A Hyatt hop through Seattle: Which Hyatt should you choose on your next trip to the Emerald City?
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I have found myself returning to Seattle again and again over the past decade.
Part of that is because it’s the megahub for Alaska Airlines and I have to transit through the city quite often as an Alaska MVP Gold 100K member. That doesn’t explain the many trips I’ve taken to the city itself, though.
Thanks to the surrounding, emerald mountains, the azure waters of Elliott Bay and the city’s undulating hills and futuristic skyscrapers, there’s something “over the rainbow” about Seattle for me.
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But on top of all that, Seattle has a great hotel scene, including several distinctive Hyatt properties. On a recent visit, I decided to hop around among four of them, all of which are within walking distance of downtown. Here’s how they stacked up and what set each apart.
Hyatt Regency Seattle
Best for: Business visitors on a budget.
The price point: This is a Category 4 property where award nights range from 12,000-18,000 points per night. We paid $157.33 for the stay, which included a $2 Seattle tourism assessment and a little over $21 in taxes. I earned 3,894 World of Hyatt points for the stay, which included a 30% Globalist bonus, and another 3,022 points as part of the Hyatt “Bonus Journeys” promotion. TPG values those World of Hyatt points at $66.20.
The vibe: The Hyatt Regency Seattle is the largest hotel in the Pacific Northwest, with 1,200 rooms in a 500-foot high-rise in downtown Seattle. Though construction for the project began in 2012, it still seems brand-new inside. Well-maintained, contemporary interiors give it a refined, if not particularly personalized, ambiance.
The rooms: Standard rooms are on the small side, but they do have small sitting areas and work desks along with comfortable beds (though Hyatt Regency’s bed covers could be plusher). I’ve stayed at this property twice now, and both times I got a fairly basic room with a king-size bed and sweeping views of Seattle (no upgrades for this Hyatt Globalist). The Wi-Fi is fast with no trouble streaming or working from the room, and you can even “fling” your streaming content to the large-screen television.
Standout features: Don’t skip the club lounge since it’s got panoramic skyline views from windows on three sides and an outdoor terrace for those rare days the sun comes out. Unlimited Starbucks coffee plus healthy snacks make it a fantastic place to work. When it comes time to work up a sweat, the hotel gym is enormous and well equipped with cardio and weight machines galore.
Dining and drinking: The enormous, juicy burgers at Daniel’s Broiler are worth a visit while the free Globalist takeout breakfast from Market is simple but substantial and served with a smile.
Overall: The Hyatt Regency is the most affordably priced of the city’s full-service Hyatt properties, so if you’re looking for upscale lodging at budget-friendly rates, this is the Hyatt to choose.
Grand Hyatt Seattle
Best for: Travelers on a quick turnaround.
The price point: This property sits in Hyatt’s Category 5, so award nights range from 17,000-23,000 points apiece. My standard room cost $202.70, including the room tax and tourism assessment. I earned 2,535 World of Hyatt points, worth about $43 according to the latest World of Hyatt valuation from TPG.
The rooms: If you have elite status, your upgrade luck might be better than at the Hyatt Regency. During both my stays, I was given a one-bedroom suite instead of the standard room that I’d booked. Although the decor is dated and sorely in need of an update, the suites are large with spacious living areas, comfortable, if broken in, furniture and some stunning views, including the one I had of the Hotel Theodore and its iconic neon sign across the street. Upscale amenities included Balmain toiletries. (Is it wrong to ask housekeeping for extras for the road?) The internet was speedy enough for all my work needs, too.
Standout features: While the gym at the Grand Hyatt Seattle isn’t as new as the one at the Hyatt Regency or as nice as the one at the Olive 8, it gets the job done with enough equipment so that it never felt too crowded. The great thing about the Grand Hyatt is the hot tub, steam room and sauna … something the Hyatt Regency doesn’t have. I also appreciated the accessibility. There was a chair lift for the hot tub, and the shower in the men’s locker room was suitable for people in wheelchairs.
Like the Hyatt Regency, the Grand Hyatt has a club lounge, but it feels comparatively cramped and it is not back to full service yet, so the food offerings are limited, though you will find plentiful coffee and snacks.
Dining and drinking: Limited options and poor execution mean you might want to dine out while staying here. There’s no lobby restaurant. Instead, you’re directed to the nearby Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and hopefully you’ll have better luck than I did. When I asked to order takeout, the host refused to serve me, saying that would not be possible because it would disrupt the in-house orders. When I called room service instead, the hamburger that arrived was woefully undercooked and the side dishes of string beans and wedge salad were bland at best. Bacon, eggs and chicken sausage the next morning were all greasy and cold by the time they arrived and the greens I’d asked to replace the side of toast were nowhere to be found.
Overall: For a quick turnaround, the Grand Hyatt Seattle still feels like a good choice thanks to its health facilities and upgrade availability. Next time, I’ll just know to skip the food.
Hyatt at Olive 8
Best for: Leisure travelers searching for some quirkiness.
The vibe: Olive 8 feels more like a boutique hotel with a conscience than part of a large chain. The hotel was the first LEED-certified property in Seattle, built with the environment in mind, including recycling building materials during construction. Its tower is sheathed in glass with accents of blue that help regulate the hotel’s energy use. Housekeeping also uses nontoxic cleaning products. Like the rest of the hotel, the lobby felt bright and contemporary, with squared-off chairs for hanging out, though it could, perhaps, do with an interior update as the upholstery is starting to look worn.
The price point: My one-night stay in a standard room cost $193.10, but I earned more than 4,000 World of Hyatt points, worth about $70 according to TPG’s most recent valuations. Those points included a 30% Globalist bonus, and another 3,022 points as part of the Hyatt Bonus Journeys promotion. This hotel is in Category 5, so award nights start at 17,000-23,000 points apiece.
The rooms: Although I enjoyed the experience at Olive 8 overall, the room I had there was probably the least special of the four I stayed in during my Seattle trip (again, no elite upgrade). The footprint felt small, the palette was bland and the decor was sparse bordering on spartan, with just so-so views out its single window. The stone-tiled bathroom felt contemporary and sleek and the lemon verbena-scented BeeKind bath products by Gilchrist & Soames were light and fresh. The Wi-Fi was fast and reliable.
Standout features: By far, the hotel’s best amenity is the 65-foot saline swimming pool. It can be crowded, however, so plan accordingly. The gym is also fantastic and almost as large and new as the one at the Hyatt Regency down the street. Those looking for a bit of relaxation can indulge in a treatment at the hotel’s Elaia Spa, such as the signature 60-minute Elaia massage, which combines Swedish, lomi-lomi and Thai techniques ($145).
Dining and drinking: The hotel’s main restaurant, Tidal+, serves sustainably sourced regional seafood … but for comparison’s sake, I went for the burger instead. It was perfectly cooked and came with a side salad of fresh vegetables with a tart vinaigrette instead of the more typical French fries.
For breakfast, I ordered from the lobby-level O8 (for Olive 8) cafe. The bacon-and-egg sandwich with cheese (hold the bread) was well cooked and filling. There was also some kind of hash topping that was absolutely delicious. The service at both restaurants was prompt and friendly.
Overall: For food, I’d rank Olive 8 top out of the four Hyatts I tried. The pool and spa are also highlights. Environmental credentials aside, though, the rooms were bland. I liked the public spaces, but I’ll probably skip this property when I’m next in Seattle.
Best for: Discerning travelers looking for some Seattle-inspired style.
The vibe: Like many other Thompson properties, including locations in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the Seattle outpost puts a premium on style with a trippy, eye-catching facade, color-blocked midcentury modern-inspired interiors (in greens, browns and blues that harken to the city’s natural surroundings, in this case) and convivial public areas practically littered with conversation starters like art books and retro bric-a-brac. But all that panache comes at a cost, namely a reception area and living room that felt a bit cluttered and crowded rather than effortlessly chic. Still, the hotel’s bustling restaurants and understated guest rooms should make it popular with travelers who want a fashionable location in the city without breaking the bank.
The price point: Another Category 5 property, the Thompson Seattle requires 17,000-23,000 points per night. My standard room cost $243.34 including taxes and that aforementioned Seattle tourism fee. I received 2,699 World of Hyatt points worth about $46, according to TPG’s most recent valuations.
The room: My Globalist upgrade luck came through and I was assigned a deluxe king room on the top floor with views of Elliott Bay and Seattle’s waterfront Ferris wheel. The room, however, was tiny, tiny. If you’ve stayed at a New York City hotel, you know what I’m talking about. It was more like a little studio apartment in Manhattan than a deluxe Seattle hotel room. The furnishings and finishes were very high-end, though, with chocolate-hued wooden fixtures, a buttery blue leather chair and ottoman and high-thread-count linens. Glazed tiling and glass partitions gave the bathroom a clean, modern look, and the amenities by D.S. & Durga Bowmakers had a clean, woodsy scent. An added bonus: The Wi-Fi was the fastest of the four hotels.
Standout features: You won’t find a pool or a spa here, but there is a decent-sized fitness center for folks who don’t get their steps in exploring the city.
Dining and drinking: When the weather is nice, The Nest — the Thompson’s popular rooftop bar — is a hot spot among visitors and residents alike. I went right at 5 p.m. on a Sunday night and it was already busy. The menu was limited, but I ordered a Diet Coke, the charcuterie platter (including some incredible pickled vegetables) and a barbecue pulled-pork sandwich for a total of $50.
Breakfast at Conversation, the hotel’s American fine-dining restaurant with a focus on local produce, was another success. The bacon, eggs, side salad and cappuccino were all excellent, and the service was speedy but personalized.
Overall: If you’re choosing based on the cool factor, the Thompson is the Hyatt for you. The rooms are fab and so is the property. I could do without the extra money it costs and the crowds, however. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay again, though, and it was my first experience with the Thompson brand, so I’m eager to try it out in other cities.
Seattle is one of my favorite American cities, with countless things to do and see. There are also plenty of hotels in Seattle, but it was super fun as a Hyatt loyalist to check out four of the most popular properties in the World of Hyatt portfolio.
You can’t really go wrong with any of the four thanks to the excellent service and central location that each can claim. Personally, when I return to the city, the Grand Hyatt is probably my first choice thanks to its facilities and my upgrade luck.
Next on my list? The Hyatt Regency Lake Washington at Seattle’s Southport.
Featured image by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.
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