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During my recent jaunt to Austin where I officiated one of my best friend’s weddings (FYI I am now thinking of doing this as a side business- I had a blast!), I stayed at two Hyatt properties: leveraging points for one stay at the Driskill and paying for my stay at the brand new Hyatt Place Austin Downtown.
I spent two nights at one of the city’s most famous hotels, the historic Driskill, which Hyatt acquired in March, and where I’ve stayed before. I appreciate its sort of Western Victorian aesthetic, though the rooms tend to be pricey. The Driskill is Category 5 property requiring 18,000 points a night. Austin is a town that can quickly sell out of all hotel options, so considering the Driskill was going for over $500 on the nights I was there, I didn’t mind redeeming 18,000 points per room and even helped a couple friends out as well so we could all be at the same property for the festivities.
On my last night in Austin, a group of us decided to stay in the city to be closer to the airport for early flights out instead of staying out at Lake Travis where the wedding was taking place. Unfortunately, the Moto GP (motorcycle racing) circuit was n in town and all the hotels in the city seemed to be fully booked. I began searching for rooms the day before, but there was absolutely nothing available aside from a few rooms at a Red Roof Inn.
I held off until the next morning in hopes that something would open up, but by noon that day hotels were still fully booked. Around 6pm that evening I noticed that the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown had some availability, so I quickly called to book one of the hotel’s 296 guest rooms. I wanted to snag it before anyone else, so I just booked a revenue room, since I’d be splitting it with several friends anyway and Hyatt doesn’t count award stays towards elite status (something I hope they change in the future).
I reserved one with 2 queen beds that actually came with a “Cozy-corner sleeper sofa” as well so in the end, a few other friends who came out with us ended up crashing there as well.
The rate I secured for one night was $319.00 plus an additional 15.97% in tax for a total of $369.94. Normally the daily rate for this room type is closer to $269. It’s also a Category 4 property, so if there is award availability, you could use 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. For an extremely last-minute booking, though, I thought it was a pretty good deal, especially since the room came with two queen beds and a sleeper sofa, so we could potentially sleep five of us. The rate also included a hot breakfast and free WiFi.
The room was spacious and the two queen Hyatt Grand Beds were comfortable. The sectional sleeper sofa was thin, but came in handy. In the room there was also a 42-inch HD TV with a “Hyatt Plug Panel” media center so you could play your files on the TV, a work desk with a leather desk chair, a mini bar and a coffee maker.
The bathroom had a bathtub/shower and single vanity with a granite countertop – nothing remarkable, but very clean and well lit.
The major downside was the AC unit blew air directly onto the bed closest to the window so it was either too hot or a tornado of cold air and it was pretty loud. In 2013 you’d think they would be able to install quiet and more efficient AC units in hotels, but then again this was a Hyatt Place and I guess they need to cut the budget somewhere!
AC issues aside, this was by far my favorite Hyatt Place that I have stayed at so far. The room was so spacious and new, and I wasn’t nickel-and-dimed for add-on amenities that I appreciate like the WiFi and continental breakfast, that I even liked it more than the Driskill Hotel and the W (where I stayed last June), even though it is hipper and more happening. I also found the room and location to be better than the Sheraton, though I haven’t compared it to the Hyatt Regency, which is also just a couple blocks away south of the river.
The location was also great since it is a couple blocks south of the bustling 6th Street bar area, but it’s set on a side street so it is nice and quiet at night. The Driskill is right in the centor of the chaos. Everything about the hotel was clean and orderly, and the staff was very helpful and friendly. Overall it was a really nice experience, especially after struggling to find a room on such short notice. If I find myself back in Austin any time soon I will definitely consider staying here again! With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.