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File this under “Writing about it before I forget it happened.”
First impression: Wow – there are a LOT of chain hotels in Austin. I… had no idea there were so many.
In fact, there are three Hyatt Place locations in Austin:
But I’ll focus on the last one.
We passed many, many other hotels on the way to it.
I flew down to Austin for a work meeting, and that’s what I did most of the time. So I didn’t get to enjoy the amenities of the hotel, like the pool or gym.
I kinda flew down, checked in, and slept there in the evenings. Which was fine. Here’s my take on it.
Arrival and check-in
Great! I was harried. I’d left my ID in the rental car, and was a mess of bags and random crap after traveling all day. But the desk agent could not have been more thorough or professional or welcoming.
My Hyatt Platinum elite status was acknowledged, and she asked which room I’d prefer. I opted for the bigger room on a higher floor near the elevator: PERFECT.
I got room 516 on the 5th floor, was given a wifi code, and was told about the free breakfast in the morning.
I was struck right away by the size of the room. And saddened that it’s bigger than most apartments in New York. :/
No, but seriously, it looks compact in the photo above, but it was well-sectioned into multiple areas for sitting, sprawling, and lounging.
The room was very clean, and had obviously been kept up well.
I didn’t get a clear pic of the toiletries, but they were the usual This Works soap, shampoo, and conditioner, not that I’ve been washing my hair anyway. :p
The view from the window wasn’t particularly interesting, just a large parking garage, but the room got a good amount of natural light which I appreciated.
A wifi letdown
The biggest sticking point for me was the hotel’s extremely slow wifi. That, to me, is completely unacceptable.
If you’ve read a lot of my hotel reviews, you know I’m a pretty fair guy. I can overlook a lot, and get that service errors happen and all that.
But, I stayed with a small group, and all of us agreed that the wifi was so slow as to be nearly unusable.
I traveled this time with my laptop, iPad, and iPhone. I had to reconnect all 3 devices to the wifi multiple times, and even then, basic pages like email would NOT load.
Out of frustration, I used the AT&T LTE network on my phone for most of my email and web browsing, which was pretty inconvenient.
The only things I really look for in a hotel are a clean, quiet room, breakfast when it’s available, and blazing fast wifi. And because this was a work meeting, I was pretty crippled by not having wifi – blazing or otherwise. I couldn’t even load my emails on my computer.
So, unfortunately, despite the spacious rooms and decent breakfast, I have to give this hotel a big ol’ pass until the upgrade their wifi.
Oh, and the water was VERY soft. I left each shower feeling like I was covered in some sort of film. Not sure if that’s a regional thing or what.
So, the wifi sucked. But the breakfast was passable.
I was there for 4 nights, and they made a good effort to rotate the selection of the hot items each day. It was really hit-or-miss though. One day I loved all the hot foods, and the next, I settled for cereal and fruit.
So for 1 or 2-night stays, this could be a sticking point as well.
They also had a separate coffee station, and did a good job of restocking the items.
It wasn’t out-of-this-world amazing, but for a free, small buffet breakfast, they did a really nice job. It was a nice perk before heading out to meetings, but it wasn’t anything super filling.
But again, for a breakfast included in the room rate, I really can’t complain. And the French toast was actually really good!
Just want to quickly note how cool a town Austin is (not that it needs any more press on that front). Driving on the highways made me want to scream, though. What a weird, convoluted highway system you all have to deal with! I couldn’t hack that every day.
All-in-all, a great trip. But.
There is a huge oversaturation of chain hotels in Austin. I suspect that has to do with SXSW and other huge festivals and events and tourism and all that. Well, that’s fine. But with so many choices, each individual hotel needs to compete to stand out.
And the Hyatt Place Austin/Arboretum failed to do that.
The breakfast was fine, and the room was actually super spacious, quiet, and comfortable. I slept well and really liked the bed.
But the slowwww wifi is/was a deal-breaker for me. Maybe as a casual tourist, it would’ve been fine. But it’s located in Northwest Austin, a bit far from downtown and most touristy things. It’s near office complexes, and is near a lot of the tech industry headquarters. So, probably hosting a lot of people coming in for work meetings, like I did. And for that, they completely failed to deliver.
So, as much as I like Hyatt, and Hyatt Place locations, I have to give this one a big ol’ pass.
Anyone else have an experience here? Was my wifi conundrum an isolated incident?
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