Hyatt is my go-to chain when it comes to travel. Their commitment to their elite members is what first attracted me to the chain and keeps me engaged. When I check-in, one of the first questions asked is, “Will you be needing your guaranteed 4pm late check-out?” That’s refreshing when I’ve had to advocate strongly for this guaranteed benefit with other chains that don’t have as strong a commitment to the published benefits of their program.
The chief downside to being a Hyatt loyalist is the footprint of hotels. They’re roughly half the size of Starwood, the other “small” chain amongst the big boys, itself a few thousand hotels short of Hilton and Marriott. Starwood solved this problem by selling themselves to Marriott, leaving Hyatt on the small end of the spectrum with about 650 hotels currently. While they’ve had marked growth from a percentage standpoint (they had about 500 hotels the first year I was a Diamond 7 or 8 years ago), there are still many markets where they don’t have a single property.
They’ve done a good job filling in holes over the last few years, adding additional luxury properties in markets they already had a presence (Driskill hotel in Austin) and other unique properties like the Royal Palms in Arizona and the creation of the Unbound collection to bring in properties like the Thompson in Miami Beach.
They’ve announced new properties in places like Bulgaria, Montevideo and Mallorca (that property looks AMAZING) adding new pins to the map in countries where there weren’t any before. And, they’re creation of the Ziva and Zilara brands have boosted their presence in Mexico and the Caribbean.
The announcement earlier this week that Hyatt is coming to Barbados puts another pin in the map, again in the Caribbean:
Hyatt Centric Carlisle Bay, Barbados will be ideally located adjacent to the capital city of Bridgetown, allowing guests to easily explore and discover all that Barbados has to offer. The 237-room resort will be situated on almost three acres of waterfront along Carlisle Bay’s scenic Brownes Beach, one of the largest beaches in Barbados. Carlisle Bay offers numerous shipwreck diving and snorkeling opportunities for guests and locals, as well as renowned reefs and pristine white sand beaches. Guests can also stroll through historic Bridgetown and St. Ann’s Garrison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and local hub for social and commercial activity.
Additionally, Hyatt Centric Carlisle Bay, Barbados will feature 32 Hyatt Centric-branded residential condominium units and several world-class dining options such as a signature restaurant, pool bar and grill, and a market style café. Other hotel features will include a full- service spa with six treatment rooms, a fitness center, outdoor pool, kids club, beach activities, and 6,135 square feet (570 square meters) of meeting and event space. Guests will also have easy access to Grantley Adams International Airport, located approximately eight miles from the hotel.
I’d be hard-pressed to say Hyatt has “great” coverage in the Caribbean. But, they can now point to properties in Aruba, Jamaica, St. Kitts (opening next year), Trinidad, Costa Rica as well as additions in Mexico like the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen.
The Caribbean is a critical market for those of us that live on the east coast. West Coasters have Hawaii as their tropical getaway, and both coasts can get to Mexico. But, the Caribbean represents the shortest flights for us to get somewhere tropical. That’s one of the reasons I was so bummed when Grand Hyatt Baha Mar went sideways. The Bahamas are geographically one of the quickest places in the Caribbean for us to get it.
I already have Andaz Papagayo on my radar and I’m hoping to make it to Park Hyatt St. Kitts next year. I was in Barbados a number of years ago and didn’t love it as much as other places in the Caribbean, but I’ll be soft-circling 2019 for an award stay.
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