Why the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 is My Most Vexing Hotel

I have family in South Florida and I visit often, and those trips are very much all about spending time with them and not where I’m staying. If there’s ever a time on “leisure” (pretend those are ‘air quotes’) that I don’t spend much time in the room, it’s when I’ve with family. So it doesn’t matter much that the hotel options in my prince point tend to be entirely pedestrian.

I really like the Hyatt Place in Delray Beach as an alternative to my usual Marriott or Renaissance in Boca Raton.

And yet I seem to keep going back to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66… and not because I need Gold Passport stay and night credit, either (I’d just stay in Delray Beach). Other family tends to stay there for other proximity reasons, and I’ll often give in and stay near them for convenience.

Even though in many ways it is my most vexing domestic property, and certainly most vexing Hyatt. Let me explain what I mean. It isn’t the least generous, The Hyatt Regency Baltimore has the chintziest club lounge I can recall running across, just crackers, vegetables, and a single kind of cheese in the evening. That’s it.

Instead it’s that everything seems so lackadaisical from the service to maintenance of the physical plant. You can see it in staff from the valets to the front desk to housekeeping and maintenance. And this has persisted across different hotel managers.

And yet it’s a convenient location for many things, like Ft. Lauderdale cruises, and it’s got a gorgeous view.

I’ve stayed here several times but have not ever seen a suite, my impression is that there are only suites in the motel-style rooms off the lobby rather than in the ‘tower’ which is the preferred place to stay. And I’ve always received large tower rooms looking out at the water. The rooms are fresh, and room service is even reasonably good.

So what am I complaining about?

When I checked into the hotel in March they were really busy on a Friday afternoon. It was right around check-in time and the lobby was full, they were slammed. Any staff can get overwhelmed by that. There was an elite check-in line, or so the sign said, so I stood in it. When the staff ignored me and kept processing guests from the general line, I asked “is there a Diamond line?” I know that sounds terribly entitled, but I honestly thought I was following instructions from the hotel (based on standard practice, and their sign). Instead, the front desk staff member I asked told me ‘that didn’t matter.’

I did tweet my frustrating standing there. That may explain why on the next day of my stay I received a food and beverage amenity that didn’t offer explanation.

This is the sort of hotel where I frequently see one of my pet peeves, cocktail glasses left out in the hallway usually by the elevator. One morning one of the two elevators was flooded with some sort of liquid on the ground, it took prompting of the staff to get it cleaned up, though word from other guests is the spill wasn’t fresh.

One morning I saw a woman sleeping in the lobby. I guess that’s normal at Pier 66, because it appeared that the hotel just decided to make her as comfortable as possible by giving her a blanket rather than asking her to move.

Breakfast is bountiful, but in a sterile room with poor acoustics, and disappointing for a South Florida hotel buffet you can’t get a decent tasting glass of orange juice.

On checkout it was a full 15 minute process to try to get what should have been a complimentary Diamond breakfast removed from the bill. The staff just couldn’t get the process to work on the computers.

On past stays there have been ant infestations on the balcony (due to leftover food from a previous guest that wasn’t removed), a flooded bathroom with water coming in through the ceiling, housekeeping leaving the door of a room open when done (another day housekeeping never came).

And on my first stay another guest even brought security with her (without telling the security staff why they were there) to eject my wife from the only one of three working treadmills. That wasn’t security’s fault, though they should have interjected that they weren’t actually there to forcibly eject someone from the gym. But the lack of maintenance (two of the three needed the same part), and the hotel’s lack of followup — the manager on duty promised to ‘investigate’ and get back to us but didn’t – were indeed problems. The story was picked up by USA Today.

Certainly this stay was better than past experiences here!

As I say, a vexing hotel — granted an old hotel, but that doesn’t excuse the service lapses, the property simply should be run better than it is. Then again if they consistently fill up, then I suppose they’re deemed to be doing just fine.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m not a fan of this property in fact I find the Hyatt Place just down the road vastly superior to the 70s feel of the hotel
    The cheap redo of the faux W Wanna be lobby
    Id venture to say lol the woman slept better in the lobby than I did in my guest room there. I’m envious
    As for the breakfast I thought it was one of the worst ever experienced in a full service Hyatt
    Fruit fly’s buzzing around the buffet table, out of season fruit,bad oj,sub par baking on the whole and pathetic side dishes along side the powdered scrambled eggs sitting in steam hours for hours on end
    I didn’t show up for breakfast as a Diamond on the last day and gave up
    The only single positive in the entire property IMHO is having Avis downstairs with much cheaper rates then the Fort Lauderdale Airport
    The Westin Diplomat is 100X better in everyway than this tired relic that needs serious investment to improve this once old tired classic by means of a massive face lift

  2. If you have family in South Florida and visit them often, why don’t you stay with them? Just wondering since I always stay with family whenever I visit them in Chicago and Houston.

  3. I live in the area, but sometimes overnight at Pier66, when I attend a function involving cocktail(s)…DUIs are frequent on the Interstate systems in south Florida. Without convention business and cruise add-on stays from Port Everglades ships….this hotel would likely see a major drp in occupancy. The Hyatt Place just south of the airport on Stirling Road would be my choice if I were a traveler passing through the area.

  4. My experiences with the Hyatt brand pretty much are like this. As long as the occupancy rate is good, the individual property doesn’t seem to be held accountable by corporate. Except for the Park Hyatt brand (esp. Vendome Paris-The Best!) Hyatt is just another hotel chain, but with far fewer properties than its competitors.

  5. Stories like this about Hyatt make me think less of the brand overall. Their minimum is lower than mine. This makes me question the value of the brand b

  6. You are far too forgiving, after the incident with the wife, that would have been it for me, combined with all the other normal issues for that property.


  7. And yet you keep staying here. So why should the management improve anything? Time to vote with your feet, Gary.

  8. This Hotel has a swanky history when it grand opened in 1965 as the Phillips Pier 66
    Its seen better days however it could be an excellent hotel
    It has a good GM and needs a strong food and beverage director as well as a major renovation to all guest rooms and suites.
    This appears to be an ashtray from the hotel back when smoking was the norm everywhere (roll eyes)

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