Jun072014

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Savannah

Historic Savannah, Georgia has two Hyatt brand hotels with the older Hyatt Regency Savannah on the riverfront and Andaz Savannah on Ellis Square, two blocks from the river and less than five minutes walk to the Hyatt Regency. Given that both hotels are Hyatt Gold Passport Category 4 hotels for 15,000 point per night, Andaz is the place to stay in my opinion.

I stayed at both Andaz and Hyatt Regency during my visit to Savannah due to an International Oil Spill Conference in town and limited award availability at both Hyatt brand hotels.

Savannah River oil  demo

Practice for the Oil Spill demonstration in Savannah River. Two attendees of the conference sitting in the Hyatt Regency restaurant at breakfast when I snapped this photo said the demonstration was scheduled for the following day. The plan was to dump dog food in the river and demonstrate a clean-up. My thoughts were it is rather frightening that dog food is the substance used to simulate an oil spill.

Hyatt Regency Savannah is situated right in the central party scene of the riverfront bars and restaurants on River Street.

Savannah River Street

River Street in Savannah is lined with restaurants and bars in a city where carrying an open container of alcohol is legal in a plastic 16 oz. cup.

St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is one of the biggest drinking celebrations in the USA. This photo was taken on Cinco de Mayo, apparently not much of a party holiday for Savannah, Georgia.

The location of Hyatt Regency Savannah is great, the hotel not so great in a city with many very cool hotels. The Hyatt Regency is old and about to undergo a refurbishment. This is a large hotel with 351 guest rooms with city, river and atrium views. An atrium view is not a desirable room at all to me.

Hyatt Regency lobby

After a superb experience at the Andaz, the old-style Hyatt Regency was truly a let-down experience. The hotel did give me a nice upgrade for my award stay. The room was the best aspect of the stay, once I reached the 5th floor and my room. My first problem occurred trying to get into the hotel. The doors on River Street only open with a Hyatt key card and to check-in to the hotel I had to hike up from the river to Bay Street over large cobblestones and century old stairs carrying my luggage to the hotel main entrance. The 95F heat had me sweating heavily standing in line for check-in.

Then after check-in, entering the elevator and using my key card to reach the 5th floor proved fruitless after several tries as I rode the elevator up and down the atrium with groups of school kid tweenagers on a field trip. There were more than a hundred children at the hotel.

Turned out I was doing the key card swipe too quickly. The elevator only worked if the key card was entered and removed in slow motion.

Hyatt couch

The room was a large junior suite with King bed.

Hyatt desk

The work desk is where I spent most of my time in the room gazing out the window at the Savannah River view.

Three photos of the river reveal most of the scenery. Looking to the right from the room window is downriver and the new convention center and Westin Savannah are located across the river.

Westin Savannah

Savannah Convention Center (left) and Westin Savannah (right) are across the river from historic Savannah on Hutchison Island.

Savannah River paddle boat

View of paddle boat directly in front of Hyatt Regency room window.

Hyatt room view

The room view to the left is looking upriver to the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and the industrial ports. The riverfront is not that picturesque with its industrialization and development on Hutchison Island. And the riverfront view is the primary competitive feature for this hotel compared to other hotels in the city.

Hyatt junior suite

The room had a microwave and empty refrigerator near the door. The large piece of furniture on the entry wall showed its age.

Hyatt Entry

Coffee maker near hotel room door beside bathroom.

Hyatt bathroom

Standard bathroom with familiar looking wallpaper. After the exceptional bathroom at Andaz Savannah, this bathroom was simply functional.

Hyatt King Bed

The king bed met my comfort expectations.

This was the day I had walked to all 22 Savannah Squares and I was ready to find a bar for some food and the Savannah drinking experience on Cinco de Mayo.

Hyatt Vu Lounge

Cinco de Mayo vibe was not happening at Hyatt’s Vu Lounge.

Savannah City Hall

Hyatt Regency Savannah is on the left behind the trees on Bay Street and adjacent to Savannah City Hall (1906). City Hall was preceded on this site by City Exchange, built in 1799 and razed in 1904. The copper dome was gold-leafed in 1987.

Savannah Riverfront

Hyatt Regency Savannah seen in distance on the riverfront. No Cinco de Mayo happening here either. This was a Monday and this smae place was hopping with drinking tourists on Sunday night.

After wandering the streets for an hour on Cinco de Mayo, I eventually found myself rocking at The Rocks rooftop bar in The Bohemian, Autograph Collection, a Marriott category 9 top of the line award hotel. The Bohemian is considered one of the best views of Savannah. Basically, it was the same view as my Hyatt room in the building next door.

Savannah is a city I enjoyed visiting and I want to go back and experience it again. But, I recommend staying at some place more boutique and interesting than the Hyatt Regency for the Savannah experience.

Here are my reviews of three other hotels I visited in Savannah.

Andaz Savannah

The Bohemian, Marriott Autograph Collection (next door to Hyatt Regency)

Mansion on Forsyth Park, Marriott Autograph Collection

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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