Prime location, spacious rooms, friendly staff: Why I can't wait to return to the Hyatt Union Square
On a recent visit to New York, I decided to split my time between two hotels to get easy access to all the neighborhoods I enjoy exploring. After two nights at the Moxy East Village, which I enjoyed, I moved to the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, where I experienced a few issues. In fact, I decided to check out of the Hotel Indigo after just 15 minutes due to a series of three egregious mistakes as soon as I arrived.
Since the Moxy's location was so great, the nearby Hyatt Union Square, just a few blocks north, seemed like a good alternative.
Luckily, my experience at the Hyatt Union Square was much more positive and exceeded my expectations.
Hyatt has 18 hotels in Manhattan, offering lots of choices depending on what you're looking for. If you enjoy being near Washington Square Park and having easy access to the rest of the city via public transportation, the Hyatt Union Square is the best way to go; here's why
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The Hyatt Union Square is a Category 6 Hyatt hotel, requiring 25,000 points per night. TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, so the best of use points is when nightly rates are $425 or higher. A standard room here features 220-275 square feet of space and a courtyard view.
For 40,000 points per night, you can book a slightly larger room with a private terrace or a 325 square feet Junior Suite with a seating area and city views.
When I searched for a two-night stay, the rate came to $220 per night, but I managed to save about $50 by booking each night separately. That's because the first night priced out separately at $238 and the second came to $149. This worked out great because I got a decent average rate, stayed at a great property and even earned Hyatt Globalist status.
Related: 6 ways to redeem points with the World of Hyatt program
The Hyatt Union Square is located near, you guessed it, Union Square. Of all the Hyatt hotels in New York City, I would argue this one has the best location. Just off the southeast corner of the square, it's walking distance to Greenwich Village and Alphabet City and just steps from a multi-line subway station that can get you pretty much anywhere else you might want to go in the city.
The iconic Strand Bookstore is right around the corner and there are lots of places to shop and eat nearby.
Related: What is World of Hyatt elite status worth in 2021?
I arrived at the hotel around noon, not expecting them to have a room ready. Check-in is normally at 3 p.m., but I figured I'd drop my bag off and head out to lunch.
The hotel lobby had a dark and cozy vibe, with plush leather seating and decorative curtains covering the window separating the lobby from the Bowery Road restaurant.
There was a separate check-in area for Hyatt elite members, but since no one else was around, I walked up to the only agent staffing the front desk, which was decorated with stacks of books and plastic partitions as a distancing safety measure.
The check-in process was quick and easy, thanks to a great agent named Jennifer. She was friendly and welcoming and gave me a room despite my early arrival. When I mentioned what happened at the other hotel (among the issues, I was given a room that was already occupied), she assured me I wouldn't have to worry about that here.
She thanked me for being a Hyatt Explorist member and offered me a bag containing two water bottles, explaining there would be two additional bottles in the room.
She took care of everything quickly, handed me the keys and told me to call her if I needed anything else. A few minutes after I arrived in the room, she called me to check that everything was ok, which I appreciated.
Related: Here’s how to quickly stock up on Hyatt points for your next vacation
My room was on the 12th floor and I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious it was. Looking at the photos on the hotel website, I expected a much smaller space. It wasn't just large by New York City standards either – I felt there was lots of room to store my things and move around freely.
While this room was an upgrade, with its views of Park Avenue South (as opposed to a courtyard view), it was the same size as a standard room.
It reminded me very much of the Andaz 5th Avenue, with wood floors and a contrasting black-and-white color scheme. It was clean, modern, with a slightly moody vibe.
Immediately, I noticed the room was in immaculate shape: No dust covering the furniture and the linens were clean (unfortunately, that can't be said of every hotel I've stayed at during the pandemic). There was a small card explaining Hyatt's cleaning procedures and the remote control on the nightstand was wrapped with a paper sleeve stating the same thing.
There were plenty of power outlets and light controls on both sides of the bed.
The room was equipped with a King bed facing a desk and lots of power outlets for electronics. There were two bottles of water on the desk, with a sign informing guests these were free of charge for Hyatt elites and $3 for everyone else. The front desk agent had already informed me that as an Explorist member, these were complimentary.
Next to the desk was a circular table that awkwardly took up space near the entrance. I soon realized this contained both a coffee machine with provisions on one side and a refrigerator on the other.
When I walked in, the TV was on and playing an ad for Las Vegas. The remote was on the nightstand and wrapped up in a paper sleeve, with a message attesting to its cleanliness.
The window let in lots of natural light and offered a view of Park Avenue South.
The room was spacious and I appreciated all the storage space in the closet. It also contained an umbrella (not needed on this trip, with nothing but blue skies) and complimentary pair of slippers. This is always a nice touch since barefoot isn't an option for me in a hotel and I don't want to walk around the room in shoes I've been wearing outside all day long.
The only negative thing about the room was that the TV didn’t have Netflix. It's minor, but it would have been convenient to settle down at the end of each day and re-watch Schitt's Creek on a bigger screen.
The bathroom was set up like a corridor, containing the shower and sink opposite from each other and the toilet at the far end.
The shower had shiplap accents and was stocked with Pharmacopia amenities. The shower door opened both inward and outward. That was actually helpful because the knob was located opposite from the showerhead.
If you like to run the water ahead of time and need to adjust the temperature, it's much easier to access the knob without getting soaked with too hot/cold water if you open the shower door outwards.
The sink was outfitted with a magnifying mirror and stocked with plenty of towels, soap and a tissue box. I did find the sink and faucet to be way too close together. It made it impossible to wash your hands without touching the bottom of the sink.
Food and beverage
During my stay at the Grand Hyatt Union Square, the hotel restaurant was closed for breakfast and in-room dining wasn't available until 4 p.m. Normally, Hyatt Globalist members would receive complimentary breakfast. Since the hotel isn't serving breakfast at the moment, Globalist members instead get 500 points per day.
The Hyatt Union Square has an on-site gym that is currently open and accessible to guests. You need to obtain a special key at the front desk to access it.
I'm not a gym person, so I can't exactly judge the equipment, but there was lots of variety. There was a rowing machine, stationary bikes, treadmills and weights. The gym did seem a bit cramped to me, but only one other person was using it, which likely doesn't change even during normal operations.
Overall, the gym was in good condition and the bathroom next door was too. I expected there to be a shower for guests to use after a workout but didn't see one. Then again, this is a hotel and guests can just shower in their rooms.
In addition to the gym, the hotel also had four bikes available for guests to borrow, free of charge.
The Hyatt Union Square also offers meeting facilities, which were closed down during the pandemic. At the moment, they are accommodating "micro events" for up to 40 guests.
Related: The most award-friendly hotel program: Everything you need to know about World of Hyatt
The service at the Hyatt Union Square was excellent all around. For starters, the front desk agent checking me in was very reassuring when I told her about my previous hotel, where I was given the keys to an occupied room.
She not only made me feel like I'd be safe here and a higher cleaning standard was upheld, but she checked on me after I got to my room to make sure everything was ok.
All the staff at this hotel were great throughout my stay. Any time I came downstairs, the front desk staff would smile and say hello. At one point, I went to the front desk to get a new room key and was holding a small bag of trash. The front desk agent, Anton, spotted the bag and proactively offered to throw it out for me.
Any time I had a question or any interaction, every staff member was helpful and courteous.
Note on accessibility
The Hyatt Union Square has ADA accessible rooms available, offering both King and Queen sized beds. At 300 square feet, these rooms have wide doors and offer 50-80 more square feet of space than a standard room. The lighting, climate controls and door latch are positioned lower to accommodate wheelchair users and the bathroom features a 60-inch turning radius bathroom with roll-in shower.
It's worth mentioning that the King ADA room has a courtyard view, while the Queen ADA offers city views.
You can book an ADA-accessible room using the standard 25,000 points per night.
Related: These are the most wheelchair-accessible cities around the world
Overall, I had a great stay at the Hyatt Union Square and recommend this hotel if you want a solid place to stay with an excellent location. In fact, I'd argue this property has the best location of any Hyatt in the city. You're walking distance from Greenwich Village and near the Union Square subway station, which can take you virtually anywhere you want to go in the city. That makes it ideal for both business and leisure travelers.
The room was comfortable and much more spacious than I had anticipated, considering how small the photos on the website appear. Cleaning standards were also high here. I would gladly book the same room for a longer stay next time.
But most importantly, the staff members were great and made me feel safe and comfortable. After my ordeal at the Hotel Indigo, I realized how important it is to trust the hotel staff. Their level of professionalism and care for their job is what affects the comfort and safety of guests. I definitely sensed that was a priority here.