While planning my summer trip to Asia (which is still only half booked), I came to the realization that I’m stuck in a rut: I can’t get myself to book anything other than Hyatt hotels. Not because I like the monotony of being in the same hotel room no matter where I go or even due to my super-elite Platinum status. No, it’s because Hyatt hotels are generally nicer and in better overall condition – at least where my travels take me. That still doesn’t make it ok in my mind and I’m trying really hard to break out of this habit.
When I was looking for hotels in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, I made an effort to book something other than a Hyatt. If for no other reason than to incorporate a bit of variety into the trip. I tried it in Singapore but the Grand Hyatt has a great location and is in much better shape than any of its competitors. They all came up short in one area or another, so I booked the Grand Hyatt Singapore, knowing it was the best choice in terms of location and overall value. It certainly helped that I secured a Duplex Suite, so I felt less weird about this first booking.
Next was Kuala Lumpur, where hotels are ridiculously cheap. A 3-bedroom residence at the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur is a mind-boggling $385 per night. There isn’t a zero missing from that number. It would have been perfect too, since there are five of us and this rate would include breakfast/lounge access for everyone. In terms of Arrival miles, it would require just $17,325 in manufactured spending per night. Yet, I couldn’t pull the trigger. The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is probably the nicest hotel in the city and people are constantly raving about the suites with views of the Petronas Towers. If I was going to book any Hyatt hotel on this trip, it had to be the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.
What reinforced my decision was that the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur has surprisingly bad reviews. People complain about the service, club lounge, and even the condition of the hotel. That kind of put me off and when I showed a video of the Ritz Carlton’s 3-bedroom suite and the Grand Hyatt’s Grand Suites to my brother (who normally couldn’t care less about this stuff) his reaction was, “The Hyatt looks so much nicer.” So Hyatt it was, again.
Now I have to make some decisions about our stay in Bali and possibly Hong Kong. At the moment I have this beautiful beachfront villa booked in Bali, but it was only available for three nights. So I need to book a hotel for 3-4 nights, depending on how long we’ll stay. My brother thinks he’ll have his first post-grad job by the summer (oh, the youthful optimism!), in which case he won’t be able to take much time off. My sister, who will graduate high school by then, just got her first job and doesn’t think she can take more than two weeks off either. My employment status is also in limbo and I doubt I’ll get 2+ weeks off right after starting a new job. So we might have to rearrange our trip or cut our time in Bali short. We don’t know yet, so I’m waiting until May before finalizing those plans.
At the moment, I’m deciding between the Intercontinental Jimbaran Bay, The Laguna Resort in Nusa Dua, and the Banyan Tree in Ungasan. They’re all over the map, but how long we stay will determine which hotel I book. After two Hyatt bookings, I put my foot down and eliminated the Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua. I have yet to see a review of The Laguna, which looks nice enough and might make an interesting trip report. The Banyan Tree looks amazing, but I don’t want to drive to the other end of the island if we’re only staying a couple of nights.
In Hong Kong, I might cave and book the Grand Hyatt. The hotel was renovated fairly recently and the new decor kind of reminds me of the Park Hyatt Sydney. Plus, if I re-qualify for Hyatt Diamond again, I can upgrade to a Grand Suite and I’ll be hard-pressed to get a room with a view that good at any other hotel without paying for it. The Grand Hyatt seems like the best option, so it would be wrong to shut it down just because it’s yet another Hyatt hotel. We’ll see.
The trip to Asia is pretty far off but I’m confident it won’t revolve around Hyatt hotels. Some time this month or next (if all goes according to plan) I’m going back to Kabul with my dad. We’ll probably spend some time in Europe first, maybe a few days in Dubai. I’m determined to put my 600,000+ Club Carlson points to use, especially now that I finally have a Club Carlson credit card. In any case, I’m making a conscious effort to get out of this Hyatt rut, one hotel booking at a time.
Are you in a hotel rut? What is it that’s keeping you from staying outside of a particular hotel chain?
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