I recently checked in to the Hyatt Olive8 last weekend for a little stay-cation while working on my dissertation AND trying to help Megan with some wedding planning. Note to self: Do not plan a wedding while writing your dissertation and searching for a job. I got a good rate, a quiet place to work, and a central location to do some of the legwork necessary when visiting a dozen venues all over the city. I also wanted to see if it was a good option for the future when negotiating a block of rooms for our guests. Overall I had an excellent stay.
This was my first hotel stay since completing my Gold Passport Diamond trial, so I was slightly disappointed when I didn’t get a room upgrade. (That also happened at the Grand Hyatt New York, which I’ll talk about later, but only because we showed up early and the pre-assigned suite wasn’t yet available.) Still, it was a reasonably sized room on the top (17th) floor of the hotel, which has condos above that. My view was of the green roof below and the Paramount Theater and Grand Hyatt across the corner. Had I one of the suites, I might have had a good shot of seeing Puget Sound.
The room was an example of sensible contemporary style, exactly what I like about West Coast cities like Seattle and San Francisco. I don’t need or generally like an all-black marble bathroom or stark white molded furniture. New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas all grate on my nerves when they do this. Everything was comfortable and well designed, although I have a few minor nitpicks:
- The soap tray had no grip on the counter, so it spun and slid away every time I touched it.
- The window had an open vent at the bottom (why?), and it took me a while to realize I could slide it closed and reduce the traffic noise.
- You must insert your room key in a slot by the door to keep the lights on, which is fine. But it didn’t control the two lamps by the window, which I always forgot to turn off manually.
I did say these were minor complaints. 😉 Those lamps were actually a pleasure to use because, unlike at most hotels, the switch was easy to find. Small things count, and for the most part this hotel paid attention to getting the right. The writing desk was also comfortable (I used it a lot!) and WiFi was easy to set up by just entering a password for Diamond and Platinum guests instead of paying every 24 h and getting the charge removed.
The Hyatt Olive8 is the first LEED-certified hotel in Seattle, a distinction that shows itself in a variety of subtle ways. That room key switch by the door is one, as are the saltwater lap pool and the local ingredients at its well-reviewed restaurant, Urbane. I chose a bottle of red wine with goat cheese and crackers instead of my usual points for the Diamond welcome amenity and got a bottle of The Score ’08 by For a Song Vineyards instead of the usual Canvas Merlot at most Hyatts. It was good, but I think I still like the Canvas better. The goat cheese, however, was delightful. I normally am not a cheese fan, particularly weird things like goat cheese, but I gobbled this up. Hopefully it’s something I can actually buy in a local store.
Because the Olive8 doesn’t have a Regency Club, Diamond guests are provided breakfast at Urbane each morning. You’ll get a paper card for each day of your stay, and on the back it says that it’s good for a continental breakfast for one person. This is not true. It took me a second visit to the reception desk to get it sorted out, but the card is actually good for anything on the menu for four people. I was even encouraged to invite any friends in town to breakfast, and we were able to interview one of the wedding planners over breakfast. Taken to the maximum advantage, this could be a $100 benefit each day for a room that might cost only $150 with tax after using a AAA or Costco discount.
There was no wait on any of the mornings, but service varied. Two mornings I still got a bill at the end of the meal, and it wasn’t clear that 20% gratuity was already included in the Diamond benefit. Like Gary, I found that bringing out the check for a free meal was a bit annoying. The third morning was best, when the server was very friendly and just told me to leave when I was done: no paperwork for what was, after all, a free meal. The fourth morning the bill was actually zeroed out, but I still got charged for it after check out. After giving Hyatt a call, it was returned to my card in about a week.
We tried lots of things on the menu, and everything was good. It didn’t beat any of my favorites in Seattle, but it was pretty good especially given there was no wait and it was reasonably priced. I have to comment that the food was too sweet. Avoid the salsa that comes with everything. Still, it might be worth coming back for dinner some day. All in all it was a good way to escape for a weekend, and I am fortunate to be able to stop by whenever I like in the future for a cocktail or a meal.