One of my favorite things is a great hotel suite. I recognize that’s not everyone’s preference, many of my readers will say “I don’t need a suite, I don’t spend time in the room anyway, get out and see a great city!” And I don’t disagree with that. But I also enjoy a resort that I can spend time at and relax, a vacation where I’m not running around the whole time. My normal life is at warp speed so being able to take time where I’m sedentary means a lot.
Even in a city, and when not on vacation, I love a sanctuary. By my nature I’m an introvert. So if I’m attending a conference, or a bunch of meetings, or even just doing sightseeing it’s nice to have a great space to return to — large, gorgeous, a place to spread out and relax in and decompress because even just being around masses of people tires me out. Plus I just enjoy different spaces, and appreciating rooms that are almost works of art.
So I’m always after great suites, and try to flag hotels that offer them attainably and strategies to get them (see for instance “How to Score the Best Hotel Room Upgrades” and “Using Hotel Points for Suites and Upgraded Rooms”).
Meanwhile I wrote recently that Austin is a great city, one of my favorites for culture and for food. It’s also a pretty good (though not great) hotel city, with plenty of options.
I recently stayed at the Hyatt Regency Austin and confirmed a suite there at time of booking, and found the suite to be notable so wanted to pass along the experience.
Now, my all-time favorite ‘entry level’ suites that you can confirm with points or a Diamond confirmed suite upgrade are at the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, and the Andaz 5th Avenue.
And I don’t think the suite at the Hyatt Regency Austin quite compares to those!
I stayed at the Hyatt seven months earlier, not in a suite and found the hotel perfectly serviceable. It’s a busy atrium-style hotel that can get a bit noisy (oddly, I can hear plenty of noise right in the doorway of the room but step back a few feeet and it goes silent).
I needed to be back in Austin. Because my confirmed suite upgrade at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco wasn’t honored, I had an expiring Diamond suite upgrade certificate that needed to be applied to a reservation by the end of February (though the stay can be consumed any time after that which is bookable by the expiration date). The only stay longer than a couple of nights that I could reserve at the time was Austin so I went ahead and applied the upgrade.
I was actually briefly tempted to cancel my Hyatt Regency stay and book The Driskill which just became a Hyatt. It was initially showing no availability, but finally opened up just before my stay. It was more expensive than the Regency with no suites available, and giving up the Regency booking would have meant letting my confirmed suite upgrade cert go unused so I decided against. I actually met Mommy Points and her husband for drinks there, and judging from the lobby and bar and from her review of the hotel I’m actually pleased with my decision. It’s a gorgeous old-line property but I prefer modern, and it seems like it could use some investment to bring it up to par.
The suite I had at the Hyatt Regency Austin had a bedroom and separate large living room with comfortable seating area and high top dining table. It had separate full bathrooms off of both the bedroom and living area. That’s common for suites that are basically two rooms put together, and I really like an extra large bathroom (though also like a small bath off the living area for guests to use without their having to enter through the bedroom).
The nice thing about two full baths though is two full sets of bath amenities. The hotel stocked with more than just the standard array of KenetMD that Hyatt Regency has been using — they added in KenetMD sunburn lotion and chapstick for instance to the shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and bath gel even. And of course everything was replenished daily. Since Hyatt invites you to steal their bath amenities, that’s very tempting…
The most distinguishing thing about the suite though was the balcony overlooking the river which extended across the entire length of the suite.
Breakfast is also good for a Hyatt Regency in the U.S. I love a good restaurant breakfast, but usually when the dining is a specialty and not just an afterthought. I don’t really like the sorts of buffets you’d find at an airport hotel, but do love breakfast in the sort of restaurant that draws in business from the local community and not just from people who don’t want to leave the hotel (people eating for convenience rather than taste).
While they offer a buffet that looks decent enough and with a made-to-order station, I actually prefer ordering off of the menu.
I found that the ‘South Austin Eggs Benedict’ were especially good, and I had them twice during a three night stay.
It’s worth noting that whereas some hotels are especially generous with how they handle their Diamond breakfast benefit, this one is very much by the book in that the credit they’ll honor is pretty much exactly the cost of the buffet plus tax and a very modest tip, tip a couple bucks too much and you’ll have a small amount remaining on your bill. So I’ve seen lots of comments about $2 and $3 charges remaining rather than the full bill being wiped. That was certainly my experience on my last visit and on this one. That’s fine, and I’ll tip however I feel appropriate, though I do wish what the hotel did and didn’t cover was more clearly spelled out.