Our exceedingly excellent stay…
When we arrived at the front desk we were met by Victoria, a front desk expert. She was exactly what I, as a Hyatt Diamond member, and Hyatt as a hotel chain want in that first initial contact with the hotel. She offered a diamond amenity (there was a flipbook that showed all of the choices) or the points. Take the amenity. We were offered to pick a drink and a food item, but with the Sherpstress not drinking, it was left solely to me. I chose the margaritas, and she chose the hummus plate. More on those later.
Back to Victoria. She was pleasant, helpful, made sure we were ready for the next day (90% of their guests during the holidays are one day or less) and gave us the scoop on everything we would need to know to take advantage of the hotel’s connection to the terminal. Hyatt should hire her to go around and train front desk staff across the country, and that’s not to say that other front desk staff are bad at what they do, it’s simply that we felt welcome; we felt valued.
I’ve stayed at some bad Hyatts (they do exist) but really it tends to be a hotel where the service is apathetic and less that the hotel’s hard product actually fails in some regard. Airport hotels get a bad rap as a category. Regardless of the brand, the reality or the perception is that connected airport hotels don’t have to try as hard because they have a guaranteed amount of business. There are locals that will stay there the night before their early flights so that they do not have to worry about missing their flight, and others may be stranded or on a connection such as ours. Because of Airport Hotels location they don’t have to work for the business, however, this is a unique market for airport hotels as there are several within close range and two Hyatts on property (only one is connected).
As a stand alone hotel, the Grand Hyatt DFW would be excellent in most cities. By all accounts, if someone drove you blind folded to the hotel you would assume you were in the middle of a huge city. The touches of quality are quite high from welcome snacks in the foyer, an impressive restaurant, and bottles of water at check-in.
The King Executive Suite
In Asia, high quality hotels are a dime a dozen. In the US it seems a bit more difficult to find. Perhaps this is because when I travel in the US, I tend to stay in a variety of city sizes, whereas in Asia I am only really in world-class cities or resorts. My biggest pet peeve is the shower over tub, and the Sherpstress particularly hates the ever-groping shower curtain. While more and more hotels in the United States begin to feature only showers (glassed-in, no tub), there are still many that have this terrible trait and it goes all the way to the highest levels – even the Park Hyatt Washington has a shower over tub in the entry level room.
Step forward, Grand Hyatt DFW with one of the more impressive bathrooms I have seen at a US hotel. There is a corner walk-in shower, a separate tub, and an excellent vanity. The touch light controls add some elegance and ease to the bathroom. Selecting a night light function makes it easy to find your way around a new hotel room without leaving a massive and distracting light on elsewhere. The shower looks big enough for two people (should that be necessary) though I only tried with one. The floors are marble and the bathroom is dark but feels clean and opulent.
(note on photos: For some reason when I uploaded these it looks as though they were taken on a Motorola Razor (they were taken on an actual camera at 18 mega pixels so I clearly messed up the re-size)
Immediately after passing the bathroom on the left, is the desk which opens to the living room. The desk is long and easy to get plenty of work done. In our case it was best used as a holder of diamond amenities. There were plenty of connections, the chair was comfortable and a cordless phone.
What I really liked about the desk is that it was sufficient to actually do work (some occupy the space with a TV or other items). Additionally, I like that the desk is out of the way of the rest of the room. When I need to get to work, I want to be able to sit down and plug in and work distraction-free, but the rest of the time I want to be able to relax. This desk is easily out of the way and leaves plenty of space for the rest of the room.
We were provided some additional options to try and were really impressed. There was a cheese tray with sliced and toasted baguette with dried fruits inside, then Swiss, then pair of softer cheeses, honey on the comb, and some jellied cubes. There were also crackers which served merely as conduits for cheese covered with honey and candied walnuts, enough for two people as a light snack.
We also found chocolate covered nuts in a fold out box with four varieties, there were some chocolate covered pretzels on the pillow and some peppermint bits. There were also several bottles of Voss water available for purchase ($7) though they might have been a liter and a half in volume and one included. The Sherpstress was drawn to try it, it turns out that despite its amazing brand appeal, it tastes roughly of water. The Sherpstress enjoyed it all the same.
The hummus plate had a hefty portion of hummus and an olive tapenade. It was served with a sort of pita breadstick and some vegetables for dipping. It was fantastic but more than we could finish given the other snacks provided.
The margaritas were also pretty impressive. They bothered to salt the rims and the homemade sour was excellent. There was enough for two fairly strong drinks. I had one and left it at that.
The key takeaway is that 1,000 GP points are fairly common. I accrue a 1,000 Gold Passport points for what I spend when I stay at the hotels, I get them again when I charge to a Sapphire Preferred or Hyatt credit card. When they ask you at check-in and you are at a superb hotel, always take the amenity. If you had to pick just one from the choices I had, it would have to be the cheese plate, but there was also a beer and BBQ option that I didn’t get to try. It could have been even better than what I did get to try which were all amazing. The 1,000 points, however, I will pass on.
We got the runway view. There is a great joy for an aviation geek such as a myself when you wake up to an Asiana 747 taking off. The sound proofing on the windows was really quite good, it just happened to take off around the time that I was waking up. It was a welcome view for this aviation geek. But if that’s not really your thing, you can close one or both of the shades which are automated at the door. The windows are wall-to-wall in both rooms.
The bed was comfortable, as we would expect, and there were some nice touches throughout the room like the reading light that folds out from the headboard. If you are familiar with Hyatts, there is not a lot to add about the bedroom – it was a spacious room with a nice chaise lounge by the window, a solid LCD TV and the Grand Hyatt bed that is luxurious and very high end.
The living room offered a ton of space to entertain with a large couch and table in the center. With the Desk pushed to the side, this left a feel of a living room in a city apartment. The lights again were touch as they are throughout, and the windows were as impressive as the TV opposite the couch.
(The Sherpita doing some light reading)
My One Complaint… and it’s not even the hotel’s fault.
There was one complaint I had from my recent stay at the Grand Hyatt DFW. The funny thing is, it isn’t even the hotel’s fault.
The purpose of our stay was a common one. When we scheduled our flights from Pittsburgh to Hong Kong we had a few connections but due to a schedule change, there was an option to switch to the Dallas-Hong Kong direct in business at the saver level (55,000 miles). We jumped on it (saver level space is never opened up on this flight) but it required either a very early morning departure or leaving the night before and footing the bill of a hotel for one additional night. With the Sherpita (just turned 11 months) in tow there is no way we were leaving at 6am. Leaving at 6PM then allowed the Sherpa to work almost the whole day and then head to the airport and eat dinner on the plane and stay overnight in Dallas before the DFW-HKG leg the following morning just before noon.
My only complaint is getting to the hotel if you are in this exact situation. The Grand Hyatt DFW is connected to terminal D which is used by American Airlines for international flights (and others like Emirates, Korean Airlines, etc.) and a handful of inbound domestic flights on AA. Because our connection was more than 12 hours, we had to claim our bags and would need to re-check them – that’s an American Airlines policy. Arriving into terminal A from our Pittsburgh flight meant not only that we had to wait for bags to arrive (easily over 30 minutes), but then also find the “Terminal Link” which is a bus system instead of the train since you are outside of security. That took some time as the signage was not great. We then had to wait for the correct shuttle to arrive, which took some more time before getting on. We stopped at other terminals and picked up travelers who apparently had made the mistake of exiting security at the wrong terminal. We then drove past the Hyatt Regency which was an okay Hyatt experience the last time we stayed there, and on this particular night was half the rate. I was starting to wonder if we should have just stayed there since half of the benefit of the terminal-connected Grand Hyatt was wasted as we had to take a shuttle anyway, the only difference might have been not taking a shuttle the next day.
But I was wrong.
That sole inconvenience which is the fault of both an American Airlines policy (will not hold checked bags more than 12 hours), and the design of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (lack of efficient exterior transportation between terminals) is the only issue I had with the hotel.
Getting to your flight next morning…
This is for most people the most important part. If you are not flying two days before Christmas, and you have any status (even just the AA or US Airways credit card) or are flying a premium cabin there is a dedicated check-in desk 100 meters from the elevators of the hotel. There is a full service Starbucks that splits the difference, in case you are the coffee type. We are, and after waiting in line before our flights (yes, it was a long wait, but for the reasons I eluded to previously) it was a welcome treat before heading back up to the room. There are two ways to go about this. While the Sherpstress was showering I ran down with our bags to grab boarding passes (international with a baby and checked bags required a visit to the check-in counter) and then (Starbucks in hand) headed back upstairs to enjoy room service. This allowed us to just go through the pre-check lane and straight onto the flight which we really enjoyed. Alternatively, you could of course simply check out and then check your bags and hit security within three minutes walk from the elevator as normal. The hotel serves as the best possible airport lounge you could have, and if you are buying an American Airlines Admirals Club lounge pass you might consider a Day Room for the hotel at $89 (available during the commonly unoccupied periods between early morning and evening). You have access to a shower, or if you have time, a bath. Plenty of room for entertaining if there are a few in your party, and if you are jet lagged you can catch a nice nap on an actual bed which can be priceless.
As a hotel guest, you are also given access passes to the priority lane, though, not a lot of people reading this on UPGRD would need this to get into the priority lane at security. For non-elite or business class guests this is a very nice start to their trip.
If it makes sense, stay there.
Between the awesome amenities, excellent service, great room, and perfect proximity to the airport I will probably go out of my way to stay at the Grand Hyatt DFW again. We moved our flight to the night before so that we would have an easy day and get a full night of sleep before a very long flight the next day. For us, it’s the only way to do it, and if you have the choice to route through Dallas/Fort Worth, I highly recommend it.