Basic principles. You want the airport hotel connected to the terminal if there is one. Otherwise you want the one that’s newest or at least most recently renovated, since airport hotels disproportionately accommodate one night stays and wear faster.
Beyond that a decent on-site restaurant is nice, especially when the property doesn’t have nearby walking options, and price is going to influence choice — the Grand Hyatt DFW is an exceptional hotel but it’s often so much more expensive than other Dallas airport hotels that it becomes tough to choose.
Historically I’ve picked the Sheraton LAX for a Los Angeles airport overnight. It’s certainly showing wear but the rooms are decent, the restaurant is pretty good, and there’s a Starbucks in the lobby. There’s a (mediocre) club club and a nice pool area.
But the newest hotel in the area is the Hyatt Place El Segundo/LAX. It’s not on the Century Boulevard strip with the bulk of airport hotels, which means it also operates its own shuttle, and to me that’s usually a plus (less risk of a shuttle not having room because it fills up at the other hotel, it’s quicker without stops and more likely to stick to schedule). So I thought I’d give it a try.
The Hotel Shuttle Situation Needs Work
Things didn’t start off well. I rang the hotel when I landed at LAX just before 11pm to ask when to expect the shuttle. The front desk agent say, “Well, we can send it but LAX is really busy right now so it will be at least 20 minutes, probably half an hour.” Thirty minutes for the shuttle is simply unacceptable, that sort of wait mitigates the advantages of being right at the airport, so I made my own way to the hotel. (Note that cabs will have a minimum $15 fare and they don’t like short trips.)
Check-in was smooth, there wasn’t anyone ahead of me at the desk when I walked in. Not a whole lot of discussion with the agent, halfway through the process she acknowledged my Diamond status by saying “Do you want points or a beverage?”
I asked about the hotel shuttle in the morning and she told me I could make reservations now, or just call down in the morning. The shuttle begins running at 5am. It isn’t 24 hours, and that’s a little late for the very first bank of departures. I was a bit concerned with how loose they seemed to run things — suggesting that reservations are helpful, that the shuttle runs “every 30 minutes but it’ll take you whenever you’re ready” I wondered how that would even work? It’s set to go at 6:30am but it’ll take you at 6:15am it sounded like. Somehow, with only a single shuttle driver, they were still going to accommodate 6:30am departures… reservations even?
The whole shuttle operation here seems like it needs to have some kinks ironed out. I made a 6:30am reservation for the morning, and I didn’t have a ton of confidence since that meant handwritten notes on one of three scraps of paper the agent picked up.
It worked perfectly, though — it was waiting right outside, the shuttle driver wasn’t there but responded quickly when I asked the front desk to call him at our appointed departure time, and there were no other guests onboard.
Pizzaman stayed at the hotel recently and didn’t bother waiting for the hotel shuttle, either. He also didn’t pre-book his morning shuttle back to the airport — and found that not only couldn’t he catch a shuttle during the six o’clock hour, but the next one with space would run at 9:30am.
The Room Itself is the Highlight
The room was almost identical to the one at the Hyatt Place Delray Beach that I had last year for my first-ever Hyatt Place stay (and indeed my first-ever Hyatt limited-service brand stay). It’s the ‘new Hyatt Place standard’ and I quite like it.
The bathroom is modern and large enough. It has a sliding frosted glass door which seemed like it was on a angle so it rolled and wouldn’t stay stationary. It was either fully open or closed.
The desk area was functional and what I liked best about the desk and the whole room really was just how ample the power outlets were. That’s thinking for any new build. “There are just too many outlets in the room” is something said by no hotel guest, ever. So kudos to Hyatt for that.
Since it was about 11:30pm and I was planning on catching the 6:30am shuttle I wanted to get some sleep right away. I set the wake up call on the phone. Now, I must have done it wrong although the system confirmed the time I would receive the call, because it didn’t actually work. Fortunately I never rely on one method to wake myself up for an early flight. My phone alarm is great and woke me up right on time.
The television in the background was a decent enough distraction, and there were a wide variety of channels on a screen that was quite large given the size of the room and with ample choices.
I slept hard for five-plus hours, woke up and got ready for the day. I had no complaints about the room or the sleep and kind of like the way they’ve separated the “bedroom” from the “living space” and like the L-shapred couch. It’s a great room design.
I kind of like the grab and go from the front desk food and drink option, it is not a replacement for room service and no full service hotel should adopt this model, but i do think it works especially for a late arrival at an airport property where there’s going to be an early departure — the key here is no waiting.
There was no chance on this stay to check out the pool or fitness center but reports on both are relatively good.
The lobby area is nice, modern clean lines with places to sit and also a business area.
Free breakfast in the lobby was a real plus, everything was reasonably high quality and I think at a standard above competitors’ offerings in this segment. And I thought it was so cute that they cut the breakfast skillet sandwiches in half here.
The shuttle here, it seems to me, is a deal-killer for what would otherwise be the best current LAX airport hotel option.
I want to come back, and I would come back over the Sheraton LAX despite that hotel being full service and with a Starbucks in the lobby, if they’d just get improve the reliability and frequency of the shuttle which is a must I think for an airport hotel.
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