The Pell (New Hyatt/JdV Property) Review-Middletown, Rhode Island

Hyatt has done a commendable job expanding their footprint over the past decade with a variety of “bolt-on” acquisitions.  This has helped solve the common refrain from  of “but there’s no Hyatt there”.  One such area missing a Hyatt is Newport, Rhode Island.  There used to be a Hyatt Regency in Newport but it shut down about five years ago.  Middletown is right next to Newport and is the site of an interesting property that just joined Hyatt under their Joie de Vivre label. That made this the perfect property for our family to try out when we attended a recent wedding in Newport.  In short, this property is still getting up to speed but should make a fine addition to World of Hyatt.

a sign on a brick wall

Booking and Check-In

Since this was a new addition to the Hyatt system we were able to snag award rooms for the busy Memorial Day holiday.  Newport is a pretty popular place on holiday weekends and in the summertime with rates easily reaching over $500 per night in the summer.  That meant we got an incredible value for the points we redeemed?  How much value?  That’s a bit hard to say based on some glitches booking our stay.

We originally booked our stay before this hotel reopened after renovations.  As we got closer to our stay we needed to change our dates and seemed to do so without an issue.  However, upon check-in we were told that our reservations had been canceled due to us not arriving the day prior as the hotel expected.  Even though I had an e-mail thread with my Hyatt concierge that showed the change of dates the property was insistent they hadn’t received the information.  They were polite and helpful to a point.  Taking into account that the property had only been opened a few weeks we patiently worked with them to restore our reservations.

After speaking with the My Hyatt Concierge desk we were refunded one night’s worth of points, which resulted essentially in rebooking our stay for a total of 30,000 points for two nights, or 15,000 points a night.  That works out to over three cents a point on cash rates of roughly $500 per night.  The property is Category 3 with Hyatt, which means a range of 9,000 to 15,000 points per night.  That range should make for some excellent value booking points rooms for Hyatt members.

There was a little bit of confusion about late check-out and other Globalist benefits, which is to be expected for a new hotel.  Overall, the staff was pleasant as we worked through the bugs with our booking.  The lobby was bright and inviting.

a room with a large staircase and a large sofa and chairs

The Pell Room Review

Shortly before we were due to arrive at The Pell I learned that the property had been a Ramada in its previous iteration.  Needless to say, that made me a bit nervous about the quality of the rooms.  I was pleasantly surprised.  We had booked two rooms for our stay, one with a King bed and one with two Queen beds.  Both rooms were very similar.

The bathrooms were bright and functional.  Both rooms featured a shower with a sliding door. There were little amenities such as cotton swabs and cotton balls in a small jar on the vanity.

a bathroom with a mirror and a sink

a shower with a glass door

The rest of the room was very well put together.  The only sign that the property used to be a Ramada were the through-the-wall air conditioning units.  However, they were brand new and very efficient during our stay.  The bed was on a platform that we knocked our knees on a couple of times, but that’s really about the worst thing I can say about the room.

a bed with white sheets and a chair in a room

There are plenty of outlets on both sides of the beds that also include USB-A outlets.  The clock radio features contactless charging.

a black electronic device on a table

We were pleasantly surprised to find a Nespresso machine in each room along with two bottles of Fiji water.

a tv on the wall

The guest rooms don’t feature a desk.  Both rooms had a small table with two chairs that was fine to work at.  The king room also had a comfortable chair in the corner.

Dining At The Pell

Keeping in mind that this is a new property, the hotel is quite far behind where they expect to be for food & beverage facilities.  Mock-ups showed a restaurant/bar combo still due to be finished.  Property staff confirmed that construction is running behind and should be completed later this year.

For now, breakfast is the only meal available and it is served in the Living Room.  The offerings were decent, with a small variety of cold and hot items as well as the offer of omelets made to order.

a room with tables and chairs

a buffet table with silver containers and plates

a breakfast buffet with a variety of food items on a table

Amenities At The Pell

The property shows promise for amenities but it may take a bit of time.  There’s a small living room-style room just off the lobby.  There was comfortable soft seating available as well as some books and games.  Our children sat here to play chess during our stay.

a room with a fireplace and a white table

As mentioned in regards to dining, the Living Room is currently being used as the breakfast area.  When the restaurant opens the Living Room will be converted into another space for guests to relax.

The fitness center is very nicely equipped.  A Peloton bike joins new fitness machines, free weights and other workout gear.  Folks looking to get in a workout will be satisfied with the offering.

a room with exercise equipment and a large mirror

a group of treadmills in a room

There is a stretch of grass behind the hotel that is destined for a pool.  Mock-ups in the lobby show a sizable pool deck and pool.  Hotel staff note that they expect the pool to be open next year, hopefully in time for summer.

a yard with trees and a fence

a poster of a building and pool

The Final Two Pennies

I was pleasantly surprised that the former Ramada had been turned into a charming hotel.  The property has been around for quite a while and has some interesting quirks, such as a lack of elevators.  There are only three floors, so this won’t be too big an issue for most folks but is worth knowing before you book.  The owners of the hotel apparently vacation there periodically, rumored to live in nearby New York.  Based on the way the various roof lines come together, I suspect there are a few unique room types not offered for sale right now.  Those could be “owner suites” or maybe just not ready for prime time.  The website does show a couple of interesting rooms (corner king, studio suite), though the studio suite doesn’t specify whether it can be booked using a Globalist Suite Upgrade.

At 15,000 points or less per night, this property should be somewhere between a solid value and a screaming deal for an award redemption.  There are still some kinks to be worked out, for sure.  Our keys stopped working a few times, there was a water leak in the breakfast area.  But, all of these things are par for the course with a new property opening.  We went in with the expectation that things would be hectic.  We found some bits and pieces that weren’t as expected, but the staff was pleasant throughout, making it less stressful.

I’ll be interested to return to the property when the restaurant and pool are built out and the living room space is outfitted as intended.

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  1. What a coincidence – I was there Fri/Sat of Memorial Day, too! Cashed in points for one night and a 1-4 cert for another. Hard product is great, soft product needs *a lot* of work.

    We were in 323 – corner king room with its door inside the stairwell. There appeared to be a room above ours, but the door to it was locked and unlabeled. The switch for the bedside light was impossible to reach while lying in the bed. Otherwise the room was great! I liked the USB-C charger that was on the console where the fridge/Nespresso machine sat.

    The breakfast experience for us was awful in terms of food quality and service, though I chalk that up to poor staffing.

    Front desk staff was also unpolished and unprofessional. One time a front desk attendant stayed on the phone for a full two minutes without acknowledging us or apologizing for a delay before we walked away. Another time a different attendant joked that she “ha(d) everyone’s credit card numbers and could make an ‘oops’ $10,000 charge if (she) wanted to.”

    I’m hopeful that this hotel will improve as it is open longer, but there were some serious bumps in an overall pleasant stay.

    1. Taylor, sounds like our bumps were similar. I’m sure I would have a much different opinion of the property if they didn’t have rooms for us when we arrived. I agree on the bedside switches, had forgotten about that. They’re a bit too high, for sure.

      I don’t think our room had a USB-C charger by the Nespresso machine. I don’t see it in my room pictures, either.

      We didn’t eat breakfast either morning but a friend was also staying there and ate with his family. He gave it an “okay” grade. I thought it looked better than a Hyatt Place breakfast, but probably only because of the eggs to order. I definitely would go hit one of the local diners instead of paying $16, that’s for sure. But, for a free breakfast it was better than average.

      I’ll be interested to see where this property is in a year. I think they need to finish the restaurant and the pool for it to be a true winner (and get the staff keyed in a bit more). Unfortunately, I don’t see it staying at Category 3 for very long.

      1. I stayed in a 2 double bed room (321 actually, just down the hall) and went searching for the USB-C outlets specifically because of these post. It’s very easy to miss, hidden behind the Nespresso machine — one AC outlet (that the machine is plugged into), one USB-C, and one USB-A. I never would have seen it otherwise.

  2. Oh, additional thing i forgot to mention: when I checked in, they said the restaurant should be done “in the next couple of days” so I’m guessing they’re aiming for the July 4th weekend crowd.

    Bonus discovery: that white plug that’s taking up an outlet by the bed actually leads to a mini power strip for the phone and clock that has an additional USB-C (and A) plug.

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