I usually choose to stay in a Hyatt property. I'm not a fan of a Marriott; Hiltons are ok, but I just don't seem to stay there (not sure why); the W is fun, but more of a party/social hotel; Sheratons don't really do it for me; boutiques and independents are great - the experience can be awesome but occasionally you get a meh experience. I prefer to stay in independent hotels, but if I have to choose a brand, I'd choose Hyatt.
Hotels are the last stand for unique travel experience, now that airlines and car rental companies have pretty much managed to commoditize themselves (except Virgin Airlines - they are unique). Hotel rooms in some respects are a commodity - they have a bed, a desk, Internet access (hopefully in this modern age), and a bathroom. What adds value to make them unique are things like:
- the type of bed
- the cost of Internet access (and its quality)
- the types of towels
- mini-bar items
- hotel restaurant or bar
- staff personalities, friendliness, and their memories
- and more
I searched the Internet to find perspectives on what makes the various hotel brands different, and all I found were summaries about their rewards programs (if you have any suggestions for where to find a hotel brand comparison table or article - please forward. I'm curious). Rewards programs are one part of a hotel experience, but by focusing on that, the hotels are being turned into commodities. And they aren't.
I found this brand statement for Hyatt:
Our mission is to provide authentic hospitality by making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day. We focus on this mission in pursuit of our goal of becoming the most preferred brand in each segment that we serve for our associates, guests, and owners. We support our mission and goal by adhering to a set of core values that characterizes our culture.
This brings me back to Hyatt and why I like it.
One of my favorite Hyatt hotels is the Hyatt Place in Fremont, CA. I like that you can go to the lobby, get a regular salad (not an over-designed salad with multiple ingredients that I can't pronounce, that, although lovely, is just more needless complication after a complicated workday), get a glass of wine, go back to your room, and chill on a living room couch. I feel like I'm at home.
The other is the Hyatt Regency in Boston - the staff is super friendly and helpful, the rooms are fairly large with great bathrooms, and it's brutalist architecture (I just wrote about my experience there over Christmas - I have a bizarre attraction to brutalist architecture that most people think is the ugliest thing going. I'm not sure why...). I still can't believe that some of the staff at the Hyatt in Boston remembered me after a year. It's incredible!
The 3 reasons why I like the Hyatt:
1. Unique Architecture
I think this is more true for the Hyatt Regency brand than the Hyatt Place brand. Every Hyatt Regency has something unique about it.
San Francisco Brutalist Architecture
I think it's quite an interesting building to look at!
San Francisco Internal view - gorgeous lobby!
Boston Brutalist Architecture
Boston - Unique Interiors
Hyatt Regency Cambridge - Unique design allows
each room to have a great view
Glass elevator to see a beautiful lobby
2. Friendly and Relaxed
I don't feel like I have to be "on" when I go to the hotel or the lobby. Hyatt has a relaxed, casual feel to it, although it is stylish and unique. Some other hotels feel "corporate-y" (Marriott) or "scene-y" (the W). When I run out to get coffee in the morning, I don't want to feel awkward schlepping into the lobby wearing my over-sized, hoodie sweatshirt and exercise pants. I prefer not to feel like I have to look 100% fresh when I'm wandering around my home away from home. At a Hyatt, I get that anonymity and at the same time, a friendly face that greets me in the morning. I'm not sure how else to describe the experience.
- Food offerings. Seared tuna and avocado salads with some special nut crumbled over is interesting, but I don't want to eat that every day. When I can't identify a food ingredients (and considering that I'm a foodie, this is an accomplishment) or sauces on my food, I know I'm in over my head. At a hotel, I want the food to be simple and straightforward.
A new offering that I'm excited to try for the Hyatt Regency is a mix and match dinner - pick a protein, pick a sauce/topping, pick a veggie - dinner! That's just as nice as the simple salads they offer to which you can add protein. Life is complicated enough - dinner choices should be easy.
- Free Internet. Starting in February 2015, Hyatt will be offering free Internet access across the brand. (All hotels should have free Internet - but that's for another post!) Some hotels already do this, but it's good to hear that the entire chain will be offering this as part of the room.
What are your thoughts about Hyatt? Look forward to hearing your opinions!