a 5-night stay at one of two Hilton properties on Phuket Island:
    • Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa: Located on Karon Beach, this 75-acre resort has 3 outdoor pools, Thai spa, fitness centre and kids' club. Rate: 32K HHonors points/night.
    Both properties clearly have very affordable standard rooms available for redeeming during the time that I plan to be there, which will straddle New Year day. However, I have no idea which of the two is considered to have the better location. The Hilton Phuket Arcadia is about 45 min from the airport (HKT), whereas the DT Resort is much closer to HKT (25 min). That is one slight advantage for the DT. Looking at the pictures of the two associated beaches, Surin and Karon, the latter seems more lively, and since I plan to be there over the New Year's eve festivities, I'd rather have lively than beautiful or pristine.

    I would therefore appreciate any insights or recommendations that folks who have been to Phuket can offer, not necessarily about the two HHonors properties, but about the two beaches on which the properties are located.

    BTW, do not let the very low redemption rates for standard rooms at these properties fool you. There is availability for 10 different types of premium rooms at Hilton Phuket (the DT is out of rooms except for just 1, uno!), but the rates start at around 217K HHonors points/night and go up from there. This means that it is very important to book early. Once the standard rooms are gone, a property is free to set any rate they choose for their premium rooms to ensure they will be available (read: affordable) for booking only to paying customers. Book early because the rates in the redemption charts are for standard rooms only. The premium room rates are the ones that shock everyone; heck, they even make the top standard room rate of 95K/night seem very affordable!

    Thank you in advance for any insights on Surin Beach vs. Karon Beach that you can provide.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
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  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I just returned to the HHonors site to do another search for Hilton properties on Phuket, without logging, in since I simply wanted to compare the amenities, and then I got this display:

    HKT-SEARCH 1.png

    Two things immediately jumped at me: (a) there were no longer any award rooms available at the DT and (b) the rate at the Hilton that was 32K points/night was now 40K.

    So, clearly, the choice had been made for me since the DT no longer had any vacancies. Also, the rate at Hilton jumping up 8 points in less than 12 hours meant that I could no longer wait to book. So, I logged into my account to do the booking, got the display below and another surprise!

    HKT-SEARCH 2.png

    I noticed that the standard award room rate at the Hilton was again 32K points/night, and instead of showing no availability the DT was again showing standard award availability @ 16K points/night. These different displays clearly had something to do with my logging into my account. So, I decided to explore further because I was again unsure whether to go for the Hilton or the DT as both now showed availability. My next move was to see what would be presented to me so I clicked "Book a room" at the Hilton and got the display on the right below (I got the one on the left later to show what I would have gotten without logging in):

    HILTON-HKT SEARCH.png

    Note that the only difference is the rate for the standard award room on the right @ 32K/night described as "DIA STANDARD RM RWD" compared to 40K/night for just "STANDARD RM RWD" on the left. I thought that I got the 8K points off after logging in because I am a Diamond, but then why did they not show such generosity with the premium room rates, which remained the same @ 216.5K/nite whether I was logged in or not. Then it hit me: 32K is exactly 20% of 40K, meaning that the difference of 8K (20% of 40K) in the rates was due to the new "5th Night Free" (1/5 = 0.2 or 20%) elite perk that was instituted on D-Day! Rate difference mystery solved...

    How about the reappearing availability at the DT after I logged in? I'd seen and reported about something similar happening in Chicago after Thanksgiving when 60K+ people had descended upon the Windy City for the Radiological Society of North America meeting filling every downtown hotel.The explanation then and now is known simply as "Diamond Force" by which a property can accommodate Diamond members up to a certain percentage of its occupancy before it declares that it is completely sold out. "Diamond Force" shows up almost always when you need it!

    Lastly, because the DT seemed quite popular since it ran out of both revenue and award rooms, I was beginning to think that it might be the "better" property. So, next I did what I should have started with to try to decide between the two properties: I compared their amenities and it was not even close. The Hilton is by far the better and heavier weight property. Below is the "tale of the tape", but I will tell you what turned me off on the DT -- .no in-room wifi, no in-room wired internet, no public internet! Forget it, no wonder the DT is a Category 3 and the Hilton a Category 5 property:


    HH HKT - Tale of the Tape.png

    I have booked the 5-night reward stay at the Hilton. I will see you from there on New Year's Eve!

    As a result of this extensive "investigation", I just made this into a Master Thread on HHonors Properties on Phuket.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
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  3. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Wow! A big Thailand-wide sale! I will go back to the link in 5 days to see exactly what will be offered, but it may not do me any good because I am redeeming points for the 5-day stay, 4 of which will be during the promo period. The sale appears to be for revenue stays. The award redemption rates are already ridiculously low, and the DT no longer shows availability, either for revenue or award rooms, during the time that I will be there. I do not think I can do much better, but I will take a look. Thanks for posting!
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    BTW, the King Deluxe Garden View room at Hilton Phuket that I just redeemed for only 32,000 points/night for 5 night would cost me 18,000 Thai baht/night at the best available rate, which would be the equivalent of 18,000 Thai baht * 1 US$/32 Thai baht = 18,000/32 = US$563.5/night (US$2,812.5 for the 5 nights)!

    If instead I'd decided to go for Deluxe Plus Seaview room, which is classified as a premium reward room, it would have cost me just US$37.5 more on revenue than the standard room above without the sea view (19,200 baht or US$600 per night). On the other hand, because it has been classified by the property as a premium reward room that same room with the sea view would have cost me 216,561 points/night if I'd tried to redeem points for it. Even with 693K HHonors points on hand, I would still have needed to purchase 909K for US$21,191 to be able to afford this room on points!!! That is the sort of things that has been shocking folks, but it is clear that when standard reward rooms are available, HHonors redemptions are among the most competitive. Book early!

    With that in mind, I believe that I got me at this property a bargain that's tough to beat!;) So...book early!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
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