As a professional speaker, I’m in and out of hotels on a regular basis. After a while, all registration procedures, duvet covered beds and banquet chicken dinners blend into one nondescript experience. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Washington. It was anything but nondescript.
What Works for Families:
- Location is excellent, with parks, zoo and Seattle Center with the Space Needle close by.
- Kids love just running on the sky bridges. (Yes, I let my daughter run on them!)
- Free parking for Friday and Saturday night stays.
- Large indoor pool.
- Walking distance to variety of shops and restaurants.
- Large rooms so families don’t feel too cramped.
What Doesn’t Work for Families:
- Extra charge for wired and wireless internet in room.
- One-time fee of $100 for dogs. Must weigh under 50 pounds. That means a no-go for Bruno, my St. Bernard.
- While children are welcome, the hotel has a slightly formal, business type feel.
Room cost: $$
Instead of a sterile lobby, the Hyatt has numerous comfortable and casual meeting areas with groupings of chairs and couches. Think of having a very, very large living room with distinct arrangements of chairs and sofas designed to create comfortable conversation areas. For business meetings where business actually takes place, high tables with bar stools and plenty of outlets let groups of people sit with their computers to discuss their latest business deals. (Or compare their fantasy football teams.)
A popular gathering place was near “Bill” and “Melinda.” No, the Gates power couple were not hanging out in the Hyatt lobby. Rather, it was two 55” surface touch screen tables, nicknamed “Bill” and “Melinda” and designed to keep guests of all ages occupied. Picture your iPad covered with gorilla glass and the size of a coffee table. With a swipe of your finger, you can surf the web, find out about local attractions or play a spirited game of air hockey.
With 732 rooms, you are sure to find one that suits your needs. If you have super-important needs, the Chairman’s Suite would be perfect. I got a peek into the 1,500 square foot suite, complete with two separate work areas, a full kitchen and an oversized (and I mean really oversized) bathroom. For the rest of us, any of the standard, King Guest rooms or studio suites are above average in size and amenities. Several women I met commented on how well they slept on the Plush Hyatt Grand Bed. One woman actually said she was looking into buying the exact same mattress.
Some rooms have views of Mt. Rainier, which, on a clear day, always produces an awe-inspiring gasp from someone seeing the majestic mountain. For those you visiting on a cloudy day, take my word for it. After living in the northwest for over 35 years, it’s still exciting when the mountain is “out.”
I seldom pay attention to the meals I get at hotels. Our lunch at the Hyatt was unique enough to make this non-foodie take notice. Instead of typical conference-style baked chicken, we had prosciutto wrapped scallops with red wine pear glaze, pancetta stuffed roasted beef tenderloin and caramelized onion jus green beans.
Let’s not forget the desserts! We each received two space aged circular containers filled with…get ready…chocolate peppermint mousse with shiny chocolate glaze edible gold, chocolate tarte, caramelized coco nibs, caramelized white chocolate cremeaux, apple gel inset, sour apples, Breton crumble and micro basil! Sure beats cheesecake! They make a mean toffee recipe also.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast or weekend brunch? The Eques restaurant serves a buffet sure to suit any kid’s appetite or an a la carte breakfast. I heard from a reliable source, (who had just exited the restaurant) that the French toast was “beyond delicious”. Looking for more meal options? No need to look far. Due to an ingenious network of covered sky bridges, you can easily walk to restaurants and shops without getting wet. There are 45 restaurants within walking distance, ranging from white-linen upscale to white paper tablecloths with crayons for drawing.
After enjoying a great meal, you have the option of working out at the Hyatt’s 7,000 square foot fitness center, or swimming in the indoor pool. Or you could indulge in the ever-popular work out activity of walking to the hundreds of stores in Bellevue Square and the surrounding area.
During the holidays, Bellevue Square offers a fun “Snowflake Lane” every evening. For 15 minutes, artificial snow falls on cue. The lane fills with costumed characters, live dancers and marching bands. I have friends who bring their families and stay at the Hyatt just so they can enjoy this memory making event. (If you go to Hyatt and book this hotel, Traveling Mom will receive a referral fee.)