Odds are that most OMAAT readers are familiar with the concept of limited service hotels. When you think of the major hotel groups, you probably know many of the brands that would be considered limited service, like Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hyatt Place, Moxy, etc.
But what actually defines a limited service hotel? I thought that would be an interesting topic to discuss, in light of a hotel stay that I just completed…
In this post:
What differentiates a limited service hotel?
The major hotel groups all clearly define which of their brands they consider to be limited service. As the name suggests, limited service properties typically don’t offer as many amenities or services as full service properties, and try to maximize space with as many rooms as possible.
Generally speaking, the single most common trait of a limited service property is that it doesn’t have a full service restaurant. Furthermore, most (but certainly not all) limited service hotel brands offer complimentary breakfast for guests.
That’s not the only thing that differentiates limited service properties from full service properties. These hotels also typically have fairly simple room design, they don’t offer room service or laundry services, they don’t have concierges, etc.
Now, I’d argue that in many ways the gap has narrowed between limited service and full service brands. For example, we’ve seen a ton of cost cutting at many full service hotel brands, where they’ve also cut things like room service, club lounges, etc.
I should also mention that in theory, limited service properties should be more affordable than full service properties, but that’s not always the case. After all, hotels will always charge whatever they can get away with. For example, I frequently stay at the Hyatt Place St. Petersburg, and cash rates are often $300-400 per night (I redeem points). Yes, that’s for a limited service property, and it just comes down to the limited hotel inventory in the downtown area.
My confusing full service Hyatt Place stay
I just completed a quick stay at the Hyatt Place Frankfurt Airport. I’ve recently stayed at all four properties connected directly to the airport — the Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Marriott, and Sheraton — so I figured it was time to try something new, for review purposes.
This is a Category 1 World of Hyatt property, so it’s quite a steal at 5,000 World of Hyatt points per night. However, this was totally different than any Hyatt Place property I’ve stayed at in the United States.
The room had quite a bit of personality, like cool carpet and wallpaper, while Hyatt Place properties in the United States generally just have white walls…
There was even a small welcome amenity, which I don’t think I’ve ever gotten at a US Hyatt Place property…
The hotel has a full service restaurant that’s open for dinner, and it actually looked pretty great, in addition to a nice bar area…
Unlike Hyatt Place properties in the United States, breakfast isn’t included for all guests (though it is offered to Globalist members), and the buffet was extensive…
As a Globalist member, I generally don’t seek out Hyatt Places, since there’s not much incremental value to staying there, and I don’t love the plain room design. Meanwhile there was a lot I liked about this Hyatt Place, and that’s largely due to the features that make it feel like a full service hotel.
Now, admittedly it seems like Hyatt Place properties outside the United States usually more features than domestic ones. At the same time, hotel groups have so many brands nowadays, so you’d think there could be some consistency within each brand, so that people can better manage their expectations when they book.
This also raises the question of what exactly makes this property limited service? Hyatt Place is explicitly a limited service brand, yet this felt to me more like a standard Hyatt.
Anyway, none of this is in any way meant to be negative. After all, the hotel exceeded my expectations for a Hyatt Place. However, I just figured I’d share some musings about how even though we’ve seen so much hotel brand inflation in recent years, a hotel’s brand still doesn’t necessarily tell you a whole lot about what to expect.
Hotel branding can be confusing at times. I just stayed at the Hyatt Place Frankfurt Airport, which was way nicer than your typical Hyatt Place. The hotel had a full service restaurant, nicely designed rooms, and a much better breakfast than you’d usually find at such a property.
So, that brings me to the question that I’m curious about — how do you define a limited service hotel?