This post was written by Nancy, who is a regular contributor. She also runs a blog Savingforadream
MOA Trip Report Part 1: Hyatt Regency Bloomington Review
I recently traveled with my three kids on a short trip from Dallas to the Mall of America (MOA) near Minneapolis. My husband could not join us due to his work schedule. I had never traveled by myself with all three kids, but I decided to plan a quick getaway with them if the right opportunity presented itself. I was on the lookout for low prices on Southwest Airlines to an easy destination where I wouldn’t have to rent a car or deal with complicated travel situations.
A few months ago, Southwest had a fantastic unadvertised sale from Dallas to Minneapolis for $40 or 1392 Rapid Reward points each way. Perfect! I had been to the Mall of America on a business trip before I had kids, and I thought it would make the perfect, easy getaway since it’s located so close to the airport.
My boys and I each had a $31 credit on Southwest due to a previously booked flight going down in price, and my daughter still flies for free as my companion on Southwest through the end of the year. Our round-trip flights for four only cost $55 and 4176 points. Can’t beat that!
Late last year, I received a Hyatt Diamond status match. Hyatt has two hotels near the airport and MOA, the Hyatt Place for 8000 points/night and the Hyatt Regency for 12,000 points/night. Since I was excited to try out a hotel with a club lounge for Diamond members and wanted to use one of my Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates, I decided to book the Hyatt Regency Bloomington hotel on a Points + Cash rate for 6000 points +$75 per night. The hotel just opened in February 2016.
The hotel is in a great location between the airport and MOA. There is a courtyard/park area out front that leads to the light rail station. The light rail has convenient stops at MOA, the airport and downtown Minneapolis.
View of the hotel while standing in the light rail station
When we landed at the airport, I called the hotel to request a shuttle pick-up. The employee told me the shuttle would arrive in about 20 minutes. After waiting for 40 minutes, I called again and the shuttle arrived about 10 minutes later. I think the hotel is still not quite on a regular shuttle schedule, but it does take guests to both the airport and MOA.
The lobby and the entire hotel is very chic and modern. The lobby has a fireplace:
There is a library/lounge behind the check-in desk with a TV, computers and a printer.
After I made my reservation, I called Hyatt to use one of my Diamond Suite Upgrades. I could see online that the suites were available for my trip dates. Unfortunately, I could not use the it because all of the suites only sleep two people. Say what?!?! Over 900 square feet for only two people?
I understand that many hotel suites don’t fit a family of five or larger, but I didn’t think I’d have a problem with just four of us. The hotel also did not have any rollaway beds. That should have been my first clue that the property is geared toward business travelers.
Upon arrival, we were upgraded to a deluxe room, which is slightly larger than a regular room:
It had two queen beds, a table for two, and a bench below the TV.
The closet had two drawers and a safe.
The bathroom had one sink with not much counter space. It wasn’t an issue for me, but it might be too small if multiple adults are staying in the same room.
Hyatt hotels have very comfortable beds, and this hotel was no exception.
The hotel had a pool and fitness center on the 2nd floor. The pool was fairly small, and the deepest part was 3 feet 4 inches. We didn’t see any other families with kids until our last night, so the pool was empty until then.
The Club Lounge:
I have stayed at two Hyatt Regency hotels since becoming a Diamond member, but neither of those had club lounges. I was so excited to check out this amenity! When we arrived at the hotel we had to wait about 15 minutes for our room to open, so we had some time to check out the lounge.
The lounge was empty in the middle of the day.
There was a refrigerator with water and soda as well as a bottle of nuts and trail mix. We came back later for Happy Hour between 5 and 7 p.m., and this is what we found:
Some fancy cheese, grapes and veggies
Dried apricots, tortilla chips, nacho dip and tiny toasted bread
For the first two days of our trip, we had breakfast in the club lounge. The hot dishes were scrambled eggs and oatmeal:
There was also yogurt, melon and pineapple:
Also bread, bagels, toppings for the oatmeal, organic zucchini and carrot muffins, and two types of cereal:
Honestly, I was a little underwhelmed with the lounge for breakfast and was really missing the fabulous breakfasts we have had at Hyatt Place hotels. Also, I felt out of place with my kids in the lounge.
The club lounge was closed on our last morning, so we got to have a free Diamond breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I was excited to have more choices for breakfast for both me and the kids. The hotel restaurant serves local food with a Scandinavian flare.
When we were seated, I asked for some kids’ menus. The host could not find any, but he said he would deliver them shortly. We waited about 10 minutes, and a different server asked if we were ready to order. I explained that we were still waiting for someone to find the kids’ menus. A few minutes later, we got them.
However, we discovered that the kids’ menu was really not any more kid-friendly than the regular menu. My kids are not too hard to please for breakfast—they will eat pancakes, waffles, bacon, blueberry muffins (or any muffins with nothing too objectionable in them), cheese sticks, donuts, etc. Still, we had a hard time finding those things on the kids’ menu.
My oldest child ended up ordering aebleskivers (Scandinavian ball pancakes) since regular pancakes were not an option. They had an apple spice flavor with candied walnuts and whipped cream. Two of my kids tried them, but did not like them. They ended up sharing the bacon that my middle son ordered. My youngest couldn’t find anything on the menu she liked, so I ordered her a yogurt parfait. I ordered gluten-free organic cinnamon French toast with a pear compost:
The market food counter didn’t have any simpler breakfast items either. Our breakfast bill came to ~$65 for the four of us.
The dinner menu was also a little too specialized for my kids. We ate at MOA most nights, and one time we took the train to the next stop where there was a Subway restaurant. I realize this might make me seem like an uncultured non-adventurous eater, but my kids really just wanted simple, familiar food. I gave feedback to the front desk about the lack of kid-friendly food, and it sounded like they have received similar feedback from other families.
Overall, the Hyatt Regency Bloomington is an aesthetically pleasing hotel with a great location and comfortable beds. The free hotel shuttle and nearby light rail station make it very convenient to be a car-free tourist. However, I don’t think this hotel was designed with families in mind. The lack of rollaway beds, the suites that fit just two people and the kid-unfriendly food at the restaurant made it harder for me to meet my kids’ needs.
I’m still a big fan of the Hyatt brand, but this hotel was not a good fit for us. It’s a great option for business travelers and adults, but I think most families would find it easier to stay at the nearby Hyatt Place. My kids have already requested that we come back to MOA next year with Dad, and we would likely change hotels for our next trip.
In a later post, I will describe the fun things we did on our trip to MOA. I’m all about the destination!
Have you stayed at this new Hyatt Regency? What was your impression? How does this hotel’s club lounge compare to the lounges at other Hyatt hotels?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.