Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Calgary

As an almost last minute decision, my family decided to create a ‘staycation’ for New Year’s Eve here in Calgary. We decided that we wanted to attend the City TV New Years Eve bash and stay at the Hyatt Regency Calgary only a block away. We booked a AAA/CAA rate that included full breakfast. Hyatt runs a lot of AAA/CAA rates that include breakfast for the same price as AAA/CAA rates that do not,  so if you are booking one of these rates be sure to check the rules to see if you have breakfast included. We were looking forward to staying here again as it had been more than a year and half since our last stay here when I needed to use up a free night earned from a Hyatt promotion before it expired. I will apologize up front for the lack of my own pictures of the room as I totally forgot to take some other than this photo of the view out of our room.

View from our room showing Olympic Plaza and the City TV NYE Bash set up

The rest of the photos are pulled from the Hyatt Calgary site so you can get an idea of what it is like if you have not stayed here before.

After a long flight drive from Northwest Calgary we arrived at the Hyatt right the earliest check in time of 3pm.  I asked for a higher East facing room so that we could see the Olympic Plaza fireworks from our room should we not be able to make it to midnight. The agent at the desk was extremely helpful as she got us an East Facing room on the 17th floor and since it was New Year’s, she comped us our Wi-Fi access which was nice since I no longer have Platinum status with Hyatt.

The awesome pool and hot tub was enjoyed by us three times in 24 hours (photo from Hyatt Calgary website)

We kicked off our stay with a visit to the pool and hot tub located on the 18th floor. My kids are now 9 and 7 and these amenities are pretty much a prerequisite for anywhere we stay. My girls love to swim and it showed during this short stay with three visits to the pool, this one right after check in, one later in the evening before going out for the NYE festivities and one after breakfast since check out wasn’t until noon. I must say the pool and hot tub are some of the best features of the hotel. The pool is kept warm enough that even my wife who hates cold pools could take a plunge and the hot tub was kept very hot to soothe any aching muscles. The view from the pool is great with the South windows looking straight at the Calgary tower and the East windows looking at Olympic plaza where during our dip we could see and here some of the NYE performers doing their sound checks.

After the first swim we went back to the room where I could have a good look at it since I had heard that the Hyatt had completed a $4MM dollar renovation of the hotel including room enhancements. Well I couldn’t see any room enhancements in our room! The living area was totally fine, two queen beds, flat screen TV and a great view from the windows. However the bathroom was sure showing its age, there were lots of chips out of the bathtub (and it was tiny to boot!) and some beat up walls. Honestly, it was nothing terrible in that I would complain to the front desk or want a different room but I was surprised nonetheless after hearing about the renos. Here is the Hyatt Calgary’s press release on the renovations, it does seem most of the money was spent on public areas but it does state the room and hallway enhancements. I wonder what those were.

Two Queen Room (photo from Hyatt Calgary website)

After grabbing a bite to eat and lots of time before the start of the New Years eve party it was back to the pool and hot tub for another dip! This time the pool area was quite busy when compared to our afternoon swim but there was still enough room for my wife and I to relax in the Hot Tub while the kids splashed around in the pool without getting in anyone's face.

We then spent a few hours out at Olympic Plaza for the City TV NYE Bash with a few thousand other people listening to the pumping music doled out by DJ Pete Emes (I used to DJ with this guy back in the 90s, good to see he's still at it!) and performances from Victoria Dufdield, Serena Ryder, Massari and Johnny Reid. Even though it was only a few degrees below zero the couple of hours out there had my girls shivering so we made our way to Sandstone lounge in the Hyatt to enjoy some drinks and appetizers. Off to our room we went just before midnight so that we could watch the fireworks from our window as the clock struck twelve.

The next morning took us to Thomson's Restaurant since our rate included breakfast. Thomson's is quite famous in Calgary for Sunday brunch but this was not a Sunday so the breakfast buffet wasn't as varied but provided quite a large spread of hot and cold breakfast items. Since check out wasn't until noon we hit the pool and hot tub once more! What can I say my kids love to swim!

Overall it was another pretty good stay at the Hyatt Regency Calgary.  Despite the apparent lack of major room renos I would recommend this location if you need to stay in downtown YYC for business or even with family for the great pool facility. In fact, my oldest daughter loves it so much that we are heading back for her birthday in February. Totally fine by me, I'd rather be staying in a hotel with my family than throwing a big birthday bash that costs a lot more!

There were no Hyatt promotions at the time for the Hyatt Regency Calgary stay and my lack of status meant that I only earned the basic 5 Gold Passport points per dollar on this stay so the points earning wasn’t that great but in the end this stay wasn’t about the points earning at all.

Hyatt Regency Calgary

Hyatt Gold Passport Category: 3

Points required for a free night 12,000 Gold Passport Points

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