Sunday, December 13, 2015

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo - Part 1

Hotel Details
Hotel: Andaz Peninsula Papagayo
Dates: December 13-18 2015
Rate Paid: 15,000 Hyatt points/night 
Room Upgrade: Relax Room (better view)
Room Rate: $364/night 
Redemption: 2.4 cents/point

The Andaz in Costa Rica opened in late 2013, so we were in the sweet spot of the hotel's life. It was young enough to be fresh and new, but also had enough time to work out the inevitable staffing and service kinks of any start up hotel.

We booked 2 rooms for 5 nights, so that was 10 nights in total. At 15,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night, that ended up being 150,000 points. Since we don't stay much at Hyatt hotels, we didn't have that many Hyatt points. Instead, we transferred 150,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to Hyatt which showed up immediately and booked using that.

Then a few days before our check-in, my mother was status matched to top-tier Hyatt Diamond status, which would get us a nice welcome amenity, complimentary breakfast and possibly a room upgrade.

Having booked our hotel stay using Hyatt Gold Passport points (15,000 per room per night), we avoided the onerous "resort fee" that would normally be an additional 10% of the room rate (so another $36 USD).

Check In
We pulled up to the hotel around 12PM the day of our check in. Probably not an ideal time to arrive as many current hotel guests were checking out at the same time. Nevertheless, we were welcomed by the plaid shirted "front desk" staff to take seats in the open air lobby and given a cold towel and refreshing melon juice while someone took our passports to check us in.

The first real interaction came when we were told our rooms in Building #2 were not ready yet (which we expected having arrived 3 ours before official check in). We politely asked if there might be any complimentary room upgrades given my mother's Hyatt Diamond status.

The front desk agent told us the hotel was 95% booked this week (oddly specific) and there were no other rooms available at all. However, if we wanted to pay $300 additional per night, we could move into the Presidential Suite for 4 of our 5 nights. We passed on that option and kept our original reservation.

We then asked if we could at least be placed in Building #7 (which was the most central unit), but again, the front desk staffer reiterated that they had no other rooms available to switch us to. The way the resort is laid out, buildings #1-4 are higher up on the mountain. Perhaps they have better views of the bay, but they require a lot of uphill walking, which can be challenging for a 4 year old toddler.

So we decided to give up and have them hold our luggage while we had lunch at the hotel restaurant, Rio Bhongo. They were kind enough to drive us on a golf cart to lunch and informed us that we should periodically check back in for our room availability. Sure, we'll be proactive here.

While we enjoying lunch, my father accessed the free Andaz wifi and decided to check up on our adamant front desk associate's claim of "being 95% booked this week." As it turned out, there were plenty of rooms available for the length of our stay, including Relax Rooms (jungle canopy views) and Bay View Rooms. These were the same size as the regular rooms, but had better views and/or locations.

So we called the front desk from lunch and inquired again if there were better rooms available for a Hyatt Diamond member. Side note: I know we must sound overly-entitled and pretty annoying, but I just can't stand being lied to on a clearly stated elite status benefit.

Of course, fate decided to connect us with the same front desk agent. When we explained to him that there seemed to be plenty of Relax and Bay View rooms available for sale online, he said he would check again. Low and behold, there appeared some additional Relax room inventory in Building #5, so we were switched to those rooms.

Now, I could get back to finishing my complimentary kid's fish tacos knowing we'll have a nice room awaiting us.

No comments:

Post a Comment