Category Archives: Hyatt

Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt Jakarta

For my relatively brief stay in Jakarta, I decided to redeem points for the Grand Hyatt Jakarta. Since it was a category 3 Hyatt property, it cost 12,000 points per night. Chain hotels in Jakarta are ridiculously pricey given how inexpensive other things in Jakarta are, as rates were over $300 USD per night, so I felt like I got a good redemption value by using points.

To get to the Hyatt, I took a Bluebird taxi from the airport. Everyone I talked to told me to only take Bluebird (or Silverbird) taxis, and you can tell that it’s the queue for the Bluebird taxis because there will actually be people waiting for those taxis. Don’t trust the people hanging around the Bluebird line unless they have a Bluebird shirt, as there are lots of touts trying to get you to take other taxis.

The taxi to the Grand Hyatt was 155k IDR, which included the toll and airport surcharge. Upon driving up to the hotel, there was a security check for the car (I believe they were using a mirror to look underneath the car), and there’s a baggage and metal detector for all people to enter the hotel.

The lobby of the hotel is quite nice and impressive. The service at the check-in counter was extremely friendly, and I was offered free breakfast, even though I wasn’t strictly entitled to that via status.

Lobby

Lobby

The room that I received was enormous. Not a suite, but a huge room that seemed well though out. There were plenty of outlets by the bed, the outlets were universal, the TV was on a swivel stand, and the furnishings were nice. I felt that it was a pretty nice Category 3 hotel (and it was a huge steal before when it was still a Cat 2!).

Bed

Bed

Furniture

Furniture

Minibar

Minibar

The bathroom was also a nice size. It didn’t have a Japanese toilet, but there was a bidet function.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Shower

Shower

The room also featured a nice view of the adjacent monument, which was also where there was a car-free walking street on the Sunday that I was there.

View from my room

View from my room

Other amenities available

Other amenities available

I didn’t use the gym during my stay, but it was a sizable space with a fair amount of equipment. One thing that I always appreciate about a gym is when there are free barbells and not just a Smith machine.

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

Gym

I had breakfast at the club lounge one day that I was there. The breakfast at the club was not as mobbed as I would have thought, and it featured pastries, juices, dairy beverages (including soy milk), whole fruit (including salak or snakeskin fruit), Asian breakfast foods like fried rice and noodles, congee, made-to-order eggs, breads, cheeses, and salads. It was a decent spread, but nothing special by Asian luxury hotel standards.

Club

Club

Lounge breakfast

Lounge breakfast

Refrigerated items

Refrigerated items

Cold cuts and yogurts

Cold cuts and yogurts

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast

Hot items for breakfast

I had breakfast in the normal restaurant on another day, and the restaurant featured a more extensive buffet. I tried to take pictures, but I was told to stop because taking pictures of the food was apparently a security hazard for the hotel :/

One notable incident about my stay was that there was actually a fire at the hotel. The lobby was filled with smoke, the hotel was evacuated, and we weren’t allowed back into the hotel for several hours. Apparently there was a fire in one of the restaurant kitchens.

This hotel is connected to the Plaza Indonesia mall, which is a nice luxury mall. There’s an entrance to the mall within the lobby, which is convenient when it’s hot out. There’s also the Keraton at the Plaza hotel connected on the other side of the mall, which is a Category 5 SPG property.

Overall, I thought that this was a pretty decent Category 3 Hyatt hotel. Service at the hotel was good, my room was spacious and nicely furnished, and the hotel offers pretty decent amenities. Given how expensive cash rates can sometimes be, a points redemption can be a worthwhile option to consider.

Why I’m Canceling My Chase Hyatt Card

A lot of bloggers have said that the Chase Hyatt credit card is one of the cards to keep and pay the annual fee on every year because the card offers a free anniversary night certificate redeemable for a category 1-4 Hyatt property for an annual fee of $75.

Since the annual fee just posted on my account, I was forced to think about whether this made sense for me. Even though paying $75 for a night at a category 4 Hyatt property makes sense in comparison to paying the cash rate at many hotels, that’s more than I’d typically spend on a single night since I’m often content skimping on lodging and doing things like staying at capsule hotels or using Airbnb. The card does offer double points  on restaurants and some travel expenses and has no foreign transaction fees, which is nice given that I no longer have a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

But then I realized that all of this thought process was irrelevant. It makes almost no sense for me to keep the credit card given that I regularly apply for new credit cards. Chase cards can be churned every 24 months, and you keep award night certificates earned in your Hyatt account even if you close your credit card. Thus, I can cancel my credit card right now, keep the free category 1-4 certificate that has already posted to my Hyatt account, and then reapply for the same credit card in 12 months and get two annual free nights.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 2.05.31 PM

Screenshot from current offer

Scenario 1: Keep the credit card and pay the annual fee.
October 2013 – Applied for credit card. Received 2 free night certificates and $50 statement credit.
October 2014 – Pay $75, receive 1 free night category 1-4 certificate
October 2015 – Pay $75, receive 1 free night category 1-4 certificate
etc.
End result: Pay $100 ($75 annual fee x 2 – $50 statement credit), get 2 free night certs and 2 free night cat 1-4 certs.

Scenario 2: Close the credit card and churn at next opportunity.
October 2013 – Applied for credit card. Received 2 free night certificates and $50 statement credit.
October 2014 – Close card, receive 1 free night category 1-4 certificate.
October 2015 – Apply for credit card #2. Receive 2 free night certificates and possible additional statement credit.
etc.
End result: Receive $50 (or more), get 4 free night certs and 1 free night cat 1-4 cert.

Granted, in scenario 2, there might be a slight delay in terms of when I can apply for credit card #2 since the terms do state that it should be 24 months since the last time receiving the bonus and not the last time applying for the credit card, but still, scenario 2 is strictly better for almost everyone. And while scenario 2 does require meeting another minimum spend requirement, it’s only $1000 for this credit card.

Tokyo for the New Year: Park Hyatt Zurich

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


For my overnight layover in Zurich, I decided to spend the other free night certificate from my Chase Hyatt card at the Park Hyatt Zurich, which is now a category 7 hotel. The hotel was relatively easy to get to via train and tram.

Park Hyatt Zurich

Park Hyatt Zurich

Upon walking into the hotel, it definitely felt expensive and luxurious, but the service wasn’t quite as good as the service I experienced at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. There was nothing outwardly wrong with the service, but in general, things felt less polished, and the staff felt more inexperienced, so it’s not the same effortless magic that you can experience at other hotels.

Lobby

Lobby

I checked in at the front desk and was escorted to my room. The room was large for just myself, and there were multiple seating options and a large bathroom. There are sliding doors between the bathroom and the bedroom in addition to a normal door, so you can stare at someone taking a shower from the bedroom if you wish. I’m not sure why they do this?

Bed and view into bathroom

Bed and view into bathroom

Seating in room

Seating in room

More room

More room

The amenities in the bathroom were Blaise Mautin, just like at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, and when I called to ask for a shaving kit, it was promptly delivered by housekeeping. It was also an actual kit and much nicer than the normal stuff that comes stocked in rooms, so perhaps it’s better to have some toiletries on demand so they can invest more in them.

Shower and tub

Shower and tub

Sink and mirror with built-in screen

Sink and mirror with built-in screen

I explored the hotel’s amenities, and this part was definitely a bit of a letdown compared to the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The gym was rather small without much useful equipment (for me), though they did have a sauna. But it’s no iconic swimming pool and exercise rooms with sweeping views of the city.

Small gym

Small gym

Sauna

Sauna

Overall, this hotel was nice, and the downtown of Zurich is quite walkable so it has a good location. But I really don’t understand why people would pay the rack rate for the hotel, as most things about the hotel are nice but unremarkable, like the service and the amenities. Then again, Zurich is a ridiculously expensive city, so maybe it makes sense, but you’d be much better off spending your points at a different Park Hyatt.

Tokyo for the New Year: Park Hyatt Tokyo

Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Ushigoro
Hilton Narita
Narita-san Shinsho-ji
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago


From the airport, I took an airport limo bus to the Park Hyatt Tokyo. They have buses that stop in front of the Park Hyatt, and a one-way ticket combined with a one-day metro pass was 3100 yen. The bus ride is long, as Narita is quite far from Tokyo, and the Park Hyatt was the last stop on the bus that I took, so I ended up getting to the hotel about one hour and 45 minutes after the bus left from the airport.

Once I arrived at the hotel, I was immediately welcomed and asked if I was staying at the hotel that night. I said that I was and gave them my name, and then I was whisked up to the 41st floor for check in. As we approached the check-in area, an agent greeted me by name and escorted me to the room since in-room check-in is a Platinum member benefit. I have Platinum status through the Chase Hyatt credit card, and I used one of the free night certificates from the sign-up bonus to pay for my stay.

The Park Hyatt is definitely the nicest hotel that I’ve stayed at. Everything about it feels luxurious, from the incredible views to the prompt service. Every person that I interacted with made me feel welcomed and like nothing I could ask for was too much of a hassle.

Atrium as you get off the elevator

Atrium as you get off the elevator

The room offered plenty of space for myself, with a large and comfortable bed and a spacious bathroom. The toilet was a typical Japanese toilet with heated seats and numerous functions, and I wonder why more countries haven’t adopted heated toilet seats.

Bed

Bed

TV and welcome amenity

TV and welcome amenity

Separate tub and shower

Separate tub and shower

Japanese toilet

Japanese toilet

View from my room

View from my room

After putting down my stuff, I went to the 45th floor to go to the gym, which is actually on the 47th floor. The views from the gym are stunning, and it was one of my favorite parts of the hotel. The gym was actually decently equipped with free weights instead of the typical treadmill/elliptical/hand weights that you find at most hotel gyms, so I was able to get a good workout in, which felt great after sitting on planes and letting my muscles atrophy for the past 2 days.

Swimming pool and gym

Swimming pool and gym

Later that night, I went to the New York Bar to further recreate the “Lost in Translation” experience and listen to live jazz. While there’s normally a 2200 yen cover charge once the jazz starts, this is waived for hotel guests, and there was no pressure by the wait staff to order anything as a hotel guest.

Jazz at the New York Bar

Jazz at the New York Bar

The next morning, I headed back to the gym for a morning swim and some sunrise yoga. Words can’t do this experience any justice.

Sunrise view from my room

Sunrise view from my room

Morning views from the gym

Morning views from the gym

I’m no connoisseur of fine hotels, but the Park Hyatt Tokyo exceeded all of my expectations. The service was superb, everyone that I interacted with was gracious, and the views are incredible. The only drawback to the hotel is the location, as it’s a little isolated, but I didn’t mind taking the shuttle to/from Shinjuku station, and the walk wasn’t bad either. This hotel is expensive, even with points now that it’s a 30k per night category 7 hotel, but it’s definitely an experience worth having.