Christmas in Germany: Grand Hyatt Seattle

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

Note: I’ve stayed at the Grand Hyatt several times before, so for a more comprehensive review (with more pictures), please see my first review of the hotel.

While Seattle is a city generally known for its crappy public transportation, one thing they do well for those heading from the airport to downtown is the Light Rail. It costs something like $2.50, and provides frequent, quick service between the airport and various downtown destinations. At the same time, it’s the only public transportation system in the US that I know of that runs on the “honor system” (meaning it’s even less than $2.50 for many travelers). šŸ˜‰

The Grand Hyatt is only a few blocks from Westlake Station. The weather was quite nice compared to Frankfurt, so I was happy to walk a few blocks without being as bundled up as a mummy.

Check-in was prompt and efficient, and I was informed that I was upgraded to a suite on the club floor. One of the reasons that the Grand Hyatt Seattle is one of my favorite hotels in the country is that they only have suites on the top few floors, so Diamond members almost always get complimentary suite upgrades at this hotel. I’ve stayed at the Grand Hyatt maybe five or six times, and have gotten a suite every time.

I got assigned suite 2701, conveniently enough, right across from the Regency Club.

The suite had a half bathroom at the entrance, along with a living room and bar in the main room.

Living room

Half bathroom

Bar area

Living room

The bedroom featured a king bed and desk.


The bathroom featured a vanity sitting area, shower, and tub.



The view from my room was quite nice, though not quite as spectacular as the full-on bay view suites I’ve sometimes received in the past.

View from my room

The Regency Club was open throughout my stay, even on the night of Christmas.

The evening spread was available from 5PM till 8PM. It was the typical North American evening Regency Club spread, with cheese, veggies, crackers, etc. There was even a “hot” option, which I’m pretty sure was cheesy bread from Dominos or Pizza Hut. Hey, I’ll take it!

The spread in the mornings was adequate as well. They had bagels, pastries, fresh fruit, cereals, salmon, cheese, etc.

Regency Club

Breakfast breads

More breakfast…

Overall, this is one of my favorite Hyatt properties in North America. They treat Diamond members exceedingly well, the Regency Club is quite nice, the employees are great, the facilities are well maintained, and the rates are pretty decent. Besides, Seattle is a great city.

The fact that I earned 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for my stay makes it even better.

  1. The Portland light rail (MAX) also runs on the honor system..though on rare occasions you do see officers getting on at random stops to check for tickets.

  2. Same with Go Transit (Commuter Trains) in Toronto. I don’t know many people willing to risk a $75 ticket on a $3 fare. Those aren’t good odds.

  3. Seattle also has random inspectors. I was there last week and they were checking tickets when I rode it. Dallas also has a similar light rail.

  4. I’ve been on “honor system” light-rail lines in Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco (above-ground portions of MUNI lines), Baltimore, Dallas, and Houston. I think the favored nomenclature is “proof-of-payment” rather than “honor system,” since “honor system” implies no enforcement whereas scofflaws on these types of transit lines are subject to large fines if they can’t present a valid ticket to inspectors when they come around.

  5. The honor (or honour if you prefer) system is also in effect for Denver light rail. Sometimes there are uniformed and plainclothes officers checking tickets, but not very often.

  6. My understanding is St Louis is as well (although I’ve never ridden it). LA was on the honer system a couple years ago, but I think that has come to an end.

  7. The majority of light rail systems are honor based, with high fines if caught without a ticket. It keeps everything moving faster. Think Southwest turnaround times šŸ™‚

    Of course, if you have a ticket from the previous day and the inspector doesn’t look too closely you may get away without paying (says someone who may have been a poor HS student in Baltimore many years ago and thought they wouldn’t be inspecting tickets in a thunderstorm).

  8. I wouldn’t characterize Seattle as having bad public transportation if you’re willing to ride a bus. It’s actually quite good in that case.

  9. Los Angeles subway and light rail is still a proof-of-payment system, with fairly systematic enforcement at busy stations in peak periods, and haphazard enforcement otherwise. They’re installing turnstiles at some stations but those don’t require a ticket to pass through, for the time being. Eventually the plan is to transition to a controlled system at most stations. Some figures I’ve seen say the projected cost is $46 million and that current fare evasion is estimated at around $5.5 million annually, which means the turnstiles will cover their cost in 9 years if the project stays within budget (which it won’t) and eliminates fare evasion completely (which it won’t, either).

    Baltimore light rail is also proof-of-payment, with enforcement on the trains.

    Another proof-of-payment system not mentioned in the above comments is all 3 light-rail lines of NJ Transit (Hudson-Bergen, Newark, and the River Line). I don’t know how enforcement operates on those lines.

  10. I live in downtown Seattle, and am stopped for proof of payment almost every time I ride the light rail to SEA–and have seen people be kicked off the train on numerous occasions. I always pay my fare so I’ve always been safe, but perhaps I’ve just been unlucky?

    Also: Have you considered the Hyatt at Olive 8 for your stays in Seattle? It’s considerably less outdated (although it being LEED-certified means the showerheads provide a very unsatisfyingly paltry flow) and Urbane is really a decent restaurant.

  11. Further add Phoenix to the list. Maybe we should start making a list of systems WITHOUT an honor system.

  12. ROFL! I’m happy you all enjoyed my hotel review so much. šŸ˜‰

    @ Simon — There was Gx bonus, Diamond amenity, along with 5,000 point bonus for two nights at a Pacific Northwest property.

  13. Your review is great. Both Seattle Hyatts are very nice, upscale properties catering to well-heeled travelers. Yet everyone seems to only focus on cheating the local light rail systems for what amounts to less than a Stabucks coffee, very strange.

  14. Seattle consistently ranks in the top ten in best u.s. cities for public transportation. Your claim that Seattle is a city that is consistently known for crappy public transportation is ill-conceived.

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