Unlike in a lot of European cities, Hyatt loyalists are spoiled for choice in Paris, with options ranging from a category 3 by the airport up to the resplendent Park Hyatt Vendôme, which is one of the nicest hotels in the area between the IWC boutique and the Cartier boutique on Rue de la Paix. The best deal on points, however, is usually the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, due in part to the fact that it's a category 4 hotel (15,000 points per night) that has exorbitant cash rates much of the time. I have some history with this hotel, since the first time this blog got any attention whatsoever was due to a mistake rate that I found there. I reviewed it last year after my stay, and while it was perfectly fine, I didn't really feel a pressing need to return. I don't love the location, the rooms are pretty small, and it feels very corporate and not "of" the city at all, if that makes any sense.
Despite my lukewarm review, however, in my memory the hotel has grown on me. With a trip to Europe coming up next year, I felt like I should at least put it in the running. Then, despite not wanting to burn Chase points, I pulled the trigger today and topped up my Hyatt balance with 36,000 points to book a three night stay. Here's why...
1: It has really good air conditioning. I complain incessantly about being too hot, and I can break a sweat walking from my couch to the kitchen, so I think I should start prioritizing air conditioning more and more. I had a literal panic attack in my AirBNB in southern Germany last year when it was 4AM and I couldn't sleep due to it being 90 degrees and I realized I was going to have to deal with that for five more nights. It is what it is. I need to be cold. And I remember that despite it being 100 degrees in Paris last year when I was there, my room was always refreshingly frigid. I know that other hotels in Paris probably have good air conditioning, but... do they really? How do I know if I haven't stayed there before? I think past experience is important, since I'll be going during the summer again. It seems weird to choose a hotel based on A/C, but here we are, and I feel okay about it.
2: I want to see the new Regency Club. I stayed in a renovated room last time, but the public areas of the hotel were still under construction, meaning that the club was located in a converted conference room. I didn't really mind, but I'm curious how the whole thing came together when the renovations were done, and I really want to do a before/after review. Also, the breakfast spread in the lounge last time was really good - I'd say maybe 75% as good as the Park Hyatt spread (minus the full-service options of course), and I have to admit that I enjoyed starting each day by gorging on carbs and sugar.
3: It was a good value. I didn't really want to redeem 21,000 points for a club room award, but luckily I didn't have to... I had four club upgrade awards sitting in my account after I roshambo'd my gold M-life status into Hyatt Explorist. I didn't think I'd ever end up using them, since I didn't realize until yesterday that they're valid on award stays too. With Hilton Gold/Diamond, I would have gotten free breakfast if I had stayed at one of the many Parisian Hiltons as well, but in this case I'd rather have access to a buffet than be limited to a restaurant breakfast. (Unlimited croissants > cooked eggs, in other words.) Plus, a comparably priced Hilton would be 80,000 points per night, and the locations weren't any better. Sure, if Hilton had a hotel on the Canal St. Martin, I probably would have booked that instead, but their hotels are clustered around that area in the 8th/9th arrondissement where all the other luxury hotels are, and I'd rather stay out by Porte Maillot at that point. (Hilton also has a brand new Curio hotel near Montparnasse, which doesn't really do anything for me either.) So, given the choice of spending 45,000 Hyatt points or 240,000 Hilton points for similar hotels, they Hyatt was an easy call. (Regardless of the dollars-per-point conversion, I don't think Hyatt points are worth 6x Hilton points, so it made sense to get superior value out of Hyatt. Not to mention that I don't have 240,000 Hilton points anyway).
I realize there are a bunch of caveats here, most notably that the Hilton Curio properties in Paris are more luxurious than the Hyatt Regency and are more on par with the more expensive Hotel du Louvre or Hyatt Madeleine. However, I'm putting them in the same range, because they're in the same price band. Sure, a big part of that is that the Hyatt Regency is often egregiously overpriced, but my point is that if you're looking to use a modest amount of points from any hotel currency, the Hyatt Regency should be on your list.
4: I have better blister remedies now. One of the problems on my last trip is that I had incredibly painful blisters on my toes due to my gross feet sweating up my shoes, and despite wearing merino wool socks and using fancy insoles, I didn't get any relief. That made the extra hike out to Porte Maillot particularly irritating, although now that I've discovered the magic of Engo patches, I no longer fear having to walk a little extra to get to my hotel at night. (Seriously, if I could get a sponsorship from Engo, I would plaster their ads all over this site. I've tried every blister remedy on the market and nothing works even a tiny fraction as well.)
5: The views are pretty fucking great. I said before that the hotel doesn't really feel "of" the city (being a huge ugly corporate skyscraper and all), although it does have some pretty amazing views of the city. One thing I always tell people going to Paris for the first time is not to go up the Eiffel Tower to get a good view, since the best thing in Paris's skyline is the Eiffel Tower. You're better off going up something ugly like the Tour Montparnasse and looking at the beautiful stuff like the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur from there. It's the same principle with the Hyatt Regency, except that you're in your hotel room, so you can get that same amazing view but with your junk hanging out.
So that's it. Anyone else have a mediocre stay at the Hyatt Regency Étoile but then find yourself thinking fondly of it after-the-fact, which then motivates you to book it for another trip way in the future? Maybe it's just me...
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