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There are many reasons to visit Washington DC, as it’s not only the capital of the United States, but also a world-class city and center of the 6th largest metropolitan area in the country. The dining scene is fantastic and growing. The museums are world-class (and many are free). The monuments and memorials are beautiful, meaningful, and educational. There are centuries-old structures and new rallies or protests every week. All three branches of the government are headquartered here. And in the heart of downtown, in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, you’ll find the Grand Hyatt Washington. From here, you can easily get to everything I just mentioned. I chose the hotel for its fantastic location, but it offers a lot more than that.
- Cash & Point Expense – Hotel costs in terms of cash, points, or both.
- Hotel Overview & Rooms – Overview of the property and room choices.
- Service & Conveniences – Service and amenities offered by the hotel.
- Restaurants & Dining – Restaurant and bar choices in the hotel.
- X-Factor – What sets this property apart from others.
Cash & Points Expense
Like many DC hotels, the prices here can vary wildly based on what’s going on in town. For my recent stay, paying cash made sense. The price was low ($152/night), and I could use one of my unused Diamond Suite Upgrades, which put me in a Grand Suite for the weekend. If you’re going when DC is busy, however, room rates can start at $450/night and higher, at which point the Grand Hyatt Washington becomes a fantastic deal for only 15,000 points per night.
A common question is, “What credit card signup bonus is best for this hotel?” and the answer is a bit counterintuitive. You might think the Hyatt credit card is the best for getting free nights at a Grand Hyatt, but in this case the points price is so reasonable, I’d use points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s 50,000 point signup bonus. While the Hyatt card gets you two free nights at any Hyatt, 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be turned into 50,000 Hyatt points, which would be enough for three nights here, with points left over.
Hotel Overview & Rooms
When you walk into the Grand Hyatt, it’s…well, grand!
There’s a height restriction within the city limits, but the Grand Hyatt does a good job being impressive without being a skyscraper. They have all the usual room types, and I was lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Grand Suite. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
The bedroom was spacious and comfortable, and felt like a normal hotel room:
The living room and dining area were spacious, efficient, and comfortable (I personally sat in every available seat at least once to confirm):
The above picture was taken from the end of the entryway, which had a half bathroom (this room would be great for entertaining or hanging out):
The one downside is that the shower was a little small and cramped:
But it was more than made up for by a jacuzzi tub which could probably fit two people (you know, if you wanted to, for…whatever reason):
In between the bedroom and the master bathroom, there was even a vanity where you could get ready:
The closet you can see in the mirror of the above picture contained bathrobes and slippers. The room was full of amenities, and even more were available upon request for borrowing (e.g., a teapot for the morning) or keeping (e.g., I needed a shoehorn, and they gave me two).
Overall, the room was nearly perfect. The only hiccup was a broken bathtub drain, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it gave me a chance to see how great the staff at the hotel really is (but more on that later, I promise).
Service & Conveniences
This is one place where the Grand Hyatt really shines. I booked the hotel because of its convenient location for walking to things, but location is only the start of what makes this place convenient. There are tons of public transit options, including an in-building entrance to a nearby subway station through which multiple lines run, including the subway you’d take the nearby Amtrak station (though you could walk there too). There’s a FedEx Office Print & Ship center in the building, along with a Starbucks, bar, and restaurant, plus the usual conveniences of a good hotel (parking, concierge, ATM, business center, a well equipped shop for sundries and souvenirs, etc.). I could spend a whole post raving about the conveniences.
The service was also great, from housekeeping to the front desk associates to the bellhops. Everyone was friendly, professional, and efficient. The hotel boasts a pool, spa, and gym, but I didn’t spend enough time in the hotel to try any of them.
The Grand Hyatt Washington also has a club lounge, which is really worth mentioning (but if you know you’re not interested in those, feel free to skip to the next section). I almost didn’t check out the lounge at all, because when I was checking in the person checking me in really undersold it. He told me it was “continental breakfast until 9am” then beverages and the occasional snack for the rest of the day. Turns out that was a huge understatement.
On my last day in town I went to the lounge for a bottle of water, and I was pleasantly surprised (and mildly annoyed I could have been enjoying the lounge more during the trip). The drink selection was fantastic, from lattes to soda to beer. The snacks were delicious, and included fresh fruit, spiced almonds, and some sweet confections that were essentially chocolate mousse on a soft bit of cake all covered in a hard chocolate dome. The door outlines the offerings, and you might notice breakfast goes a half-hour later than I was told:
Sadly, I was unable to try anything but the afternoon snacks, as I didn’t know about most of the offerings until my day of departure. The lounge has a nice area for serving:
And here are some (though not all) of the afternoon snacks:
The lounge had some seats with iPads that guests could use:
And several nice seating areas:
If I return to this hotel (and I plan to) and have lounge access again (I hope to), you can bet I’ll be increasing my time spent there.
Restaurants & Dining
Unfortunately for this review, I didn’t get a chance to sample the in-house restaurants and dining. Fortunately, the reason for that is I was too busy sampling some of the absolutely amazing dining within walking distance of the hotel! The hotel has a restaurant and bar on site, and the room service menu looked pretty good, but the neighborhood is so brimming with phenomenal dining options that I wouldn’t have cared if the hotel’s ground floors were just a check-in desk and a bellhop stand (though the Starbucks and shop were nice conveniences). If there’s interest in the DC dining scene among readers, I could put together a whole post on great restaurants in the city, but for now, I’ll move on and get back to the hotel.
This East End Grand Hyatt may not be as posh or luxurious as the Park Hyatt in DC’s West End, but for a large hotel they managed to keep the service warm and personal while staying professional and efficient enough to run a much larger hotel. And their attention to detail (save the misstatement about the lounge) was phenomenal. Let me tell you a story.
As I mentioned above (and promised I’d get back to, so in your face everyone who didn’t believe me), there was a small problem with the bathtub drain. The button to release the drain stopper would only work when pushed, so to drain the tub I would have had to keep my finger on the button the whole time. Obviously I wasn’t going to do that, so I looked around and grabbed a washcloth. I pushed the stopper release button and wedged a corner of the washcloth in between the drain’s lip and the stopper. When I stepped back, the stopper was propped up and the tub drained just fine. The whole thing took about a minute of figuring what was wrong and what to do, plus a brief moment spent awkwardly straddling, pushing, and reaching.
Why am I telling you such a boring story about a minute detail? Aside from it being the only thing wrong with the room, when I got home I received a personal apology e-mail from the front office manager about the situation, saying they strive for a higher standard. It didn’t feel like a form letter at all. In this e-mail, as in other interactions with the staff, it felt like they really care about their guests and doing a good job for them.
But here’s the most amazing thing: I didn’t report the problem to anyone. Not to housekeeping, not to maintenance, not even in passing as I was checking out. The housekeeper cleaning my room after I left must have noticed the washcloth placement, figured out why it was jammed in the drain like that, and reported it not only to maintenance but to a customer-facing employee as well, who could then reach out to me.
THAT is impressive. And it shows that it’s not just the people at the front desk who see it as their jobs to take care of a guest’s complete experience. That kind of team-level commitment to guests is the kind of thing you see at the best businesses in the hospitality industry, from top restaurants in the world to the most praised teams at Disney World to, apparently, the Grand Hyatt Washington, which certainly has the X-Factor in my mind.
- The hotel is in a great location.
- It’s affordable in points, and sometimes in cash as well.
- (But remember, if you want a signup bonus to stay here for free, go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and save the comparatively fewer Hyatt free nights for a higher category hotel.)
- It offers pretty much everything you’d need.
- The staff’s strong commitment to guests puts it a notch above its competitors and can make the whole experience more pleasant.