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Airport hotels are notorious for being run-down at worst and bland at best, but the Hyatt Regency, one of the newest properties near LAX, provided the opportunity to break the mold.
The history of the hotel is a little complicated: The hotel was a Hyatt Regency in the 1960s, more recently became the Concourse Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, and then, in October 2016, was taken over by Hyatt as its first fully branded hotel near the airport, giving it a $75 million renovation that was completed in January 2017. After staying at the hotel for five nights, I can say that while the renovation seems to be a success overall, there are still improvements that can be made. (Editor’s note: The writer stayed at this hotel in May 2017.)
Once I made my plans to travel out west to Los Angeles (LAX), I knew I wanted to check out Hyatt’s recently renovated 580-room property including 23 suites. Since I was staying in LA for an extended period of time, the nightly rate decreased to $153 plus taxes and fees. On the other hand, if I’d planned to stay here for a shorter period, as is common for airport hotels, the night rates would’ve been pricier, with an average nightly rate of nearly $300.
Since this is a Category 3 property in the World of Hyatt program, you’d need a minimum of 12,000 points and possibly 20,000 points for a free night. For my stay, I needed 12,000 points, and with TPG’s points-and-miles valuations in mind, it didn’t have made sense for me to redeem my points here. Since TPG values each Hyatt point at 1.8 cents per point, the nightly rate would’ve needed to be at least $216 in order for me to maximize my stay with points. For my five-night stay, I earned 3,825 points (five Hyatt points per dollar) plus a 20% bonus (from my Explorist status), for a total of 4,590 Hyatt points.
I booked my stay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card so I could earn 3x on travel, which netted me over 2,295 Ultimate Rewards points. As an alternative, I could’ve booked with the Hyatt credit card to redeem my one free night (at a Category 1 to 4 hotel).
After making the transcontinental flight from NYC, I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the early evening. Once outside, I knew I was looking for a Hyatt Regency bus, but it took me a while before I realized that Hyatt partners with Quik Park, a major garage for LAX, for the shuttle service.
At first, I wasn’t too sure of the partnership with the parking provider, but I soon realized that this is a win for guests of the hotel, because there are nearly a dozen buses constantly running for garage guests as well. In other words, you’ll never have to wait more than a few minutes for a bus to arrive.
We arrived at the back of the hotel after about a five-minute ride on the shuttle. Tip: Sit in the front of the bus so you can beat others off and get to check-in quicker.
The lobby was open and colorful, although the ceilings weren’t very high. There was a lot of open space, allowing families to spread out while checking in.
There is a World of Hyatt elite line, but since someone was already with that hotel representative, I chose to wait in the normal line. After politely requesting an upgrade, I was informed that no two-bed suites were available, but the desk clerk was able to give us an upgraded view of the LAX runways.
I asked about the parking options, since I was renting a car the next morning. The valet price was $40 per day (with in-and-out privileges), while the self-park garage went for $33 per day (again, with in-and-out privileges). Unfortunately, even for Explorist elite members, there was no discount for hotel guests.
The hotel provided watermelon- and pineapple-infused water for guests in the lobby.
I headed up to my room on the 11th floor after a painless check-in process. Upon exiting the elevator, I had quite a far walk to my 310-square-foot room.
There were two comfortable queen-size beds, and the room was obviously newly renovated.
The center night table was large and not overly crowded with unnecessary items.
On the opposite side of the beds was a small working area but no traditional desk. Since this is an airport hotel and many business travelers stay here, it’d seemingly make more sense for the hotel to provide a true desk.
The hotel staff stocked the top shelf with two bottles of water daily. There was also a small Starbucks brewing station in the room for a quick morning coffee on the go. The mini fridge in the room was empty — perfect for leftover carry-out food.
Located directly in front of the two queen beds was a 55-inch LG flat-screen. Beneath the TV was a high-tech charging station that could also connect personal devices to the TV.
The bathroom was small and cramped, but I understood why — many older hotels don’t have double vanities and larger bathroom spaces.
The rainfall shower head was a nice touch, except that the water pressure was horrible. If the water pressure were fixed, it would have been a great shower.
Towels were stocked daily along with additional toilet paper, and guest services were always able to accommodate a request for more towels at night. Some essentials, such as Colgate toothpaste and mouthwash, were available. Hyatt provided the standard shampoo, conditioner, body wash and bar of soap.
A major problem arose while I was showering — the glass door kept sliding open. I got creative and wedged a towel in between the two glass panes so that water didn’t spray everywhere and cold air didn’t come in.
The view of the LAX airport was interesting and was certainly welcome as an AvGeek — the other side of the hotel would’ve just provided a “view” of the street adjacent to the property.
Since this room was within eyesight of one of the world’s busiest airport runways, you would think that you’d hear engines roaring for takeoff. I’m happy to say that was never an issue. It was a great soundproofed double-pane window, but it was also quite dirty between the two panels of glass.
Food and Beverage
The hotel had several on-site dining options — a must for airport hotels. Unity LA, the main restaurant, didn’t disappoint with its diverse menu of Latin- and Asian-inspired dishes.
The large, bright dining area had large tables in the center and then smaller tables on both sides of the restaurant. The modern look was also evident in the table settings.
The second dining option was the 24/7 market, which had a wide selection of items from on-the-go snacks to take-to-your-room meals. Choices included chopped salads with a wide array of dressings, many panini variations, burgers and even pizza. Paninis and sandwiches were prepared daily with fresh baguettes.
For dessert, there were lemon tarts, chocolate brownies, chocolate cake, cookies and donuts, all priced around $4.
Breakfast options included bagels, muffins and danishes. The 24-hour room service and bar were also serviced from the market in the lobby. The market’s drink station had everything from healthy drinks to Coca-Cola to juices and alcoholic beverages.
My favorite market meal was the grilled chicken panini with an arugula salad. To finish it off, I had a chocolate brownie drizzled with vanilla frosting.
During the evenings, I always stopped by the bar, which was extremely busy each night. Since the NBA playoffs were on, it might have been busier than usual.
While at the bar for dinner and cocktails, I had the bacon-cheddar cheeseburger with charred onions and french fries.
The breakfast buffet at the LA Unity restaurant cost $29, but it was worth it. The a la carte menu was available from 5:30am to 11:00am.
The buffet ranged from the standard eggs and bacon to cinnamon rolls. Muffins, croissants and other breakfast breads were also available. So were fresh fruit, yogurt and other healthy options.
It’s always nice to know there’s a pool available to you in Southern California. Getting to the pool from the hotel was a 50-foot walk from the elevators, but there were no signs to help you navigate.
You needed your room key to access to the pool area, which was open from 7:00am to 10:00pm.
The pool was surprisingly large but also surprisingly dirty. I actually didn’t go in because there were so many leaves and so much dirt.
The lounging area featured two main areas with dozens of lounge chairs — some with shade and some without.
Vending machines and ice machines were located throughout the hotel, including the 11th floor.
When I visited, the gym area was quite disappointing — a handful of treadmills, a few bikes, and that was pretty much it. Weights were available, but it seemed the heaviest was 35 pounds — quite unimpressive for a 580-room hotel.
(Since this review was originally written, the hotel’s permanent fitness center has been completed and is now open.)
Since the in-room Wi-Fi was well-suited for work, I didn’t feel the need to use the business center, which featured three iMacs and two printers.
When I checked in, I was told the lounge was under construction and was to be completed later in 2017. Still, the hotel made no efforts to accommodate elite guests in the meantime (such as with a complimentary cocktail or hors d’oeuvres at the bar). I snooped around, and it appeared that construction hadn’t even really started.
(The property’s Hyatt Regency Club has been completed since the writer’s visit and is now open. Non-World of Hyatt members can use it for $50 a day.)
To the Point
I’ve been flying through LAX for many years and have stayed at many different hotels in the area. Thanks to its (almost) total renovations, modern feel, great food options and convenience, I can say this will be my go-to LAX hotel from now on.
Even though Hyatt should make further improvements to the property (shower, gym and executive lounge), I can still say that I enjoyed my stay and that this is one of the nicer and newer hotels located at LAX.
Since this story was originally reported and written in May 2017, there have been a number of changes at the hotel. The article has been updated to reflect this.
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