One of my hopes for this site is that it will not only offer points and miles tips for families, but it will also (eventually) serve as a resource for hotel reviews from a family point of view. What good is it to use points to head off to a hotel with your family, only to find out that it really isn’t a very “family friendly” type of joint. I have many hotel reviews that are just itching to be written, and once I can get a few more completed, I plan to add a tab on the home page that has a listing of all of the reviews in one place. Maybe that will be one of my 2012 resolutions?!
So, in an effort to make some progress towards that goal, here is a review of the Hyatt Regency Austin. I have stayed at this hotel a few times over the last several months. Since my husband and I both now have Hyatt Diamond status, it make sense for us to strongly consider this hotel when we are in the Austin area (which is pretty frequently). I have personally found it to be a pretty solid choice when we are there on business or with our family in tow.
The hotel is located in downtown Austin. It is actually just south of the river/lake. Most of the downtown attractions are on the north side of the lake, but I actually like that this hotel is close, but not too close, to all of the downtown action. It makes getting in and out a little bit easier than dealing with the true downtown streets. The exterior of the hotel is pretty standard for a Hyatt Regency. One thing I do like for families is that the parking lot is very close to the hotel. That is always handy when you are going back and forth with kiddos or their gear.
The lobby is also nice enough – again pretty standard for a Hyatt Regency. The hotel has an atrium style design. When we were there one weekend in early December, we were actually warned ahead of time by the hotel that due to the atrium design there may be some noise in our rooms because of the Christmas parties that the hotel was hosting. While it was nice to at least give fair warning, I fortunately didn’t hear a thing. Our room was located furthest from the atrium, but even when we were in the lobby things seemed pretty quiet. Thank goodness.
Every time my husband or I have been there we have always received a river-facing King room. When you first walk into the room there is a little hallway with the closet on one side and the bathroom on the other. I do like the little table and mirror that are in the entry hallway.
The little touches in this room are what makes it feel inviting for me. It’s a small thing, but the shelf with nice photos on it makes it feel a little more like my house, and little less like a random hotel room.
The bed itself was very comfortable, at least from what I can remember. Of course, I am usually so exhausted that I can sleep pretty well in most places.
While I usually don’t watch too much TV in hotels, I did notice that it was a little bit awkward to watch much TV from this bed due to the placement of the bed and TV. Not a huge deal, but it may get on your nerves a bit if you had a lot of TV watching planned. Personally, I would rather enjoy the view from this room. There is often someone kayaking or rowing by on the lake, and your view of downtown Austin is pretty great. I know when we travel with C it is always helpful for her to have something interesting to look at out of the window. Trains get the #1 spot, but people rowing by isn’t too shabby either.
The bathroom is nothing spectacular, but it is certainly decent. There is a tub, which is pretty much a requirement for me when I go somewhere with C. I do remember the water pressure in the shower being pretty poor several of the times I have been there. Not sure if I have had bad luck or that is a wide-spread issue, but otherwise the bathroom has been totally acceptable.
I have already mentioned how much I enjoy the view of the lake. Not only is it pretty great from the river-facing rooms, but you can also enjoy it when you are in the bar area or on the back patio. Both the lounge and back patio seemed very inviting. Of course, this is Austin, so most everything has a pretty laid-back and inviting feel. I will say that I have yet to really see many families in the public areas of the hotel. I have never felt that my family wouldn’t be welcome there, but this hotel certainly isn’t swarming with families (or at least it wasn’t on the days I have been there).
Right next to the back patio is the outdoor pool. I have never been in the pool myself, but if I was there on a warm day with my kiddo I am sure we would be in that pool for quite a while!
One thing I did get a chance to enjoy here was the breakfast buffet. Some hotel buffets I have been to recently don’t seem to have the most exciting selection of items, but this buffet actually had a pretty decent selection of items that I would actually want to eat. I honestly had a hard time deciding on what I wanted to eat because several things looked pretty good. I think I devoted most of my stomach room to the waffle – I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but it was pretty good. My experience with breakfast room service was a little more hit and miss. The last time I was there, my husband had some type of Tex-Mex breakfast that was really good. However, my bagel and lox was not my favorite. The lox were fine, but the bagel was cold and hard, and the cream cheese was clumpy and impossible to spread. I ate just enough to not be starving. I’m not really one to send food back or complain, so I didn’t give them a chance to send up another dish, but it was probably the worst Hyatt bagel and lox I have ever encountered…and I have had quite a few Hyatt bagel and lox orders!
Speaking of waffles and bagels, the gym is located on the ground floor in-between the lobby and the bar/lounge area. I haven’t had a chance to use it myself, but it certainly looks quite decent. I personally find it handy when gyms are located in easy to find areas of the hotel instead of on some random floor in a corner. At the very least having them out in the open serves as a reminder that I should be going in there for a little visit with the eliptical.
All in all I find this hotel to be a solid Hyatt Regency for families. Its location is really tops for families visiting Austin. You are right on Lady Bird Lake, only a few blocks away from the Children’s Museum, and close to most everything else you could want without having to deal with the “mess” that can sometimes come from being located in the true heart of downtown. One thing I don’t like is that this Hyatt does not have a Regency Club. Even still, I would recommend this Hyatt for families who are looking to make a visit to the Capital of Texas.
Have you visited this hotel? What did you think?