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Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Austin Downtown

by on May 7, 2013 · 15 comments

in Hotel Reviews, Hyatt

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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.

driskill

My old-fashioned room at the Driskill Hotel.

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).

The room was really spacious with two queen beds, a workspace and a sleeper sofa.

The room was really spacious with two queen beds, a workspace and a sleeper sofa.

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 sleeper sofa was a great addition to the room.

The sleeper sofa was a great addition to the room.

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

The bathroom had a bathtub-shower combo and a single sink.

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!

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  • Eric

    We were in Austin that same weekend of the Moto GP. Usually we stay at the W, but rates were crazy because of the race. Instead we stayed at the Omni Downtown. Very pleasantly surprised. Clean rooms, super comfy beds, lovely rooftop pool area, friendly service and a block away from bars and restaurants on 6th street. Who knew?

  • joeypore

    Very good to know. I frequent Austin, and was incredibly excited to see this property open up. However, it’s one of the most expensive Hyatt Place’s I’ve ever seen and notice that rates at the Regency are often in the same ballpark. It’s definitely for the location, and for something like SXSW, it’s a great choice.

  • http://twitter.com/Goat__Rodeo Goat Rodeo

    The regency is very tired and in need of a huge refresh or the rumored leveling. As a resident of Austin, I was a little surprised that they did a HP in downtown over a GH or perhaps Andaz.

  • thepointsguy

    Agree that an Andaz in Austin seems like a good fit- especially with the W commanding such high rates

  • thepointsguy

    Haven’t stayed at an Omni in years.. good to know in case everything else is sold out!

  • Mark

    I have stayed all over downtown Austin and last time choose the Omni because the price was right. Just like Eric, I was pleasantly surprised. The location is excellent and the rooms were nice. They are strict about no partys in the rooms and keeping the hotel quiet at night. Besides the Omni, other good choices downtown are the Radisson and the Hilton. If you can find availability on points for the Radisson and have the Visa Card (with last night free benefit), then it’s the best deal there. The Hilton has a great rooftop pool and one of the best Tex Mex breakfast buffets (besides the Iron Cactus Restaurant on 6th Street). The Sheraton is too out of the way and the Hyatt Regency is on the other side of the River and not really that close to the SOCO happening area. IMO the W is overpriced for what it is. There is also a very nice Hampton Inn.

  • joeypore

    Andaz would be make a lot of sense, Austin being the artsy city it is.
    All of Austin’s hotels can go sky high, the LaQuinta downtown I’ve seen at $199…

  • Dee

    Good to know. Hubby and I are scouting cities where we might want to retire. Austin is up next and I have 2 free Hyatt nights that expire in October.

  • LIH Prem

    Let me guess, converted Amerisuites property?

    The fan/hvac thing is the reason I don’t stay at HPs. I’m really hoping the new build HPs are better but I have yet to see one.

    It’s either quiet and hot or comfortable, noisy and the fan blows on the bed nearest the wall/window hvac unit. And there’s no fan control, it’s either on or off. stupid design for a relatively modern hotel chain.

    -David

  • http://twitter.com/Goat__Rodeo Goat Rodeo

    This will likely change a little with several of the big hotels getting completed in the coming couple years. JW Marriott Convention will open up quite a few more rooms downtown.

  • http://twitter.com/Goat__Rodeo Goat Rodeo

    No, your guess is incorrect. The HP downtown is a brand new building purpose built as a hyatt. This isnt one of the crap converted amerisuites.

  • http://twitter.com/Goat__Rodeo Goat Rodeo

    Luckily you only need to wait a little bit and the new boutique hotel will open up on soco. :)

    The rooftop pool at the hilton is under construction to update it… it may have finished by now, but I dont believe so. It will be even better than it was. They are also pushing a bar in that direction. Direct keeping up with the jones’ pool competition with the W.

    dont forget about the four seasons as well downtown… reasonable corporate rates and its pretty nice to boot.

  • http://twitter.com/HyattPlaceATX Hyatt Place

    Hi David!
    Goat Rodeo is correct, this was a purpose built Hyatt! We are actually working on all of our HVAC unites to decrease the amount of fan noise as we were unaware of this issue until the hotel opened. We appreciate any and all feedback that will help us to improve the quality of our hotel and your over all experience!

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