Grand Hyatt – Washington D.C.

image from Justin in SD

Destination: Washington D.C.
Date: October 2014
Hotel: Grand Hyatt
Brand: Hyatt
Status: none
# of travelers: 2

Hotel & Brand – Making the Decision

In September I began following airline deal sites a bit more closely. Perhaps I had more time on my hands? I don't know. But through following the numerous travel blogs more closely I spotted a deal that I knew Justin would love. Truthfully, I was seeking out deals to travel to NYC (and/or Boston) around Christmas time in 2015, which is something I'm still hoping to find, but during this particular search I instead discovered a flight at a decent price to Washington DC so long as we went in either October or November 2014.

While a flight to DC and visiting the vast city on it's own is enough to encourage me to purchase tickets, knowing that Justin had friends living in the area who had come to our wedding two years prior that we had never gone to visit was just the push Justin needed to convince him to purchase. A few phone calls, text messages, and a bit of research later, we had a flight and visit planned without a hotel to stay at.

At first I searched in the DC area for hotels where I had status, specifically IHG, Hilton, and Club Carlson. All of the IHG hotels were full, the Hilton hotels were expensive, and I couldn't find any Club Carlson hotels I wanted to try. The only hotel that truly peaked my interest, within my price range, was the Grand Hyatt. Google searches featuring the gorgeous lobby were enough to convince me to sign up for the Hyatt credit card and attempt to gain status quickly prior to our trip just so that I could stay in this beautiful hotel. (Note: It did not work, and I did not gain status prior to traveling.)

Getting There & Getting Around the City – Public Transportation Options

image from Wikimedia Commons

Finally! This section finally can be applied toward a US hotel!

Justin and I flew into Washington Dulles airport arriving around 3PM that particular Friday. We had originally discussed renting a car, but we didn't want to deal with DC traffic or paying for parking both inside the city and at the hotel. We decided that if, for any reason, we needed to travel by car we could use Uber. As it turns out, this back up plan was completely unnecessary and our travel to the hotel was completely seamless. Upon leaving Dulles airport, we took the Silver Line Express bus to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Statio. After boarding the metro, we rode for approximately 30 minutes until we reached the Metro Center Station. If you follow the exit for 11th street, you don't even have to exit the metro station before you are entering the hotel. Seriously! They are practically one unit! And to make transportation to and from the hotel even easier, in 2015 they are planning to open the silver line as part of the metro meaning you will be able to get off the metro at Washington Dulles airport (or take the silver line from Dulles into the city) without worrying about the bus! How awesome is that?!?

Once you're in DC, getting around via the Metro is super easy. The Metro Center Station is pretty much, as is indicated by the name, the center of the city's metro transportation system. Anywhere you need to go can be reached easily by the metro. It is worth noting however that the red line was only coming through every 30 minutes the weekend that Justin and I were in the city. The wait was frustrating enough to make you consider walking to your destination or taking a different train hoping you could get to your destination in a more roundabout way. The further out of the city you get (we went out to Virginia via the Metro), the earlier the stations close, so plan accordingly.

Obviously DC has plenty of other transportation options I have not already mentioned including busses, taxis, Uber, etcetera. If you are in fantastic shape, you can walk pretty much anywhere your heart desires. The Grand Hyatt is pretty close to almost everything.

The Lobby, Checking In, & Public Spaces

from the Grand Hyatt facebook page

When we first entered the hotel, I realized that the images online of the gorgeous lobby were every bit true to what I was seeing. The ground floor had a gorgeous fountain and (indoor) trees were scattered throughout giving the hotel lobby an outdoor feel. At first it was very welcoming since Justin and I had spent the better part of 4 hours (or so) in metro stations, busses, and the airport without getting any view of the outside. But let me tell you that the moment I finally got to see the real outside, from my room, I felt a bit of freedom. I had never felt as claustrophobic as I did through this traveling experience. When had booked the hotel, I had booked a room with a view of the lobby, but I was incredibly grateful that they did not honor that request. As gorgeous as the lobby was, my view of the city was what I needed on that day more so than any other.

The lady checking us in was very nice and helpful. She offered to provide us with a map and talked with us a bit about how to navigate the metro. As we left to go to our room, we noticed an area off to the side with fruit infused water and some cups, a welcome site for the weary traveler. Unfortunately, as we came to notice about DC, the water there tastes very different from the water we are used to. We drank very little DC water afterwards.

There were a large number of people sitting around the lobby working on their laptop, talking, and spending time with their families. It very much seemed like the inside of a public building, perhaps best described as similar to a university building lobby, office lobby for a building with a lot of offices, or mall food court. On one side of the lobby, you could check in to the hotel, go to your room, etc, etc… It was very hotel oriented. The other side of the lobby, separated by a hole in the floor that you could walk around and view the fountain below (architecture people, what is that called?) were eating areas including a restaurant (not the hotel's), a Starbucks, and a deli. Justin and I tried all three, which I will review in a bit. :) There were also two hotel gift shops located on this floor.

If you took the escalator downstairs, you could eat at the hotel's restaurant, work out in the gym, or visit the business center to use the internet or print. (Using the internet and printing both cost.)

Price, Rooms, Status, & View

image from Grand Hyatt Hotel website

When I booked the Grand Hyatt, I indicated I want a room on a high floor. The room we were put in was pretty high up in the back corner of the building. We had a view of the city, which was nice and I was thrilled to be able to see the tiniest bit of sunset from our room as we got situated upon arrival. The room we stayed in was surprisingly large. As I mentioned it was a corner room, but the layout was shaped like a pentagon providing plenty of space. Despite not having status, I would not be surprised if we were given one of the larger (regular) rooms in the hotel. We had access to a desk, tv, and a few chairs in the room. Even the bathroom, which contained soaps, lotions, and hair dryer, was pretty big.

The price Justin and I paid was through our Costco membership which only gave us approximately a $5 discount off the regular price. Overall I felt the prices were reasonable compared to other options in the area. (Obviously, I would always prefer to pay less for more, but you can't always get that.) One option if you are looking to stay at this hotel would be to obtain the Hyatt credit card. The Hyatt credit card gets you one free night at a hotel (pretty sure this one is included, but be sure to check before taking my word) and status. At this particular hotel status gets you a larger room on the 12th floor as well as access to free breakfast and food throughout the day (like water and snacks). If you take advantage of those offers, you can make this hotel become incredibly affordable (much more than I was able to).

Even if you get this hotel at a great price, the view is not of a beautiful beach or magnificent skyline. You will either see the atrium from your room … or DC office buildings. It's not a bad view, but it's not a great one either. (Is there a place in DC to get a really great view?)

Disability Access, Parking, & Pool

Unfortunately, my husband and I were so busy the weekend we spent in DC that I didn't get a chance to think about or check out any of these things. I want to say that the hotel is easily accessible, but I seem to remember always having a few steps when entering the hotel. After entering, you can use all of the elevators you want, but I simply can't remember entering the hotel without steps. We also didn't check out the indoor pool or parking, because we didn't use either of these things.

Where to Get Food in the Hotel

image from Grand Hyatt Hotel website

- If you attempt to buy water from the vending machine, do not balk at the $2 price. Surprisingly, that is a good price at this hotel. You will find that water bottles only get more expensive as you venture down to the lobby to Starbucks or the Deli where prices are more like $2.75 for a water bottle. Crazy!

- The Cure Bar & Bistro is where Justin and I had our first dinner in DC. After a busy day of traveling, we just wanted to get to where we were going. The Cure Bar & Bistro had a few things going for it: the (online) menu looked good, the setting (from what we could see of the fireplace and bar) was pretty, we were hungry, and (most importantly) it was right there in our hotel, in front of us. The other restaurants scattered across the DC area could not compete in our moment of hunger. And surprisingly, despite being over priced, the food was fantastic (to a hungry person). We were able to charge the food to our room and then we went out on our merry way to visit friends.

- On Saturday morning we had Starbucks coffee (well, Justin did) and croissants. Unlike other Starbucks locations, this one did not heat up our croissants. *sadness* Other than that, this Starbucks was exactly what you would expect from one. Go there if that's what you want. (And use a Starbucks card to get stars. Rewards are fun.)

- I do not recommend eating at the Zephyr Deli for breakfast, which is what we ate on Sunday before our flight. Your food choices are incredibly limited, the prices are pretty high, and the food does not taste that good. I had a cherry danish in which I ate all but the cherry. Justin had a larger breakfast with like eggs or something which I also tried and hated. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Maybe go there for lunch, but do yourself a favor and have breakfast at the airport … or anywhere else but here.

- The Grand Café looked beautiful from above, but we decided against trying it for breakfast since I had heard it was expensive without many breakfast choices. (I don't know anything about their lunch or dinner options, if they have any.) After our experience with the deli, we may consider trying it in the future.

Overall Review

image from Jeff Smallwood

★★★★ (above average)

There was very little about this hotel I disliked. With status, this could be a fantastic little hotel on par in many ways with the Holiday Inn Resort in Panama City Beach (perhaps better!). The food options in the hotel were nice and I enjoyed being so close to the metro. The rooms were large and spacious giving us plenty of room to spread out. Even the hotel staff was incredibly courteous and helpful with whatever we needed. I highly recommend this hotel to DC travelers who want everything right there at their fingertips.

Your Turn

Have you ever stayed at a Hyatt before? Would you consider visiting the Grand Hyatt in DC? Do you have any other questions about this hotel that I can answer for you? Share! I'd love to hear what you think about this hotel, other Hyatt's, or any I should consider staying at in the DC area in the future!

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