A decidedly blah stay at the Grand Hyatt Washington, DC


I don’t expect much from most hotel stays, and getting a room at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC for $65 all-in is a hard bargain to pass up. Still, even with that great bargain coloring my views, I was a bit disappointed in the stay. Part of that is my fault. The hotel is still undergoing renovations to the guest rooms and that meant lots of construction going on inside. Had I booked directly through Hyatt I would have been sufficiently warned:

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Even a hotels.com booking might have warned me (though it isn’t updated with the delayed completion date) had I scrolled down enough to find this bit:

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Alas, the booking via the United.com Hotels booking engine (just another 3rd party OTA contracted out by United) didn’t include the renovations warning in their property alerts:

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Not Hyatt’s fault that the OTA isn’t up-to-date, but still frustrating.

I had also asked of my Twitter followers which Hyatt to stay at (the Hyatt Regency was the same price) and the Hyatt Washington account responded. They neglected to mention the construction as well. Sadly, I think this is the most disappointing part of the news. They should know and, when asked which is better, a heads up on the construction wouldn’t be unreasonable.

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Our initial room assignment had us squarely between construction on three sides; the atrium was the only side without contractors coming and going all afternoon. Normally not a problem but we wanted to take a nap. That’s more difficult to do with someone hammering on the walls of your room all afternoon.

To their credit, the hotel was very up front about the construction at check-in. All guests were offered a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival and there was also a voucher for free internet, a free movie or a free cocktail in the hotel bar.

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They did their best to be accommodating. Except for the part where the construction schedule didn’t go floor-by-floor so as to minimize the number of people booked in next to the construction. Or maybe it was my 3rd party OTA booking that got me the worst room location in the building. After a visit to the front desk after the attempted nap we were able to get a room a few floors up, away from the noise. It was much better.

And, I must admit, the renovated rooms are pretty nice.

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The translucent screen in the headboard is back-lit which is a bit strange but it is also nice, indirect light for the room. The bed was comfortable, the bath amenities sufficient (though I’m pretty sure the shampoo in our room was a half-used one left over from a previous guest) and generally speaking the space was aesthetically pleasing. At the price-point I paid there was really nothing wrong up to this point in the stay.

My wife went out to the gym in the morning and I didn’t bolt the door behind her. I could hear housekeeping headed up and down the hall outside but they didn’t come to our room; we had arranged for a late check-out (no charge, even for a no-status OTA booking) and they were apparently aware of this. At one point I heard a key card on our door and then it opened. I figured my wife was back from the gym. Instead it was a hotel employee, opening the room and announcing "Hotel Security" as he stepped in. WTF?!?

Apparently a prior guest left something in the room and he was just coming to see if he could find it. At least that’s the story he told me. And the front desk manager was aghast when I mentioned the incident as we checked out. But neither actually apologized. And it NEVER should have happened in the first place.

I’d probably stay here again given the same price point. Even without the $50 coupon from United the Hyatts were pretty much the cheapest hotels in DC proper for the weekend; Priceline and Hotwire couldn’t even save me much on the stay. And the room renovations are quite nice; I actually liked the room layouts and amenities. But the guy from the hotel walking in on me definitely left a sour taste in my mouth. Not cool at all.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

11 Comments

  1. Cheap rate in an under construction hotel? No surprise. I had that happen at the Double Tree in New Orleans. After a while the drilling (which began at 7AM) when you are weather a hangover got me ready do something wrong…

    1. The rate was similarly cheap a couple blocks away at the Hyatt Regency; had I known about the construction I would have stayed there instead. It was actually a refundable rate there and non-refundable at the the Grand Hyatt. And I admit that for the price it was quite reasonable. I was OK with the construction and thought the staff addressed it pretty well, though I am surprised they filled the room initially given that they didn’t have to.

      The “hotel security” guy walking in mid-morning really pissed me off.

  2. Every time I read one of these ‘reviews’ of hotel stays from various blogs I am even more thankful that I don’t feel the need to analyze every stay. I can honestly say I’ve never stayed anywhere where I’ve felt I needed to complain to the desk about anything. Just give me a clean bed and bathroom and I’m good to go. But at least with all these travel blog reviews I now know all the different ways a stay can be disappointing that I never realized before. But I think I’ll just keep ignoring them and maintain my naive bliss. I’ll save my attention to bigger problems in life than disappointing bathroom amenities in a Grand Hyatt. (And why does anyone really care enough to comment on what amenities are in a hotel bathroom anyway? I can’t imagine that I’m the only traveler who carries their own amenities? Just wondering.)

    1. I really don’t review 90% of my hotel stays, Chris. I agree that most are pretty boring and don’t offer any useful or actionable information. I only bother to when something very outside of normal happens, such as a hotel employee walking in on my while I’m sitting in the room or when their social media team gives bad info about the state of the hotel.

      As for the bathroom amenities, my approach varies based on my travel plans. I generally travel as absolutely light as possible. If I know I’m going to be in a full service hotel I won’t bring soap or shampoo with me; I will if I’m going for hostels or low-end hotels. In this case I thought that the half-used shampoo tube in the bathroom was a bit surprising.

      At the end of the day the stay was fine. I slept and left with all of my stuff. Still, there was enough “strange” going on that I thought people should know. Sorry if it was still too boring for you.

  3. I think they have an ongoing problem at this hotel because something similar happpened to me last year with “security” walking in without knocking. There is also a Flyertalk thread about this hotel having an issue with security.

  4. Did the “security guy” knock on the door before coming in? Did you have the privacy sign up? Hopefully, the guy had a name badge or some form of identification to show that he actually worked at the hotel?

  5. This is the most positive review I’ve ever heard for this property. This is one of two hotels worldwide that I would never return to, even for $65/night.

  6. I really don’t believe that the way to measure the standard of quality of an item is by how much one pays for it being a product or a service. That’s why I disagree with the notion that due to the price paid for this stay, and regardless of the improper behavior of the security personnel, the paying guest should be satisfied with what he received.

    I also agree that an used bottle of shampoo is an unacceptable amenity. Just as I would not tolerate a half used bag of coffee in the coffee maker set. It is not proper quality control of the standard of care that GH prides itself in reminding us that they provide, So, yes it should be called out.

    That Seth is low key enough to acknowledge that his overall stay was acceptable, it does not excuse the short comings that he experienced at the GH. I for one, I am glad that he wrote about them, so that the rest of us can be aware of it, in case we coose to also stay in said property in the near future.

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