One of the finest pleasures of traveling is discovering brand new hotels. That pleasure is compounded when the new hotel also happens to be newly constructed—conceived and built from lobby to penthouse with original intent for each space.
Older buildings have their idiosyncrasies. A restaurant space might be repurposed multiple times, lobbies expand and contract, front desks shift position during redesigns. A new build has none of those liabilities. No wonky plumbing, no fittings shoehorned into spaces not designed for them, all carpets and furniture and textiles literally just out of the wrapping paper.
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New hotels belonging to large international brands are also a chance to check out the latest-and-greatest trends for the brand. The food and beverage concepts are all purpose-built and in the latest fashion, which gives the traveler hints at what they can expect from the brand moving forward.
A recent visit to the brand new Hyatt Regency Seattle brought all those delights. Located on the north end of a cluster of Hyatt-branded properties near the Washington State Convention Center in what I’ve dubbed the city’s “Hyatt Quarter” (it’s across the street from the Hyatt Olive 8 and a block away from the Grand Hyatt Seattle), the 1,260 room new build is the largest hotel in the Northwest.
Guest rooms are open plan with the amenities expected by modern travelers. Littered with USB and standard outlets, there are also plenty of other nice-to-haves like floor level motion sensor nightlights. Those in need of office spaces can choose from shelf-style desks or coffee tables tall enough to eat from.
Instead of older room designs where newer amenities seem to be fit in over the years where they could be, custom consoles are present bedside to house the safe, minibar, drawers and coffee maker. Similarly, open-design luggage storage sits in the entry foyer.
Baths have space-saving sliding barn door entry and energy efficient plumbing fittings. Most rooms have step-in showers, but a limited number have baths.
A standout for the hotel is the number of food options, including the 24-hour Market, which offers grab-and-go or freshly made meals throughout the day and night. In the mornings it’s a coffee and pastry station; later in the day, it transitions to a short-order kitchen turning out what turned out to be a juicy Beecher’s cheeseburger.
For quick lunches and casual dinners, Andaré Kitchen & Bar does faithful Italian with fresh Northwest ingredients and expert execution. There’s a wood-fired pizza oven that turns out a toothsome pizza with a fluffy charred crust, customizable pizzas and inventive salads (try the smoked beet!). Lunches can be ordered quick service or full-service; dinners can be enjoyed at leisure with plenty of natural light afforded by the first level’s soaring multistory windows.
The flagship restaurant is the concession Daniel’s Broiler, with its own separate bar that has a speakeasy-style backroom with an impressive selection of whiskeys. That speakeasy peeps out over the registration area but isn’t immediately apparent, giving a sense of delight when discovered.
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Guests with Regency Club access will find an absolutely gigantic space on the 8th floor with indoor and outdoor seating. Any notion here of a “continental” breakfast is a vast understatement, with a full range of hot dishes, cold cuts, pastries, breads, yogurts, cereals, drip coffee and espresso available in the mornings.
Giant cookies and other snacks are on offer during the day, and there are hot appetizers and a cash bar during the evenings. Even outside the food service hours, the space is still a draw, particularly on the rooftop during fine weather days.
Convention and meeting bookers will also take note of the humongous amount of convention space available in the hotel—over 100,000 square feet of meeting space, taking up no fewer than seven floors, with expansive breakout areas flooded with the natural light that seems to find its way into the building’s every space.
Tons of light, efficient, modern room design, inventive, fresh food options and a Regency Club guests will want to spend entire days in make the Hyatt Regency a top choice for Seattle visitors.
I’ve seen rates from $190 plus tax during off-peak periods.
Views of Lake Union and the surrounding areas from high floor guest rooms and al fresco breakfasts in the Regency Club are sure to garner engagement.
World of Hyatt
Good to Know
The hotel has two entrances, so it’s necessary to specify which door you’re at when requesting a pickup from a ridesharing service.
The hotel offers mobile key delivered to a smartphone; guests must be members of World of Hyatt to take advantage.
Valet and self-parking are available.
Comments & Discussion
How Will the US Hotel Experience Change Post COVID-19?
As hotel occupancy ticks up ever so slightly, the lodging industry is putting new standards in place to enhance cleaning and ensure guest safety.
One organization working overtime to make sure that these new measures are clear and communicated effectively to the public is the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which has created Safe Stay guidelines for the industry.
“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”
Travelers in states where shelter in place and stay at home orders have been lifted may be looking to travel and stay in a hotel soon. What will that look like in the “new normal?”
Hygiene will be the number one priority. The Safe Stay guidelines promote frequent handwashing for employees, hand sanitizer dispensers, signage, instructions for mask-wearing and more.
Major hotel brands have launched their own programs, too, partnering with brands such as Clorox and Lysol and the Mayo Clinic.
Hilton CleanStay was launched in partnership with the makers of Lysol as well as the Mayo Clinic. Marriott announced a Global Cleanliness Council, a panel of experts on everything from food and water safety, infection prevention and hygiene, and hotel operations.
Visitors will have a much more contact-less experience when they visit properties while maintaining social distancing guidelines and new standards of cleanliness.
Hilton will have a CleanStay room seal on guestroom doors and guests will no longer find shared amenities such as pens and paper in the room and room directories will be made digital.
Travelers are also likely to find keyless entry to rooms and disinfecting wipes for touching elevator buttons. Room service menus and ordering will likely be done on mobile apps.
Guests should also arrive expecting to self park their vehicles. Resorts such as Omni have limited valet services and instituted social distancing protocols where self-parking is unavailable.
There will also be limits on the number of people allowed to congregate in different areas with limited seating in lobbies, bars and restaurants in order to observe social distancing guidelines. The days of buffet dining may also be a thing of the past. AHLA guidelines say that room service should use contactless delivery and that buffets should be limited and served by an attendant in personal protective equipment. Pre-packaged and grab and go options are encouraged.
Guests may have to plan out their visits to the gym. Expect fitness centers to close multiple times per day for cleaning as well as socially distanced pool areas with lounge chairs six feet apart.
Behind the scenes there will be new cleaning technologies utilized.
One example is Marriott’s deployment of electrostatic sprayers and the use of the highest-grade disinfectant products. Electrostatic cleaning really gives a deep clean to surfaces, the spraying is a method where a device is used to apply an electric charge to a disinfectant, enabling the disinfectant to more effectively cover a surface than traditional cleaning methods.
One of the aspects of hotel stays that remains unknown is how many properties will institute temperature checks but travelers should expect the practice may become quite common.
The Venetian in Las Vegas said that it will use thermal scanners at entry points for a non-invasive temperature check.
Many properties will screen the health of their employees and include temperature checks.
Caesars Entertainment said that it will institute health screenings for all employees that include taking temperatures and COVID-19 testing.
While most hotel guidelines call for near-constant cleaning and disinfecting, travelers can also do their part.
Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer should be frequent when traveling. Many properties plan to provide face masks and disinfectant wipes, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own and wipe down surfaces, doorknobs and buttons.
Wearing a face mask is also recommended to protect both you and those around you.
Comments & Discussion
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