Up until March of this year Hyatt’s top tier Diamond members were only entitled to suite upgrades when confirming those suites in advance (up to 4 times a year). Now the program has been renamed World of Hyatt, top tier members are Globalists, and in addition to confirmed at booking suite upgrades are entitled to upgrades to “standard suites (where available), which are defined as rooms within each participating hotel’s or resort’s introductory suite category.”
This means something different at each property, and consistency of delivery of the benefit varies from property to property. For instance I never receive a suite upgrade based on availability at the Hyatt Centric Arlington despite being a very frequent guest there. But since the new rules launch March 1 I’ve received complimentary suites at the Grand Hyatt DFW Airport and the Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead (Grand Hyatt DFW was good about offering suites even before these new rules applied).
I’ve been staying at the Grand Hyatt New York for years albeit not always with a Gold Passport number attached. I don’t actually much like the hotel, but it’s frequently been good value. For instance two renovations and 15 years ago you could book the hotel on Priceline for $77. A decade ago Hyatt’s since-discontinued stay certificates were a great value booking rooms that might price on the Hyatt website at $519 for around two-thirds off.
Last week I spent a night there because it was the cheapest upscale alternative that worked with where I needed to be in the city. Rooms were pricing at $199 when I checked in, also suggesting that this very large property was far from full.
I arrived at the hotel about 10 minutes to 3 p.m. There wasn’t much of a line at the desk. I asked the agent what kind of room she had me in, and when I was told it wasn’t a suite I took out my phone.
- It was a one night stay, and I was alone. I really didn’t care about a suite.
- But I wanted to see how the hotel would handle new elite benefits.
- So I checked availability enroute to the hotel. Rooms of all types were plentiful.
The agent explained to me that as a Globalist I could be upgraded as high as a junior suite but none were available. I showed her my phone. The hotel was selling junior suites.
Agent: Junior suites are for sale but none are ready.
Me: How long would I have to wait for one?
Agent: If you want to wait I can ask housekeeping to clean one with two double beds.
Me: What if I wanted to wait for a king?
Agent: I can’t expedite one of those. It will be a long time.
And that’s how I didn’t get upgraded to a junior suite on a night when the Grand Hyatt New York was mostly empty. I didn’t push further because, as I say, I didn’t actually care about the suite and just wanted to see how the interaction would go.
I asked the agent about the bottled water benefit (Hyatt provides a bottle of water daily at the lowest tier of status). She said that I could get one in the club lounge. Knowing that the club lounge didn’t have water bottles for guests (I hate that!) I pushed back and she gave me a coupon for a single bottle of water in the to-go market in the lobby.
Here’s my corner room.
In general I find the hotel more Regency than Grand although they do have June Jacobs bath amenities. Just like there’s no bottled water in the club that guests can take away, there was no June Jacobs bath gel — shampoo, conditioner, and a bar of soap. Cost control is important, but seems much for a Grand.
Along the lines of cost control they have a ground floor market with coffee and sandwiches as well as sundries as a replacement for room service, guests spend the time picking up food rather than having it delivered. Room service still exists with a limited menu and hours, though the Market is 24 hours.
At this hotel even assistance in taking a selfie for social shares is automated.
The highlight of the hotel is the club lounge space largely because of the outdoor deck. Even the club lounge gets busy.
Except for bottled water (there’s a water dispensing machine, fine in the lounge but not to-go) the club lounge is well-provisioned, although like many lounges in the U.S. evening drinks are pay-in rather than complimentary. Breakfast does offer smoked salmon, though onions, tomatoes, and eggs are chopped rather than sliced which holds down food cost.
Returning to the hotel at around 11 p.m. the check-in line was over 20 deep. It’s a perfectly serviceable property, good at the price when it’s the cheapest full service choice in the area, but more appropriate for a Regency than the expectation of the more upscale and service-oriented Grand brand. Put another say, it’s a stay factory.