sojourneys


Hyatt The Pike Long Beach
January 3, 2015, 4:46 pm
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, reviews | Tags: , , , ,

Is Hyatt The Pike Long Beach a Hyatt Regency? Or a Hyatt Place? It’s neither and therein reposes its awkwardness. Formerly the AVIA Long Beach, rooms are more comfortable and well-decorated than a typical Hyatt Place. The centerpiece is a rotatable TV console, which allows viewing in the working and lounging alcoves of the room, as well as in the sleeping area.

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The bathroom is especially spacious and the marble walls certainly add a touch of luxury.

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In terms of facilities, it’s a mixed bag with a beautiful rooftop pool but a paltry gym with but a few cardio machines and free weights. And unlike a Hyatt Place, there is no complimentary breakfast. Notwithstanding, Hyatt The Pike Long Beach is well placed for guests to enjoy the leisure options and commercial connectivity of the bustling port city of Southern California.

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The Refreshed Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
February 11, 2014, 1:40 pm
Filed under: Bangkok, Erawan, hotels, Hyatt, reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

The Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is my favorite hotel in Bangkok. The property boasts an excellent location in the heart of the Ratchaprasong shopping district, direct connection to the skywalk linking two BTS stations, and probably the best facilities among hotels in Bangkok including a Technogym-equipped fitness center on par or even better than high-end commercial gyms.

A stay at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok just became more compelling as the property emerges from a renovation of the guestrooms–which were looking rather dated–with New-York based designer Tony Chi helming the projects.

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The result is guestrooms that look fresh, contemporary, while retaining the comfort and ease of a residence.

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Coupled with a fine array of restaurants and the Erawan Bakery–where delectable creations go at half-price starting 6pm every evening–there is little reason not to make the Grand Hyatt Erawan a home away from home in the City of Angles.

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Rediscovering the Hyatt Regency Wichita
June 15, 2013, 9:07 pm
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, resorts | Tags: , , ,

In June I had the opportunity to once again stay at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, which I had previously reviewed three times.  This most recent stay, with a complimentary upgrade to a corner room by a cheerful, prompt, and helpful front desk associate by the name of Beverley provided some new experiences.

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The lobby, designed to resemble an open, contemporary home, is welcoming and puts guests at ease.  Guests preferring more healthy, light fare or snacks can avail themselves of Perks Coffee and More, which in addition to salads, sandwiches, and pastry, also serves up a steaming cup of Starbucks Coffee.

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The corner guestroom with its muted, soft colors and lighting makes for a relaxing stay. The Hyatt bed, linens, and array of pillow options allow for a restful night–or a delightful siesta.  For bathroom amenities, Hyatt has switched from Portico Spa to KenetMD.  The shampoo and conditioner leave hair clean and supple, while the body lotion is easy to apply and absorbent.

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The best aspect of the corner room, with its abundant windows, however is the panoramic view of the Arkansas River, the Lawrence Dumont Stadium, the INTRUST Bank Arena, and surrounding attractions.



The Andaz Liverpool Street London
April 5, 2013, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Andaz, hotels, Hyatt, London, reviews | Tags: , , , ,

The Andaz Liverpool Street London is an enigma.  And its many hallways hide a secret.  For the unveiling of the secret, you may scroll to the final paragraph now.  But first about the enigma.

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The Andaz is Hyatt’s  collection of mod, boutique hotels where guests will find no stodgy check-in desks, where social spaces mesh seamlessly one into another, where hosts welcome guests on iPads, and where guests can help themselves without charge to an enticing spectrum of beverages and hors d’œuvre and wine to welcome the evening.  For all its modernity and fresh, contemporary vibe, the Andaz Liverpool Street (Hyatt’s first Andaz) is housed in a magnificent redbrick Victorian building dating back to 1884.  In fact, before Hyatt purchased the building in 2008, it once housed the Great Eastern Hotel, one of the original London railway hotels.  The confluence of modernity and history, of mod lighting and chandeliers, and of technology and tradition, is part of what makes a stay at the Andaz Liverpool London so special.

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The top-notch service is another reason.  The draping of soft bath towels over heated towel bars in the bathroom is a perfect example of the hotel’s service level.  The bewildering array of complimentary in-room beverages from carbonated and still Llanllyr water, Breckland Orchard fruit-flavored refreshments, Schweppes lemonades, Coke, Diet Coke,tea from The East India Company, and more, is another.  Toiletries are from London’s Plantation.  The guestroom has everything that even the most fussy guest would want, and more.

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For all its impressive amenities, the gym was disappointing.  While it is spacious, the variety of equipment is limited.  Multi-function stations (and the gym has just one) simply do not provide the same precision and adequacy of training that purpose-built dedicated stations do.  And for a property of such caliber, one would expect a more well-equipped gym.  This is an area I hope the hotel management can improve on.

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And now for the secret.  During renovations of the Great Eastern Hotel in 1990, workers came across a false wall.  When the false wall was demolished, a hidden Masonic Temple revealed itself–marble flooring, mahogany walls, leather thrones, and all.  Urban legends surrounding this Masonic Temple abound.  The most disturbing perhaps is that as the neighborhood was thought to be one of Jack the Ripper’s haunts, and as the notorious serial killer was thought to be a Mason, he may have socialized in the temple.  Today, the Andaz Liverpool Street makes the room available for events rental.  Ask an Andaz host, and if they are not too busy, you might just be given a private tour.

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Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta
February 17, 2013, 3:01 pm
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , ,

The best asset of the Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta is its staff, who are ever smiling and who exude warm, cheerful service.  The grounds are verdant and well-maintained.  But its age is starting show in the frayed corners, mouldy baths in the spa, and visible wear-and-tear on the facilities.

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The rooms are spartan by Hyatt standards.  There is no alarm clock in sight, access to the shower is via a precarious climb into the steep bath, and the in-room safe is so shallow that it can accommodate only one laptop.  Cold, austere tiles overlay the flooring.

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The expansive swimming pools, surrounded by lush gardens and an abundance of deck chairs, somewhat offset the austere guest accommodations.

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Taking inspiration from Borobudur, Indonesia’s most visited monument, which is about an hour by car from the hotel, the outdoor lounge area is flanked by charming Koi ponds with miniature stupas.

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The Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta is probably the city’s most luxurious hotel, but by global Hyatt standards, there is certainly room for improvement, and an infrastructure upgrade is urgently needed.



Andaz West Hollywood
January 3, 2013, 8:05 am
Filed under: Andaz, hotels, Hyatt, reviews, USA | Tags: , , , , ,

The Andaz is Hyatt’s collection of boutique hotels, and I enjoyed the vibe, intimacy, and amenities of the Andaz West Hollywood as much as I did during my previous stay in 2011.  The check-in staff (“hosts” in Andaz lingua franca) recalled details of my last stay, and thoughtfully asked if I would like a similar room looking out to the famed Sunset Boulevard in the immediate vicinity and the downtown Los Angeles skyline beyond.

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The room I was assigned was spacious, and one special feature that distinguishes the front-facing room from those that look out into the fabulous residences that line the hill behind the hotel is that rooms facing the front come with a relaxation alcove with lounge sitting and a separate flat-screen TV of its own.  Not that guests will be utilizing the TV all that often with the spectacular views of the glittering Los Angeles skyline especially at dusk.

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A refreshing change from the Portico Spa products found in all other generic Hyatt properties is the aromatherapy series of toiletries set from Lather by Modern Apothecary.

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Facilities include a fairly basic gym, but fitness buffs might want to time their visits as the hotel as saw fit to place the treadmills and elliptical trainers in the direct rays of the relentless Southern California sun in the morning hours.

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Guests of the Andaz West Hollywood should take a trip to the rooftop where the pool–as well as verdant flora and more great views–await.

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The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

Nestled in the Coahcella Valley embraced by majestic mountains such as the San Bernadino Mountains, the San Jacinto Mountains, and the Santa Rosa Mountains, the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells (formerly known as the Hyatt Grand Champions) is a 45-acre desert oasis in a well-to-do neighborhood festooned with posh gated communities.

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The grounds are verdant, and immaculately manicured.  The rooms are spacious, with a step-down area holding a living area, workdesk, and balcony space looking out into the property.  The color scheme comprising muted earth tones is soothing and the furnishings are comfortable for an extended stay.

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There are three pools (including a small water slide) and the fitness center is more well-equipped than most Hyatt Regency gyms, although it is also  much busier as it is open to members of the community (for a fee, one is fairly certain).

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