My previous post reviewed the Radisson Martinique Manhattan in New York which was nice, and a suite that was more than adequate, but falls short of expectations for the price paid. When planning our trip around the world, I came across Mike’s post about requesting a Diamond Challenge for Hyatt. For those of you who are already aware of status and challenges, skip down a paragraph, for those that are not… this may change your life.
Airlines, Hotels, and Car Rental agencies offer status to distinguish their most frequent customers and reward their loyalty. In the context of hotels, a basic member of Hyatt’s Gold Passport (GP) program will receive points and stay credit for nights they spend in a Hyatt hotel. With Hyatt, a GP member will receive 5 points per $1 they spend at the hotel (including room service and restaurants on site) excluding tax. Once a GP member stays 5 different times or 15 nights (14 nights at the same hotel = 1 stay, 4 nights at 4 different hotels on 4 different days = 4 stays) they advance to Hyatt Platinum then Diamond after 25 stays in a year or 50 nights, whichever comes first.
With Platinum status comes a host of additional benefits, like an upgrade to a better room for the same class you have purchased, free internet and a point bonus on spending you do at the hotel. Diamond status has additional benefits in addition to Platinum such as a welcome amenity (could be chocolates, a bowl of fruit waiting for you in the room, or 1,000 bonus points), access to the Regency Lounge which features free breakfast and evening cocktails, and even more points. You also receive access to a specialty Diamond only line which seems to never have a wait, and the most valuable… 4 free suite upgrades each of which are good for up to six nights. But 25 stays or 50 nights is a lot for the average traveler. One way to circumvent this is through a challenge.
By staying a prorated number of nights (12) in a short period of time (60 days) Hyatt will grant you Diamond status for the remainder of the year, or if done after June 30th, usually the status is granted for 20 months. It is important to note that for the challenge it is only the amount of nights and not the amount of stays that counts. Regardless of whether you successfully complete the challenge you will still have the full rights as a Diamond member while in the challenge period, including the access to all four suite upgrades!
Though the Sherpstress and I did not have top tier status nor did we routinely stay at Hyatt Hotels we were granted the challenge and booked accordingly. As a result of just one trip we would log 7/12 required nights. We love Hong Kong. I mean we really LOVE HK, we could move there tomorrow. We like staying at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin because it is a two minute walk from a metro station, and we can be in Kowloon in less than 15 minutes. It’s located in the quiet New Territories and with either the harbour view or the “mountain” (hill) view, it is peaceful and a nice reprieve from the business of the city.
On previous visits before we were “Diamond members” we checked in after entering the beautiful lobby. Cantonese, Mandarin and English speakers were present, Japanese was also well represented. There is a check in desk for Platinum and Diamond members separate from the general queue, but once the staff established we were Diamond members we were taken directly upstairs to the 28th floor for check in. The porter grabbed our bags and showed us to a desk in the Regency lounge. The lounge was split with an outside open balcony, tables and chairs overlooking the beautiful Hong Kong hills of the New Territories and indoor side complete with a hot and cold buffet, tvs, couches and chairs.
Sitting down for check in is kind of an amazing experience. For some frequent travelers this may be a nuisance, something that gets in the way of them getting immediately to their room after a long flight, for the Sherpa and Sherpstress – we loved it. We were given a free upgrade to a King Suite Mountain View, without using a suite upgrade certificate, directions regarding breakfast, internet and payment. Our keys were programmed and we were on our way.
The room opened up to a kitchenette with seating for four, a small fridge and was fully stocked with utensils should we need them.
The doorway from the kitchenette leads to the bathroom (more on that shortly). The floors throughout were a combination of marble and carpet, and there was a very large desk with excellent connection points for ethernet and power cables to charge every device we own. Next to the desk there was a decent sized couch with a coffee table and huge bay windows opposite a large flat screen tv.
(Side note: Another travel blogger features their significant other in nearly every shot they take, this is not an attempt to emulate that. In fact the Sherpstress hates it when I post pictures of her randomly in shots. It just shows the size of the desk and the windows. Moving right along…)
The bed was of course very comfortable, some day we will bite the bullet and buy one of these beds for ourselves. Until then we just rent them one night at a time. Here it is:
Then it came to the bathroom. Hyatt does a great job of loading their bathrooms up in Asia with all kinds of little amenities. These seem to fill 80-90% of the short term requirements of the Sherpstress which makes me a happy camper. Maybe the best part about Asian hotels in general (especially nicer ones like Hyatt) is the separation of the tub and shower. I recently wrote about my lamenting of the ever-groping shower curtain. It’s not just that, I would never take a bath in there, and I don’t think the Sherpstress would either. The shower featured a rain shower head as well as a hand held shower head. It was separated from the toilet (closed door compartment within the bathroom) but was shared with the same portion with the bathtub.
The last of my rant on this shower/tub situation. The separated bathtub makes the Sherpstress happy, that makes me happy. Come on America, get on board.
Breakfast was served upstairs in the lounge. There were some hot items, Hyatt is famous for their Eggs Benedict which was outstanding and comes highly recommended. There was a selection of cold meats and cheeses, bread, fruit… essentially a very deluxe continental breakfast. The views of the harbour were fantastic, it was a great way to end our stay.
As our first stay as Diamond members we were blown away. We had stayed at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin before, but this was like a whole new hotel. From check in to checkout we had a far better experience, the value for money was so much higher. We had paid only $120 for the room but after we considered our breakfasts, the upgrade, additional point bonuses – it felt like we were getting away with robbery. If you haven’t considered a status challenge, I hope this changes your mind, it changed ours. And if you happen to traverse Hong Kong, try Sha Tin, it’s a great hotel.