A Weekend Stay at the Excellent Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle

I spent last weekend at the Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle (unsurprisingly located on the corner of Olive and 8th). It’s a lovely hotel, far preferred over the Grand Hyatt in Seattle, and a place I plan to return to when I’m in the area. Everyone was friendly, the rooms still feel modern and new, the restaurant is good and it was conveniently located for me.

I had a regular room, though they assigned it on the top (17th) floor. I did have a chance to see one of the suites that are offered when Diamonds confirm their upgrade in advance with a suite upgrade certificate and it was quite nice, a very large living room and dining room area, and an extra large bathroom with separate tub and shower as well as dual sinks, complement the standard bedroom nicely.

It actually made me regret a bit not confirming my own upgrade — since Hyatt Gold Passport is extremely generous in allowing Diamonds to choose when they want their upgrades by confirming it at booking 4 times per year for up to 7 nights with each of the 4 certificates, but when not confirming the suite upgrade in advance, the upgrade benefit at checkin does not include suites. Next time I’ll probably burn a confirmed suite upgrade here.

Still, I much enjoyed the room, comfortable and also with plenty of outlets to power my devices.

The room had a refrigerator, I don’t use that often but it’s still nice to have.

It’s especially something that I want at a hotel where room service isn’t 24 hours a day. I was actually taken by surprise at that, room service wasn’t available until 6am. My first night at least on the West Coast, used to Eastern time, I’m going to wake up early in the morning. I want coffee. There’s an in-room coffee maker, but I don’t like packaged creamers that don’t require refrigeration. With a refrigerator in that circumstance I can at least pick up some half and half for my coffee, or milk.

Although I really do think that a full service hotel should have room service available 24 hours a day, or at least coffee service before 6am. (Then again, a few years ago staying in the Extreme Wow suite at the W San Diego I called the ‘whatever, whenever’ like and was told ‘whatever’ when I asked for coffee around 5am.)

The refrigerator in the room, though, said it didn’t refrigerate.

I suppose it probably did keep things fairly cold, perhaps there was once a lawsuit filed against a hotel over a refrigerator that didn’t work properly?

At check-In I asked about the Diamond breakfast benefit, whether you could still take breakfast from room service and I was told that was no longer available. The front desk clerk explained that it was eliminated as part of the attempt to standardize offerings across Hyatts, he further explained that even room service menus are being standardized.

He offered breakfast coupons for use in the restaurant. He said the coupon was valid for up to four guests, although the coupon said it was valid for one guest only and for continental breakfast only.

This was my second Hyatt in less than a week where the breakfast benefit was no longer available by room service. It’s not part of the Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond elite offerings. But some hotels allowed Diamonds to take their breakfast in their room. In the name of standardization and consistency it seems that several hotels that were more generous than required are being asked to reduce their offerings.

The previous weekend at the Andaz Wall Street I learned that they had eliminated the room service option for Diamond breakfast, and even though it was my second stay at the property I still hadn’t managed to figure out what the breakfast benefit really was.

Several years ago, Starwood in Europe started ignoring the program terms and conditions — they’re supposed to provide the best available room at checkin, up to and including standard suites, for Platinums. Instead, they started giving every Platinum a one category room upgrade.

It was their obsession with six sigma — delivery the same thing consistently, damp down expectations but meet those expectations. It was a ‘rogue’ operation which is to say that it wasn’t sanctioned that groups of hotels could do something not sanctioned by the program terms and conditions. And it is a clear departure from where the program is going today — which is to customize and personalize rather than standardize.

To me it represented the worst drive that pops up occasionally in loyalty programs. The loyalty comes from surprise and delight, and Hyatt above all but now Starwood to a lesser extent by offering 10 nights a year of priority for upgrades given to their Platinums who qualify by staying at least 50 nights offer to let members pick when the best treatment matters most to them rather than offering it at random.

Make no mistake — the Hyatt Olive8 has one of the best Diamond breakfasts across the entire chain. It’s a generous beneft, albeit a confusing one. It’s simply that one of my pet peeves is reducing benefits for ‘consistency’.

The benefit, in practice, did seem to be breakfast for four people. You give your coupon to the server, but they still bring you a bill to sign which they then deduct from your folio prior to checkout. And as far as I could tell, the offering was whatever you wanted off the menu and as much as you wanted. I didn’t test the upper bounds, and didn’t ask whether there was truly a maximum, but breakfast in the $40s all-in was certainly removed automatically.

The first morning the coffee was outstanding and I had crab benedict and some fresh squeezed orange juice as well. The entrée wasn’t a crab cake, but actual lump crab meat, and very good

The second morning the coffee was weak and tasted burnt, I asked for a replacement and it didn’t quite live up to the heights of the first breakfast but was still much better than I usually get at a hotel in the United States. That’s Seattle, I suppose, and make no mistake the coffee they serve is strong — as I like it. At home I suually grind Indonesian beans which are as dark and rich as you get.

I had smoked salmon on a bagel, and also tried the mac and cheese, they offer the option of crab and also bacon, I had it with both (and no, I did not finish it!).

The bar has a seating area, and flows into the restaurant. In the morning it was a pleasant place for breakfast, in the evening for cocktails and you could move further into the seating area for a bit for peace and space since the bar area itself got fairly crowded on Saturday evening.

I’ll definitely return, burn a suite upgrade if the stay is more than a couple of nights, and really look forward to breakfast in the restaurant. I just wish the hotel’s generosity wasn’t also victim to a push for standardization of benefits.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Pingbacks

  1. […] This Andaz offers Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members the opportunity to take the complimentary breakfast from room service, and the food quality is really good. As long as you stay underneath the $75 cap or thereabouts for your room service order, they bring your food but don’t even bring you a bill to sign. It’s my favorite hotel breakfast outside of Asia, although breakfast at Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle comes close. […]

  2. […] Hyatt Olive 8 appears to have updated its Diamond breakfast benefit again. Reader Dave N. reports that they’re offering a credit of $26.50 per person, for up to 4 people, and that the hotel remains quite loose about whether all four need to be registered guests or outside friends are welcome. The credit can be taken with room service or in the excellent restaurant. […]

Comments

  1. I believe the Olive8 serves Starbucks, which isn’t the worst thing in the world but certainly needs some care to be made well. Most of the better breakfast spots I know around there serve Caffe Vita or Caffe Ladro.

    I had the same complaint about the inconsistent breakfast benefit when I was there two weeks ago, and I’m currently waiting for a charge to be reversed on my card.

  2. I stayed at the Olive8 once and needed to leave for the airport by 5am. Obviously too early for both the hotel restaurant or room service breakfast. They made us up a breakfast to go the night before with bagels, fruit, water, maybe yogurt, I don’t recall. They offered it to us, unprompted.

    On another stay, breakfast at the restaurant was taken off the bill at checkout, but then billed on a delayed basis. I had to call to have it taken off again.

    Let me know when you’re in Seattle again!

  3. Interesting to hear that Hyatt will no longer offer room service breakfast. I didn’t qualify as diamond this year but now don’t feel so bad as for me that was the key benefit.
    When I traveled with my wife and then 6 month old to the Park Hyatt Istanbul last year having the room service breakfast was very nice as we could have a relaxed breakfast without worry about a screaming baby bothering others. If they’re getting rid of the room service breakfast worldwide that is a big cutback (of course with my restricted travel now I had little chance of getting diamond anyway)

  4. @Greg it’s not (yet?) chain-wide, the next post on a Hyatt property I’ll make is my stay earlier in the week at the Andaz 5th Avenue that was still providing room service breakfast

  5. I am curious to know if you have also stayed at the Grand Hyatt? The majority of people I have talked to say they prefer the Grand, not only for better elite treatment, but also for the views and club lounge. I am only asking because I have an upcoming stay and can’t decide which one to choose.

  6. Gary, I used a confirmed suite upgrade at the Olive 8 in December and my suite did not have a dining area. It was just a long hallway. Maybe they redecorated? You can see my pics here:

    http://www.innitforthepoints.com/2012/01/hyatt-olive-8-review/

    @Alex, I’ve stayed at the GH Seattle a handful of times and I do prefer it to the Olive 8 for the decor, treatment and views. The Grand Club lounge is nice but to me, it’s not a make or break benefit. For all of my stays at the Grand, I’ve used a confirmed suite upgrade. I’ve heard that the GH is good about upgrading Diamonds to suites but when I was there last weekend I decided to take my chances and lo and behold, I did NOT get an upgrade. They did say the hotel was full and I was on a BRG rate so YMMV.

    The big trade off is breakfast. If hot breakfast is important to you, then you’ll be better off at the O8. FWIW, the evening appetizers at the Grand Club lounge were vegetable egg rolls and there was no hot item for breakfast, except oatmeal.

    Hope that helps. Will be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

  7. I Stayed at Olive 8, and Grand hyatt last month,and I prefer to stay at Grand Hyatt because they give complimentary suite upgrade to diamond member. I was upgraded to ONYX suite at the Grand Hyatt, Olive 8 was regular room at higher floor. ONYX suite was over 1200 square foot, had really great view too!

  8. @Alex yes but quite some time ago. I think I am swayed by modern decor and the phenomenal breakfast, I value that over size of room and club lounge

  9. I’ve received a complimentary upgrade to the corner Emerald Suite at the GH on all my stays but one. With floor to ceiling windows and views of the Sound and Needle (the NW corner room), it’s my favorite room in Seattle. However, also stayed multiple times at O8 and love the breakfast, fitness area, pool and spa. I always seems to get a room that faces the highway and never get upgraded there. Still… I used a confirmed upgrade at O8 in March and had the same/similar room as pictured. I let price decide for me now as I like both hotels and recommend both.

  10. By far, THE best Diamond breakfast benefit is at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek where you can get the buffet, order anything off the menu, or get room service—as much as your stomach can hold and then some! Included in these breakfasts are lobster eggs benedict with lobster claw meat as well as protein shakes and various fresh juices (fruit and veggie), and they make the best coffee latte ever. Their bacon is also some of the best bacon I’ve ever had.

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