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Review: Grand Hyatt Berlin, my first Hyatt Globalist hotel stay

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This is our review of the Grand Hyatt Berlin hotel.

If you read any US travel blogs, you will know that World of Hyatt’s Globalist status is generally treated as the holy grail of hotel loyalty. The benefits you receive as an elite member are seen as head and shoulders above what all of the other hotel programmes offer. They may not look much better on paper, but Hyatt will always deliver them.

That said, we don’t cover Hyatt much on HfP because of its limited European footprint, albeit things are improving. The European management, based in Swizerland, is also tricky to deal with.

You will see a burst of Hyatt coverage on HfP this Summer, however, as I have been gifted a year of Hyatt Globalist status. Let’s see what the hype is all about …..

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

This status hasn’t come from Hyatt itself. Our hotel booking partner, Emyr Thomas, was given a number of Globalist memberships to give out to his top clients, and I made the cut in a personal capacity.

It would be rude not to take full advantage of this, so I am planning trips to a number of leading Hyatt properties in Europe to see what I can get.

I thought I’d kick off at Grand Hyatt Berlin.

I stayed here 20 years ago, just after it opened, but hadn’t been back since. Recent Berlin stays have been at The Ritz Carlton and the Marriott (Marriott Berlin review here – it’s possibly the best Marriott in Europe), both within five minutes walk of the Hyatt at Potsdamer Platz. We also reviewed the refurbished Pullman, and Rhys visited the Waldorf Astoria Berlin last Autumn – both of these hotels are by the zoo.

What are the benefits of World of Hyatt Globalist status?

Hyatt Globalist status requires you to do 60 nights or spend $20,000 before taxes in a calendar year. This is obviously very difficult if you are based in Europe, and with no credit card partners it is also hard to pick up large numbers of World of Hyatt points.

My strategy – and what I recommend to HfP readers – is to ignore status and simply buy World of Hyatt points when they are on sale. These can be redeemed for high value rewards. Here’s my story of how I redeemed a paltry 6,000 points for a suite upgrade with Club access at Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, for example. Next month I am at Park Hyatt New York using purchased points, which represents a substantial saving on the £1,000+ cash rate.

(There is currently a 30% discount on World of Hyatt points as you can read in this article.)

Globalist benefits include:

  • Room upgrade, which should be to a ‘standard’ suite if available
  • Club access, or free breakfast if no lounge
  • Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
  • 30% points bonus
  • Waived resort fees on free and paid nights
  • Free parking on reward nights

It’s also worth mentioning ‘Guest of Honor’. This is a Hyatt Globalist benefit which allows me to book a reward night (not a cash night) for someone else, with them getting all of the Globalist benefits. If you have a friend who is Globalist, there is merit in using their points for your stay and buying them the equivalent number of points in return.

Let’s see how this worked out in Berlin.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

An amazing pre-arrival email …..

The day before I was due in Berlin I received an email from the hotel. It was apologising for the fact that it would not be able to upgrade me to a suite for my stay.

This was, frankly, stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever had a hotel apologise at the front desk for not upgrading me, yet alone contact me in advance. Perhaps this Globalist hype was actually true?

The email offered me compensation in the shape of a free drink in the bar (pointless as I had lounge access via my status) or free parking (something a UK visitor is very unlikely to need). This was a kind thought but underwhelming.

Unfortunately it went downhill from there. I pulled up hyatt.com and it turned out that it DID have a suite available for my two nights. This wasn’t a super high-end suite either – although those were also empty – it was a mid-range (95 sq m) suite.

I questioned this with the hotel and they refused the upgrade unless I paid €150 per night. This seemed a bit rich given that it wasn’t a ‘name’ suite and Globalist benefits include giving you the best available ‘standard’ suite. This suite was technically not classified as ‘standard’ but in reality there was nothing special about it. It was empty and as I was arriving in less than 24 hours, it was highly likely to stay empty. If the Chancellor suddenly turned up, the two top suites would still be available ….

With any other hotel chain I would have accepted this – although no other chain would have bothered contacting me in advance anyway. However, as the point of this article was to test out Globalist suite benefits, it didn’t make a lot of sense to agree.

I said that I would like to cancel my stay. I was technically outside the cancellation deadline so this needed doing manually. The idea of losing €500 seemed to push the hotel into action and a Junior Suite magically became available. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that this only opened up during the six hours we were exchanging emails.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

About Grand Hyatt Berlin

Let’s talk about the hotel a little. It is part of the huge Postdamer Platz redevelopment and opened 25 years ago. It’s not clear why it is a Grand Hyatt rather than a Park Hyatt, since it is virtually identical to Park Hyatt Hamburg (Park Hyatt Hamburg review here) in facilities and architectural style.

As far as I’m concerned, this hotel is up to Park Hyatt standards given my admittedly limited experience of them. I have done about 20 nights at Park Hyatt Hamburg over the years for what it’s worth.

The staff, without a doubt, operate at Park Hyatt standards. The person running the club lounge took my name on first visit and didn’t forget it over the two days I was there. The duty manager and front desk team could not have been more helpful when an issue cropped up during my stay – see the coda below.

The standard rooms are large (38 sq m) and, like Hamburg, have oversized bathrooms. Here are a few shots of my Junior Suite which was 48 sq m:

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

and

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

and

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

Toiletries were from Balmain.

The only thing that was a little odd was that, because the room was not fully rectangular, there was a large triangular empty space behind the bed. This could have been squared off for a shelf or storage. This is why I appear to be standing behind the bed when I took the photo above …. I was.

The overuse of blonde woods has possibly dated a little, but is still classy. A PR picture of the double-height lobby is above.

The Club lounge

Another Globalist benefit, as well as a guaranteed suite upgrade (if not all sold), is lounge access.

For ‘social distancing reasons’ the 7th floor lounge is closed and the hotel has converted the bar in the lobby. This is fine in theory, except that the space was designed to be ‘dark and moody’ with low lighting which isn’t ideal for working or reading.

Food is served in little glass jars, as happens in Park Hyatt Hamburg. There was a decent sushi selection which I appreciated. It was enough food to serve as my dinner, given that I was travelling alone and Berlin – indeed all of Germany – is a ghost town on Good Friday.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

Breakfast and the pool

Whilst not part of the Globalist story, I should mention another couple of things.

I booked during a ‘all bookings include breakfast’ promotion, so I had breakfast in the main restaurant and not in the lounge. It isn’t the ludicrous spread served at Park Hyatt Hamburg – one of the biggest hotel breakfasts in Europe in my experience – but you can’t complain.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

The hotel keeps up with tradition and a stack of newspapers, including The New York Times as an English option, is there to greet you when you arrive.

It is also worth mentioning the 8th floor pool and spa, which is impressive and in itself should be good enough to put the hotel into Park Hyatt territory.

The pool, whilst not huge (Hamburg is bigger), has a good view over Berlin from floor to ceiling glass windows. Here is a PR picture as it was heaving over Easter:

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin pool

There is a huge steel-lined warm jacuzzi / spa pool next to it that could probably hold 15 people at a stretch.

There is also a very impressive looking sauna, steam room and – as you can see below – plunge pool:

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

Conclusion

Where did I end up with my Globalist benefits?

  • Suite upgrade – tick, I got there in the end
  • Club access, or free breakfast if no lounge – tick, Grand Hyatt Hamburg has a lounge
  • Guaranteed 4pm late check-out – wasn’t required on this stay
  • 30% points bonus – tick, I will get this when my stay posts
  • Waived resort fees on free and paid nights – not applicable, you can’t get away with compulsory hidden resort fees at European hotels!
  • Free parking on reward nights – not applicable

I think ‘waived resort fees’ and ‘free parking’, which could together account for $75+ per night at a hotel in the US, account for a lot of the popularity of Hyatt Globalist status. You won’t get a lot of value from these benefits when travelling in Europe.

All in all, I was impressed. For €225 per night I got a decent suite and didn’t spend anything on food and drink in the hotel due to having Club access. You can’t complain about that.

The next stop on my Hyatt Globalist tour is Park Hyatt New York. After that I am open to suggestions …. Biarritz is tempting, as is a two-night trip to Nice and Cannes. Park Hyatt Milan is also raved about. Rhys beat me to the Park Hyatt Vienna (review here) and was extremely positive about it. Let’s see where I end up.

This story has an interesting coda ….

I was in two minds as to whether to add this part of the story, but it does allow me to share some good photos.

Due to a security issue, which I won’t elaborate on, I ended up being moved to the Marlene Dietrich Suite for my second night. Sadly it is only called this because of the name of the street it overlooks – there is no memorabilia or theming. This may be the suite which the hotel had offered me in the first place for an extra €150 per night.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

It is like an apartment – the bedroom has a ‘standard’ door on it, so it is very much like being at home when you close it in the evening!

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

The craziest thing about it was actually the wardobe. You open the wardrobe door expecting, well, a wardrobe, and you find yourself in a walk-in space that is bigger than the average bathroom.

The bathroom itself was done in a spectacular green marble. It is, apparently, a self contained steam room although no-one explained to me how it worked.

Review Grand Hyatt hotel Berlin

There was a free quarter bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky in a cupboard, although oddly the minibar was sparse – albeit free – and the Nespresso machine the same cheap model that I had in the Junior Suite. Toiletries were also the same. This sells for around €900 per night.

There was no real view from the bedroom – you faced directly onto a theatre which is being renovated – but the living room was dual aspect and when the sun finally came out on my 2nd day it was very pleasant.

The Grand Hyatt Berlin website is here if you want to book or find out more.


World of Hyatt update – August 2022:

Get bonus points: World of Hyatt is not currently running a global promotion.

New to World of Hyatt?  Read our overview of World of Hyatt here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on what we think World of Hyatt points are worth is here.

Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from Hyatt and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (90)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dev says:

    Try the Hyatt Regency Birmingham … 2 hrs up the road from London. It will be interesting to see how a Hyatt in 2nd tier city treats you guys?

    • Rob says:

      I went there in the late 1990s and it was, honestly, the best UK hotel outside London I had ever visited. Not sure time has treated it too well.

      • MilesOnPoint says:

        To be fair, I stayed in a suite there (had some spare Diamond upgrade certs to burn) back in 2015 and had a solid experience. Good pool, nice exec lounge too with views over the city.

        Not sure what’s been done since then in terms of a refresh/refurb.

        • Jay-Marc says:

          Stayed there a few months back. Occupancy was low at the although the Lounge had just reopened. Soft product with the staff etc was still excellent but the room I was in could have benefitted from an update.

      • OP says:

        Over the last 1-2 years / with COVID service at the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham completely fell apart – TripAdvisor makes an interesting read.

        My stay there last year was abysmal and service excuse after service excuse. The hotel is fortunate to have been built to a high standard and gets away with a lack of investment over recent years, but is in need of a spruce up. Hopefully with a bit more competition now (The Grand, albeit in its budget cut form) it might try harder again, as I’d like to give it another chance.

  • MilesOnPoint says:

    Would echo the comment above about the Park Hyatt Vienna, their treatment of Hyatt Elites is outstanding.

    The breakfast is the best I’ve experienced in Europe (scrambled egg with grated black truffle anyone?), a stunning spa and pool in the old bank vault and ultimately the most beautifully designed hard product across rooms & communal spaces that I’ve had the pleasure of staying in. Service standards are outstanding too.

    • Rob says:

      Sadly Rhys beat me to it to review it, so unless my wife wants a family trip it will be hard to justify.

      Forgot to mention that the stay triggered my ‘5 brands’ free night award so got that to blow now too.

  • MilesOnPoint says:

    While you are in NYC @Rob, it would be well worth staying 1 night at Andaz 5th Avenue, we were very impressed with the property when we went for my wife’s significant birthday some years ago.

    Their “splash” suite was a standard suite at the time and included a huge free standing bath and a corner view of 5th avenue, breakfast in the on-site restaurant was among the best I can recall having at a US hotel.

  • Tarmohamed says:

    What was the security issue? Curious as we are in and out of hotels daily looking after our clients.

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Stayed at this property several years ago. Loved the bar in particular as there was live music each evening …remember when that was a thing?

    In general, I’m a big fan of the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt and Andaz chains …even if the recent devaluation has made buying points less attractive.

    • CamFlyer says:

      +1. My recent stay at PH İstanbul was excellent, I spent several years (now thankfully in the past!) as a regular at PH Moscow, and PH NY was also outstanding. Various other Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency properties have also been outstanding representatives of the brand. Now just need to get more Hyatt points!

  • Kowalski says:

    Need to start a headforpoints campaign to get Hyatt to become a UK Amex MR transfer partner

    • memesweeper says:

      Need to start a headforpoints campaign to get Hyatt to sign-up more UK hotels

  • YC says:

    From a Europe/asia perspective, do people find globalist far superior to Marriott titanium or Hilton diamond? Benefits do seem the same on paper

    • Rob says:

      The key difference is the suite upgrade. If a ‘standard’ suite (and the website clearly marks suites as standard or premium) is available when you arrive, you get it. No discussion.

      • Qrfan says:

        But that wasn’t your experience right? Or am I missing something? You had to threaten to cancel your booking, which sounds a lot like a discussion!

      • Harry T says:

        Unless you have to threaten to cancel your booking to get a suite? 🙂

        Hyatt doesn’t have the footprint in europe to be worth attaining Globalist, IMO. Unsure about Asia. I would like to see them expand in Europe. Bonvoy is very good in Europe and I have received suites at 95%+ of stays in Europe as Plat and above.

        • YC says:

          Marriott has been good to me too. But they do need a nudge/discussion to get suite upgrades. Gone are the days where I see suite upgrade in my app prior to arrival

          • Harry T says:

            Agree, plenty need a nudge. I do see a suite in the app quite often though, thankfully. It was more common during the period of the pandemic when few people were travelling, which makes sense.

          • YC says:

            Just checked in to st regis Bangkok who told me that they upgrade up to metropolitan suite for plat/titanium but sold out. Checked the app and at least 3 are available. Showed the app and they told me they sell all room types even if sold out, the person who booked it will be upgraded. They said all Marriott hotels do this. Clearly bs and now OH is fuming at me for complaining…

          • Rhys says:

            Is it BS though? Airlines do the same thing.

          • YC says:

            Understand it’s revenue maximisation. But don’t go telling customers at check in that u normally upgrade to x suite but it’s sold out. However if u search u can see there are available. It’s terrible customer management and u get into a very odd conversation that front desk shouldn’t need to know how to manage as they genuinely see the room type as unavailable. Also I’ve seen many times room types are sold out so it’s not the case that this is standard Marriott practice

  • Matt says:

    I’ve been a Hyatt Globalist for the past 5 years at the same time as being a Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador (in part due to very generous status extensions). Marriott tend to be much more consistent with treatment of Ambassadors (esp. within the same brand) whereas Hyatt on occasion with pull out all the stops, especially in more tourist/leisure hotels that don’t see Globalists week-in/week-out. Our best suite upgrade experience was at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar where we were upgraded from their basic room to the Bahari terrace suite with a terrace spanning the main front of the property overlooking the ocean for the entirety of our 8 day stay. I can’t imagine a Marriott hotel doing the same if a similar room was available.

    • Harry T says:

      I was upgraded to a Villa from a basic room at Domes of Elounda in October, when the hotel was fully booked. I was only Titanium. I think you can get lucky every now and then as a higher elite in any programme

      • Matt says:

        I agree that most hotels will upgrade their high status members when they’re fully booked. In this case the hotel wasn’t fully booked and they could have given me any other room or suite. I’ve had some decent upgrades at Marriott properties but they tend to be the standard suite/villa, not anything particularly special.

      • Thywillbedone says:

        One thing I’m finding is that hotels seem to be doing more to sell rooms directly (to preserve margin) rather than block selling via OTAs. Thus pricing is much tighter than it used to be. Obviously your chances of an upgrade/better treatment are far higher if you book with the hotel directly. Case in point: I stayed at Grosvenor House in Dubai recently …booked/cancelled/re-booked several times to take advantage of improving rates …OTAs more expensive every time. Got an upgrade to a suite from basic level room which was a real bonus over a 6 night stay.

        • Harry T says:

          Grosvenor House has the best service of any Marriott Bonvoy hotel I’ve stayed in and they are very good to elites. The only property that I’ve stayed at with similar service levels was the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam.

          • Thywillbedone says:

            Yes, was my first time staying but it is impressive how they have stayed so highly ranked in a very competitive market. I was given 25% off F&B on checkout due to concierge mishap – this was not insignificant as we had eaten at Buddha Bar and the Siddartha Lounge on the property. Service recovery done right!

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