The key to any airport hotel, is the time it takes you to get to the airport and frequency of the shuttle. At 9PM from the airport to the hotel the journey was 6 minutes with no stops. It could have been shorter but we got stuck behind a crew bus. That’s fast for any hotel but it takes me longer to walk from baggage claim to the connected airport hotel lobby in Pittsburgh than that. The shuttles run every 20 minutes starting on the hour at 5AM, there was water on board and the service was friendly and helpful.
Rob at Checkin
First impressions are important, but in a hotel, they take on a greater role. For many guests, especially on an airport hotel stay, this may be the only interaction with a hotel employee they have. We were greeted by Rob at the check in desk. He asked for my name and I supplied him my ID and my credit card. Before I could say another word, he stated that as a Diamond Member I had been upgraded to the Ambassador Suite. Music to my ears. Rob told us about the breakfast benefits for up to four people (there were three in our party) and we let him know that we would be gone before breakfast was available. He then offered us something from the restaurant or bar instead but we had eaten and thought we would just get some sleep.
Confirmed Diamond Suite upgrades are given to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members every year. There are four added to your account each year you re-qualify for diamond status and each upgrade lasts for up to six nights (seven days). We try to pick when and where to use those very carefully because there are so few and every time we exchange one for a stay shorter than six nights it feels like a waste. Luckily there are situations like this where Rob and the staff at Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Washington DC give you an automatic upgrade, and it’s really just what you needed.
Walking into the room, to the right is the bathroom. The first thing you noticed is that is has been updated. It feels clean and while it’s not marble and gold, it feels like there was some effort and the hotel feels premium. Most important to me is the walk-in shower which was huge. My biggest complaint about US hotels is that most feel the need to put a shower over a tub. This means that the shower curtain (even when they use a bowed shower rod) gropes you (and every other guest) and likely isn’t cleaned in the 10 minutes hotels tend to allot their staff to clean rooms. When I see that a hotel has made the switch to just a shower it brings a smile to my face. This one had a rain shower head over the top and was really huge. We had our daughter with us and it was easy enough to get her bathed which requires a lot of moving parts. it was easy in this huge shower.
There was tons of space in the living room to put your luggage and sort out the next day which was crucial for us. The desk was also quite large and allowed for charging our various devices (a couple of iPads, our phones, our computers) and still felt roomy. When I travel I usually need both my work computer and my personal laptop. It’s an inconvenience to carry both laptops but my accessibility is one reason why my boss is so lenient with me taking as many personal trips as I do, my work doesn’t suffer. So when I see a small desk that is really just an extension of a dresser, it’s a little insulting to me. It demonstrates a lack of understanding of the traveler staying in your hotel.
This desk was not an after thought, it was a four laptop desk which is more than I need, but great in case you are using a combination of laptops and printed paper documents spread out. It would have been easy to do work there and that’s important to me and many of my readers.
The rest of the living room consisted of a pair of nice chairs with a small table in between and a couch opposite. There was also a large sofa and a good sized television. If you were in town for an event and had many co-workers with you, this would be an ideal place to host them. It would also be great for having friends and family over when traveling together. It’s nice to have a separate room so that if you do have a little hotel room pizza party during a staycation then you don’t have to spread pizza boxes over a pair of double beds.
There were two small deficiencies with this room and both are correctable. The first, was that between the living room and the bedroom there was no door. A closed door help offer a little more separation and again, if hosting guests, there is a distinct barrier in between your personal space and a communal space. A pocket door would be and ideal solution and there is plenty of wall space to put one in.
The second deficiency was in the lack of a mini-fridge. It’s not a huge deal, but we sometimes carry stuff for the baby that needs to be cooled, and as there are large bottles of water in the room, it would be nice to be able to leave them in the fridge so they are cold.
The bedroom had a decent sized closet if you planned on staying awhile. The king bed was great and comfortable as expected from a Hyatt property. There was a huge TV in the bedroom, a big plus for us as a family.
There was a surprise waiting for us in the bedroom. A balcony with table and chairs offered a little bit of something different from most area properties. While the view wasn’t amazing, we didn’t care. It was a beautiful night and our daughter could be out there as well because the balcony had a glass barrier from the bottom up to above her head. I also got a great shot of the capital building… on a very long zoom. But it was there and it was good to have a little outdoor space. For smokers it would be ideal as the trek downstairs and outside would be a 15 minute round trip.
We called downstairs and Rob answered. I decided to order some dessert while my wife was in the shower and put me through to room service where they already knew it was comped as a swap for breakfast. We wanted to try a few things but only to give you, the UPGRD readers, a better idea of the choices. We had the Rustic Apple Tart, the New York Style Cheesecake and ordered the chocolate Hagen-Dazs for our daughter of course. The prices were reasonable for hotel standards. All three of those desserts were only $8, which we did not have to pay out of pocket, but if we had, it didn’t feel like the gouging that sometimes comes with on-site restaurants. In case you are curious, the Apple Tart was my wife’s favorite, I preferred the cheesecake – though it was not New York style in any way (round small, soft and similar to Sara Lee no bake cheesecake). The Hagen-Dazs was a pint, yes a pint of chocolate ice cream for $8, and we of course did not finish all of these desserts.
This stay was less than 9 hours so it came down to the first interaction and the room. Both were really excellent, the price was right, and it was so close to DCA. I would absolutely stay there again the next time I am in the area or overnighting before a mileage run as we did this time.