Around the World on 90k Part I: Warsaw and Beijing with Nothing But a Passport and a Dream(liner)
Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa
Korean Air Lounge New York JFK
LOT Polish Business Class 787 New York To Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class ERJ-170 Warsaw To Zurich
Swiss Panorama Lounge Zurich
Swiss Business Class A330 Zurich To Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class 747-8 Frankfurt to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington DC
We had one night in Beijing, arriving at 6AM and leaving at midnight the following night. While I’ve wanted to check out the Park Hyatt Beijing, I figured for a one night stay where we were hoping for early check-in we would be better off at a mega-hotel, where there’s a greater probability of rooms being available early in the morning.
So instead we booked the Grand Hyatt Beijing. It’s a Category 4 Gold Passport property, so I actually redeemed by annual free night certificate from the Chase Hyatt Visa Card. Given that paid rates were over $200 per night, I considered that to be a pretty great deal.
The drive from the airport to the Grand Hyatt took about 30 minutes, and the exterior sure did live up to the name — it was a grand hotel!
We were immediately approached by bellmen who directed us towards check-in, which was located inside the lobby to the left. The lobby was beautiful, with high ceilings and lots of natural light.
At the reception desk we were helped by Mamie, a friendly associate who tried to process our check-in as fast as she could, though it still took about 15 minutes before we had our keys. All of the Gold Passport Diamond benefits were explained to us, including Grand Club access, complimentary internet, late check-out, etc. You can’t beat checking into a hotel at 7AM and being able to check out at 4PM!
I took the elevator up to my room on the 18th floor, room 1842.
It was located at the far end of the hallway, and was a standard Grand Club King room.
The room was a good size for Beijing, with a large entryway. The bathroom was located to the left.
The room featured a king size bed, small couch with coffee table, desk with chair, and flat screen TV.
The bed was extremely firm which I don’t usually like, but in this instance I found it oddly comfortable — it might just have been my exhaustion by the time I went to sleep.
The room felt somewhat modern — it had clearly been renovated, but not in the past few years. It also had a minimalistic design, which I quite like.
The room overlooked the front side of the hotel, and the surrounding office buildings, which are part of the same complex.
The bathroom was also a good size, with a sink, tub, walk-in shower, and toilet.
The bathroom featured June Jacobs toiletries.
On the whole I thought the room was very nice, though there’s one massive caveat. The wifi in the room — and for that matter in the hotel as a whole — was unusable. I realize that China blocks a lot of websites (though there are a lot of hotels where even those sites aren’t blocked), but my issue at the hotel wasn’t limited to those sites. Virtually any website I tried to search took at least five minutes to load.
When you live in hotels full time and need to still work efficiently on the internet for at least eight hours a day when traveling, this translates into an absolute nightmare. So I can stop right here and say that this is a hotel I could never return to due to that alone, though I realize not everyone is as dependent on wifi as I am.
Thanks to Gold Passport Diamond status we had access to the Grand Club, which is located on the 17th floor. You can either take the elevator down there from the 18th floor, or there’s a staircase that leads directly there.
The Grand Club is nicely furnished and quite large. Even though there were lots of guests, it never really felt full.
Breakfast was served from 6:30AM till 10:30AM, and featured a fairly good spread. They had salad, fruit, yogurt, cereal, croissants, pastries, cheese, cold cuts, etc.
Then cooked to order eggs were available off the menu. While there was a cappuccino machine, there were servers constantly roaming the lounge to clear plates and offer drinks. My only comment regarding the food spread otherwise is that I wish they had more Chinese options — there were two types of dim sum, but not much else.
Then during the day they had some cookies and fruit available.
In the evening from 5PM till 8PM they had the evening happy hour, with snacks and complimentary beverages. The spread was again fairly good, with cheese, crackers, sushi, chips, spring rolls, quiche, etc. I’ve definitely seen better spreads elsewhere, but it was at least average for an Asian Hyatt property.
There were also well over a dozen liquor options, as well as beer and wine.
Interestingly they also had a menu with two evening options.
We didn’t spend very much time in the hotel, but the only other thing worth noting is that this hotel has a totally ridiculous pool area.
It’s the craziest hotel pool I’ve ever seen, and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Right next to the pool is the gym, which was also nicely equipped (though three pictures in I was told “no photo” by the trainer staffing the gym).
Grand Hyatt Beijing bottom line
This is a nice, “mega” Grand Hyatt. The rooms and Grand Club were nice, service was attentive though a bit cold (which I find to be common in China), and the pool was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The only thing that kills this hotel for me is the wifi situation.
Redeeming points at Grand Hyatt Beijing
The Grand Hyatt Beijing is a Gold Passport Category 4 property, meaning it costs:
- 15,000 Gold Passport points for a free night redemption
- 7,500 Gold Passport points plus $100 for a Points + Cash redemption (subject to capacity controls)
- Free anniversary night certificate from the Chase Hyatt Visa Card (valid at up to a Category 4 property)
Given that the rate was $200+ per night when I stayed, I thought it was a great use of a free night certificate.
In addition to their own co-branded Chase Hyatt Visa Card, Hyatt Gold Passport is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, meaning you can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards instantly at a 1:1 ratio. The best cards for collecting Ultimate Rewards points are:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers double points on dining and travel and no foreign transaction fees(plus a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months)
- The Ink Plus® Business Card and Ink Bold® Business Card, which offer 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services (plus a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months)
Have you stayed at the Grand Hyatt Beijing? If so, what was your experience?