When we arrived in SFO, Global Entry made clearing customs a cinch. Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check are two of the most significant improvements to my travel pattern over the past 18 months. They are a must-have for any frequent traveler.
A short shuttle ride later we arrive at Hyatt Regency SFO, which is only a few minutes from the airport. I wasn’t supposed to be upgraded to a suite, but the hotel had upgraded me anyway. Who am I to say no?
The room was a very open layout, making it feel bigger than it actually was. There was a large table when I first walked in around the corner that would easily sit 6. It was a higher table with bar stools, which would serve as a great place to work. Floor to ceiling windows let in tons of light. The living room was a separate room from the bedroom, though there were no doors, again lending to the spacious feel. Not necessarily ideal if you want privacy from the living area, but for a single person staying I enjoyed the layout. This is an older property but they’ve done a pretty good job keeping the physical plant in good shape. It’s an open atrium property which helped lend to the spacious and bright feel.
Our reception that evening was in the ballroom. Hyatt was the hotel sponsor for SMD4 and they truly outdid themselves this time, hard to believe after the feast we had last year in Dallas. There were easily a half dozen action stations for dining, including a station where they made sushi to order all night. I’ve only been a Hyatt customer for a little over 2 years, but in that time I continue to be impressed by my go-to hotel program. The people that run Gold Passport (Jeff Zidell and Rene Mizwicki, along with the recently transitioned Todd Tomlin) have spoiled us with these events and their hospitality. As part of the evening, we were also fundraising for one of Hyatt’s charities, Hands On Education. We ended up raising $20,000 through a silent auction that evening which helped a great charity while giving SMDers access to cool auction prizes like guitars, NASCAR experiences, and Hyatt’s coveted Diamond status.
As is the custom on MegaDOs, the party went late into the night, though not with me included the whole time. I had to be up bright and early to prepare for registration. The next morning, the hotel put together another solid effort with breakfast. This was way past the standard Diamond lounge breakfast. All the standard fare was there, along with eggs benedict, champagne for mimosas, fruit parfaits and a boatload of smoked salmon. There was no doubt a great breakfast hit the spot, knowing we had a big day ahead. Once again we’d be setting a first, being the first civilian group to charter a 787. Off to SFO again for a long day of travel and BBQ.