I attended the Freddie Awards in the Washington, D.C., area last month. The event was held at the amazing Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport (IAD).
But the trip presented me with a special opportunity: to stay at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Yes, even though it’s sort of a trek from the Dulles area, I was so excited to stay at the Grand Hyatt.
Pfft, what’s so special? some may say. There’s a Hyatt Regency near Dulles!
Yes, I know. That’s where many Freddie Awards attendees (myself included) enjoyed an after-after-party 🙂 .
But there are a few reasons I opted for the Grand Hyatt.
First, I love United States history. And there’s a lot of it in Washington, D.C. I genuinely nerd out seeing Ford’s Theatre, Washington Monument, the Petersen House, the Capitol, and the White House. Heck, I was excited seeing the Department of Commerce and the FBI building.
Sentimentally, the Grand Hyatt is where I stayed with my dad when he took me along on a business trip to the District. I was maybe 12 or 14. The convention he attended had a kids program that took me around D.C. and the surrounding area. I’ll always remember it.
This was great: my World of Hyatt Credit Card’s annual free night benefit qualified for the Grand Hyatt! On top of that, it was only 15,000 World of Hyatt points for me to stay the second night.
I made my reservations (which were ultimately merged) and looked forward to the trip.
Checking into the Grand Hyatt Washington
One of the Grand Hyatt Washington’s more convenient features is its location: right above the Washington Metro’s Metro Center station.
I took the train to and from Reagan Airport (DCA). For what it’s worth, I flew Delta from LAX and enjoyed my 757-200S’ row 35 🙂 .
Here’s the thing: the train ride can take 20 minutes, or it can take longer. My read to the hotel was 45 minutes. It depends on whatever slowdowns occur on the tracks.
I arrived at the check-in desk around 5:00 PM. The World of Hyatt card comes with complimentary Explorist status.
The friendly agent told me my room wasn’t yet ready.
“You booked the Grand Suite, right?” she said.
“I don’t think I –” I started.
“Oh! You were upgraded,” she said. “They’re still cleaning the room and making sure it’s ready.”
She apologized several times for the wait. No worries. I had plans for the evening but they were fairly flexible.
Then she deposited 10,000 points back into my account as a goodwill gesture. That certainly was generous!
So, I got a suite for the card’s $95 annual fee and 5,000 points.
I traipsed over to the bar, had a couple of Old Fashioneds, and got some writing done. Some lobbyists from out of town also were enjoying happy hour. It was fun to eavesdrop. (That was before my dinner at Off The Record — review to come soon!)
Finally, my room was ready around 7:00 PM.
The Grand Suite
It’s funny. I seem to get suite upgrades when I travel alone — but not with my family. (Read: My suite upgrade for a few hours before a funeral.) And I’m always grateful and enjoy the rooms.
This certainly was no exception.
There’s a powder room for guests. (I had no guests. But I still used it once because, you know, I could.)
The living room features a closet, coffee maker, books (they’re real, I checked), and a mini-fridge.
I loved, loved, loved using the dining table to work.
There were plenty of power outlets for me to plug into.
I really enjoyed the bedroom, too.
I slept very well. The bedding and pillows were just fine.
There’s plenty of closet, drawer, and prep space, too.
The master bathroom was huge!
I told my wife that whenever we’re in D.C., we’re staying at the Grand Hyatt. I’ll never expect an upgrade. But the location and guest services are very impressive.
Food and beverage-wise, they’re decent. But I love the location and the World of Hyatt redemptions are great. (Memo to Chase and Hyatt: keep them where they are!)
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