Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Baku

Hyatt Regency Baku

Elite Status: Hyatt Globalist

Hyatt Regency Baku is a 5-star category 3 Hyatt property that is located some 3 miles from downtown Baku. The grounds of the property are lovely, and they have the most amazing service staff there.

I spent two nights here on a cash rate.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Check In/Check Out

Both check in and check out was fast. I also requested a 4pm check out, and that was honored with no issues.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Room

I was upgraded to a lovely Regency Suite, which is generously-sized. Upon entry, there is a guest bathroom to the right, and a closet. Beyond the entryway is a living room with a 5-seater sofa and a large coffee table. There’s also a four-seater rectangular dining set. Atop a little console are coffee/tea-making amenities.

Hyatt Regency Baku

The bedroom is of a good size, with the king-sized bed in the middle. There’s a work desk and lounge chair by the window, and a mini-fridge by the TV console.

Hyatt Regency Baku

There are power outlets by the bed, and the wifi is decent.

Additionally, I also received a welcome amenity of a box of chocolates and a bowl of fruit.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Hyatt Regency Baku

Bathroom

Hyatt Regency Baku

The large bathroom has a double-sink vanity, toilet, bidet, tub, and shower.

Hyatt Regency Baku

They stock Portico amenities, which is fine by me.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Food

Breakfast for globalists is served in their ground floor restaurant, and the spread is generous. They have an egg station, and at least six hot options. Their pastries selection is also amazing. More incredibly, the hotel actually has a section for special dietary needs, e.g. diabetic, gluten-free, etc.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Their outdoor terrace is really lovely.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Service

The service in this hotel is outstanding. Ms Aziza at breakfast gave suggestions of a local egg dish to try at breakfast, and I’m glad I took her suggestion. Mr. Nizami at the club lounge also provided really attentive service.

Club Lounge

Located on the 7th floor, the club lounge has evening cocktail service from 6 to 8. They serve an excellent array of canapés. The double-story lounge is also a lovely space to sit in.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Amenities

They have a lovely lap pool, and a large gym.

Hyatt Regency Baku

Overall

Although Hyatt Regency Baku is located some ways from most tourist sites, it has a lot going for it. It has lovely grounds featuring a garden, excellent pool and gym, and above all, they have amazing staff.

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Elite Status: Hyatt Globalist

Located close to the ferry terminal and in downtown, I had a great stay in this beautiful hotel. Although there was some construction going on during my stay, the disruption was very minimal (if any).

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Check In/Check Out

Check in was quick, which was appreciated, because I was pooped after arriving at close to 10pm.

Check out was a tad slower, because the front desk agent didn’t know how to process cash and points. Also, the stay didn’t post automatically on my Hyatt account.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Room

I was upgraded to a suite on the 7th floor. Upon entry, there’s a guest bathroom to the left with toilet and sink, and a mini kitchen to the right, with coffee/tea making amenities, and a mini fridge. A Nespresso machine was provided.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

The entryway opens to a gorgeous living room with a balcony furnished with a table and chair. I wasn’t able to open the balcony door. The living room has a chaise lounge, and a sofa, with a large coffee table as the centerpiece. There is also a foldout work desk on the dark wood cabinets in the living room. There was a welcome amenity of fruit on the coffee table.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

The bedroom features a comfortable King bed and another chaise lounge. There are universal power outlets by both sides of the bed, and USB ports as well. This was much appreciated.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Bathroom

The main bathroom is accessed from the bedroom, and has two doors. It features a beautiful marble floor, double vanities on opposite ends of the bathroom, with a tub in the middle of the room. There’s also a wall of closets, with strangely, a mini fridge. There’s an enclosed rain shower, and enclosed toilet.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

The bathroom is stocked with Moooi bath products in refillable bottles. It was decent.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Food

I had a complimentary breakfast, which was served at the restaurant on the ground floor. It was served from 6.30 – 1030.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

The breakfast selection was of a high quality. They even served coconut juice in a whole coconut. There were made-to-order eggs.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

Club Lounge

There is a club lounge advertised on the website, but I am guessing that it’s under construction. I didn’t find it when I went on a mini exploration trip.

Amenities

They have a gym and pool on site, but I didn’t visit either of those.

Overall

The Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam is a beautiful hotel, and its location close to the ferry terminal worked for me. Their entry-level suites are also gorgeous.

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam

I Think I May Have Peaked: The Day of Upgrades, 29 August 2018

Malawian Airlines

Today started out as a regular travel day, which then turned epic, as I was given a couple of very nice surprises. My travel plans involved flying from South Africa to Tanzania, and the cheapest flight was $150 on Air Ethiopia (actually operated by Malawian Airlines) with a stopover in Blantyre, Malawi.

The day started off normal enough. I went to the Ethiopian Airlines counter, only to be told to check in at the Malawian Airlines counter, and ended up on a very full flight.

Then, those of us who were flying on to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania were gathered, and corralled into the transit waiting lounge at the small Blantyre airport, to wait for our flight to Tanzania. Nothing much to report, it was just a small room, but I spent my time writing.

As it turns out, our flight to Dar Es Salaam was oversold. About 15 mins before boarding, I heard one of the airport staff call my name. He asked for my boarding pass, and gave me a new boarding pass for business class. I had gotten an op-up (explained below)! Granted, it was for a short flight on a Q400, but I was still elated.

To top off my day, when I arrived at the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam, after giving me my keys, the front desk agent casually mentioned that I had been upgraded to a suite as I was walking away. Talk about a great day.

What is an op-up?

Op-up is a short for operational upgrade. Airlines have revenue management software, which helps them predict and manage inventory. Airlines often overbook their inventory, predicting that some customers will not show up for their flights (no shows). However, from time to time (or more often these days), everyone shows up, and suddenly the airline has a problem. Airlines often have some buffer in other classes, e.g. first class, business class, or premium economy seats available. In these instances, they will bump up economy passengers into other classes, so everyone who bought a ticket will still get on the plane.

Different airlines process operational upgrades differently. There are forum (plural?) dedicated to speculating how this system works. Usually, having elite status of some sort helps, but based on my personal experience, being lucky really helps. (And this is coming from someone who is not particularly lucky).

So, why was I so ludicrously excited over this? Prior to this last month, I have NEVER gotten an op-up. I am an Alaska Airlines MVP Gold, Delta Platinum Medallion (Skyteam Plus), American Airlines Executive Platinum (OneWorld Emerald), and Turkish Airlines Elite (Star Alliance Gold), and have gotten elite-based upgrades on Alaska, Delta, and American. But despite all my shiny statuses, I have never gotten an op-up. To rub salt to the wound, several of my friends and family members have gotten op-up, even with a complete lack of flying status, which goes to show the importance of luck. Sometimes, airlines are looking for a specific number of people to op-up, e.g. four, so a party of four travelers might be upgraded together.

In any case, I guess the stars aligned for me this month. In both the British Airways and Ethiopian Airlines (Malawian Airlines) flights that I have gotten an op-up this month, they were overbooked in economy by one, and as luck would have it, I probably had the highest elite status. While I have no elite status with the operating airline, I probably did have the highest partner elite status.

Excuse me, while I go buy some lottery tickets.

Reviews

Malawian Airlines: Johannesburg to Blantyre (JNB – BLZ), sold as Ethiopian Airlines 21 ET21 Economy Class

Malawian Airlines: Blantyre – Dar Es Salaam (BLZ – DAR), sold as Ethiopian Airlines 42 ET 42 Business Class

Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam Regency Suite

Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg is a 5-star Hyatt category 2 property, located close to the Rosebank Gautrain station, and attached to the Rosebank Mall. I stayed here thrice, once for four nights, with two other one-night stays. I paid for the four nights using points+cash (4000 Hyatt points + 660 Rand per night), and paid for the two one-night stays with points (8000 Hyatt points)

Elite Status: Hyatt Globalist

Check In/Check Out

Check in and check out was always fast. I was impressed that the hotel actually read my stated check in preference. In my first stay, I requested a super early check in (7 am), and they actually prepared a room for my early arrival.

Check out was fast and painless.

Room

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Suite

As a Hyatt Globalist, I was upgraded to a suite on my four-night stay. The hotel is boomerang-shaped, with its suites located at the curvature of the hotel. Hence, the suites have an interesting shape.

Upon entry, there’s a long cabinet with tea/coffee making amenities, including a Nespresso machine. They also stocked two large bottles of water, which was replenished daily.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

The living room is triangular in shape, with a five-piece sofa set, coffee table, and a work desk by the wall. There’re also floor-to-ceiling windows, and a lounge chair, making it the perfect spot for reading.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

The bedroom is behind the double-doors, and feature a comfortable King bed, and yet another lounge chair. There’re also a couple of cabinets, in addition to the wardrobe.

They also left a mini amenity of jars of candy on the living room coffee table, along with a welcome note, which I enjoyed immensely.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Club Room

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

I was assigned club rooms for my other two one-night stays. Located on the 8th floor, these rooms were of a good size, with a large king bed and a work desk. There’s also a lounge chair.

Power and wifi

There is one universal power outlet located by the work desk area. No special outlets by the bedside. The wifi was decent throughout my stay.

Bathroom

Suite Bathroom

Its entrance is located in the bedroom. It’s split into two. Upon entry is a single sink vanity area, with another door leading to the shower/toilet area. The shower/toilet area consists of a tub, separate rain shower, and toilet. The bathroom was very spacious.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

They use Just So bath amenities, and in the suites, they use those large reusable dispensing bottles. I was not a fan of their shower product (dried out my hair), and didn’t particularly like the scent of their shower foam, but I used it anyway.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Club Bathroom

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Decent-sized bathroom, features a single vanity, tub, and enclosed rain shower. They stock travel-sized Just So bath amenities.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Food

I mostly ate at the lounge. The food was decent, and they rotated the food fairly often.

Service

Housekeeping was insane (in a good way). I left my sleeping clothes lying around, and when I returned, it had all been folded neatly, and placed on a bench. The next day, I tried to be more mindful to reduce the work of housekeeping, but somehow, I forgot my pajama bottoms, and once again, it was folded.

Club Lounge

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

The club lounge is located on the 8th floor, and features double-storied high ceilings and views of the surrounding area.

Open from 6.30 – 10 pm, it has a continental breakfast service from 6.30 – 10.30 am and cocktail service from 6 pm – 8 pm. The continental breakfast was decent, if lacking in variety. The cocktail service had rotating canapés. I think I went there about 5 times, and I never saw a repeat.

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Amenities

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

There’s a 24 hr gym and a swimming pool on site (not sure about hours of the swimming pool). The gym is an okay size, with three treadmills, couple of ellipticals, and some bikes. There’s also a rowing machine, weights, etc. The equipment is well-maintained. They also supply water and bananas (if the latter doesn’t run out).

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg

Overall

I had an excellent stay at the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg. It has an excellent location, and it runs like a well-oiled machine. I highly recommend checking out Hyatt Regency Johannesburg if you happen to visit South Africa.