One of the perks of being a hotel review writer is that hotels offer you deals — or free rooms — all the time. This is usually accompanied by pretty good service because everyone wants a good review.
I try to balance out the inherent bias of this setup by totally spying on hotel staff, peering around corners and taking notes like my hero, Harriet the Spy. I also strike up conversations the strangers at ice machines and the hallway or lobby.
Yes, I’m that lady, and I keep trying to talk to you because I want to find out if “regular” guests get the same treatment as I do. Usually the answer is yes, as far as I can discern. But recently I was a “regular” guest at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, MI, and my stay kinda sucked.
The Room – Tiny, Dark and oh my God, is that Pizza on the Carpet?
I have a pretty broad tolerance for hotel rooms, but this one at the Dearborn Hyatt was small. It was cramped and crowded with two beds, two chairs, a desk, the tv/bureau thing, and the luggage stand. Lose a chair, let us breath a little!
The bathroom was tiny, and the handle on the sink was wonky, accidentally turning on the hot water way higher, hotter and faster than was safe. I did appreciate the extra sink and mirror outside of the bathroom, which made it easier to get ready. That’s also where they keep the single cup coffee maker, which was nice to have, but they only provided two tea bags — one caffeinated, one decaf.
I sort of feel lucky that we didn’t die in an electrical fire during the night. All of the outlets were strangely too loose for my computer, phone, and ipod chargers. As in, the plugs kept falling out of the outlets. Then the bedside light was broken. And then my traveling partner and I both had to pay $9.95 for wifi, which isn’t an electrical issue, but is surprising and annoying considering this is a business hotel. You’d think most of the guests would be traveling with laptops.
When I found chunks of dried up pizza on the floor, I was done. The room was terrible, and we didn’t have time wait around for a manager/housekeeping/fairy hotel godmother to come make it better, so we left to go meet friends at the lobby bar.
The Service – Mixed but Mostly Good
A room can be cleaned — or upgraded — if you’re staying long enough to bother complaining to management. The kind of service you get is a better indication of how good the property is. At this Hyatt, the service was mostly good. Our bellman was very friendly and helpful. The valet guys (who were in love with the Taurus SHO lent to us by Ford) were attentive and fast. The waitress in the bar was terrific.
On the other hand, the clerk at the front desk was vacant and unhelpful — checked out if you will.
Three out of four ain’t bad. But it’s not stellar, either.
No Mini-bar = No Cashews
My favorite Real Life Review hotel measurement was not available at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn. No mini-bar in the room, so no cashews. We can deduce from the pizza on the carpet that room service is available. Also, because the website says they have it.
Next time I’m in the Dearborn area, I’m going back to the Ritz, where I stayed earlier in the week. For about the same price, in the same area, I get amazing service, a nicer room, and that Hospitality Suite with the bottomless bowl of Reeses and Rolos. The only upside to the Hyatt is the big, modern lobby with a more happening bar. Which is nice, but not why I’m staying at a hotel. Sorry Hyatt!
Photos: Hyatt Regency Dearborn Hotel
guest post by Sherry Gray
It’s that time of year again, when the sky explodes with Fourth of July fireworks, an exuberant visual celebration equaled only by New Year’s Eve displays. Americans have celebrated their Independence with fireworks every year since 1776, and the stirring sight never fails to impress even the staunchest among us. To celebrate in comfort and style, consider staying at a hotel overlooking the grandest displays in the country.
Known for their lavish celebratory style, Macy’s sponsors New York’s incredible fireworks show over the Hudson River. For an unbeatable view, two hotels stand out:
New York’s Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park offers a panoramic view of the Hudson and overlooks the Statue of Liberty. Package prices start at $375 per couple, and the luxury is legendary. Details that make the Harbor View room the best choice in the land include an in-room telescope, the Statue of Liberty captured in handmade chocolate, and a pair of ferry tickets to Ellis Island. Since President Obama has promised that Lady Liberty’s torch will reopen to the public on July 4th for the first time since September of 2001, this year’s celebration will be extra special.
A new contender for the view is the W Hoboken. Across the river on the New Jersey side, the W boasts a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline from Frank Sinatra’s hometown of Hoboken. With package prices starting at $249, it’s a little easier on the wallet.
Where better to celebrate the nation’s independence than in the Capitol? The most luxury for the best value can be found at the Willard InterContinental Washington. Built in 1850, this elegant colonial style hotel is known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue’ and is listed with the national registry of historic places. It’s also a prime location for viewing the fireworks over the reflecting pool at the base of the Washington Monument.
Another great Fourth of July destination is the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. With room prices starting at just $150 per night, you can soak up the historic ambiance in luxurious style, attend a free concert, visit the Betsey Ross house and check out the Liberty Bell.
Few sights are as impressive as the annual fireworks extravaganza over Mount Rushmore. The Roosevelt Inn, located at the base of Mount Rushmore offers close proximity at a very reasonable rate. For the best view, they advise a trip to the Grand Terrace at the visitor center inside the park.
For fireworks on any given day of the year, the best destination in the U.S. might be the Royal Plaza in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Some of the most technologically advanced fireworks on the planet light up every night, launched from both Disney World and Epcot Center, making Lake Buena Vista the center of the daily celebration. At around $100 per night, the Royal Plaza offers affordable luxury and gets bonus points for being a Green Lodging hotel, one of the first area hotels to undertake environmental initiatives designed to protect Florida’s natural resources.
Together with the Hyatt Regency Dallas, for the fourth year in a row SoupMobile Inc., a non-profit in Dallas, Texas, that provides meals to homeless people, made Christmas Eve a little warmer and brighter.
Each year, as part of the annual Christmas Angel Project, SoupMobile holds a banquet for participants, who also receive clothing. Following the banquet, which was sponsored by Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A, the participants got to spend the night at the luxury Hyatt Regency Dallas hotel!
The Hyatt Regency Dallas is a beautiful hotel, with several suites, a rooftop pool, deluxe fitness center and a range of dining options. Located in downtown Dallas, it is easily accessible from both DFW and Love Field airports. The four star property consistently gets excellent reviews from guests.
I suspect the participants of the Christmas Angel Project will be echoing those good reviews, too!