I am a Hyatt fan and continue to be impressed with their World of Hyatt loyalty program. I have the World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase(review) and just opened a World of Hyatt Business Credit Card from Chase(review). As I am about to qualify for my third year as a globalist, I think it's important to realize that things aren't always sunshine as well. And this is the case with a local Hyatt property I visit often.
The Hyatt Regency at Lake Washington
This Hyatt property is not only a Seattle favorite but a favorite of many who visit the Pacific Northwest. We reviewed this property back in December 2020 and described why it can be a great stay:
Picture yourself sipping a cool beverage at the lakefront restaurant in your hotel. Across the lake, but outside of earshot, you see numerous airplanes on approach to the local international airport. Much closer, you see single-engine airplanes taking off and landing at the local flight school. Not to be outdone, several floatplanes arrive and begin taking off and landing on the lake, which for most of your time at the hotel is as still as glass. Last, but certainly not least, within 100 yards to your left, Boeing airplanes sit in storage and await delivery to their new homes.
Sounds fantastic right? This has become my local favorite, if for nothing else, the location and views. But one question comes to my mind. Do we become even more critical of hotels as a local who frequents them often? Or should we expect a property to be better? I have found this property to be consistently inconsistent.
One thing that drives me crazy with this property has been award booking via Hyatt points availability. In fact, in 2021, I tried to book several dates in 2022, with literally not a single date available. Not even a random Monday. I reached out to the property and tried to find out why. Their answer was they had events booked. They couldn't clarify or tell me what the events were, just events and no rooms on points available among all of their 347 rooms.
I realize this is a hotel that has weddings and events but having zero availability this far out seemed odd. Award availability remained non-existent until spring and summer when I began to see dates open. It appears they blocked dates until all events may have been finalized. Throughout this past summer, I saw lots of last-minute availability.
I have experienced long waits as well at the check-in counter on stays. They don't seem to use a separate check-in status line in the check-ins that I have observed. On top of the fact that they are an event hotel and a hotel that has aircrews staying there, not having an efficient check-in process can be frustrating.
Rooms and Upgrades
The upgrade process has been rough for me at the Hyatt Regency at Lake Washington. One of the benefits of Hyatt Globalist status is that you’re guaranteed an upgrade to a standard suite if available. Per the World of Hyatt program terms:
Best Room Available: Globalists will receive the best room available at the time of check-in at Hyatt hotels and resorts, including Standard Suites and rooms with Club lounge-access. The best room available will be determined by the applicable hotel or resort in its sole discretion and may vary from stay-to-stay. The “best room” may, but will not necessarily be, of a room type/category higher than that booked by the Member. Best-room-available benefit includes only Standard Suites (where available), which are defined as rooms within each participating hotel’s or resort’s introductory suite category. Premium, Specialty, Premier, Presidential, Diplomatic, and other suites other than Standard Suites are not included in this benefit. Not valid at Caption by Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Destination by Hyatt Residences, or Vacation Ownership Property hotels and resorts.
At most Hyatts, if available, an upgrade will show up even when checking in online. I have not had that happen here. This included one visit where they tried to sell me an upgrade to a suite for $100 even as a Globalist. Luckily the manager got involved and resolved the issue.
One important fact about this property is that no standard suites have a full view of Lake Washington. That means the best option may be to ask for a regular room with a lakeview. A second option is to be upgraded to a premium suite if available. But I think a premium suite is much harder to get as an upgrade. On my last visit, they had not upgraded me to a lakeview room even though there was availability (I had requested ahead) and numerous suites available. It just always feels like so much effort and begging to get any kind of upgrade or room choice at this property.
The Hyatt Regency at Lake Washington have finally got back on a normal Globalist breakfast routine by allowing you to dine at Waters Table restaurant. They have a great brunch, and it beats the market selections mentioned in our original review. If you have kids, the kids menu lacks variety and substance with only one real meal of French Toast. Other options are toast, fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal. It would be nice to have some more variety of meal options like pancakes, especially for those vegetarian kids like one of mine. For my daughter, she ordered toast and we got her a side of potatoes.
Meanwhile, one of the contradictions is what is offered for other dining options. The dockside dining options seem different with every visit, leaving guests with no idea of what they will get. In the winter, the hotel had a makeshift bar and dining area with a tent. On another visit, they had nothing available, and normally, they have their dockside outdoor tables in the summer.
My issue is the food is different every time as in the different cuisine styles. Most recently it was out of a food truck parked along the water, which seemed tacky. I glanced at the menu, which had a lot of Asian-style cuisine and sushi. I don’t think it fits an outside dockside environment in 80-degree weather. Previously, it seemed to have come from the hotel restaurant and been more standard bar style which was good, I thought. My issue is it's different with each visit with no idea what to expect.
At times, there have been service issues here. As the hotel seems to have to choose between staffing events or dining, I am sure some of this is related to staffing. I got sat 30 minutes after my reservation for breakfast once, which included a long wait for the server. After that, my steak came out blood-rare rather than medium and was sent back.
On another visit, when there was no food and beverage available outside, people bought items in the hotel market and brought them down to the dock and outdoor dining area. Due to a lack of staff, massive amounts of garbage were sitting and not cleaned up.
Also, the hotel's “Destination Fee” includes a smores kit. This was waterfront, but the fire pits seemed not to work consistently. They have now moved to a parking lot view outside the market.
Parking is free on the weekends for all guests, but you have to enter after a certain time as it is a shared garage. Globalists on award stays receive free parking regardless of time. If you don't pay attention to the time you entered, you may get stuck at the pay gate. You need to have the ticket validated if not within your free time. They don't inform you of this at check-in. Also, at times, they seem to be efficient with pre-stay emails and giving you all the pertinent information at check-in, and other times it's lacking.
My frustrations had begun to build up with the Hyatt Regency at Lake Washington, making me think deeper about it. Am I being more critical because this property is a local Hyatt that I visit often? Am I less likely to notice inconsistencies based on just one stay versus multiple per year? In the points and miles, hobby where so many things come to us for free or little cost like status, sometimes we can be extra critical.
What are your thoughts? Come join the discussion in our Facebook group.