As part of an effort to briefly reunite our family during the summer, my parents and I made the trek out to Colorado to visit my sister, who studies at Colorado State University. After a stay at the Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, we continued on to check out Boulder for its hiking, Red Rocks and, of course, breweries - if you're ever in Broomfield, I recommend Wonderland with its mini-golf course!
Hyatt House is the select service extended stay brand of Hyatt Hotels, which is intended to occupy an upper scale segment in the market. If your head just spun, don’t worry these terms can be confusing, but do highlight what to expect at a property: select service is a category of hotels that offer rooms and a few select services such as morning breakfast and a fitness center, while extended stay hotels are those that offer amenities such as rooms with kitchens and living areas. For comparison's sake, Hampton Inn - which Melanie and Tom stayed at earlier this year - is a household name in the select service market, and Ian's visit to the Residence Inn may ring a bell in the extended stay arena. Hyatt House’s history starts in 2006 when Hyatt acquired the Summerfield Suites chain, ultimately rebranding them in 2012 to evoke the name of the original 1957 Hyatt House property at LAX - the first ever airport hotel, but that’s a different story. Today, the brand is synonymous with contemporary design, apartment style living and a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. Our Hyatt House began its life as a Summerfield Suites, apparently quite an awarded one based upon the plaques displayed in the lobby.
While the Hyatt House has Boulder in its name, don’t let it fool you, the Broomfield portion is really the only accurate part. It is quite a ways from Boulder, about a 25 minutes drive, which we all found a bit deceptive. We chose this property over the Hyatt Place in downtown Boulder in hopes of avoiding crowds, which we did successfully, but I wish we’d done more research on the area. While a nice hotel, it sits in a work in progress residential development that lacks walkability; there is a liquor store and a Starbucks in the parking lot, but the development is essentially its own island. There were a number of excellent breweries just a quick drive away, and trading walkability for the amount of space we had felt like a fair trade off amid COVID.
We had previously booked this hotel for another weekend, and had a change of plans. Upon searching our new dates, the 2-Bedroom Suite was no longer available, so we booked two individual rooms. Then, at the last minute, a 2-Bedroom Suite popped up and we snagged it! The nightly rate clocked in at $215 plus taxes and fees, for a total of $708.54, a steal for such a big space. On the points side, we earned 1,428 Southwest Rapid Rewards points by charging to my parents Southwest Premier VISA Card. Meanwhile, I earned 3,288 Base World of Hyatt Points and 323 Bonus Points for my Discoverist Status. I also earned 3 tier nights towards 2021 Status.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We pulled right up to the Hyatt House after the drive in from Fort Collins, the hotel offers free parking to all guests, and unloaded in the large port cochere. Check-In itself was smooth and efficient, and the agent explained all of the COVID changes that were in place at the hotel in addition to answering all of the questions that our group had. She also thanked me for my loyalty and directed us to the H Market for our daily two free bottles of water.
Some of you might be asking: Cleveland? Well, you see, it’s a long story as to how we got here, but the short version of it is that Ian and I recently had to cancel a Los Angeles trip, due to wildfires, and for later this year an Asia / Middle East trip, due to the impact of COVID-19. We were, of course, still inkling to get some travel in and began to look into some road trips that we could take from our home base of Chicago. There were many contenders, but ultimately we landed on Cleveland as we had both never been, had heard good things, and I wanted to check out this hotel.
The Hyatt Regency - Cleveland the Arcade, is a full service historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Cleveland. It traces its roots back to 1890 as a Victorian Era Arcade building, of which Cleveland has several, and is widely believed to have been one of the earliest examples of a shopping mall in the states. It was built by Eisenmann & Smith and the Detroit Bridge Company, and now finds itself on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its location is truly stellar, located just next to the 4th Street Entertainment district, walking distance to all sports venues, a skip and a jump to Lake Erie and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a short drive from many of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, as well as Cuyahoga National Park.
I booked this hotel directly at www.hyatt.com using a Hyatt Friends & Family discount code, similar to my Colleague Rate at Hyatt Regency Sonoma & Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. By booking in this manner, I achieved a great discount off of the advertised rate of $169/night. I booked using my American Express Platinum, as part of a spending challenge for a statement credit, and earned 5x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
Ian and I drove in from Chicago in a rental car, after snagging a great rate using the tips in our Beginners Guide to Car Rental. The ride was relatively easy, save being pulled over in Indiana for doing 65 in a 55, up until arriving near the hotel. The entrances were clearly marked, but the roads around the building were like a bowl of spaghetti with many turns, one way demarcations, and dedicated bus routes - not a problem, but something to be aware of if arriving by car. We ended up being able to snag a street parking space just outside the rear entrance of the hotel’s Arcade, which is actually one of the more lively streets in the area, and ended up leaving the car overnight as we would be up for an early morning hike before parking enforcement began.
Upon walking in the entrance of the hotel, we both were immediately struck by the space. I think the both of us dropped our luggage and started snapping pictures. After our iPhones were back in our pockets, we began our search for the front desk, which isn’t clearly marked from the entrance we came in, but was intuitive to find. Had we come in at the front entrance, our entry sequence would’ve been much clearer - there is both an elevator lobby and a grand marble staircase to bring guests up to the registration area.
The Arcade is truly stunning, but the lobby itself is small, and a bit cluttered - which appears to be because of a temporary relocation of Hyatt Regency’s Market and the removal of traditional lobby furniture. Regardless, we strolled up to the World of Hyatt Check-In and were quickly helped by a friendly employee. He thanked me for my loyalty, explained that he’d upgraded us to a City View Room and answered all of the questions we had.
Let me start out by saying this: Indianapolis gets a bad rep from Chicagoans, so many of us assume that it is a tiny, empty city with nothing to offer. I want to quickly dispel that rumor as I am a huge advocate for the city. I’ve visited a number of times in the past few years to visit friends who moved there, and have loved experiencing more and more of it every time! It is incredibly walkable, has a great cultural trail, and offers a truly excellent food and beverage scene. So, when my dad and I were looking for a weekend getaway to belatedly celebrate his birthday, we landed on Indianapolis as a prime target. The introduction of a mask mandate just days before our departure further affirmed our decision: we’d head out for a self guided Brewery Tour and simply stay where we felt comfortable and pass on places where we weren’t. I’m happy to report that our time at Chilly Water, Hotel Tango, Metazoa, Indiana City, Sun King, and St. Joseph were all rooted in safety and quite comfortable - and yes, we love beer...
The Hyatt Regency Indianapolis is a 4-Star Hotel located in the heart of the city. It sits just across the street from the State Capitol, minutes from Monument Circle, and within walking distance of all of the breweries mentioned above. At the rate we snagged, it was a perfect hub for this trip, and it's COVID procedures helped assure of that we were in good hands.
Much like my recent stay at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma - Wine County, I booked this hotel directly at www.hyatt.com using my Hyatt Colleague Discount while I still had it - unfortunately I’ve been been laid off due to the impact of COVID-19, which has exponentially changed what it's like to travel. By booking in this manner, I achieved a great rate of $59/night, when the going rate was almost $200/night. I booked using my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earned 3x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
My dad and I arrived from Chicago by car, having just narrowly avoided a massive back up on I-65 with an accidental detour. The hotel is conveniently accessible from the highway, but entrance to the self parking was quick confusing - and relatively unmarked. We eventually realized that the entrance ramp was past the valet stand, valet is still in operation at this hotel, and we were soon on our way into the most confusing parking garage I’d ever been in. The route through the spaces truly felt like we were navigating a bowl of spaghetti. We quickly parked and made our way to the elevator lobby where hand sanitizer and a large sign about mask requirements was present - a welcome and relieving sight for the both of us.
Finding myself unemployed and my mom on summer break as a teacher, we looked to find a destination for a socially distant getaway - a temporary escape from reality. After talking through the risks associated with traveling at this time, we landed on Wine Country as our destination. It’s somewhere that we’ve both wanted to visit for quite a while. Knowing that wineries had extensive distancing requirements and that there were several opportunities to spend time in the great outdoors of California; we snagged some cheap flights on Southwest Airlines, booked this property, and off we were!
Located in Santa Rosa, the Hyatt Regency is perfectly located to serve as a springboard for your trip to wine country. It’s conveniently placed at the heart of Sonoma County, just a hop away from Napa Valley and Anderson Valley and a skip away from some phenomenal State Parks and other outdoor recreation areas. Given its proximity to downtown Santa Rosa, you can reasonably walk to shops, restaurants, bars and other business - a real win in my book.
We booked directly with the hotel using my Hyatt Colleague Discount while I still had it - unfortunately I’ve been laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry. Using this, we achieved an excellent rate of $109/night when the going rate was $179/night; in the high season, this property can go for upwards of $300/night. I booked using my Chase Sapphire Reserve and earned 3x Points for the total cost of our hotel stay, but did not earn any World of Hyatt Points due to the stipulation of my rate. This hotel normally charges an additional Destination Fee, but it has been temporarily waived due to changes caused by COVID-19.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
We landed at SFO around lunchtime and after doing some drive through sightseeing in San Francisco - including attempting the Golden Gate Bridge, but only seeing a dense wall of fog - we were on our way to the hotel with what proved to be an easy and scenic ride to wine country. Our GPS routed us to an out parking lot instead of the main entrance where signage was lacking on clear direction. We pulled a ticket and rolled into the lot which proved to be the beginning of our saga around parking - on one instance of trying to exit, we were stuck calling the front desk for several minutes and nearly late for our dinner reservation.
Despite the parking hiccups and an unfinished parking lot, the hotel itself has a pleasant appearance. It’s architecture could best be described as meditterranean influenced, and nicely dressed up a pretty standard building. The most striking feature, though, was the landscape that had soaring topiaries and a plethora of wild grasses and flowers that attracted many bees. Upon unloading our luggage and strolling up to the main entrance, we noticed that all of the front doors were locked, some with chains. By reading the posted signs, we continued to the far door where an employee happily welcomed us into the property.
The Eliza Jane occupies seven warehouses that were closely clustered together, and eventually combined to create 196 guestrooms. Former tenants of the space include the Gulf Baking Soda Company, Peter’s Cartridge Shop and the iconic New Orleans favorite: the Peychaud Bitters Factory (key ingredient in the Sazerac). The most important tenant, though, was the The Daily Picayune Newspaper, which was published by New Orleans native Eliza Jane. The namesake of the hotel, Eliza Jane was the first female publisher of a newspaper in the United States, and this inspiration is subtly felt throughout the hotel.
Designed by New York based Stonehill Taylor, the finished product features bold colors and rich textures alongside exposed industrial elements. Layered in is a literary history that adds depth without feeling superficial or in your face. In fact, this element may go unnoticed to some.
The hotel has a prime location on Magazine Street, which is within the city’s Central Business District - just a short walk to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. I particularly enjoyed the quieter, calmer upscale feel of the location of this hotel. If you want to enjoy the craziness, but also be able to step away from it, this is the hotel for you.
It was a rather last minute decision to book this hotel, in fact, I was staying with others until a friend of mine decided to join me in New Orleans. So, I scrambled and was able to utilize a Free Night Award that I get annually with my Chase Hyatt Visa Card - this card is no longer available, but with a $79 Annual Fee, the Free Night Award offers me great value! Yes, you read that right, the Eliza Jane is, in fact, a Hyatt as an Unbound Collection Hotel - a upper upscale soft brand - which is one of my favorite portfolios of unique and thoughtful properties.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
As many do, we arrived via New Orleans brand new Louis Armstrong International Airport via a quick and affordable Lyft ride. When we pulled up to the hotel, a smiling valet opened the front doors into a reception area where we immediately saw the friend we were meeting - luckily she had coffee for us, which I desperately needed after our long morning of flying. Just to the right, I made my way over to the front desk where a friendly smiling agent welcomed me to New Orleans, offered me a bottle of water and quickly checked me in. A nice touch that I always appreciate is that she thanked me for my loyalty and asked what time I’d like to check out - a 2:00 PM checkout is a perk of my Discoverist Status. Although we were very early, there was indeed a room ready for us, so in just moments we were on our way.