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I get emails from unexpected people and companies with some regularity – it’s all part of the ‘fun’ of making a living in this kind of crazy way. One email that caught my eye recently was from someone that worked at the Hyatt Place Houston, The Woodlands, which is very near my hometown. She was a meeting coordinator and was giving me a tip about earning Hyatt points via meetings, receptions etc. It was a points earning method I’m not sure I have overtly written about, so I will soon, but especially since I live so close to that Hyatt Place I wrote back and said it was good to hear from someone “local”. Most communications I get from companies like Hyatt are from the corporate level or a PR company so it was fun to get something from an individual property. She was surprised I lived in the area and we set up a time to meet and tour the new Hyatt Place in The Woodlands.
While I was happy to meet her, touring a Hyatt Place is kind of like touring a McDonalds in that my impression is that they are pretty much all the same. Well, color me wrong. I had heard that the new build Hyatt Places they were putting up now were nicer than lots of the converted Hyatt Places I had stayed in before, but hadn’t yet stayed in a one yet.
This particular Hyatt Place was not just an okay place to lay your head at night, but it was actually nice. Like really nice. Don’t believe me, that’s okay, keep reading.
First, the lobby was bright and airy and staffed by very professional employees.
Of course it had the standard area for the included Hyatt Place breakfast, though no breakfast was out on my visit since we were well past breakfast time. While we are on that topic, if you aren’t familiar with Hyatt Place, everyone gets free breakfast and free WiFi. At this particular location the parking is also free – no elite status required!
Next, we checked out the pool and gym. You would expect a Hyatt Place to have a pool, but I did not expect it to be a saltwater heated pool, especially in Texas. It wasn’t huge, but it looked like somewhere I would actually get in if traveling with my kid rather than an amenity I would try and hide from her so she didn’t ask me to get in because it looked over-chlorinated or otherwise sketchy.
Their outdoor areas in general looked inviting (well other than the 100 degree Texas heat), and apparently an outdoor fire pit is on the way this fall.
Next we checked out both a standard room and then a suite. The standard room was very nice for what it was, and was certainly clean and modern (with the sink actually in the bathroom!), but let’s skip that and jump right to the suite.
All Hyatt Place rooms are pretty much perfect for families since they all have the large couch areas. Many are rated for 5, and some for 6 persons in one room, which is a big deal for traveling families, but this particular room was even better.
The Hyatt Place suite took it to a whole other level with a separate room for the bed, a large bathroom, plus a dining table and kitchen?! The hotel only has a couple of these suites, so they are certainly not the new norm, but it was very nice. If I have some friends or family visit that we don’t have room for at our house for some reason, you can bet this will be my first spot to consider for them. Heck, I may give them our house and come here myself for a couple days.
It is certainly the nicest Hyatt Place suite I have ever seen, and it follows the trend that I have written about before that sometimes hotels have deluxe “non standard” rooms available for the same points price as regular rooms…
The Woodlands isn’t exactly a big tourist stop, but there is a local shuttle service from the Hyatt Place to the Pavilion for concerts, the hotel is right next to one of my favorite local restaurants in the area, Fieldings, and the area is continuing to grow at lightening speed thanks to copious amounts of oil money – specifically from Exxon building a ginormous complex.
If you have a chance to stay at this specific Hyatt Place I doubt you will be disappointed, but more than just that the visit made me open my eyes again to the idea of a Hyatt Place being more than a way to rack up a cheap Hyatt stay and/or just have a bed to sleep in at night. This one was much more like a “mini full service Hyatt”, as the staff described it, than any other Hyatt Place I had seen before thanks to the updated rooms and furnishings, the bright and airy design, the pool I would actually use, lots of meeting space, and employees that really seem to understand the travel experience and their role in it. Of course I didn’t actually stay there so I can’t speak to how an actual stay would go, but the reviews I have read online seem to back up my impressions.
This post probably reads like a Hyatt Place commercial (I assure you it is not, unless you count the bottle of water I was given at the visit as payment), but it was just that much better than every other Hyatt Place I have seen and I really hope this approach continues. For those curious, the Hyatt Place in downtown Austin is reportedly a similar new-build like this one, so I would expect it to be quite nice as well. I certainly love luxury trips from time to time, but I would not hesitate to spend 8,000 Hyatt points to stay somewhere like this if my travel plans allowed. If you want a more upscale Hyatt in The Woodlands, here is my review on the Hyatt Market Street which is about 5 minutes from this property.
Sure, the Park Hyatt New York City looks really, really great, but 30,000 points per night for the Park Hyatt compared to 8,000 points per night for this hotel. There is a clear winner for families who need to stretch their points while they explore the country. A Hyatt Place will never compete with the Park Hyatt in terms of luxury, but apparently they can still be pretty nice in their own right.
Have you stayed in a new build Hyatt Place or other hotel that ended up exceeding your expectations?