As I recently wrote about, we’re living in hotels at the moment. We’ve been staying primarily at Hyatts, both because Hyatt consistently treats me well as a Globalist member, and also because I’m working my way towards lifetime Globalist status.
In a previous post I shared how I stayed at my first Thompson property, and it’s a brand I absolutely love. In the past several months I’ve also stayed at a few Hyatt Centric properties, so in this post I wanted to share my take on the brand, because I’m conflicted.
What are Hyatt Centric Hotels?
The Hyatt Centric brand launched in 2015, but I only made my first stay with the brand recently. Hyatt Centrics are described as “upper-upscale lifestyle hotels in the center of their destination.” Here’s how Hyatt describes the brand concept to potential developers:
“Hyatt Centric hotels represent an opportunity for developers and owners to build strong loyalty in the lifestyle segment.
Upscale, cosmopolitan and highly customizable, these properties attract selective guests who want the best of what’s essential and none of what’s not — all at the center of a prime destination.”
There are currently 41 Hyatt Centric properties, with plenty more in the pipeline. A majority so far are in the United States. Hyatt states that the biggest competitors for the brand are Kimpton and Canopy by Hilton.
I can’t help but wonder if Hyatt backtracked a bit on the brand concept since it was first introduced in 2015. Here are some of the features of Hyatt Centrics that were highlighted when the brand launched:
- Hyatt Centrics would have a bit of flair — “the artwork, furniture, food and beverages will tell a story, allowing guests to immediately get an authentic feel for the location”
- Hyatt Centrics would have a big focus on communal spaces — “the Hyatt Centric brand will be characterized by certain common elements, including spaces like The Corner, where guests can work, socialize and peruse a curated collection of local books and magazines, and a bar and restaurant area that will help foster great conversations and deliver thoughtful, locally inspired food and signature cocktails”
Here’s the brand video that was published about Hyatt Centric at the time:
My experience staying at Hyatt Centric properties
My impressions of the Hyatt Centric brand are based on stays at three Hyatt Centrics, including in Miami (Brickell), Fort Lauderdale (Las Olas), and New Orleans (French Quarter). I’ll be reviewing the hotels individually, but wanted to share my overall feeling about the brand, because they all left me feeling roughly the same.
Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami room
I guess to broadly summarize my experience with Hyatt Centric:
- As expected, the hotels all had central locations for their areas, which seems to be the aspect of the brand that’s most consistent
- All three Hyatt Centrics I stayed at were rather cookie-cutter and bland
- The public spaces weren’t very inspiring — each had a single restaurant, but it’s not something that’s designed in such a way that it’s going to be much of a social space or a hub for locals (even post-coronavirus)
- Hyatt Centric ultimately felt to me like a more upscale version of Hyatt Place with a restaurant
- Even though I didn’t find the brand to be very exciting, I still had good stays at all of the properties — Globalist treatment was excellent, breakfast was good, and the staff were friendly across the board
Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami room
And that brings me to a few more general thoughts on the brand, and on how hotel groups go about creating brands in general:
- Is Hyatt Centric really an “upper-upscale” brand, as Hyatt describes it? In fairness, Hyatt also claims that Hyatt Place is “upscale,” so what’s with hotel groups consistently inflating the “class” of their hotels?
- It sounds like the uniqueness of Hyatt Centrics comes down to developers having flexibility (particularly with converting existing properties at a minimal cost), rather than some requirement for the hotels to have local elements?
- Hotels ultimately develop new brands to be able to sell to developers (their real customers), rather than to guests, and that’s why so many of them exist
- While Hyatt Centric and Unbound Collection are marketed in similar ways, it seems like the properties that actually have some flair are branded as Unbound Collection, while the more generic ones are branded as Hyatt Centric, despite developers in theory having a lot of flexibility
- It’s interesting to me that Kimpton is viewed as one of the biggest competitors of Hyatt Centric, because Kimptons typically have much more character and more dining options
Hyatt Centric New Orleans room
Would I stay at another Hyatt Centric?
Based on the hotels I stayed at, I feel rather indifferent about the Hyatt Centric brand. The good news is that they’re all part of Hyatt, so the staff were excellent, and elite recognition very good. That’s a reason to seek out Hyatt Centric over a competitor. When I search hotel options at a destination, I always prioritize Hyatts.
Hyatt Centric Fort Lauderdale Las Olas exterior
However, when deciding between full-service Hyatt properties, I generally think Hyatt Centric would be towards the bottom of the list of brands that I’d select, given that there’s not much (other than the location) that makes the brand unique.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll absolutely be staying at Hyatt Centrics in the future, especially if the location, price, or upgrade opportunities are right. But in general the brand isn’t too inspiring.
Hyatt Centric Fort Lauderdale Las Olas lobby
I finally had the chance to stay at some Hyatt Centrics, more than five years after the brand was launched. Hyatt Centric is supposed to be Hyatt’s lifestyle brand of hotels with great locations.
All of our stays were ultimately good — we had lots of space, the employees were friendly and helpful, and breakfast was quite good too. However, the brand as such doesn’t excite me — I found the hotels to all be quite generic, with limited public spaces.
I’m curious if I maybe just didn’t select some of the more interesting properties, or if this is pretty representative of the brand.
If you’ve stayed at a Hyatt Centric, what was your experience like? How do you feel about the brand?