I spent Friday night at the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown for the Austin MegaDO frequent flyer event. I stayed there because it was walking distance from Saturday morning’s event, I could leave my car parked, head back and check out. And because on a one night stay I could use my Hyatt Visa free night.
The Hyatt Visa offers a great value with a free night at any Hyatt hotel up to redemption category 4. But the night doesn’t count towards elite status, and it can’t be upgraded to a suite. So I find I push back using it, and it was going to expire at the end of April. Since this hotel is category 4, and it was going for ~ $275++ per night for the one night’s stay, it seemed like a great use.
You’re supposed to be able to book credit card free nights online, go into your account under ‘Awards’ and click on the credit card free night award and then search. But when I did that, the hotel came back as sold out. I knew that wasn’t right. Searching for the hotel directly, without mention of the certificate, it showed standard room awards available and would let me book a points reservation (15,000 points per night). If an award night is available, the credit card free night is available, and Hyatt was able to book it directly for me, just not online.
When I arrived at the hotel I valet parked the car. Street parking in the area is limited. I wound up getting my valet parking for free — when I returned later in the night, the valet folks were extremely busy. One ‘valet parking only’ parking space opened up around the corner and they asked me to pull it in there and give them the keys, they’d put the car away later. They didn’t. And I imagine since the car didn’t make it inside of their lot, it wasn’t inventoried and billed to my room.
At the check-in desk the agent who greeted me thanked me for being a Hyatt Diamond member, gave me a free cocktail coupon, and told me I had been upgraded to a corner room (which might be slightly larger, has windows on two sides, but doesn't have an L-shaped couch.. love the L-shaped couch in the new Hyatt Place rooms). She also told me they're "the best Hyatt place" she was very excited, claiming to have won best customer satisfaction of any Hyatt Place last month. All of the staff, more or less, seemed equally enthusiastic. She insisted on "escorting me to the elevators" which are just to the left and behind the check-in desk. Completely unnecessary, useless even, but a nice touch for a 'limited service' property.
Speaking of elevators, that's the only part of Hyatt Place properties that feel really cheap to me. I always have the feeling I'm walking into a college dorm when I get into the elevator.
I’m waiting for points to post from the stay, I’m curious to see if my Diamond points amenity will post since I wasn’t offered a choice of amenity and the cocktail coupon seems to suggest it’s a Diamond amenity.
The room was fine, standard for a new build Hyatt Place (which means it is a good room, well thought out, and nothing like the old converted Amerisuites). I’ve much liked the Hyatt Place properties I’ve reviewed here like Delray Beach and LAX/El Segundo.
There’s a sliding glass door into the bathroom, and for the shower (no tub, fine by me).
My only beef with the bath amenities is I’d like it better if they included bath gel, but they’re perfectly functional.
The lobby level has ample couch and work space, and also houses the bar and breakfast area.
Wall Street Journal at my door in the morning, and also downstairs at breakfast. Breakfast was an ample spread, oddly with hot egg dishes but not the staple McMuffin-style breakfast sandwich.
Pizza in Motion stayed there at the same time, reviewed the property, and has pictures of the fitness center which is on the same level as the pool.
I consider the property to have a great location in downtown Austin. Some won’t like being there though because Austin very much has a late night party scene, and 11 stories up I could hear lots of loud party-goers down on the street at midnight. The location, I think, demands better soundproofing. But it suited me perfectly, and I got fantastic value out of my credit card free night.