Monday, March 24, 2008

Ain't life Grand

Grand Hyatt San Francisco at Union Square

I exited BART at Montgomery Street and it was a four block walk to the Grand Hyatt. Powell might be a block closer. I don’t know.

Guest services counter was busy so I went to the e-check-in machine. The process was simple. I was given #2321 which is an upgrade from my reservation. I also received a corner room which is a slightly nicer layout than regular rooms. The reservation had said the room would be on Floors 5-17 and be 315 square feet, so this room is actually a bit larger. I received upgrades to higher floors than stated in my reservation confirmation with both of my reservations, despite not having any Hyatt Gold Passport elite status. The Grand Hyatt has a feeling of an upscale hotel in the lobby with attentive staff members visibly present and usually available for guest services and a more traditional room d├ęcor.

There were three upholstered chairs in the room. The desk chair had wooden arms and two other matching chairs with a small table provided comfortable seating options.

The door entry section is 5’x5’, main room is 18.5’ x 13’ with bed, desk, 32” traditional TV and chairs. A separate space leading into the bathroom is 40 ft2 for dresser and closet space and the enclosed bathroom area is 48 = 348 ft2

Club Regency floors are on 31-34. Floor 35 has fitness room with a large selection of fitness equipment. Floor 36 is Grandviews Restaurant and bar. The bar has incredible views of North Beach, Coit Tower, Alcatraz and Nob Hill. The windows face towards Nob Hill and offer a fantastic view of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins and probably the second best views in San Francisco (Mark Hopkins Hotel Top of the Mark restaurant probably tops San Francisco locations for the best scenic view of the city).

I went to the Hyatt Grandviews bar for lunch at 2:30 and ordered a tomato and avocado salad. Fortunately, bread and butter was provided to fill me as the salad alone may have not been sufficient to get me through the day.

My same room location on floors 31-34 would probably be high enough to see Golden Gate Bridge. I am on floor 23 and most of the surrounding buildings are 25 to 30 stories tall.
First impression of the room is that it is grand. Hyatt Regency San Francisco has a modern W-like style whereas the Hyatt Grand is tasteful traditional elegance. This room has lots of gold highlights on picture frames, carpet, and lamps. Lighter wood finishes and upholstered chairs.

Dislikes: electronic mini-bar, patio door only opens four inches

Back to the mini-bar and I see that domestic beer is $6.50 and imported beer is $7.00. That isn’t surprising to me. What is shocking, and I don’t ever recall seeing this before in a mini-bar is that on top of tax there is a 20% restocking fee. That $7.00 imported beer is $8.40 + 14% tax = $9.58/beer. That makes a neighborhood bar look like a great deal.
Internet is $9.95 for 24 hours.

So, the interesting feature is the Hyatt Place Fremont has some of the best amenities including free internet, complimentary breakfast, the best TV and just about the largest space.

No convenient outlets for ironing board. The perfect place to set up ironing board (near TV) had no outlets around. Fortunately a 12-ft cord and I could reach under table to plug in iron.

Drawback of Hyatt Grand is bathroom needs remodeling. First off would be the simple addition of a curved shower rod. This is one of the few rooms I have stayed in over the past few years without a curved shower rod, and the only upscale hotel without this simple feature. It is a $10 upgrade. And then the shower curtain they have was quite difficult to pull closed as the curtain stuck to the rod.

Cracks and chips in bathroom counter and floor tiles became more noticeable to my eye after a day in the room (not spent exclusively in the bathroom).

The Regency Club lounge is on the 32nd floor. This is available to invited elite members or Club Regency room rates (usually $40 to $100 per night more). The lounge provides the same great views as the restaurant on the 36th floor. The lounge is open throughout the day for a space to hang out with sodas and some beverages available and food during certain times of the day.

The staff were attentive, receptive, and proactive at the Grand Hyatt at Union Square which is a level of service I didn't see at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco or at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square over several stays last November. This is the level of service I typically find at upscale international hotels.

The Grand Hyatt San Francisco is only a Category 3 hotel for Hyatt Gold Passport points redemption at 12,000 points per night while the Hyatt Regency is a Category 4 hotel at 15,000 points/free night. I would definitely take advantage of the lower redemption rate and stay at the Grand Hyatt while that option is available. Room rates tend to be higher at Grand Hyatt and this category discrepancy for free night redemption using points may disappear before too long.

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