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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 – June 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.

You will receive a 30% bonus when you buy 5,000+ World of Hyatt points by 1st August 2022.

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.

  • memesweeper says:

    If you need someone to test out and report back on the ‘‘Guest of Honor’’ features and recognition for you I’ll kindly volunteer.

  • gordon says:

    I am glad there will at last be some Hyatt property reviews this summer. I am not a business traveler but travel several times a year for leisure. We use Hyatt properties where possible. We are travelling to Singapore and Bali in June and Emyr has secured us some good deals on Hyatt Andaz Singapore. Grand Hyatt & Alila Ubud Bali. As well as the usual benefits a few free nights were also a bonus.Need to arrange accommodation with Emyr for US west coast inc Las Vegas for November.
    There are a few agents that can help with Hyatt properties but Emyr has always been a great help….Highly recommend.

  • AJA says:

    I don’t really see the point of writing to you ahead of time to tell you that you won’t be getting a suite upgrade, supposedly a guaranteed benefit.

    Their aim clearly was to get you to pay for an upgrade instead. But what it did was give you a reason to argue with them before you’ve even arrived. Hardly good customer treatment and it would have tainted my view of the hotel before I had even arrived.

    You threatening to cancel.your entire stay in order to force them to act is a step I would not take. It should not be necessary.

    I do not argue with hotels that I am paying for the privelege of staying in. I expect them to treat me well from the outset. I would have stayed in the room I had paid for and requested a meeting in person with the hotel manager to express my disgust at a clear failure on their part but I would not be having that discussion with the expectation of being upgraded on the current trip. I would be expecting double service recovery at my next Hyatt Hotel stay wherever in the world that was. This would reflect your “globalist” status, clearly having it indicates that you ordinarily would spend significant sums of money with the brand and it is hardly likely to be with the same hotel.

    I also do not like moving rooms mid stay so I see the “security issue” requiring you to move as another failure and I would be expecting a customer service goodwill gesture in addition to the room move, the fact it was into another suite is irrelevant. I’d be expecting something approaching the Presidential suite.

    You are clearly more easily pleased than I. I may not have the VIP shiny hotel card or top elite status at BA but I do pay for all of my travel staying at 5 star establishments so I know what is good treatment and what is not. And your treatment in the Berlin Hyatt was the latter.

    • Harry T says:

      Agree about the pre arrival email. I would be amazed if I received a shakedown email like this lol.

    • Rob says:

      The hotel followed the rules though. No ‘standard’ suites were available and the list of standard suites is clearly published. I was not denied anything I was due. Whether they should have been more flexible is a different issue.

      The ‘security issue’ was outside their control and was done for my safety, not their benefit.

      • AJA says:

        I am a bit confused what you were expecting then.

        In the article above you wrote: “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.”

        But then below that you wrote

        “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”

        You are now saying there were no standard suites available.

        So was there a suite that you were entitled to upgrade into or not?
        If not why do you say “it went downhill from there”?

        It looks to me as if you went through the rigmarole of contacting Hyatt and threatening to cancel your entire stay in order to get something Hyatt had no obligation to offer in the hope that they would be flexible and then got a bit annoyed that they didn’t budge.

        • Rob says:

          Correct 🙂

          Hyatt is meant to bend over backwards for top tier members, however – and I WOULD have cancelled (I had already got an alternative booking lined up) because the article would have been a bit pointless otherwise. I would have gone to the Marriott around the corner, paid less, got free lounge access and some sort of Titanium upgrade and – more importantly – got 4 elite night credits towards Platinum requalification.

          Sometimes stuff has to be done because of the need to generate the editorial needed for the site. If I didn’t have the article planned then I would probably have cancelled and been done with it. We have this situation all the time where we need to ask for stuff in order to do our job, eg priority boarding, lounge access etc. Rhys is currently trying to get lounge access he is not entitled off Eurostar so he can do a review for them.

    • Mikeact says:

      @AJA Totally agree, as somebody who also pays in hard cash….albeit a card.

    • John says:

      I don’t find staying in hotels to be a privilege – hotels should feel privileged to have guests.

      • AJA says:

        I agree with you John. I am saying if am paying for staying in hotel A versus hotel B I would hope that hotel A recognises the fact and treats me well from the outset.

        Writing to me in advance and saying I am not getting a room upgrade that their reward scheme says I am supposed to receive is not treating me well. That is a slap in the face.

        Writing to me saying that they are going to give me an upgrade to a room that ordinarily I would not be entitled to is treating me well.

  • Aron says:

    Did you not book via Emyr for Hyatt Prive initially?

  • Ros says:

    I stayed with a friend at the Grand Hyatt Dubai in March. A fabulous hotel mid airport and city. Superb pool area and even a rainforest in the lobby.

    • gordon says:

      I agree the Grand Hyatt had a fantastic pool area. Club room was good also But I’d book half board with a club room as food prices can be eye watering in cost. And £10 a pint of beer poolside….. I was there 3 years ago and some of the top floor rooms were refurbished and I was lucky to have one.

      • gordon says:

        Also the building was designed to spell the name of the hotel within the structure looking from above….

  • Tim says:

    Le Palais in Biarritz is an amazing hotel. We used our Globalist benefits there last year (when it reopened last Summer) and whilst our junior suite was small it had a beautiful terrace. The hotel, which is owned by the town was slated to be a Four Seasons but they pulled out. I*t was used for the G7 a couple of years ago too. The pool and pool terrace is amazing. Food is good (not great) but this really is one of the ‘grand dame’ hotels. I would definitely recommend a stay there Rob. It was thanks to you that we got Globalist and I am now a loyal user of Park Hyatt which I find substantially better than other Hyatt brands that I’ve stayed at. Park Hyatt Vienna & Paris are amazing hotels and with the upgrade vouchers are incredible value.

  • ES says:

    What was your experience of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport?
    I am very unimpressed after 2 trips. Infrequent trains from Berlin central station; mine was cancelled at short notice. 65 Euro taxi fare on a Sunday eve. Chaotic security. Lengthy walk to the gates, no travelators and a BA lounge at a very remote location.

    • Rob says:

      Flew into Hamburg – another hotel review is coming.

    • Rhys says:

      I don’t think it will be winning ‘best airport of the year’ anytime soon, that’s for sure!

      Only good bit is that the train station is literally underneath the concourse, so you can come straight up.

    • dougzz99 says:

      In fairness the lounge BA use has a rear exit quite close to the gates, with the border police inbetween.
      The airport is appalling. So what if Tegel was old and tiny, it worked. BER is very poor for a ‘new’ airport. Security is so badly designed you wonder if it was intentional.

      • Mark says:

        Maybe they should have taken a bit more time to get it right… 😉

  • Aaron C says:

    I’ve only stayed at 2 Hyatts – one in Manchester and the Ziva resort in Rose Hall, Jamaica.

    They were both excellent hotels and far ahead of most Hilton’s and Marriotts.

    • gordon says:

      Ziva Rose Hall was a very nice property,
      Requested an early check in a couple of years back and had to wait an hour or so but could use the facilities. Concierge checked us in way before the normal check in time and because we didn’t kick up a fuss we were upgraded to a Oceanfront junior suite. We were there 2 weeks So I have fond memories of the resort. I particularly liked the piano bar off the reception area.

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