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.
Once above ground, we noticed how large the atrium of the building was, and that the hotel was clearly sharing lobby space with numerous businesses and an office tower. It may be because of the amount of attention that the COVID response signage drew, but it was quite confusing finding the front desk - especially from the garage. Once we found it, we were still unsure that we were in the right place as it is unmarked, and also appears to pull double duty for bellhops and concierge services. It did, however, have social distancing markers on the floor, plexiglass shields, and a small queue which led us to believe we were in the right place. Check in was quick and easy, and the agent friendly and efficient. He thanked me for my loyalty, confirmed our 2:00 PM checkout, and explained the COVID precautions the hotel was taking as well as adjusted hours for the dining outlets. Moments later, we were up the elevator and to our room on the 9th floor.
The lobby itself is a MASSIVE atrium space at the center of a very large building. It’s reflective of what all but became a brand standard of architecture after John Portman’s design for the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. It’s quite a striking space, and the modern day insertion of a playful brise soleil helps to bring the scale of the space down, thus making it homey and comfortable. In addition, many smaller nooks and zones exist, including a library space that was quite nice. This was particularly welcome during the pandemic as folks never had to be too close to others. Located just off the lobby were each of the dining outlets and the entrance to the pool and fitness center.
We booked, and were assigned, a standard room with two double beds. Upon using the Mobile Key in the Hyatt App, we entered the room and immediately noted that it was oddly shaped, and felt a little on the smaller side. It did have a nice entry space with a counter top and millwork that housed the coffee maker and refrigerator, as well as a large mirror that proved useful when getting ready in the morning and the closet for the room. Once in the space, our eye was directly drawn out the window to what was a pretty cool view - especially with the sun going down over the industrial parts of the city. Once we turned around, however, I noted how off the room felt. Maybe it was that each light had a different color temperature or maybe it was the absence of artwork, but the room felt too sterile to me.
In the main space, two double beds flanked a shared nightstand that had plenty of outlets. One thing you may, or may not notice, is that each bed only has three pillows: this is an industry move to reduce housekeeping costs and a key in deciding between queen beds or double beds in a room, particularly in larger hotels where those costs add up! But back to the room… Next to the beds, and near the window, was a comfortable chair and side table - both of which were pulled double duty as luggage stands for us. Across the room was a large furniture piece that doubled as a dresser and dual level desk, which had its own task chair. Atop this sat a flatscreen tv, smaller than the new standard 65” I’m used to, but equipped with Chromecast, it was still more than sufficient!
Back near the entrance was the bathroom - which really shows you the last time this property was fully renovated. That surface mounted sink and green glass vanity totally speak to a different time; no complaints here though, as it was sparkling clean, offered a lot of counter space, and still functioned well! Off to the side was the toilet and a shower/tub combo that offered sufficient water pressure. The standard Pharmacopia amenities were placed in the shower, and while I’m not a huge fan of their scent, I do appreciate the messaging form of the bath bars.
Amenities & Features
As a Hyatt Regency in the center of the city, the main amenity that this hotel has on offer is a mass amount of meeting and event space - as well as connection to the City’s pedway system and thus the Indiana Convention Center. In fact, a large dance competition was taking place while we were in town and utilized a portion of the Hyatt’s 35,000 Square Feet of event space.
In addition, a StayFit by Hyatt Gym is also on site. I popped in to take a look, and while on the smaller side, there seemed to be a sufficient assortment of equipment. Social distancing and hygiene standards were also in place. Just off of the gym was the indoor pool, which also featured a hot tub - a huge draw for many of the families that were there. I didn’t spend too much time as there were many unmasked children in the space, thus making me uncomfortable in current times.
Food & Beverage
The hotel features four official food and beverage outlets: Fat Rooster Diner, which served breakfast and lunch; Level One, the hotel bar that was open in the evening for drinks; The Eagle’s Nest, a rooftop rotating restaurant that is closed due to COVID; and a full Starbucks. Modified hours, occupancy, and menus were in place at each establishment that was open.
In addition, the shared lobby also featured a gift shop with many packaged snacks and a Subway sandwich shop which were also connected to the skywalk.
While this hotel seemed to have a decently high occupancy rate, at least during these times, they also had excellent standards for social distancing and hygiene - which were clearly communicated. All of the staff, and most of the guests, followed the mask guidance which added a certain level of comfort - Hyatt has since announced that masks will be mandatory in all hotels. One thing that I learned on this trip, is that while I typically love rooms on higher floors, for the time being, I’ll be requesting lower floor rooms to avoid spending time on the elevator. It’s something that I hadn’t thought about prior to this trip as on my last stay the occupancy in the hotel was low and the elevator was mostly left to my mom and myself, but here, with a higher occupancy, we often had to decide between waiting for or sharing elevators. Another tip is to use Mobile Key and Check In if your hotel offers it, we could’ve entirely skipped our visit to the front desk, and any human interaction, which during COVID is a positive thing.
Other than the modified Food and Beverage offerings and the lack of housekeeping during your stay, this trip felt oddly normal. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but seeing folks following guidelines and still enjoying travel was good for my soul.
While this hotel simply doesn’t stack up as a 4-Star property, in both the quality of room and the service department, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay again if the price is right. It’s conveniently located, was spotlessly clean and felt quite safe. However, justifying its standard rate is hard, and might lead me to check out some of the more unique properties in the area, like the Conrad or Le Méridien.
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