Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Thu September 15 2016

What Exactly Makes The Grand Hyatt Seattle Grand?

Hotel & Resort | Scott Laird | September 15, 2016

What Exactly Makes The Grand Hyatt Seattle Grand?

Photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt Seattle. All other photos by Scott Laird.

To be honest, I’m a little confused about Hyatt’s premium brands. Those are the properties the hotel group brands as Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, and Hyatt Regency. Seattle, in particular, is a city where those unfamiliar with the brand difference (if there is one) might be extra confused. There’s a Hyatt and a Grand Hyatt next door to each other, and they’re similarly priced.

That’s why hotel branding can be a difficult exercise, because in many cases the differences are so minute. On a recent visit to the Emerald City, I set out to find out what makes the Grand Hyatt Seattle, well, grand.

I’m often asked why I prefer upscale and luxury hotels. “You just sleep in them” is often the reasoning. The answer I give is that the primary reason upper tier properties are upper tier is their location—they occupy high-value expensive real estate, which affords their guests the ultimate luxury of convenience and time. The rest of it, however, is aesthetic, and that is what makes the Grand Hyatt Seattle certainly worth the moniker.

The tag in Grand Hyatt’s press materials is “Expect nothing but the finest.” The little touches at the property are noticeable. A small, but important, luxury is the sense of arrival one gets upon approaching a remarkable hotel, and this one has a soaring multi-story porte cochere well-staffed with valet and door staff, tall, heavy doors, impeccable vestibules and a sense of cool, fragranced tranquility that wafts over you as you enter a sanctuary.

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It’s like putting on a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Outside, perhaps it’s a bit humid, a bit drizzly, a bit overwrought with the excitement of a bustling urban core; inside, it’s perfect. Out there, you’re part of a crowd, disregarded by harried strangers who have no business with you; inside, you are the crowd, and you’re the hotel’s business.

The hotel’s standard rooms are some of the most intuitively designed I’ve seen, with design elements that make them feel gigantic. 380 square feet is large for a standard guest room, but these rooms feel even larger, with stone entry foyers (there’s a handy mirror and ledge with a pair of potted bamboo shoots for a splash of color), floor-to-ceiling windows and gorgeous marble four-fixture bathrooms with soaking tubs (it practically begs to be used) and a separate glass shower. The bathrooms also come with a host of things you might have forgotten (like toothpaste) that aren’t normally stocked in hotel rooms, so in some cases there’s not even a need to call for the items available via the Hyatt Has It program. Check-in via the app, by the way, was seamless, and I was able to request a razor and shaving cream to replace the ones I’d forgotten; they were waiting in the room for me.

Housekeeping, room service, additional items, and other things can be requested via the in-room television, which means a refreshing lack of paper strewn about the various fixtures. Turndown is available upon request, but it can be requested via the e-concierge before arrival, so a late evening arrival like mine would have the room turned down prior to arrival, so I was greeted by a bucket of ice, bottled water, and a hotel room prepared for immediate slumber.

It’s the little things that matter, like liquid instead of powdered creamer for the in-room coffee, or the feel of the crystal water goblets kept in the rooms, or the proliferation of outlets in multiple places (bedside, desktop, etc.) for charging devices.

The hotel also has multiple dining venues (a deli, a Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which has a nice happy hour, of course a Starbucks) and a serviceable health club, but the stars of this well-run show are absolutely the fantastic guest rooms. If they were going for grand, they certainly succeeded.

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