Monday, July 28, 2014

Review of Grand Hyatt Washington DC

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During a recent stay in Washington DC for the 4th of July
we split up our stay between two different hotels – the W Washington DC
that is located virtually across the street from the White House, and
the Grand Hyatt Washington that was located just a couple blocks away. 
We split our stay in part to stretch points/dollars and in part because
while we wanted the W for its location on the actual 4th of July, we
(accurately) guessed from reading reviews online that it wouldn’t be the
most family friendly joint in town.  The Grand Hyatt Washington, on the
other hand, was actually pretty family-friendly despite not being an
overtly family-oriented hotel.

Location of Grand Hyatt Washington:

The Grand Hyatt Washington is a large hotel with an atrium design
that has just under 900 rooms.  It is located on H Street NW which is
roughly  a half mile of walking from the W Hotel (full review of the W here),
which is nothing for an able-bodied adult, but does make a difference
in crazy 4th of July crowds or for tired, hot, and cranky kiddos.



C really wanted to swim in the atrium decorative pool!
What the Grand Hyatt really has going for it in terms of location is
that it is located literally on top of the Metro Center stop.  This is
hugely convenient for getting anywhere on the Metro and means you can
get on and off the Metro without even going outside in the oppressive
summer heat and humidity.


Indoor walk to the Metro
The Room:

We reserved a “standard” room via a very good rate on Travel Pony,
and received a requested king bed at check-in.  They also seem to have
lots of rooms with two double beds available if that arrangement works
better for your family.  Our room was located down a pretty long hall
(almost Vegas long!), but it was also very quiet, so no complaints.

The room had an updated look with plenty of plugs all around – even
close to the bed, which I love for all of our electronic gadgets. 
Compared to the W, the room was downright spacious!



Bad picture, but awesome plugs!
In addition to a larger room than the W, the Grand Hyatt Washington
also had a tub/shower combo in the bathroom that is more useful than the
shower-only W style for those with younger kids like us.  The bathroom
was also a traditional bathroom that is private from the main room as
opposed to the frosted glass style bathroom that isn’t quite as private
at the W.

One thing I remember about the Grand Hyatt that we loved is that it
was super easy to keep the the room very cool at night, which we love. 
Some hotel thermostats are set in a way that makes me feel like I have
to battle with them over temperature settings, but not this one.  A cool
and dark room (thanks to good blackout curtains) perfect for naps was
no problem.

Grand Club and Other Amenities:

The hotel is a full service Hyatt that includes a Grand Club on the
12th floor.  Since I have Diamond status we got complimentary access. 
If you don’t have complimentary access thanks to elite status you can
book a Club Floor room for additional points or money if you think you
will get that value back out of having club access.

We were so busy either seeing the sights or sitting with my kid while
she napped that I didn’t get to visit the club very often, but we did
grab breakfast from the club one morning and raided it for sodas and
waters a few other times.


Breakfast in the Grand Club
Just like the rooms, the Club seemed very modern and clean.  There
were employees in there helping you find what you needed every time we
went in.  Of course that makes me feel worse about snagging an arm full
of waters and running, but they were nothing but nice and helpful.  The
Club did have a section that was labeled just for adults, so even those
without kids could have a section to themselves (sadly, it was not a
sound proof room!).

The written instructions we received when we checked in indicated
that each room only came with Club access for two and that more guests
would be an additional fee.  That didn’t make any sense to me since I
had always understood it to be all guests of the room get access, but it
didn’t impact us in our situation.

Another amenity that the hotel had to offer was complimentary access
to a gym and indoor pool that was located near the entrance to the Metro
Center station.  We didn’t have time to actually use it on this trip,
but I did sneak a quick picture of the pool so you can see what it is
like.  Indoor pools can be a fun way for kids to burn off some energy
year round, though in the summer heat I’m pretty sure my kid didn’t have
any extra energy to burn off!

You Can Do it Too:

The cash prices for the Grand Hyatt Washington were very reasonable
the week of the 4th of July so using points would have felt like a
waste.  We paid about $108/night + tax.  I ended up booking one night
via hotel discount booking site Travel Pony
and one night directly with Hyatt for a variety of reasons, but one
bonus of doing it that way was receiving elite status credit by having
the night booked directly with Hyatt attached. My parents booked both of
their nights via Travel Pony and got the $35 off for their first $200+
Travel Pony booking as a result.  This brought their per-night rate even

We could have used 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night or
10,000 points + $125 via cash and points, but again with the low rates
that would have been a poor choice.  They do show availability for next
4th of July currently, though there is a two day minimum stay in
effect.  I do not recommend using Hyatt points unless you are getting at
least 1.5 – 2.0 cents return per point, so with rates this low I would
either just use cash or use a fixed value point such as via the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
instead of Hyatt points to pay for the charges.  As an example, at
about $126 a night all-in this would have cost just 11,340 Barclay
Arrival points (after 10% of the points are returned thanks to it being a
travel charge) instead of the 20,000 Hyatt points it would have cost.

Overall Impressions:

This hotel is likely predominately a hotel designed for business
travelers and conference attendees as it has tons of meeting rooms, but
it happens to work pretty well for family travelers, too.  The
decent-sized rooms, standard rooms with two double beds available,
friendly staff, indoor pool, bathtubs, location on top of Metro Center,
Club lounge, and little touches like water in the lobby all work
together to make this hotel a winner for families coming to DC to see
the sights!



Taking advantage of the Metro – free for kids under 5!
Bonus tip: if you need to “carb up” for more
sightseeing, the brewery/restaurant right across the street serves
ginormous pretzel baskets complimentary when you go for a meal.

While this location wasn’t quite as good as the W, it was a better
overall fit for our traveling family.  If I had to do it all over again I
would have still stayed at the W just for the actual 4th of July night
due to the insane crowds, but would do all other nights at this hotel. 
Of all the hotels I have stayed at in the DC area so far, the Grand
Hyatt Washington is the one best suited for meeting the needs of a
family while still being in a very convenient location.

If you have stayed here I would love to hear your thoughts!

Review of Grand Hyatt Washington DC - Mommy Points

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