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Conference and large group meetings can be a true test to a hotel. They expose guests to more areas of the property than they might see on a typical one-night stay and can alter the balance of service provisions when hundreds of guests all want to access the same service at the same time. The Hyatt Regency Bellevue in the Seattle market is a property that provides consistent service – conference or not.
I had the opportunity to visit this hotel twice this year for conferences – in January for a small weekend meeting and in July for a large convention. While this review is for the July 2014 stay, I’ll reference a few points from January as I found the service experience to be consistent across both stays – and consistency is a plus in my book!
The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is located on the eastern side of the Seattle metro. It is 17 miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport which was approximately a 25 minute drive in very light traffic. My arrival was at midnight but the motor court at the front of the hotel was still abuzz, possibly due to patrons at some of the area restaurants that are connected to the hotel complex.
Check in was quick and efficient. On this stay, I was booked for one night on my own and four nights in a conference master-billed room. I would be sharing a standard double for the four night stay, but had to book a standard king for the first night as it was almost half the price of the double. I had called the Hyatt Diamond Concierge prior to the stay to try to merge the reservations and they assured me that the hotel would be able to work with me on check-in to keep me in the same room for all five nights.
The staff had actually upgraded me to a larger king room but was indeed able to relocate me to a standard double and merge the reservations together. They also extended my Diamond benefits across the conference reservation as well (something they also did on the January master-billed stay).
A funny sidebar story – I asked for more hangers for the room as my social media feed had already been abuzz about “hanger shortages” at this hotel. (I was attending a sorority convention where every attendee would have multiple outfits per day and most would be sleeping 2-4 per room, so hangers were reported to be at a premium.) The front desk told me that each room was limited to four additional hangers and that they would put in a request to send some up to me that evening. Those hangers never arrived, but the next morning when I called, I was told they had gone out and purchased wire hangers and I could have as many of those as I wanted. I requested for both myself and my roommate. When they arrived, they were the standard hotel variety and twice the quantity that I had requested so it appears the hanger crisis had been resolved.
I was assigned to room 1809 in the Cascade Tower which is a double standard room. The Cascade Tower is where the Regency Club is located on the 23rd floor. (On a previous stay, I had a room in the opposite tower which required crossing the lobby to access the club each morning and evening.)
The room was a very standard two bed room at a mid-range conference hotel. There was nothing remarkable about the décor or layout. The furniture and room overall were in great condition for a high-volume conference hotel.
Something that impressed me was that the wealth of plug in locations. My roommate and I both charged multiple devices simultaneously while also using various hair styling instruments with no problems – that’s a huge plus for a conference hotel!
The bathrooms were in good condition but nothing to write home about. We seemed to always be short on towels, there were no robes in the rooms, and water pressure/temperature got iffy during the times that everyone else seemed to be waking up each morning. I’d put that in the negative column.
A plus in regard to conference attendee volume, however, was that the elevators never seemed to get backed up, even with hundreds of women all going to the same place at the same time. The distribution of rooms across two towers meant that I never waited more than five minutes even at peak times.
The Regency Club at this property deserves its own section. It’s small but incredibly nice. Each day’s menu boasts a different hot breakfast and hot appetizer selection as well as self-serve snacks throughout the day (including dried fruits and chocolate-covered coffee beans and cherries) and a dessert selection each evening. They have a nice self-serve espresso machine from Seattle’s Best that also dispenses hot chocolate and chai tea in addition to coffee beverages. As well, they offer a small selection of alcoholic beverages for a reasonable cash bar price.
Two things make this Regency Club head and shoulders above others – 1) the gorgeous views on it’s 23rd floor terrace where you can see Seattle to one side and Mt. Rainier to the other 2) Mervat, one of the shining hosts at the Regency Club who went out of her way to remember us by name and take special care of us. On a couple of occasions, that included making sure we had dessert from the club in the evening, even though we were occupied in business meetings during the hours it was served. (Those plates she made us to take back to our room were a highlight of the stay!)
The hotel has several spots available for dining. Between my two stays I tried almost all of them and they were all great. I loved the Crab Cake Benedict at Eques at breakfast, something I definitely recommend when visiting the Seattle area at any brunch spot. And Joey Bellevue had a wonderful late night menu that allowed me to have dinner at midnight when I was famished.
I thought the event catering was also very good. One hiccup for me revolved around food allergies, but I’m not sure if that was entirely a burden shouldered by the hotel. I found that the staff didn’t take the time to read my allergy card at meals and often tried to serve me the lowest common denominator in food. As an example, they tried to deny me a steak because I have a wheat/corn/salmon allergy… someone the plate of rice, broccolini, and steak needed to have the steak removed in order to be a “dietary request”. At one breakfast, I received sautéed squash and sweet potatoes to comply with the same dietary needs. I was assured that the staff should have been looking at the request cards and not just assuming that a dietary request meant “vegan plate” but I ended up having to supplement my nutrition at the hotel restaurants or Regency Club a bit more than I should have!
The hotel is well-wired and I had no issues with phone signal or WiFi access in common areas, a huge plus. The property is a short stroll from many other restaurants and shops. On both visits, we walked offsite to other venues for non-conference meals with no issues.
The check out process was smooth. The hotel correctly allocated my revenue stay and the master billed stay and I received my stay credit for the one night I paid on my own. I had airport transportation on both stays but a quick check suggested that paid transit (taxi or Uber) was easy to access.
I would definitely stay at this property again in the future if in the Bellevue area. It is conveniently located, comfortable, and able to handle high volumes of guest with grace.