DC 4th of July Part 3: Grand Hyatt DC Review

DC from the air

I had two expiring Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificates (expiring July 14th and August 3rd) which I used for the Grand Hyatt. I would have just stayed at the Park Hyatt but it’s a Category 5 hotel. The Grand Hyatt seemed to be a good option as it was either 12,000 points per night or around $250 AAA cash rate so we got decent value out of the certificates.

We arrived in an Uber from the Park Hyatt around 10:30am and our suite was not quite ready. I had texted the hotel in advance to see about a suite upgrade and they had confirmed a conference suite, which is technically a premium suite, but as you will see, it’s more like adjoining rooms. The hotel is designed in that 80’s atrium style. It takes up half a city block and has something like 600 rooms, but the entire interior is an atrium opened all the way to a skylight so there’s plenty of natural light during the day.

We left our bags at the bell desk and walked down to the National Mall to the Holocaust Museum. While we were touring the museum, I was notified that our room was ready. It was getting hot and crowded in the Smithsonian area, so we decided to go back to the hotel and relax for the afternoon. We were given our room on the 1st floor. While I was at first annoyed about the low floor, we were overlooking the atrium anyway and it turned out that we could easily take the stairs and avoid the sometimes long waits for elevators.

The suite was a bit weird, but at least there were two bathrooms and plenty of room for our daughter to hang out and do some work while we were staying out of the heat. My daughter and I also walked over to nearby Chopt for a quick lunch.

In the late afternoon, we checked out the Grand Lounge for hors d’oeuvres. There was a pretty good spread of hot dishes (meatballs and separately, pasta with sauce) and cold dishes (salads, cold cuts, cheeses). You could definitely make a meal of this with young kids (or picky adults). It got pretty busy right when it opened. I think this hotel sold too many club rooms for the size of the lounge.

That evening we had a reservation at the Old Ebbit Grill so we walked the two blocks over and back from the Grand Hyatt. There was a Little Miss type pageant going on at the hotel so there were always a bunch of crazy parents and makeup-wearing girls running around the hotel. Luckily, they weren’t running up and down the halls.

The next day was the 4th of July and our daughter took the Metro over to meet us. The hotel is right near Metro Center and even has a direct entrance to the station, but that is closed on weekends and holidays. She got a bit turned around coming out of the station, but found us eventually.

That morning, my wife and I went to the Club lounge for breakfast. It was a good spread with eggs, bacon, sausage, and all the expected cereals, breads, pastries, etc. There was also an automated coffee machine with lattes, cappuccinos, etc. It was too crowded to get pictures and by the time we left, the line was out the door.

Around lunchtime, we Ubered to a well-reviewed dim sum place – more on that in a later segment of this report. We walked back downhill and stopped at some shops on the way back to the hotel. That afternoon, I went to the hotel gym which was surprisingly good. It was down on the 4th level of the conference center below ground, but it had plenty of machines and free weights, along with water, cold towels, snacks and even a SodaStream machine, although I don’t think it was functional.

That night, we went to the Capitol steps for the concert and fireworks. My daughter’s internship ID got us inside the actual Capitol complex and a nice spot to sit/stand for the festivities. After the fireworks, we walked back to the hotel and grabbed her things. I was going to get her an Uber back to her dorm, but the surge pricing was nuts ($30+ for 2 miles) so we walked back. Then I walked all the way back to the hotel so I got major steps in that day. I did get a nice picture of the White House on the way.

On Tuesday morning, we did not feel like fighting the crowds at the lounge, so I called down to the front desk to see if we could just eat breakfast at the restaurant instead. We were given a “one-time courtesy” as a Globalist from the manager so we went down to the breakfast buffet. It was quite good and we were also able to order specialty coffees from the waiter. The charge did show up on my card, but a quick email to the hotel got it removed.

We left via Uber around 9:00am and headed to the airport. Overall, the Grand Hyatt served its purpose. I was able to use my expiring free night certificates, we had enough space for our daughter to hang out (she didn’t sleep on the pullout but could have), we had lounge access and we were walking distance to many of the places we visited during these two days. Would I recommend it? Hard to say. The rooms could use a major revamp, but they were clean and functional. The hotel itself is well-maintained. I suppose I can recommend this as a good use of your Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificates or points when it’s off-peak. I’m not sure I would pay over $200 a night for this hotel, but the location makes it a decent option.

If you enjoyed this post (or have questions), let me know in the comments or send me an email at emptynestermiles@gmail.com. If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

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