Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hyatt Place Boise / Towne Square

Hotel Stay Details 
Hotel: Hyatt Place Boise / Towne Square
Dates: May 4-15, 2013 
Rate Paid: $119/night (by Company)
Points Earned: 23,592 Hyatt Points

So for the past 11 nights, we've been staying at the Hyatt Place just 5 miles outside of Downtown Boise.

If you're not familiar with the Hyatt Place brand, it's a more moderate hotel suited for business travelers in smaller markets. What they lack in full service (no real restaurant, room service or concierge), they make up for in space and functionality. It's not somewhere you'd stay to enjoy the hotel, but more of an affordable way to be in the city/town you want to explore.

This property is located outside of the downtown area, so it's in a more suburban location, close to a series of massive strip malls and shopping centers. My parents generally can tour a small city in a matter of hours one afternoon, so they didn't have an overwhelming desire to be in the downtown area. In fact, my mother preferred being within walking distance to a lot of the retailers she knew (and loved) like Target and Macy's as opposed to the smaller local shops and boutiques that sold overpriced stuff that we'd never use at home.

However, my father did need to rent a car to get from our hotel to the downtown office he was working out of. But 5 miles without any traffic (if you left before 8AM) was just over 10 minutes door to door.

The Hyatt Place rooms are all pretty standard - ie, massive and highly functional. For me, it was great to have so much space to run around in. Our apartment back home was about the same size, but this hotel room layout was much easier for me to have fun in but still be within view of my parents.

Like I mentioned, the room is open, but they do have a partial wall that separates the bed area from the living room area. As you walk in, there is a 3 person couch along the right wall. The couch is supplemented by an ottoman that you can roll around to use as a foot rest (or as I preferred, a mountain fortress to climb).


Across from the sofa, was a desk and lamp where my father would set up his work space as well as a wet bar with a small sink and an empty mini fridge that I used to stock up my milk and snacks.

The odd part of the room was that the bathroom sink area was across from the bed instead of inside the bathroom. Now, I suppose this is helpful when you're sharing the room with someone so that someone can clean up while the other is ... um, showering.

But at the same time, my father kept going into the bathroom to wash his hands out of habit. Plus, he'd wake us up every morning when he'd use the sink as he was getting ready for work.

There was a small gym and a decent sized indoor swimming pool that I used quite often during our stay. In addition, you got free breakfasts (cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast and a hot breakfast sandwich) every morning if you woke up before 9AM.

The wifi was free and it was pretty strong and consistent across the hotel and the rooms. My test of wifi quality is if we can Skype with my grandmother in Israel. Worked like a charm.

They also offered a free shuttle van ride to anywhere within 4 miles of the hotel. You could then call or set up a pick up time to get back to the hotel. There were tons of chain restaurants and big box retailers all around us, so it was definitely convenient when my father took the rental car to work.

The people at the front desk were exceptionally friendly and willing to help as best they could, but for some reason, they weren't all that useful. It wasn't their fault though. There were just no dry cleaning/laundry places that that worked on weekends. The free shuttle van to anyplace within 4 miles was just short of downtown. The hotel food options were closer to 7-11 than a restaurant.

We did notice, however, that the cleaning staff definitely focused harder in the early days of our stay than they did the back half. I suppose they knew we'd be there for a while and didn't feel the need to go the extra mile every time.

But when you're a 1.5 year old like me, you make your fair share of messes, and some stains just need some extra attention (vacuuming) such as the time I dropped my hard boiled egg on the carpet and the yolk crumbled into a mish mash of tiny pieces and yellow paste between the carpet fibers.

Hyatt Loyalty Points
If you do the basic math, you'll see that we got a LOT of Hyatt Gold Passport points for our 11 night stay. Truth be told, that's a combination of a few different programs.
  1. Hyatt stays earn 5 points per $1 spent during eligible stays.
  2. Diamond status members earn an additional 1.5 points per $1 spent.
  3. Hyatt's Q1 Promotion "More Possibilities" gave us 3,000 points for every 3rd night stayed. We had an extra Hyatt stay from our Argentina trip so our last night in Boise got us our 12th night to hit another tier in the promotion. So 12,000 points for the promotion - which lasts through May 31, 2013.
  4. Using my father's Hyatt Visa credit card from Chase earns us 3 Hyatt points for every dollar spent at Hyatt properties.
So on average, we received a little over 2,100 Hyatt points per night (600 base points + 180 Diamond bonus points + 1,000 promotion points + 360 credit card points) for a grand total of ~23,500 Hyatt points.

So what can you do with 23,500 Hyatt points? One free night in the top tier Category 6 Park Hyatt Paris Vendome hotel at the end of the month (which costs just under €800/night or $1,038 USD).

Not bad considering that it cost my family $0 (since it was a reimbursable work expense).

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