Thursday, March 18, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ: Hyatt Regency Downtown - Worth Checking Out

I stayed at the Hyatt Regency for three nights while attending a series of meetings at the Phoenix Convention Center. It’s a very nice property that has been kept up well over the 30+ years of its existence.

Having grown up in Phoenix, I watched this hotel being built. It was quite the sensation with its eight-story open-air lobby and revolving restaurant on top. Three decades hence, it’s still a very nice hotel.

Obviously, the hotel has been refurbished (probably several times) since its construction so room amenities are totally 21st century: comfortable beds with multiple pillows and high thread-count linens, flat screen TV, work stations with Internet access (both wired and wireless), iron and ironing board, iHome radio/iPod dock, higher-end amenities in the bathrooms, and bathrobes available upon request.

Owing to its late-70s vintage, however, the standard rooms are a bit on the small side. The air conditioning, while a step up from the wall-mounted units popular in so many hotels, is still noisier than it ought to be. And the soundproofing leaves something to be desired; several times, I heard fellow guests in adjoining rooms or out in the hall.

Further, I will never understand why upscale hotels like the Hyatt Regency use thin, cheap-feeling towels and then – worse – let them get so worn that they develop spots so thin you can see through them. The first morning, my bath towel had a couple of large thin spots as well as a noticeable stain. The bath mat I used on two out of three mornings had begun to fall apart and had numerous loose threads hanging from them.

Generally, though, the property continues to impress. The revolving restaurant on the 24th floor, the Compass, offers great views of Phoenix and some pretty good food and drink as well. If you’re acrophobic, the Terrace Café on the second floor atrium level or the Networks Bar and Grill on the ground floor are more casual but still pretty good, though without the views. There are several shops, including an Einstein’s Bagels, off the lobby and a car rental counter on site. The hotel also offers a pool, fitness center, and business center.

Downtown Phoenix, though, is a downtown that has never quite found its feet. Certainly, the Convention Center, U.S. Airways Center, and Chase Field draw crowds for specific events, but when there’s nothing special happening, the area gets pretty barren, save for the area’s homeless. But if you’re going to Phoenix for a meeting or event downtown, definitely consider the Hyatt Regency. If you want to take in a view of the city, The Compass provides that for the cost of a drink, even if you’re staying somewhere else.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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