Hotel Review: Hyatt Place LAX/El Segundo

LAX is a pretty major airport as far as travel goes.  Not only do you have the huge population of Southern California but LAX is a major jumping off point for trips to Hawaii and Asia.  I’ve stayed in the airport area a handful of times over the years and never really found a property that was a “go-to” place near the airport.  I’ve stayed a handful of times at the Sheraton LAX Gateway, which is probably the best I had experienced until recently.  I can’t say it was anything special but it was part of one of my key hotel loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest.  And, the rooms were okay, good enough for a short stay awaiting a connecting flight.

That’s why I was probably a little more interested than I should have been for my recent stay at Hyatt Place LAX/EL Segundo.  This hotel has only been open less than a year and it’s new construction.  It’s not located near most of the other properties on the front side of LAX but it’s still relatively close by.  Because you have to travel  underneath the airport in a tunnel to get there, walking isn’t really an option unless you have a death wish.  Not a big deal for most folks, but I do look for excuses to squeeze in some extra exercise when traveling since I never get enough.

The hotel has a shuttle bus but I was arriving awful late and didn’t feel like waiting for it. Cab drivers aren’t wild about taking passengers to the airport hotels because they want the bigger fare for driving you somewhere farther away.  The first cab driver I encountered refused to take me so I offered the next one a fairly generous tip so we could be on our way and I could get to sleep.  I had seen the new prototype Hyatt Place rooms at a tour of a facility Hyatt has in Chicago that has a current version of all their Hyatt Place and Hyatt House rooms for the various international reasons so I had a decent idea of what to expect.

The lobby area hasn’t changed much from previous iterations.  It’s a bit more contemporary.  There’s a bunch of soft seating, a few computers guests can use to access the internet and an adjacent front desk that doubles as the bar for the breakfast and lounge area.

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As a general rule, Hyatt Place doesn’t really offer connecting rooms.  That can make it a bit awkward for families traveling with small children who need multiple rooms.  When my family of 4 travels we try to focus on properties where we can find connecting rooms. But, as a business traveler only on this trip I was happy not to have a connecting door as that’s one of the surest ways to deter a good night’s sleep.  There was a bit of noise from the hallway as I was falling asleep but nothing I would consider excessive.

My room had a king bed and an L-shaped couch separated by a small decorative screen.  If you look closely at the light fixtures next to the bed you’ll see two electrical outlets.  Hotels have improved this with new construction and I think Hyatt has done better than most at putting an obscene amount of plugs in hotel rooms.  I still carry a multi-outlet/USB plug in case I encounter an old-style room without much power, but you won’t find that problem in any new Hyatt Place or Hyatt House properties.

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The desk area is pretty close to previous Hyatt standards.  I’ve never thought the chair they’ve chosen is exceptionally comfortable.  It’s functional, but definitely looks better than it feels.  It’s perfectly fine for an hour or two of work, though.  The flat screen TV is on a swivel and there’s plenty of light at the desk surface.  The light itself is positioned in such a way that it doesn’t throw much light into the rest of the room so I’d feel comfortable working with the light on while my wife snoozed.  And, the desk area gets 4 electrical outlets.  Thumbs up!

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The bathroom is modern and straight-forward.  There’s a sizable shower with a larger than normal vanity area for items at the sink.  The bathroom has a sliding door which isn’t my favorite but I understand it’s a reality in new room footprints like this.

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Hyatt Place features a complimentary breakfast that’s definitely a step above the competition.  Plenty of juices and fresh fruit along with a variety of rotating hot items.  One day of my stay had eggs, waffles, sausage and an egg white soufflé while the second day had pancakes and breakfast sandwiches.  The breakfast area was pretty busy when I was there and the staff did a good job keeping the food hot and fresh.

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As expected, the property has all new exercise equipment in the gym.  This gym is a bit bigger than previous Hyatt Place’s I can recall staying at, and I hope it’s the new standard as I find some limited service properties don’t dedicate enough space here.  I’m not saying they need 25 pieces of cardio equipment, but 3 or 4 when you have over 100 rooms isn’t a good ratio.  This location had an outdoor pool and hot tub.  Most of the Hyatt Place locations I’ve stayed in the past have indoor pools.  I’m assuming this is a SoCal adjustment as there’s also an expanding outdoor patio area with a fireplace.  All the outdoor seating areas were more comfortable and inviting than any limited service hotel I’ve stayed at in a while.  It’s not a resort property by any stretch of the definition, but I think that Mickie and I would enjoy sitting on one of the couches pool or fireside while the kids took a swim.

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I had a little trouble getting checked in when I arrived later in the evening.  The front desk agent was having trouble getting my card (any credit card) to authorize on my room.  He finally gave me keys to a room and asked me to stop by the desk in the morning to resolve the issue.

I came down the next morning to resolve that and asked when the next shuttle to the airport was.  The front desk informed me that the shuttle was completely full until 9:30 am.  It was just after 6am when he was telling me this and I’ve got to admit I was a bit surprised.  I mean, it’s an airport hotel.  I can understand that I might not be able to catch the next shuttle, but a 3-hour backup?  Wow.  Had I not had the trouble checking in the night before I might have remembered to schedule a shuttle, but I don’t stay at airport properties often and take the shuttle.

It turned out fine since I got to use Uber for the first time, an awesome new car service. But, if you’re on a tight schedule, I’d definitely book your shuttle ahead of time.

This will absolutely be my choice of airport hotels at LAX in the future.  While I’m a bigger fan of Hyatt House’s new design than Hyatt Place, I always appreciate that “new hotel smell”.

 

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