Last week, my family of five traveled to Denver. I grew up in Denver and my extended family still lives there, so this is a trip we take every year. We usually go in the summer, but this year we decided to go in the winter so that my kids could have the chance to experience snow.
Even though we have been to Denver many times, we have never stayed in the same hotel twice. We’ve chosen hotels based on what points we have at the time, and we’ve always stayed in the suburbs somewhere between my parents’ place and my brother’s house.
For this trip, we decided to switch things up a bit and stay downtown. Last fall, I obtained Hyatt Diamond status through Twitter because of having gold status with Hilton (through a credit card). My Diamond status expires at the end of February, but I still had some Diamond Suite Upgrades (DSUs) I could use. Because of that, I booked a room on the points + cash rate (6000 points + $75/night) at the Grand Hyatt Denver and used a DSU to upgrade to an executive suite.
After we landed at Denver International Airport, we took the new commuter rail to Union Station (about a 40-minute ride). From there, we took the free mall ride bus to Welton Street and spotted the Grand Hyatt Denver right away.
The lobby was cozy and warm.
Spoiler alert: We loved the Grand Hyatt Denver!
We had room 1901, an Executive Suite on the 19th floor. The door opens into the living room area with a sofa and TV.
This area also had a table for four, a safe, refrigerator and Keurig.
The bedroom was to the left. It had a king bed, chair, desk and TV.
Unfortunately, there was no door between the living room and bedroom. This probably isn’t an issue for most “executives”, but it’s a bummer for parents trying to get some privacy and noise relief from kiddos sleeping in the living room.
Hyatt brought us a rollaway bed to add to the living room, so this is where our three kids slept.
One cool feature of the room was the set of motion sensor lights near the floor next to the bed and in the bathroom. No need to turn on the lights to get up in the middle of the night!
Nightly turndown services included Hyatt peanut butter cups!
The bathroom was accessible through the bedroom. It had a large shower.
The bedroom had blackout shades and sheer shades that we could control from a switch on the wall. Our view included a glimpse of the mountains from our bedroom.
The view from the living room window:
The room was plenty big for my family of five, and we were all comfortable sleeping. It was like we had our own little apartment in the city.
Grand Club Lounge
Part of my Hyatt Diamond benefits included access to the Grand Club Lounge. I received this information card at check-in:
On the afternoon we arrived, my daughter and I headed to the 26th floor to check out the lounge. This past year, I had one great experience with a Hyatt lounge and one mediocre experience with a lounge, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
During the middle of the day, we found cookies, trail mix and fruit available.
The refrigerator with drinks had the most variety I’ve ever seen in a lounge. In addition to sodas and water, there were many kinds of juice, cold teas and specialty drinks I’d never heard of before. My kids appreciated the milk, chocolate milk and apple juice!
The lounge had two TVs, a few sofa areas and several smaller eating tables toward the back. Also, there were three computers and two printers which I used the last day to print our boarding passes.
We ate the hors d’oeuvres for dinner two out of three nights during our stay. There was a different hot entrée each night (lasagna and chicken fajitas on the nights we were there) plus grilled vegetables, hummus, crackers, etc.
Breakfast was not too shabby, either. Choices included muffins, bagels, lox, cheese, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, fruit and one hot dish. Hot dishes consisted of egg and turkey sandwiches, hash browns mixed with eggs and vegetables, and egg white frittata. Cold cereal was also available, including some kid-friendly choices.
Having access to the Grand Club Lounge was a huge convenience for us, and it also saved us quite a bit of money. I loved the variety of the food and drinks, and my kids always found something for them.
Pool and Skycourt
We visited the pool and fitness center on the 4th floor several times during our stay. The indoor heated pool has a depth ranging from 3 to 5 feet.
There is a bin full of pool noodles next to the pool. I assumed this hotel was strictly geared to business travelers, so I was surprised at this nice offering for kids.
My husband used the fitness center a few times. The cardio machines are new, and the room has free weights and weight machines. In addition, the refrigerator full of cold, wet towels is a nice touch.
A unique feature of the Grand Hyatt Denver is the outdoor Skycourt. We had to walk through a door in the fitness center and up a flight of outdoor stairs to access the Skycourt, which I believe sits on top of the parking garage or conference rooms on the 5th floor roof.
The Skycourt has a tennis court, outdoor track, exercise equipment and a shuffleboard court. We went to the front desk for some tennis equipment, and my boys played for a while.
Even though the temperature was only in the 40s, it felt good to be outside and have the kids run off some energy.
Staying at the Grand Hyatt Denver was so different from our previous hotel stays in the Denver area. First of all, the building is tall and skinny, so getting from our room to the lounge and to the pool was just a quick elevator ride away. As a result, we spent less time schlepping the kids around to get where we needed to go.
The large suite and the free lounge food were great benefits to have in Denver. However, the best thing about this hotel is the location. It is only one block away from the 16th Street Mall:
We were steps away from dozens of restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Using public transportation was a breeze, and it was nice to not fight the Denver holiday traffic. We decided that we want to stay downtown on our future visits, too!
If you are renting a car, overnight parking is $42 in the hotel’s garage, or you can park in a nearby lot for less.
We did not eat at the hotel’s restaurant because of our lounge access and the abundance of restaurant choices nearby, so I can’t comment on the food quality. There is a Starbucks in the lobby/valet area that we did not use, either.
The Hyatt Regency is not far from the Grand Hyatt, as well as a Hyatt Place and Hyatt House downtown. In fact, most hotel chains are represented in the same area, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem staying on points in the future.
I’d love to stay at the Grand Hyatt Denver again. However, I most likely won’t have Hyatt Diamond status the next time we go to Denver. Because we have five people to fit in a room, we may be better off in the nearby Hyatt Place or Hyatt House. However, I absolutely recommend this hotel for business travelers and families!
Obtaining Hyatt Points via Credit Cards
I used Hyatt Gold Passport points to make the Grand Hyatt Denver affordable for my family. The easiest way to obtain Hyatt points is by converting Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
The best credit card for Chase Ultimate Rewards right now is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with 100k bonus points after spending $4k in the first three months. Although it has a $450 annual fee, the fee is offset by $600 in travel credits the first year ($300 in 2016 and $300 in early 2017 if you apply this year).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is another option to collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points. It comes with a 50k bonus points after spending $4k in the first three months. If you add an authorized user, you receive an additional 5k points. The annual fee is waived the first year. (If you have Chase Private Client Status, it may be possible to get a higher bonus on this card through a targeted offer in a Chase branch).
Next week, I will write about the places we visited in Denver without a rental car.
P.S.–The snow melted before we landed in Denver. Maybe next time.
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Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.