sojourneys


The Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo
January 4, 2015, 12:53 pm
Filed under: hotels, reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

Most folks equate American airport vicinity hotels with no-frills, crowded properties filled with throngs of harried flight attendants and hustled business executives. The Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo beats all expectations. The property boasts a sunlit lobby with water features, spacious communal dinning areas, and friendly staff to boot.

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Guestrooms are well-planned to maximize a sense of spaciousness, and feature thoughtful decor and large windows that are a notch above the typical cookie-cutter Hyatt Place hotels that are starting to look like they could use a refresh.

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The Hyatt Place fitness rooms are bare minimum, but at least the one in Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo looks out to the pool, which has lounge beds and tanning chairs to take advantage of the sunny year-round Southern California climes. A self-service business center at the side of the lobby rounds up the hotel amenities.

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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 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.



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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The Hyatt Regency Orange County

The Hyatt Regency Orange County exists–along with the myriad other properties such as Marriott, Residence Inn, Sheraton, etc–primarily to serve the throngs of tourists flocking to the nearby hallowed Disneyland.  Indeed, Disney runs a tour desk in the lobby and a regular shuttle ply the hotel and America’s favorite playground.

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Perhaps it’s because of this reason that the Hyatt Regency Orange County has the most capacious atrium lobby of any Hyatt I’ve yet encountered and the smallest rooms.

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The room I was assigned was basic.  A king-sized bed when you enter, a flat-screen TV to the side and a workdesk awkwardly placed directly in front of the TV, a side closet, and a bathroom across.  The designers of the hotel probably expect guests to be out all day making the most of the Southern California sunshine and visiting the numerous places of interests.

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Facilities include a decent sized pool (expect it to be filled with kids) and an adjoining gym with the standard StayFit equipment.



Refreshed Tony Chi-designed Rooms at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
November 21, 2012, 7:28 am
Filed under: Bangkok, hotels, Hyatt | Tags: , , , ,

The Grand Hyatt Erawan is my hotel of choice whenever I visit Bangkok, and I’ve previously noted that despite the spaciousness, the decor of the rooms is looking rather dated.

I was hence excited to be upgraded to a newly renovated guestroom by celebrated designer Tony Chi during my recent stay in October.  Having stayed there for a weekend, my verdict is that the refresh is incremental rather than quantum.

The layout is essentially the same as the old rooms–entrance foyer with bathroom to the side, bed, and finally study–expect that the furnishings are updated with designs that emphasize clean-lines, non-intrusiveness, and functionality.

So while the net effect is not jaw-dropping, perhaps the brief was for Tony Chi–whose projects include the Andaz Fifth Avenue, Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, and Grand Hyatt Chengdu–to design a theme that is contemporary without being avant garde, comfortable without being boring, and modern without loosing the distinct Thai identity.  These, especially the surfeit of the in-room amenities such as fine teabags with an Asian-accented tea set, fruit basket that was replenished daily, June Jacobs toiletries, as well as various objet d’art exuded a plush yet residential vibe.