After getting my HHonours Diamond status matching for 90 days, I decided to give my stays in Houston and Panama City in the Hilton chain a try.
With the diamond status, I can get Lounge access and breakfast for 2 regardless of the room category booked. Logic dictates that I book the cheapest room!
Hilton allows online check in the day before and even room selection! Upgrades however will only be given depending on availability. On the day of check in (once the room is available), electronic key is provided directly to the Hilton Honors app. However, it is highly recommended that you still get the proper key card as the electronic key card can still be a little spotty and may not work all the time. Checking in was fast and in less than 2 minutes, I have my physical key cards. No upgrade was given though.
The hotel is quite conveniently located in downtown Houston, next to the Toyota Centre. Given that the Rockets were eliminated in the semi-finals, the place was quiet without any game (I reckon that during regular NBA season, the place can be quite noisy just like the Residence Inn in Downtown Los Angeles which was near the Staples Centre).
The room was very spacious, but clearly the design and fittings were dated. We had a comfortable king-sized bed. The bathroom uses the old school tub with a fixed shower head. Bottled water was complimentary (Diamond benefit). Amenities were provided but there were no bathrobe nor slippers (how disappointing).
Wi-fi speed was pretty good at 14.5 Mbps up and downstream (again courtesy of high-speed Wi-fi from the Diamond perks).
The pool is indoor and located at the top floor. During my stay, I was not able to try it out as the pool was very congested (which probably explains the lack of upgrade).
Lounge was very bright and spacious at the 24th floor. There is a coffee machine and fridge with cold drinks. Snacks was fairly limited though.
In the evening, the canapes selection was rather disappointing with very limited selection of food. Breakfast items were slightly better, but I was expecting something better from Hilton.
Although the hotel offers complimentary shuttle, this is only available on weekdays. One can take the free Green Line or Orange Line shuttle (that stops outside the hotel) to go around the downtown area.
For $150 (incl. tax), it is still a reasonable price (given that I had lounge access from the Diamond Status). The executive room will probably cost an extra $80-100 which I feel is not worth it. The location is excellent, but the room is rather old and the food option in the lounge was lousy.