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Review: Park Hyatt Washington DC

Length of Stay
2 nights
Room Type
Park Executive Suite,
Park Junior Suite
Elite Status
Hyatt Globalist
Date
September 2021
Rating

In early September, I spent a few days in Washington DC to meet some friends while doing a bit of sightseeing around the US capital. 

Since I’ve been spending the year of 2021 expanding my hotel horizons and dabbling with Hyatt Globalist status, I naturally decided to trade some World of Hyatt points for two nights at one of the most storied hotels in town, the Park Hyatt Washington DC.

In This Post

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Booking

The Park Hyatt Washington DC is a Category 5 property within World of Hyatt, which requires 25,000 World of Hyatt points at the standard rate. 

(World of Hyatt has recently added peak and off-peak pricing; starting in March 2022, this hotel could also cost 21,000 or 29,000 World of Hyatt points per night on off-peak or peak dates, respectively.)

Cash rates at the Park Hyatt DC tend to hover around US$350–400 per night, which is right around the borderline of our valuation of World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents per point (USD). 

Since the cash rates were higher than normal during Labour Day weekend, it made sense to redeem points for this stay. I transferred some of my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt, received the points instantly, and made the booking.

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Location

The Park Hyatt is located in a quiet pocket of Washington’s West End neighbourhood, a few minutes’ walk away from Dupont Circle and George Washington University.

The surrounding blocks are a mix between residential and retail, and it’s a fairly nice part of town to explore on foot. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Exterior
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Exterior

Several other high-end hotels are also situated nearby, including the Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton, and Westin.

Having said that, I wouldn’t necessarily say the location is ideal for tourists. It’s a bit of a trek from DC’s major attractions over at the National Mall (the Washington Monument, White House, Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, and Smithsonian museums), as well as the popular cafes and restaurants of 14th St NW. 

Ridesharing was my preferred method of getting around from the hotel to Washington’s worthy sights, although the metro ride from Foggy Bottom-GWU station a few blocks south is convenient enough, too. 

After a delayed arrival on my inbound flight from Toronto, I took a rather expensive 35-minute Uber from Washington Dulles Airport to the hotel.

I was greeted by an oversized US flag and a somewhat unenthusiastic bellhop, who did not offer to assist with luggage as I made my way through the front entrance. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Entrance
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Entrance

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Check-in

As usual, I had previously communicated with the hotel via email to relay my wish for a nice upgrade as a Hyatt Globalist member. This time, however, I decided to try my luck at upgrading to a premium suite rather than a standard suite (which is what Globalist members are entitled to). 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Front desks
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Front desks

As it turns out, the hotel did have the Park Executive Suite available for only the first night of my stay, and was happy to grant the exceptional upgrade for one night after some back-and-forth.

For the second night, I’d be in a smaller Park Junior Suite, which I was totally OK with. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Lobby lounge
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Lobby lounge

The front desk agent confirmed that I’d receive complimentary breakfast in the Blue Duck Tavern restaurant as a Globalist member, indicating that the benefit is limited to a US$45 allowance per registered guest.

Although it was too late for this stay, I did make a mental note that I should’ve booked for two guests rather than one, even though I was staying solo. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Park Executive Suite

As a landmark hotel dating back to the 1980s, the Park Hyatt Washington DC had undergone renovations as recently as 2014, but the guest room hallways appear to date much further back. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Hallway
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Hallway

Indeed, I was somewhat unimpressed by my surroundings as I first stepped into the rather drab hallway and made my way to Room 526.

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Room 526
Park Hyatt Washington DC – Room 526

Thankfully, the hotel’s interiors have been refreshed to a more modern standard. I was impressed with the size of the Park Executive Suite, which featured a large dining table in the central sitting area, with the bedroom and living room branching off to both sides. 

The pantry and minibar are also dotted around the dining space. A welcome amenity of chocolate truffles and still water was left for me on the dining table. 

The Park Executive Suite has a very generously sized living room, with a four-seater couch and two additional upholstered chairs, along with a half-bathroom in the corner.

Given the hotel’s stature, I imagine many heads of state had gathered here for a meeting of the minds over the years (or perhaps members of their delegations, since I presume the heads of state would be staying in the Presidential Suite). 

Turning left into the bedroom, it was a similarly grand space, with far more room around the king-sized bed than your average hotel bedroom. I almost felt like there was enough space in here to fit an additional desk, which the Park Executive Suite otherwise lacks. 

Decor-wise, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about the denim-blue backdrops in both the bedroom and the living room, which I thought gave the room more of a collegiate than stately atmosphere.

I was quite a fan of the bathroom fixtures, though, which combined the shower and bathtub into one large marble-encased “wet room”, along with a walk-in closet on the opposite side.

In the end, I certainly didn’t need the extra space granted by the Park Executive Suite, and I did find that the suite was better-suited to entertaining guests than being productive (given the lack of a dedicated desk). Still, it was satisfying to get the extra upgrade and sprawl out a bit nonetheless. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Park Junior Suite

For the second night, I moved to a Park Junior Suite, Room 308. It’s a considerably cozier space than the Park Executive Suite, combining the living, working, and dining areas into one. 

The stylish curved desk reminded me of the similar workspace back at the Park Hyatt Shanghai, a setup that I find quite conducive for productivity. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Park Junior Suite desk

I also appreciated how the television was mounted on a swerve-panel that allowed it to be viewed from the comfort of the bedroom too.

A narrow walkway connects the Park Junior Suite’s living room, bedroom, and bathroom. The bathroom turned out to be very similar to the Park Executive Suite, with the same dark marble finishes on the shower and bathtub.

In some ways, I preferred the coziness of the Junior Suite to the extra square footage upstairs, and I made full use of the room on the day of departure until my 4pm late checkout as a Globalist member.

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Breakfast

While the hotel rooms are nicely furnished and recently renovated, the star attraction of the Park Hyatt Washington DC is arguably its in-house restaurant, the Michelin-distinguished Blue Duck Tavern (although the restaurant lost its Michelin Star in 2019). 

It’s not every morning that you get to have breakfast at a formerly Michelin-starred restaurant, so I made sure to maximize my Globalist breakfast allowance on both days. 

As you can imagine, prices here aren’t cheap, so my US$45 allowance covered most of a starter and a main breakfast dish, although I charged an extra US$7 on both mornings to the room. 

Breakfast is served from 6:30am to 10am. I ordered the smoked salmon and avocado toast on the first morning, along with the steel-cut oats and short rib hash on the second morning. 

Everything was prepared to a very high standard, and I thought the oatmeal and short rib hash in particular were absolutely jam-packed with their respective sweet and savoury flavours.

So far on my Hyatt Globalist journey, the breakfast benefit has not disappointed on a single occasion, and that trend continued in impressive fashion here at the Park Hyatt DC. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Dining

I didn’t have a chance to have dinner at Blue Duck Tavern, although I certainly wish I did. If I’m back in DC with my significant other in the future, we’ll certainly make the effort to swing by and try out one of DC’s top-rated restaurants. 

Instead, my friend Max from @maxmilespoints was staying here at the same time as me and had a US$100 Hyatt Privé property credit to burn, so we enjoyed some nice cocktails and charcuterie on one of the evenings. 

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Blue Duck Tavern charcuterie

The Park Hyatt DC also has another very unique on-site establishment: a Tea Cellar, featuring rare and expensive teas from all over the world, along with afternoon-tea sittings that are very popular with the DC crowd.

Unfortunately, the Tea Cellar was closed at the time of my visit – otherwise we certainly would’ve opted to spend the US$100 property credit there instead.

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Other Facilities

The hotel offers an indoor fitness centre and swimming pool, which are located on the second floor. Rather oddly, however, you’ll need to take the elevator to the third floor, and then descend a set of stairs to get to the facilities. 

The gym was nicely appointed, offering a range of exercise equipment, though each type was limited in number given the smaller square footage.

On the other hand, despite being advertised as a “skylit saltwater pool with zen decor”, I thought the hotel pool was far from a very attractive place to spend time. The floor tiles made it look more like a Hyatt Place than a Park Hyatt, to draw a comparison within the Hyatt family.

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Service

I’ll also offer up some critiques of the hotel’s service. At city hotels like this, I don’t always comment on the service, since it mostly meets my expectations without going too far above and beyond.

However, I found the service at the Park Hyatt Washington DC to be notably subpar, especially considering the hotel’s historic stature and the high-ranking clientele that it regularly hosts. 

For example, when a hotel employee came to my Park Executive Suite to deliver the keys to my subsequent Park Junior Suite, he ended up arriving at the elevators after me, and asked, “Mind hitting the down button for me?”

I certainly didn’t mind, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether it should’ve been his job to take care of the elevator buttons for hotel guests. I can’t imagine a world leader being very happy with that kind of treatment.

In addition to this encounter, friend Max and I observed a similarly strange attitude from the bellhops at the front door as well. 

And even when our interactions with staff did go smoothly, such as during breakfast at Blue Duck Tavern, they often felt standoffish and transactional, rather than the warm and polished level of service I’ve come to expect from my few Park Hyatt stays so far. 

Conclusion

Considering the lofty regard in which I hold the Park Hyatt brand, my two-night stay at the Park Hyatt Washington DC fell a little bit flat, despite some positive elements to take away from the stay.

On the bright side, I received some generous upgrades and got to experience some of the hotel’s nicer suites, and it’s also a real treat to wake up to a complimentary breakfast at a former Michelin-starred restaurant. In terms of elite treatment as a Globalist member, I certainly could have no complaints.

However, I found the hotel’s decor to be less tasteful than my other Park Hyatt stays so far (despite renovations not too long ago), and the service levels also left me puzzled compared to my expectations coming in. 

All that being said, if I look around at other hotel options in the nation’s capital, I don’t see too many places I’d be excited to stay at otherwise. Next time I’m in town, I’m leaning towards just booking a cheaper hotel brand and calling it a day. 

1 Comment
  1. Glen

    Hmm disappointing to hear about the Park Hyatt there. Guess they always show the nicer pictures on the site.

    My go-to in DC has been the Grand Hyatt. They treat Globalists/repeat guests very well, have a club lounge, and I find the location perfect and central.

Ricky Zhang

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