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.
If you know me, you know that I’m a proud Floridian, and that for some reason I dislike the Tampa Bay area, yet find myself there too often. Perhaps it's because I’m a Florida Panthers fan and had to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning be lauded in the playoffs by locals, but during my time back home amid COVID-19, I once again found myself in the greater Tampa Bay area for a family getaway.
This trip was originally scheduled to occur the weekend prior and then hurricane Isaias decided to give Florida a bit of a scare that week, thus we postponed for the following weekend and I once again extended my stay in Florida. As a family we highly prefer the beaches of the Gulf Coast as they tend to have warmer waters, white sand, and stunning wildlife from sea turtles and dolphins, to manatees and sand dollars - we saw it all on our short escapade.
When I originally booked this property, what really drew me in was not only its location near the stunning Fort De Soto State Park, once voted one of America’s most beautiful beaches, but also the fact that it was cheaper than most in the area and brand new having opened in January. Unclear to most travelers, but true of most Residence Inns, this property was franchised and had outside management, which ended up being crucial with all the turns the trip took.
I booked this hotel directly on the Marriott website and had originally reserved a Bay View 2 Queen Studio Room for $195/night totaling to $430 with resort fees and taxes. However, due to circumstances you’ll read about in the next section, we ended up paying $100/night and with taxes and fees totalling $226 for both nights of our stay. I earned 1,000 Bonvoy Points and since I paid with my Chase Sapphire Preserve, which earns double points on travel, I also earned 550 Ultimate Rewards Points for my stay.
We ended up having to rebook this trip due to hurricane Isaias making a dash at the Florida coast the week we were supposed to go. I had the pleasure of talking to the property owner, and as a fellow Floridian she totally understood our worry with driving and traveling during a storm. She very kindly offered to waive all fees to rebook or cancel the day prior to the stay as we awaited to see the storm's path. To be safe we rebooked and she happily changed our days for a week ahead with no extra fees.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
Finally the weekend arrived and after a surprisingly quick three and a half hour drive from the South Florida coast, we arrived at the Residence Inn Tierra Verde, which sits on a small barrier island before Fort De Soto and requires a small toll to enter - be aware of that anytime you travel the Florida Gulf Coast. The lobby was very well appointed and spacious, with plenty of sunlight and water views as well as coastal furniture and beechwood tones. On the ground were creative sand footprint social distancing decals - to promote standing 6 feet apart; the check-in desks had tall acrylic panels and all the staff were wearing masks; however, the same cannot be said about other guests even though it is required.
Check-in was a breeze and the front desk manager was nothing but a delight, we got our room keys and headed up, but upon entering we were facing… the parking lot. As you recall, we had booked a bay view. I went down to the front desk and asked if it had been an error where we ended up or to see what happened. They explained that it must have been an error with the system and our reservation was not showing the bay view, and that unfortunately, they had no more rooms facing that direction and were fully booked for the weekend. After some back and forth - mainly concerning the rate difference between a bay and parking lot view room - she offered to take off $95 off per night, leaving me at the discounted rate above. It was quite the discount and I was beyond happy with the resolution!