Deciding to Visit Hawaii – Where I Don’t Often Go
I don’t travel to Hawaii often. It’s beautiful and the weather’s great but it’s a long way to go from the East Coast and lodging and airfare prices tend to be high. Inflight products to get there aren’t that comfortable. For less money, and more comfortable and a bit further travel, I can usually get what I consider to be a more interesting experience. Frequent Hawaii visits, to me, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.
But I was really interested in the new Andaz Maui, enough to get me to plan a trip out there. Back in late May I decided I wanted to visit it shortly after opening, which usually is something I try to avoid — I like to give a new hotel at least a few months to work out the kinks. But they announced a July 31 opening and were taking reservations for it, and since it was just a few weeks out I figured the date would be pretty reliable. I made a booking using Hyatt Gold Passport points starting August 14.
My Hotel – the Andaz Maui – Wasn’t Going to Open in Time
Then on July 1 I got a voicemail from the hotel’s Director of Rooms. I called him back and he let me know they were going to have to push the opening to August 15. They’d be happy to move me to the Hyatt Regency for the first night or for the whole stay. Umm, that really doesn’t work for me.
My mental model of the Hyatt Regency is more or less what I’m not keen on visiting Hawaii over — $400 room rates for large resorts where you have to get down to the beach early in the morning to ‘reserve’ a beach chair, a hotel hardly in the class on what the Andaz was supposed to be, and hardly as interesting as discovering a brand new property.
I said I still wanted to stay at the Andaz, I wasn’t going to cancel the trip since my upgrades were already confirmed and I decided that I would enjoy being there for opening night even if they might not fully have their act together yet.
They offered to cover the night at the Regency, and while I didn’t love the idea of changing hotels and especially changing to a property 30 to 40 minutes’ drive away I decided I’d get to experience and review two hotels so why not? Plus the Director of Rooms said they hadn’t been booking suites yet but that there’d be a few ready and he would assign me to one at the Andaz when I moved there for the balance of my stay.
And the Andaz Maui Still Wasn’t Going to Open in Time for My New Reservation, Either
Only… six days before departing for Maui I got another phone call. This time it came from Hyatt’s Guest Relations department. I called them back, the woman on the other end of the phone asked, “How are you doing today?” and I said, “I’m guessing probably worse now with this phone call than I was a few minutes ago?” 🙂
The Andaz was pushing its opening again – to September – and could they relocate me to the Hyatt Regency for the full stay?
Now things weren’t sounding so good. I had a quick look at the Hyatt Regency’s website, and wondered what it would take to make this work. They were offering to comp the stay (I subsequently others were also being offered 22,000 points per night compensation if they simply decided to cancel). But I didn’t really want to stay there even if it was free — it wasn’t obviously going to be worth the (fairly precious) time and airfare.
Solution: A Completely Free Stay in a Deluxe Ocean Suite at the Hyatt Regency Maui
I know that the suites at the hotel at the Hyatt Regency are small, about 550 square feet and more like junior suites. So I asked them if they would comp me a “Deluxe Ocean Suite” which is more like 950 square feet and should guarantee some spectacular views.
The woman on the other end of the line said she thought that was reasonable, since i was being moved a second time and since I was already promised a suite at the Andaz being downgraded to a regular room at the Regency didn’t make sense. She had to talk to the property but promised “I’m very persuasive.”
Nearly 48 hours went by and I heard nothing. I figured that’s ok, I would just show up in Maui, get a room somewhere and send Hyatt the bill and argue later if they didn’t sort things out. But on Saturday afternoon I got a call, “everything’s taken care of, we have you in an ocean suite.”
Wait… not a Deluxe Ocean Suite? They saw the notes that’s what I was supposed to be in, but no, I wasn’t assigned to one. Time to do another round with the hotel… About another 60 hours pass, and it’s a day to my departure, I get a call back again that things are all set. A completely free stay, no room rate and no points, for a Deluxe Ocean Suite at the Hyatt Regency Maui. That sounded good to me!
Report Coming: The Hyatt Regency Maui Was Much Better than I Expected!
It’s still not my style, with a busy – not peaceful – club lounge, long lines for the coffee stand in the lobby and in the restaurant if you want to have breakfast there. And food on property wasn’t great.
…the setting was absolutely gorgeous, the views were magnificent, everyone was really friendly and since I mostly ate off property and enjoyed the ocean it was a great jumping off point. Full review to come…