During the planning phase of the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, the question that confronts all airport hotel operators inevitably came up: what can you do, as an airport hotel, to stand out?
Admittedly, it’s often a difficult question. Guest needs at airport hotels often appear simple. Wary travelers need somewhere to put their head down before or after a long journey by air.
At least, it looks simple. When it comes to airport hotels, there are a number of assumptions that work for hotels in any other location that must be rethought. Most hotels thrum with the rhythms of their communities: guests are on the property during the mornings and evenings, away during the day while rooms are cleaned, and reliably asleep overnight.
Airport hotels frustrate those rhythms. Travelers arrive at all hours of the day and night with body clocks influx from any number of different time zones. Sometimes they want a bed; sometimes they want coffee. Sometimes they want a workout; sometimes they want a three-course meal. Some might want local cuisine; some might want comforts from home. And it won’t matter whether it’s early afternoon or the middle of the night; these hotels must be prepared to meet guest needs on a world clock.
A couple of items are no-brainers. When guests are sleeping at all hours, noise and light must be eliminated from guest rooms. Hyatt accomplishes this by double-panning windows and adding blackout curtains. But when do you vacuum hallways when your hotel is full of day sleepers?
For this, the hotel has noiseless vacuums; the best way to describe them is like an industrial-strength lint roller, to keep public spaces clean with a minimum of noise. The hotel also invested in 24-hour housekeeping; a rarity in an industry where guest rooms are typically made up during the course of a single daytime shift.
Other answers were happy accidents. The hotel recently completed a top-to-bottom refurbishment before reflagging as a Hyatt Regency and a temporary workout space on a top floor with views of the airport got such positive guest feedback it was made permanent and expanded. It’s a light-flooded space with lavender-scented chilled towels and bottled water; a perfect jetlag antidote.
For those who prefer to unwind from long flights outside, there’s a year-round heated pool with first-come-first-served lounge chairs and cabanas. Should evenings (or even days) be cooler, conversations might cluster around fire pits as a conga line of jets arrives from the four corners of the compass throughout the day and night.
Food is unsurprisingly round-the-clock and consistent with Hyatt’s high standards for sourcing and preparation. Guests can choose from a full-service dining experience at unity la for breakfast or dinner. If it’s a grab-and-go before flight or back to the room before a pre-snooze nosh, the unity la Open Market is 24 hours. If one requires conversation or a buzzy atmosphere, there’s the unity la Bar. Finally, 24-hour room service sates the rest of guests’ cravings any time of day or night.
The cuisine is international in line with the city’s long-celebrated global culinary character. Shades of the city’s pan global neighborhood cuisines are evident in the menus with Cal-Mex and Pacific Rim cuisines highlighted alongside tried-and-true hotel favorites. I breakfasted on an LA-style “wet” burrito and fresh-squeezed orange juice during my stay.
World of Hyatt elite members and guests who pay a daily supplement can also indulge in the Regency Club, where a number of food and beverage presentations are available throughout the day. Days start with breakfast and continue with appetizers and desserts into the evenings, while beverages and light snacks are always available.
The hotel has all the finer details of airport hotels mastered, but it’s worth noting that the appreciation of such amenities isn’t the sole provenance of layover guests. Airport hotels are also enjoying their moment as occupancy rates industrywide are at record highs, and individual guests, groups, and meetings alike often look to airport hotels for more favorable rates or availability.
When it’s time to arrive or depart, whether a guest has availed themselves of all the hotel’s fine amenities or simply gotten a few precious hours of sleep, frequent airport shuttles are on standby to transfer guests directly to the terminal. The hotel is the closest to the airport terminals, so a good amount of the traffic fuss is minimized.
The hotel’s design is as thoughtfully considered as any city center hotel, which gives the hotel’s “Unquestionably Unairport” moniker solid credibility. It’s got all the amenities of a 24/7 airport hotel, but it certainly doesn’t feel beholden to that niche.
I’ve seen rooms from $140, but rates will fluctuate with seasons and availability.
If not for a workout, pop upstairs and check out the exercise room, if just for the view.
World of Hyatt. The property is a Category 3 Hotel, with redemptions starting at 12,000 points for a free night.
Good To Know
Shuttles run every few minutes; do wave to the driver so they know to stop.
History buffs and fans of the movie The Hunt for Red October can pick out the red neon “Hyatt Hotel” sign in the background of a scene where LAX stood in for London Heathrow. The hotel originally opened as a Hyatt in 1972 and went through a series of brand changes before returning to the Hyatt Regency brand in 2017 with a full property refresh.
Accommodations and meals were furnished by Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport in preparation for this story.
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