Warning About Booking the Park Hyatt St. Kitts

Eight months ago when I didn’t even know for sure if the Park Hyatt St. Kitts would even open its doors in time I made a reservation there. This is the Hyatt luxury brand’s first foray into the Caribbean. And it’s been delayed interminably.

When the project was first announced in 2009 it was supposed to open in 2013. That got pushed back.. to 2015.. and to 2016.. and to earlier in 2017. They even started taking reservations but didn’t open in time to meet those. The property finally opened its doors to guests last month.


Credit: Hyatt

This 126 room property is a category 7 property. That means it costs 30,000 Hyatt points per night for a free room; 48,000 points per night for a suite (minimum 3 night stay); and 15,000 points and $300 for cash and points.

Confirmed suite upgrades can book into your choice of 3 different room types: Park Suite King (pool view), Seaview suite and the Beachside suite.

There’s one important hitch about the property — and since I had my ‘concierge’ book it via e-mail I didn’t know about it prior to making the reservation. The hotel has a 90 day cancellation policy.

I understand 7-day policies at resorts, and even 30 day policies at small properties in remote parts of the world. If you take up inventory they may have difficulty reselling it should you cancel. But I never expected it — let alone three months’ — at a hotel with over 100 rooms in the Caribbean.

I checked the details of my booking and found the cancel policy when I realized I might have to cancel. I didn’t want to cancel, mind you, but less than two months out I realized there was some possibility I wouldn’t be able to make the trip for some health issues (not my own). I wanted to know what my ‘drop date date’ would be, was it a week out? two weeks out?

That’s when I learned about the 90 day rule. Fortunately the hotel was willing to waive this, perhaps they wanted their confirmed suite back or they realized how silly it is.

Nonetheless I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this that’s considering booking this property. Even using points — versus a prepaid rate — locks you in. In fact it’s worse than that, because when you don’t show up on a points booking Hyatt has you on the hook for an undisclosed amount of cash, rather than merely forfeiting the points.

If you’re considering booking here, the hotel’s policies mean that your plans need to be really, really firm. Does a hotel’s cancellation policy affect how willing you are to stay there?

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 InsideFlyer.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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Comments

  1. Hyatt will let you modify inside cancel window, so assuming you want to go there at some point in the future, you could just change the reservation.

  2. For xmas there is actually no cancellations (cash or point) and you must prepay in advance (more then a year out).

  3. AccountingYourPoints from BoardingArea had an excellent post yesterday if you get caught in Hyatt’s tougher cancellation policy such as this, and talks about the Hyatt St Kitts hotel as an example. I’m seeing this more often too for special events. I’m trying to book tickets for a hotel in February for the super bowl in Minneapolis, and I’m seeing 30 day cancellation policies for some (Hilton Garden Inn), and no cancellation allowed at all for Marriott, IHG and other Hilton hotels. Well, I guess I understand, since I only want to go if my team is in it, so there’s a good chance I’ll be canceling, (along with a lot of other people looking for rooms), and I guess they don’t want to get caught with a half empty hotel rooms, due to last minute cancellations.

  4. I had a reservation there on points for February which had a 90 day cancellation policy. I changed it to April and now the cancellation policy is 14 days.

  5. You never know when you’ll be hit with a byzantine cancellation policy. For example, the Best Western in Chantilly, France (outside Paris) has a 48 hour cancellation policy with the full flexible rate, but enforces a 60 day cancellation policy with the AAA rate. Caveat Emptor!!

  6. Most third rate websites advertise their cancellation/change deadlines before or during the reservation stage. It is why many people book directly with the hotel. If Hyatt is comfortable with their policy, they need to emphasize not only the “90 day” or “14 day” rule, but also post the actual date of time that you can make a change.
    I have spoken to too many reps’ that have had to count days on the calendar. Given the prevalence of website bookings, the exact date and time can be spelled out on your reservation or on the page describing your rates and options.
    If they want to disguise their policy, then bury the it in the fine print and let the customers complain about it online… that should boost the value of your brand.

  7. I feel like these increasingly draconian cancellation policies will be a boon to the travel insurance market. Interestingly, I heard a radio segment the other day talking about travel insurance take rates in the UK versus the US. Turns out that although almost nobody gets travel insurance in the US, UK travelers almost all choose to get it.

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