Earlier this year, I received an email from Hyatt Regency MCO a few weeks in advance of our stay. The hotel informed us that there would be construction during our stay and noise levels would be higher during the day. It was nice to receive the warning. But, based on the details in the email, we decided to keep our reservation. Are hotel refurbishments no big deal? Or can they put a serious damper on family vacations?
Whether a hotel’s refurbishment will affect your vacation really depends on the type of renovation and the purpose of your hotel stay. If you’re just using the hotel to sleep and the main purpose of your trip is to explore outside the hotel, chances are you won’t care about the hotel renovations. However, if you’re using the hotel itself as your destination, you may be disappointed.
Types of Hotel Refurbishments and Renovations
Room Refresh: This is the most common type of hotel refurbishment. Room renovations keep rooms from looking outdated and dirty. Hotel room refreshes happen on average every three to seven years and include things like mattress replacement, new furniture, new carpet and paint.
During my family’s recent stay at Hyatt MCO, we saw hotel rooms across the hall in the process of refurbishment. The doors were all open, and new toilets were stationed outside of each room. My kids thought it was hilarious! “Why are there toilets in the hallway, mom??!!”
Public Space Overhaul: Refurbishments on public spaces like lobbies and meeting rooms can be loud and invasive. But, these types of refurbishments can change the entire look of a hotel drastically.
A few years ago, my family stayed at Hyatt Regency SFO after a renovation. I was curious what it looked like before the renovation. Check out these photos. Whoa, what a difference!
Pool Renovations: Resorts with extensive pool and water park areas have to do a lot of upkeep and renovations to keep the area looking decent. Earlier this year on spring break, I took my kids to Point Hilton Squaw Peak in Phoenix, AZ. Some of the reviews said the waterpark was looking old and tired with peeling paint. However, the resort did a renovation on the pool area before our arrival, and it was good as new.
New Additions/Wings: Sometimes, hotel refurbishments include adding on a new building or wing. My family visited the Gaylord Texan twice while a new tower was under construction. We had to walk by it to get from the parking garage to the lobby. Gaylord Texan finally opened the new tower last year, and now the hotel has the third largest convention space in the U.S.
Deal Breaker: Aulani’s Pool Refurbishment
Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii is currently undergoing a major refurbishment on its pool area and water park. The rumor is that the resort is replacing the entire surface of the pool deck area due to its slick surface and multiple slip-and-falls (myself included—took me months to recover!)
Aulani’s pool area is the main selling point of the resort, in my opinion. It is hands down the best pool area of any resort my family has visited. Aulani has an 8200-square foot zero-entry family pool:
Kids’ Play Area:
Infinity Hot Tubs:
Aulani also has water slides that start at the top of a “volcano”.
The refurbishment runs from August 19 to December 17. From August 19 through October 11, the lazy river, the curl waterslide, a hot tub and kids’ play area are closed. From October 12 through December 17, the family pool, vertical water slide, Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon and hot tubs are closed. During the refurbishment, the smaller adults-only pool will be open to all age ranges. Those closures have a HUGE impact!
To compensate, Aulani is offering a $50 per day resort credit. According to this thread on the Disboards, Aulani has also offered some guests a free one-day car rental. However, in my opinion, that is not anywhere near enough to compensate for the jack-hammer noise and dusty construction zone at Aulani.
As I mentioned in my review of Aulani last year, it’s not the place you should stay while sightseeing around Oahu. It’s the place you should come to relax and unwind after staying in Waikiki. So in this case, the refurbishment at Aulani is a deal breaker. I don’t recommend anyone stay there until after this construction is over.
How to Check for Hotel Refurbishments
If you want to make sure the pool will be open and you won’t be dodging construction cranes during your next visit, I recommend checking in advance for hotel refurbishments. The first place to start is the hotel website.
If you’re planning to splurge on a Disney Resort hotel, Disney publishes refurbishment schedules well in advance. Undercover Tourist maintains a list of Disney hotel refurbishments.
Aside from calling the hotel, you can also reach out via social media or ask a question on TripAdvisor. Many hotels have a knowledgeable staff member answering TripAdvisor questions.
Hotel refurbishments are very common, and most of the time they won’t affect the quality of your vacation. However, if the refurbishment is major and it closes a lot of the hotel’s amenities, it’s worthwhile to consider alternative hotels.
Have you stayed at a hotel during a refurbishment or avoided a hotel during a refurbishment? What has been your experience?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.