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There are some really Happy Feet over at the Hyatt Regency Maui! Who knew penguins liked the beach but this Kaanapali Beach resort has seven warm climate African Black Footed Penguins: Mai, Tai, Oreo, Nahu, Buddah, Zen and Momi.
Guests are invited to witness the morning feedings every day at 9:30 am where the penguins swallow their fish breakfasts head first so they go down smoothly (no gills getting caught that way). On our recent visit it was a blast to start our mornings watching them playfully zoom through the water to get their meal.
Six of the penguins were hatched on property, and range in age from seven to 11 years old. In captivity, they can live between the ages of 15 through 30. The resort’s oldest penguin, Oreo, is 29 years old, but still in tip top shape, able to catch fish in mid air at feeding time.
Following the feedings there’s a free wildlife tour throughout the property starting at 10:00 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In addition to the penguins, there are cranes, swans, flamingos and parrots.
Look for Roger, the blue and gold macaw who is actually a female and quite the character. She waves, hangs upside down and appears to dance. Rumor has it she loves women, especially blondes (she seemed smitten with my blond daughter so perhaps it’s true) and can say her name, pretty bird, hello and bye bye. Roger also has some pals -- Luna, R2-D2, Popeye and Shrek.
So if you’re looking for a vacation with the bonus of an onsite zoo, you’ll find it at the Hyatt Regency Maui. It left us with happy feet indeed.
Rooms in June start at about $319.
[Photos: LindaM / Hyatt Regency Maui]
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination.
And where better to start than Bangkok? Our archives are full of stories from the Thai capital, well worth visiting in its own right and for its fantastic choice of hotels – which are often great value. The next five years will see some big names throw their hat in the ring in the city’s very competitive hotel game. Here are six new hotels you should watch out for:
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Wednesday isn’t exactly the best day of the week, and at this point that GEICO camel isn’t really bringing us the laughs like he once was. Thankfully there’s Hyatt—or more specifically Hyatt Place—as they are here to rescue us from the terribleness that is Wednesday with a chance to score a free two-night stay. Things started last week—on Wednesday—and continue on for the next five weeks, as they’re celebrating their There’s A Place For You campaign. Basically Hyatt Place is encouraging you and your buddies to follow them over on Instagram—@HyattPlace—and from there you check out all the goodness that is the hotel brand.
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As the rumors continue to swirl about the troubled Baha Mar in The Bahamas (Travel Weekly is reporting it is unlikely the resort will open this year), we've discovered a silver lining. It is a very small one but it's something.
A guest, we'll call him Mr. Mister, booked a room at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar directly, using Hyatt Gold Passport Points, and wrote into HotelChatter about the "excellent customer service" he received from Hyatt, who contacted him when the opening date was missed. Hyatt also has a direct 800-number for Baha Mar guests who are affected. Here's how the experience went for Mr. Mister and what he was offered instead of his original stay:
I booked directly with Hyatt using points right before they increased the value of this hotel (still pre-opening).
The offer is apparently already being discussed on the internet, but there were three possibilities:
1) Be rebooked sometime in the future at the Hyatt Baha Mar (booking September and beyond) and cover change fees up to $300 per person
2) Book myself at Atlantis on my dime (and without my Hyatt Diamond benefits, including free breakfast) and get a free enough points to stay at a similar Hyatt in the future for the same number of nights (including Baha Mar or any Hyatt)
3) Receive a refund for my Hyatt Baha Mar stay (in my case, my points back) plus points for an equivalent number of nights at any similar Hyatt in the future plus a refund of change fees
I chose option 3--my points back to re-use elsewhere plus the compensation points (four more nights worth in my case), plus a change fee refund ($200 on American), primarily since our airline flights were almost all on points (only my ticket was paid/refunded/changed). So, I came out +4 Hyatt nights for sometime in the future anywhere.
The rooms, lap pool, reception, rooftop bar – everywhere we turned at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills there were pretty stellar views of the Japanese capital, so much so that it won our award for best killer view last year, just six months after it opened (and we walked through the front door). As fresh and sprightly as it may be, the hotel has already made some changes to the highest point from which to enjoy those views: the rooftop bar.
Above what you will find today on the open air terrace, which is a major difference with what we saw last year – and we think it’s for the better. Where previously you had a set of standing tables, a few groups of chairs nearer the windows, and some beach-y furniture (scroll down for an impression), there are now much better defined seating areas in a stylish mix of dark wood and cream, with warmer lighting.
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That was crazy fast.
Rooms are available to book for April 26 for $229 a night. That's for a 300-sq.ft. king room with modern minimalist decor in warm colors (Notice the "floating" cabinet.) The room rate includes complimentary in-room coffee and WiFi. Other top amenities include the Hyatt Grand beds, a 40" TV, iPod docking station and windows that open.
Downstairs the hotel will have a restaurant from Chef Roland Liccioni called Cochon Volant Bakery, Brasserie and Bar, which as the name reveals is an all-day spot serving "gourmet cheeses, fresh baked goods, fruits, organic juices, to-go foods and wines imported from France." The hotel's lobby also features a interesting "statement" piece behind the front desk from local South Loop artist Francine Turk.
In short, the place looks very cosmopolitan and chic, almost like Park Hyatt-lite.
But that's not all on the Hyatt Centric front.
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The other week, we were chatting to a friend of ours that we knew was traveling in Costa Rica. She sent us a few snaps of the hotel she was staying at, including the pretty killer view from a room above. Being who we are, we asked the most important question: which hotel?
The response? “It’s this place called Andaz, which I think may be related to Hyatt? But it’s not at all like a Hyatt.” We nearly fell off our chair: we were talking to someone inside Andaz Peninsula Papagayo that very minute, a hotel we duly obsessed over when it opened, based on the renderings and descriptions of native Costa Rican architect Ronald Zurcher having "imagined a gathering of animals and used the shapes of cocoons and shells for the hotel's facilities...to stimulate the senses of guests in new and refreshing way".
Having laughed at us and called us a hotel freak (guilty), she sent us some more photos our way, which we of course had to share. The more we saw, the more we liked it, it was all so good… until it wasn’t, and Andaz broke our heart a little bit. Here’s why.
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The last few times we’ve heard about Taipei, it’s been for new hotel openings – from citizenM to Mandarin Oriental. But new isn’t always best, or so the Grand Hyatt Taipei wants you to think. On April 23 it will finish a complete renovation that stripped the hotel right down to the bone.
We’ve looked at a few Western hotel brands that have recently made or are making their way to Kyoto: the Ritz-Carlton, Starwood (by way of Luxury Collection), and Four Seasons. That changes things for the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, which for a long time was considered the high-end Western hotel in the city.
Does the Hyatt have a lot to worry about with all this fresh competition? We’d say yes and no, based on our stay. You’ll find the Hyatt a short taxi ride across the Kamogawa river to the east of Kyoto station. Conveniently, our rate for a standard room included breakfast and a one-way taxi fare. Once we had figured out where to find the taxi based on the instructions from the hotel, we pulled up to the main entrance you see above in no time.
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Back in November, we told you about the gas explosion that occurred at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, which led to the evacuation, and subsequent closure, of the hotel. The “foreseeable future” time frame that was attached to that closure was sad to see, but we can tell you that things are looking up: after four months, the hotel is open again.
We can find a King Room this coming Friday for £290 ($433) a night, which goes up £40 ($60) if you include breakfast. An additional bit of good news is that the hotel has taken the closure to not only do the repairs necessary after the incident, but kick off a multi-million pound renovation of the rooms and suites as well. That renovation should be complete by the summer; we don’t have any visuals of the changes yet, but will share them when we have more details.
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Looks like Hyatt Hotels may be the next big brand going postal.
Hyatt Place is hoping to open a 149-room hotel inside the former Eugene McCarthy Post Office in downtown St. Paul. I
The new Hyatt Place will occupy the lower floors of the 17-story “art deco gem” (we hear that a lot,) also known as Custom House, as it once housed customs offices on the upper floors. These floors will be reborn as luxe apartments.
While the apartments may have the better views of the Mississippi River or Kellogg Boulevard, the hotel gets the uber-tall ceilings, at 13 feet. That's also convenient because the Hyatt Place brand prides itself of having "roomy rooms."
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UPDATE: A Hyatt Centric South Beach reps says the hotel will open in April but that the "spring inventory" has not been released yet. The hotel is working on a special opening package which they will release next week. Once we have those details, we will let you know how you can book a stay in April. Stay tuned.
The other week, we had an operative on the ground in South Beach who cruised by the forthcoming Hyatt Centric South Beach to check on the construction progress. Our operative's conclusion? April was going to be a tough opening date to make. And they were right.
Hyatt Centric South Beach, one of the first hotels of the new Hyatt Centric millennial-friendly brands to open, is now taking reservations from JUNE 1.
We found a room on that date for $239 a night for a 300-sq.ft. king bed with complimentary WiFi, 47" flatscreen HDTV, a tea and coffemaker, a minibar, an oversized desk with ergonomic chair and a Hyatt Plug Panel for all your gadget hookups.