Last weekend my partner and I went to New York City to see Hamilton, the hit new Broadway musical. As a newly minted Diamond member of Hyatt Gold Passport, I decided to book us at the Grand Hyatt New York and see what all the Hyatt fuss is about.
Since my Diamond tier match was only confirmed in mid-December, I wasn't surprised that no suites were available for a confirmed Diamond suite upgrade (there was also a conference taking place in the hotel during our stay).
On December 24, 2015, the Grand Hyatt sent me the following e-mail:
"Dear Valued Grand Club Guest,
Thank you for choosing Grand Hyatt New York! It is a pleasure to have you as our guest and we hope to make your stay a memorable one!
Please note that due to seasonal maintenance, the Grand Club Lounge on the 16th floor will be closed from January 4th until January 10th 2016. During this period, we will be offering the following:
500 Gold Passport Bonus points for your stay per room.
Complimentary breakfast in New York Central from 630AM – 1030AM.
Half off appetizers, cocktails and house wines in New York Central from 5PM-8PM.
“Plymouth” Business Room located on the conference level of our Hotel for your tranquility and business needs. “Plymouth” will be open from 6AM – 10PM daily.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience during this necessary maintenance."
I though this was a pretty good deal. In addition to 500 bonus Gold Passport points, I'd also get a full breakfast in the hotel restaurant, rather than whatever the Grand Club decided to put out.
Since our flight was arriving at 9:30 am, I proactively reached out to the Hyatt and told them we'd be arriving early. They responded that they'd try to have a room ready for us, but if it wasn't, they'd store our bags for us.
When we arrived, they were able to check us in immediately, and gave me an updated version of the Grand Club closure letter:
The letter's identical to the e-mail I received with the exception of the first point: instead of 500 Gold Passport points, now they were offering 2,500 bonus points!
Except the clerk who handed me the letter had obviously not looked at it, so she initially said she was giving me 500 bonus points. When I pointed out the discrepancy, she said she was adding another 1,500 bonus Gold Passport points to my account.
Well, I'm sure you can see where this is going. When the stay posted to my account, not only did I not get 2,500 points, I didn't even get 500 bonus points:
I'll get the points sorted out eventually, but I hate having to do multiple laps with a property to get what they've promised.
We were given a standard King Grand Club room, which I think was "large for a New York hotel room." The room featured some odd design choices. The shower had this curious ledge sticking out at shin-height:
At first I assumed it was a seat that slid out, as some kind of gesture at ADA compliance. But it doesn't actually move, which makes me think either they cut the tile to the wrong length or it's a "shaving ledge" to rest your foot on while you shave your legs. Not a bad idea.
The bathroom also featured this bizarre motion-activated nightlight:
After our early morning flight, we decided to take a nap before exploring the city (yeah yeah, I'm old and boring).
My partner immediately noticed that one of the lamps in the room was rapidly flashing, even though it was turned off.
After napping, we went downstairs and told the front desk about the malfunctioning lamp, then went out to explore. A few minutes after we got back in the evening, we heard a knock at the door, and this small man came into the room with a stepladder and proceeded to install lightbulbs in the overhead fixtures (we hadn't noticed the missing bulbs):
When he was done he said, "Alright, you should be all set now." In other words, the actual problem we had complained about to the front desk had not made it to the handyman. All he knew was "there's something wrong with the lights." Once we explained the situation to him — again — he finally replaced the bulb in the lamp and left us alone.
Besides the problem with the lamp, one of the room's power outlets was coming out of the wall. I'm not sure if it's technically a safety hazard, but it's certainly not ideal:
Saturday and Sunday morning we had breakfast in New York Central, the restaurant in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. Since we hadn't been given any cap on our complimentary breakfast, we did our best to get our money's worth. This is what $106 in hotel breakfast looks like:
Joe Cheung tweeted me that around the corner at the Andaz 5th Avenue he was given a cap of $75 on his restaurant breakfast, so I was pleased to see that they took the entire charge off our bill at checkout.
Since I'm new to Hyatt's variety of brands, I didn't know what to expect from a Grand Hyatt. If the Grand Hyatt New York is typical, then it's a no-frills, full-service brand with spotty customer service training.
If that sounds harsh, keep in mind that the Grand Hyatt New York is typically one of the cheapest Hyatt properties in Manhattan, which is why we stayed there in the first place. I'm sure the room and the service would have been better at the Andaz 5th Avenue, but I would have paid over twice as much for the pleasure.