Conrad Koh Samui {THA}

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NEWS & IMPORTANT INFO
- May 15, 2013: Stefano Ruzza, formerly general manager for Hilton Manhae Golf and Spa Resort, Korea, is the new General Manager
- March 2017: Changeover in management; Stefano Ruzza has moved to, and taken over management of, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island while Lyle Lewis (of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island) has replaced Stefano here at Conrad Koh Samui
- December 2018: Lyle Lewis has retired and been replaced by Ruben Dario Gabino (previously hotel manager at Conrad Seoul) as the GM of Conrad Koh Samui.
- Jellyfish season is in October / November
- The resort was a Category 10 property and point redemption rates are 80-95k/night (either 80 or 95k, depending on season, but as of June 2017 this is in question). Here's what it used to look like (in chronological order from January through December):

Jan - Apr: 95K/N
May - Jul: 80K/N
Aug: 95K/N
Sep: 80K/N
Oct: 95K/N
Nov: 80K/N
Dec: 95K/N


HOTEL WEBSITE: http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/h...CI/index.html#


USEFUL REVIEWS
1. Weatherboy's review Jul 29, 2015
2. http://www.jarvismarcos.com/2016/10/conrad-koh-samui-may-2015-part-1/]Jermyn's review (Part 1)[/url], (Part 2)
3. Jermyn's Second Visit review


COMMUNICATION
- Hotel email: [email protected]
- Concierge email: [email protected]
- Reservations (Assistant Manager): Chaiyo


ROOMS
- All villas have pools
- Several villas have been recommended in this thread. All villas in the 200s and 300s seem to have unobstructed views. 100s are at sea level
- Villas mentioned with unobstructed view: 204, 206, 207, 209-218, 302, 306, 308, 311, 501-503 for 2-bedroom villas
- Villas mentioned with trees blocking the view: 202
- Direct view to the Five Islands: villas on the left side on the map, like 306-310
- General info on rooms and selection click here and advice on which is the best in the 300s click here (Courtesy of monahos)

UPGRADE POLICY
- Resort is not exempt from the upgrade policy for Golds and Diamonds like Conrad Rangali is
- As of August 2017, the standard room for redemption / points bookings is the Ocean View Waterfront villa (100s, beach level). This was previously the Ocean View villa (200s)

Conrad Koh Samui (one bedroom villas)
- If you book an Ocean View villa (200s) the next upgrade would be the Ocean View Waterfront villa (100s)
- If you book an Ocean View Waterfront (100s) the upgrade goes to the Ocean View Retreat villa (300s)
- If you book the Ocean View Retreat the next upgrade is the Conrad Royal villa however they have only one Conrad Royal so the upgrade is difficult to get as it is based on availability

Conrad Koh Samui Residences (two bedroom pool villas)
- If you book or reserve a two bedroom villa the upgrade is a three bedroom villa however, as per above, an upgrade hinges on availability and this upgrade is also difficult as they have only 1 unit at the resort


SPA / WELLNESS / SPORT
- CKS spa is very good, but also quite expensive
- Alternative 1: Elements Spa and Resort, www.elements-koh-samui.com
- Alternative 2: Carnation, they may or may not come to your villa, www.samuimassageservice.co.th. See this post and this post.
- Alternative 3: Tamarind Springs - will pick you up from hotel if you spend a minimum dollar amount. Jungle resort with (cold) natural springs, saunas and spa treatments. Great half-day excursion.
- Standard equipped Health Club
- Resort offers several complimentary activities, such as Yoga, Thai Boxing, etc


BEACH
- The beach area has completely changed from a couple of years ago. The sandy beach is bigger and there is now a nice promenade along the beach to enjoy the sunset (courtesy of Claudioplanet on TripAdvisor)
- Resort is pretty isolated and not located in a typical tourist area. Be prepared to just relax and chill at your private pool
- Hotel offers a complimentary boat trip to a nearby island where you can hang out on the beach (mixed feedback)


FOOD & BEVERAGE
Breakfast:
- Complimentary for Gold and Diamond members and half price for kids under 17. Prices follow:
--- THB1050++ if purchased when not included in the room rate
--- A la carte pricing is available. Continental is THB850++, many other items available too
--- THB600++ if breakfast is purchased together with the room as inclusion, and thus vary depending the promotion of the room package. The THB600 is one of those options

Happy Hour & Free Drinks:
--- Locations are Azure Bar & Grill (pool) 4-6PM and Main Lobby Lounge (mid-level) from 5-7PM
--- Non-alcoholic beverages are subject to the happy hour too
--- Only selected alcoholic beverages are included
- Diamond members also receive 4 drink coupons, Gold members receive 2 coupons (good at pool or mid-level hotel bar). Note: Coupons can be used throughout the day and are separate from the Happy Hour
- Free bottled water at the resort (get more at health club or call reception)
- Tips
--- Stock up on drinks at Tesco, 7-11 or other supermarket when getting to the resort (taxi or Mr. Samui will stop for you) or (when you have a rental car) during your stay
--- Due to law Tesco doesn't sell any alcohol between 2pm and 5pm (smaller supermarkets maybe aren't that strict)
--- www.samuixl.com/lotus-chaweng/index.php / www.bigc.co.th/en/stores/bigc/samui/

Restaurants:
- Several on-site restaurants, but with typical (high) resort prices (approx 2000 to 4000 Baht for a full meal)
- Several restaurant alternatives not far away from the resort (distance is not walkable, use rental car or hotel transportation)
- The Green Talay www.nuchsgreentalayrestaurant.com
- Coconut Villa Resort www.coconutvillageresort.com
- Sabeinglae http://www.sabienglae.com/ (~30 minutes)
- Bang Por Takho (~40 minutes by car)
- Fai restaurant and Bamboo Restaurant right next to Elements Spa - Five Islands Restaurant and The Island View


MAP (NOTE: Cut and paste the link into a NEW browser tab, otherwise it will likely be blocked)
- https://www.myoverseaswedding.com/wp...0314_HiRes.jpg

TOURS:
Ocean Samui have been appointed as the official tour operator for the Conrad.
Tours and pricing here: http://oceanasamui.com/conrad/

TRANSPORTATION
- Drive from the airport: approx. 45 minutes (GPS required)
- No parking fee at resort
- By taxi/cap: around THB1000-1500 Baht one-way
- Pickup by hotel: around THB3000 one-way (Quoted in March 2017 for THB1,500 one way using Hotel's Toyota Fortuner)
- Mini van from Nathon: THB200 PP to hotel through Lomprayah High Speed Ferries. Great for those arriving via ferries from Koh Phangan - Koh Tao - Chumporn - Huahin - Bangkok
- Mr. Samui, THB2200 roundtrip
- Navigo App - ride-hailing app. Prices are relatively cheap, but the drivers tend to usually be on the NE corner of the island. If you plan in advance (i.e. give them ample time to arrive at the resort) you'll be fine.

Mr Samui, [email protected],
Website: http://mrsamui.webnode.com/
THB1500 from airport to hotel including 2 hour sightseeing and stop for beverages
THB1000 from hotel to airport (quote as of May 2013) (THB1200 as of January 2014)
THB2200 R/T from/to airport (as of December 2013; January 2014)
THB2000 R/T from/to airport (July 2016)
THB3000 Day Tour of Island (6 hours); THB400 for each extra hour.
Best way to reach Mr Samui is actually not via email (email goes to his friend that helps out) but to make arrangements via his cell phone +66 89 060 6440
He uses Whatsapp on that number. Or just text him. He has an iPhone so texts are free iMessages.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 1:33 pm
  #691  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Aside from the snorkeling, how do the two properties compare quality-wise?

I want to book a high-end 5-night HH resort stay in early 2020. Have been looking primarily at Maldives, but will be coming through HKG on CX and spending time in at least one or two Asian city destinations like Bangkok or Singapore. This hotel would have the advantage of a lot less total travel time for us.

Without having been to either one, I see the "pros" for CKS being much easier to get to, access to more things to do around the hotel, and probably somewhat less expensive when you account for the seaplane transfers and higher food prices in the Maldives.

"Pros" for the Maldives are the true overwater villa experience, better snorkeling, and (I think?) more private villas that don't feel as much like being in a hotel. (I'm just guessing at this from the photos.)

It looks like both have good breakfast and happy hours for Diamonds. I know my wife would want to visit a great spa and we'd both want to have at least one dinner in an exceptional restaurant, either at the hotel or nearby.

Wondering if I should be considering this hotel instead of going all the way to the Maldives....
I think one of the big Pros for CKS is it's proximity to other close and cheap destinations. Spending some time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Angkor Wat can be done with just a quick cheap flight.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 1:43 pm
  #692  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Aside from the snorkeling, how do the two properties compare quality-wise?

I want to book a high-end 5-night HH resort stay in early 2020. Have been looking primarily at Maldives, but will be coming through HKG on CX and spending time in at least one or two Asian city destinations like Bangkok or Singapore. This hotel would have the advantage of a lot less total travel time for us.

Without having been to either one, I see the "pros" for CKS being much easier to get to, access to more things to do around the hotel, and probably somewhat less expensive when you account for the seaplane transfers and higher food prices in the Maldives.

"Pros" for the Maldives are the true overwater villa experience, better snorkeling, and (I think?) more private villas that don't feel as much like being in a hotel. (I'm just guessing at this from the photos.)

It looks like both have good breakfast and happy hours for Diamonds. I know my wife would want to visit a great spa and we'd both want to have at least one dinner in an exceptional restaurant, either at the hotel or nearby.

Wondering if I should be considering this hotel instead of going all the way to the Maldives....
Just got back from a 4 night stay at CKS and was at Rangali last year for our honeymoon. Honestly, when comparing these two properties, we will come back to CKS in a heartbeat. A few reasons:

- All of the staff here are very attentive especially the resort host. We had two different resort host in Rangali during out 6 nights stay and they were missing for extended period when I requested help.
- Rooms are much newer at CKS. While there is something to be said on staying on the water, the snorkeling situation is very poor (coral bleaching) unless you're staying on the other side of island where the house reef is located.
- Rooms in CKS are super private with a large pool that you can actually swim in.
- Also, the Hilton Premium Club can be used at CKS which cost THB8,000 to purchase. Given that you and your wife would be doing a spa day, a single BOGO Spa Voucher would more than pay for the Hilton Premium Club cost.

Hope this helps!
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Old Feb 25, 19, 1:44 pm
  #693  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Aside from the snorkeling, how do the two properties compare quality-wise?

I want to book a high-end 5-night HH resort stay in early 2020. Have been looking primarily at Maldives, but will be coming through HKG on CX and spending time in at least one or two Asian city destinations like Bangkok or Singapore. This hotel would have the advantage of a lot less total travel time for us.

Without having been to either one, I see the "pros" for CKS being much easier to get to, access to more things to do around the hotel, and probably somewhat less expensive when you account for the seaplane transfers and higher food prices in the Maldives.

"Pros" for the Maldives are the true overwater villa experience, better snorkeling, and (I think?) more private villas that don't feel as much like being in a hotel. (I'm just guessing at this from the photos.)

It looks like both have good breakfast and happy hours for Diamonds. I know my wife would want to visit a great spa and we'd both want to have at least one dinner in an exceptional restaurant, either at the hotel or nearby.

Wondering if I should be considering this hotel instead of going all the way to the Maldives....
There's no real snorkeling right off the property at CKS. Frankly the amount of trash that washes up on the shore there is troubling. And there's sometimes a jellyfish issue. The snorkeling from the free boat trip is brief and not great quality, more of an intro to snorkeling. There are likely better tours that can be arranged through the same company that offers the tour, no idea on the cost. I do love the CKS dearly, though. Conrad Maldives sounds and looks incredible, but the idea of being a captive consumer there is really off-putting for me.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 2:39 pm
  #694  
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Originally Posted by metcon123 View Post
Just got back from a 4 night stay at CKS and was at Rangali last year for our honeymoon. Honestly, when comparing these two properties, we will come back to CKS in a heartbeat. A few reasons:

- All of the staff here are very attentive especially the resort host. We had two different resort host in Rangali during out 6 nights stay and they were missing for extended period when I requested help.
- Rooms are much newer at CKS. While there is something to be said on staying on the water, the snorkeling situation is very poor (coral bleaching) unless you're staying on the other side of island where the house reef is located.
- Rooms in CKS are super private with a large pool that you can actually swim in.
- Also, the Hilton Premium Club can be used at CKS which cost THB8,000 to purchase. Given that you and your wife would be doing a spa day, a single BOGO Spa Voucher would more than pay for the Hilton Premium Club cost.

Hope this helps!
How would you compare the quality of the restaurants at Rangali Island with those at or within a short taxi ride of CKS? As I began looking at these hotels, I was under the impression that Ithaa was in the top 5-10 restaurants in the world. (Perhaps because of all the media when it first opened.) Reviews on the FT thread seem a little mixed...good, but probably not the single best meal I've ever had. It looks like the Koh Samui area has several outstanding-looking choices, including one at the Conrad (Jahn).

I'll have to read more about the Hilton Premium Club. I've been Diamond for a few years, was vaguely aware it existed at the Asian hotels, but have never evaluated it. It didn't really come into play in my short stays in HK and Japan because I didn't use many services (beyond the lounges) in the hotels.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 3:02 pm
  #695  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
How would you compare the quality of the restaurants at Rangali Island with those at or within a short taxi ride of CKS? As I began looking at these hotels, I was under the impression that Ithaa was in the top 5-10 restaurants in the world. (Perhaps because of all the media when it first opened.) Reviews on the FT thread seem a little mixed...good, but probably not the single best meal I've ever had. It looks like the Koh Samui area has several outstanding-looking choices, including one at the Conrad (Jahn).

I'll have to read more about the Hilton Premium Club. I've been Diamond for a few years, was vaguely aware it existed at the Asian hotels, but have never evaluated it. It didn't really come into play in my short stays in HK and Japan because I didn't use many services (beyond the lounges) in the hotels.
I would avoid Ithaa like the plague. Honestly it was foolish of us spend USD 400 per person for dinner at Ithaa and the food is underwhelming. If you want to "experience" the underwater restaurant and "Do it for Gram" go for the teatime (whatever it is called these days) slot which is between breakfast and lunch hours where they only serve you an appetizer and a glass of champagne and even that cost USD 75 or so.

Anyway, back to CKS, the food at Jahn is great (coming from a guy that is born and raised in Malaysia, currently lives in the states). The HPC membership provides 50% off all dining at CKS. WE had dinner there 3 nights and averaged THB2800 (after HPC code) for the both of us.

We usually don't go back to the same resort as we like trying out different places but the service level, quality of rooms and HPC provides a tremendous value for us to consider coming back. HPC membership also includes the below:

- 50% dining
- BOGO Spa voucher
- Free set lunch, set dinner AND high tea
- 2 free drink of choice (you also get 4 drink coupon in addition as Diamond member)
- Free bottle of house wine
- 50% off bottle of wine

Perhaps this may put things into perspective, for the price of 2 pizzas at Rangali, you could dine at Jahn for two person (with HPC discount). Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed our time at Rangali and a nice check off the bucket list but if you're looking at value per dollar spend strictly then CKS is a no brainer especially with HPC. My 2 cents...
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Old Feb 25, 19, 6:42 pm
  #696  
 
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We have traveled to the CKS in August the last 2 years and will be returning to Rangali in September after staying there at the end of 2016.

They are quite different experiences but as others have said when looking at the value proposition it is hard to go past CKS.

Using the HPC we had a week at CKS and did not eat outside the resort. On check out the total bill for transfers, food and spa treatments was around 50,000 THB this included 2 meals at Jahn and one in The Cellar. This would get you as far as the seaplane to Rangali (and maybe a bottle of wine).

Rangali is more naturally beautiful and there is a greater variety of dining options but the cost is exponentially higher. We spent more in 4 days on Rangali as we did for both our CKS trips combined.

We stayed in Room 301 both trips at CKS, at Rangali we had a free upgrade to a DBV and an extra night as a complimentary upgrade to a WV added to the one we had paid for (before you could book directly into the WV on points). Based on the room itself I would rate in order the DBV, CKS then the WV (but from what I had seen would rate CKS higher than a stardard BV at Rangali).

The views and room at CKS are spectacular enough that you don't need to go anywhere else but the option is there. We had the hotel car pick us up from the airport and stop at a Lotus Tesco to pick up some drinks and snacks, meaning on our first trip we really only left the room for meals. We did leave the hotel on our second trip for a couple of excursions but if we are to go again would probably split a trip between CKS and another resort closer to the action.

Jarvis Marcos has two CKS trip reports that give you a good idea of what to expect including the HPC as well as a Rangali report for comparison.

We found the service better at Rangali but both were good. The issues with CKS were minor and more recent reports seem to indicate the resort has addressed this.

Either resort will be a great experience it just comes down to budget really. At CKS we barely looked at the prices but at Rangali we had to budget and plan more ahead (though to be fair both our Rangali trips were planned as part of a month long European trip so heading for a week just to Rangali may change this somewhat).
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Old Feb 26, 19, 7:44 am
  #697  
 
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Originally Posted by SponsorSFC View Post
We have traveled to the CKS in August the last 2 years and will be returning to Rangali in September after staying there at the end of 2016.

They are quite different experiences but as others have said when looking at the value proposition it is hard to go past CKS.

Using the HPC we had a week at CKS and did not eat outside the resort. On check out the total bill for transfers, food and spa treatments was around 50,000 THB this included 2 meals at Jahn and one in The Cellar. This would get you as far as the seaplane to Rangali (and maybe a bottle of wine).

Rangali is more naturally beautiful and there is a greater variety of dining options but the cost is exponentially higher. We spent more in 4 days on Rangali as we did for both our CKS trips combined.

We stayed in Room 301 both trips at CKS, at Rangali we had a free upgrade to a DBV and an extra night as a complimentary upgrade to a WV added to the one we had paid for (before you could book directly into the WV on points). Based on the room itself I would rate in order the DBV, CKS then the WV (but from what I had seen would rate CKS higher than a stardard BV at Rangali).

The views and room at CKS are spectacular enough that you don't need to go anywhere else but the option is there. We had the hotel car pick us up from the airport and stop at a Lotus Tesco to pick up some drinks and snacks, meaning on our first trip we really only left the room for meals. We did leave the hotel on our second trip for a couple of excursions but if we are to go again would probably split a trip between CKS and another resort closer to the action.

Jarvis Marcos has two CKS trip reports that give you a good idea of what to expect including the HPC as well as a Rangali report for comparison.

We found the service better at Rangali but both were good. The issues with CKS were minor and more recent reports seem to indicate the resort has addressed this.

Either resort will be a great experience it just comes down to budget really. At CKS we barely looked at the prices but at Rangali we had to budget and plan more ahead (though to be fair both our Rangali trips were planned as part of a month long European trip so heading for a week just to Rangali may change this somewhat).
What excursions or trips did you do during your second visit? We are staying here in July for our honeymoon and I am debating on getting HPC or not, given we are going to rent a car and drive around a decent amount (i.e. not spending a lot of meal time at the hotel likely).
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Old Feb 26, 19, 7:48 am
  #698  
 
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This might not be the relevant forum but I thought Id give it a shot. I am trying to decide between using points (95k / night) for a four night stay at CKS or taking advantage of the current sale at ~$450 / night plus a 4th night free credit by booking with the Citi Prestige. Including taxes, it comes out to about $531 / night and thats a very low redemption value of $0.56 / point. That said, looking at the 95k points category hotels, there arent many that seem that interesting (we are already going to the Maldives at staying at the St Regis, so Rangali isnt interesting). Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old Feb 26, 19, 7:58 am
  #699  
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For a four-nighter for $1600 all in, I'd probably save my points and use the Citi card. That's both a great rate and an excellent use of the 4th night free. And a subpar use of points, assuming you will have other uses of points in the future.

If you want to do 5 nights, then I look at it as more of a toss-up. Just an okay use of points, but worth considering just because I have so damned many HH points and cash-in-hand, even at 0.56c, isn't all bad.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 8:21 am
  #700  
 
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Is it worth doing a day and a half there? Heading to Burma with family and have a little time to kill. Lived in Thailand, and go back at least 3 times a year, so not worried about "seeing" anything such as sight seeing. TIA
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Old Feb 26, 19, 8:32 am
  #701  
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Originally Posted by SponsorSFC View Post
Either resort will be a great experience it just comes down to budget really. At CKS we barely looked at the prices but at Rangali we had to budget and plan more ahead (though to be fair both our Rangali trips were planned as part of a month long European trip so heading for a week just to Rangali may change this somewhat).
While we won't be on a *tight* budget by any means, I absolutely hate the feeling of being ripped off. We love to do a few fine-dining experiences during a trip like this, but I think it would irritate me to no end to pay Michelin 3-star prices at a place that didn't deliver that quality and uniqueness of a meal. This, plus the travel times involved, might lead us to a place like CKS as opposed to the Maldives.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 5:17 pm
  #702  
 
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Originally Posted by SantiC View Post
What excursions or trips did you do during your second visit? We are staying here in July for our honeymoon and I am debating on getting HPC or not, given we are going to rent a car and drive around a decent amount (i.e. not spending a lot of meal time at the hotel likely).
We did a full day trip in the Ang Thong Marine National Park which was worthwhile but was a very long day, we didn't realise that the boat departed from near Lamai so the transfer to and from was slow and a bit painful as we were the first to be picked up and the last to be dropped off meaning a fair bit of waiting around at each resort pick up.

The other trip was the hotel boat, which was good enough considering it was complimentary but not amazing either. It is nice to be able to see the resort and it's surroundings from another angle though.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 10:33 pm
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The Conrad is truly a terrific property but the breakfast at the hotel is ridiculously underwhelming for a hotel of its caliber imo.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 9:12 am
  #704  
 
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It has been a few years since I have been there. As a gold a the time I got a 300 level suite. It was my birthday and unbeknownst to me the manager was notified. A cake and a bottle of champagne arrived at our suite on the second night. Very nice touch!
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Old Feb 27, 19, 10:06 am
  #705  
 
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Originally Posted by brokenwindow View Post
The Conrad is truly a terrific property but the breakfast at the hotel is ridiculously underwhelming for a hotel of its caliber imo.
I'm surprised you say that about the breakfast. I've been there twice (now the last visit was 2.5 years ago), but was able to order off an menu, which I prefer more than just a buffet. The buffet is enough, it's not over the top, however I can see why it's not due to number of guests. Again, we found it to be very well done, due to being able to order different dishes and get prepared hot and fresh by the cooks.
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