They’ve created a new, lower level buffet (the “Ka’ana Pantry” rather than full buffet) which they allow Diamonds to supplement with an entree and side off of the menu.
Andaz Maui Had One of the Best Breakfast Offerings in Hyatt, the Chain With the Best Breakfast Benefit
Hyatt offers the most generous top tier breakfast benefit — full, not continental, breakfast in hotels without a club lounge offering.
I rate the Andaz Maui’s breakfast a notch behind the Park Hyatt Hadahaa in the Maldives (better setting), Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris (more refined, and room service option), and Andaz 5th Avenue (room service). It’s also behind the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur (one of the most extensive breakfast buffets I’ve ever seen). But it’s unquestionably top 10 and probably top 6 in Hyatt.
The first morning when I went to breakfast I was asked if I had visited before and when I said I had not I was given a tour of the buffet. I don’t think I’ve had a tour of breakfast before.
I described the Andaz Maui breakfast as offering the ultimate luxury of choice.
When I stayed at the Andaz Maui recently I was told at check-in that my Diamond breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant — a $44++ per person buffet — was customizable. Just ask for anything you want and they will make it for you.
I wondered, how does that really work? The restaurant does get busy at times. The servers really varied in quality. The food there was outstanding, very high quality.
I decided to test ‘customization.’ I mentioned that since I was on Maui I would love some fresh fish. Did I have any particular fish in mind? No, whatever the chef thought was the best that he had that morning would work for me, however he wanted to prepare it. She left to discuss, came back and reassured that this would be taken care of. And so it was:
The New Breakfast Benefit
Diamond breakfast now includes a subset of the buffet — bread and bakery items; smoked fish and sliced meat; fruit, yogurt; and oatmeal; plus an egg dish and one side item from the menu and choice of juice and coffee.
Note that these are not the juices from the fresh juice bar, so no pour over coffee either.
Diamonds can upgrade to the full ‘breakfast experience’ (as they referred to it when I was there in July) for an additional $17++ per person.
Here’s Why the Change is a Big Deal
The change at the Andaz Maui no doubt complies with the Hyatt Gold Passport terms and conditions which requires:
At Hyatt hotels that do not have a Regency Club or Grand Club lounge, daily complimentary full breakfast inclusive of one entrée (or standard breakfast buffet), juice and coffee (tax, gratuity and service charges included) will be provided to the member and each registered guest in the room, maximum four (4) people.
They are clearly offering one entree, juice and coffee and are in some sense going ‘above and beyond’ by also offering some of the additional items from the buffet.
But I can’t recall seeing a hotel only offer Diamonds ‘part of a buffet’.
Rather than treating Diamonds as honored guests, the message here seems to be that they are freeloaders and are going to get less than the full breakfast offered by the hotel.
In some sense this is unfair, it’s a framing issue. If the hotel had originally made the Diamond breakfast ‘off the menu only’ and allowed Diamonds to upgrade to the buffet then taking away the full breakfast experience wouldn’t be nearly as bad.
That having been said, by giving them just a piece of the buffet — perhaps thinking they’re being generous — they seem to be sending the opposite message than intended.
What’s more, the change applies to everyone as of a couple of weeks ago. That’s true regardless of when reservations were booked. While the Department of Transportation is considering federal regulations to forbid airlines from raising baggage fees on customers after ticket purchase, hotels go on increasing their own charges after reservations — even non-refundable reservations — are made.
You can have the same exact experience as before if you’re a Diamond for an additional $17++ per person per day. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s sad to see the property become less generous. It’s sad to see them nickel and $20 Diamond members.
In the end though if I can book a cash and points award and apply a Diamond Suite Upgrade to the room I’m still going to stay here though because it offers a smaller hotel feel than the mega resorts and good all-around value. I’ll just enjoy the long lingering morning a little bit less, feeling less welcome than before.