During my trip to TBEX last month, I wanted to try more than one of the local Toronto hotels since I so rarely get to visit Canada. There was a conference rate for the local Westin and Sheraton properties, but the Hyatt Regency Toronto was competitively priced and had a more attractive location.
Fortunately the front desk was able and willing to let me check in at 9 AM after my red-eye arrival from Seattle, but there was no complimentary suite upgrade. I was offered a preferred view on a higher floor if I could wait until that afternoon, but I chose to take whatever they had so I could shower and change clothes. Even just halfway up, I still had a view of the CN Tower, so I think I made the right decision. Besides, when I travel alone I think suites are often wasted on me. More important are general design, other amenities, and customer service.
This room was not especially large or luxurious, but it was in line with my expectations and reminded me somewhat of the Grand Hyatt New York. If you’ve stayed there, you know that isn’t an entirely flattering comparison. The staff and public areas were great. I liked that this hotel had a rooftop pool, close proximity to all the restaurants and theaters in the entertainment district, and friendly staff.
But it can be hard to relax in a small room. I had two queen beds instead of one king because that was all that was available when I arrived early (Gold Passport elites normally have their bed type guaranteed.) Many rooms at the Grand Hyatt NY have a sink so small one can barely fill a glass of water. It’s actually underneath a ledge! Here in Toronto, I found another tiny bathroom. I was at a loss looking for towels until I checked the small cupboard under the sink. It’s a location I more commonly associate with a garbage can or a plunger.
Internet access was provided via a special access code and was reasonably fast. After taking a shower I realized I was missing toothpaste, which had not been provided in advance, and called downstairs to get it through Hyatt Has It. This is a program that offers the same basic toiletries as many chains, but Hyatt has formalized it to include specific amenities including curling irons, power adaptors, and more at all of its hotels. (Even though it says some things are “for purchase” at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, I’ve always gotten them for free.)
Hyatt Has It is great because I can convince Megan to leave some of her stuff at home. But I’ve had inconsistent results. In theory items should be left in a bag on the doorknob with a knock. That’s never happened any time I use it, although I don’t mind opening the door to collect in person. But what bothered me in this case is that I called twice, 15 minutes apart, and no one answered at the front desk. I decided to go to breakfast first and stopped by on my way back. I was handed some toothpaste immediately, along with an apology, and I received a call later to confirm I had everything I needed.
I don’t judge the staff too harshly on this because I assume they were busy with check-outs. On my departure the next day, we were in the middle of a heat wave. The manager automatically ran back and offered me two ice cold bottles of water from the gift shop to take with me even though free water is not a published benefit for any elite tier in Gold Passport. So they made up for the earlier day’s inconvenience.
Overall I had a great stay and wish I had chosen this hotel for the entire weekend due to its proximity to everything else in the city. Every time I went to a party or a meeting for TBEX, I would pass by the Hyatt Regency. It was a mile walk through construction to get back to the Westin Harbourview near the waterfront. Hyatt’s outdoor pool (with grill and bar) was certainly welcome, and the gym had a nice view. Just make sure to avoid a room assignment on floor 17, which can get noisy due to all these attractions.
There was one experience that did sour my mood, and I’m not sure if it was the hotel’s fault or my own stupidity. You see, I was not very pleased with breakfast either morning. And I love breakfast. It can make or break a hotel for me.
The morning of my arrival I chose the buffet, but it was close to the end of service and all of the hot options seemed overcooked. It was edible though not very appetizing. The second morning I ordered a la carte. My meal was prepared well, but instead of ketchup with my corned beef hash I was served hot sauce. Very hot sauce. It looked just like ketchup and I didn’t notice until I had poured it over most of my food. Maybe it was a mistake in the kitchen or maybe it’s cultural, but I’ve never seen hot sauce served with hash before.
At least the service was good. The server earned his tip both days despite my issues with the food. But if you want to venture outside or aren’t able to take advantage of the free breakfast benefit for Gold Passport Diamond members, I think you’ll find plenty of appetizing choices in the neighborhood.