Andaz is Special, Park Hyatt Not So Much

Through the generous offer of two free nights at any Hyatt property (all categories) with the opening of a Hyatt credit card, we were set for our NYC trip.  Booking one night at the Andaz Fifth Avenue and one night at the very pricey Park Hyatt (up to $1200/night), we had two very different experiences.   Andaz treated us like royalty even using points.  Park Hyatt, you disappointed and treated us like ugly stepchildren.  Andaz, you win hands down!  You have now got my loyalty for life–even as a paying customer.

Having stayed for two months at the Andaz in Shanghai for our transition housing when we moved to China, I did have high expectations.  The Shanghai Andaz had the most amazing service and amenities, including complimentary snacks, beverages, nightly wine and morning buffet.  In addition the rooms were lavish and service over-the-top.  Checking into the Andaz Fifth Avenue felt like coming home–no counter between myself and the Andaz host.  Without even asking:  Bottled water?  Yes please.  Early check-in and late check-out?  Yes please.  Even though we weren’t “paying” customers, we had a view of the NYC Public Library with a spacious especially by NYC standards, luxurious room featuring 20 foot ceilings, a marble bathroom with a shower bigger than most bathrooms and separate foot bowl/foot shower, great after a long day of walking around Manhattan.  At our last hotel, while they provided nice postcards, they did not have stamps available.  Of course the Andaz not only had stamps for our postcards but no charge and happy to mail them for us.  Classy and convenient.  We got in a little after the free wine happy hour last night so the bottles were put away but when I asked, they quickly poured me a complimentary glass to go to the room.  Ahhh….love the Andaz so much I would gladly pay the $300-400 a night to stay there if I was out of free Hyatt points, which I am now.

Now, on today to the Park Hyatt where there seemed to be a lack of service altogether and at up to $1200 a night, you would expect more.  Finding our way up to the check-in, there was no offer of water and no early check-in.  Yes, I’m spoiled.  The lobby was teeny tiny and I was already missing my Andaz.  But wait…the Park Hyatt decided to favor us with the worst room at the inn with a brick wall/construction/air vent view in a room so small you can hardly walk around the bed, which is typical for a NYC hotel but I thought the Park Hyatt would be different.  Guess I was wrong.

Now, the high tech tv in the bathroom mirror with remote control was cool and the tub is nice but don’t eat those snacks, Thom, because they surely aren’t free.  No complimentary wine for you, Ms. George!  So, we quickly escaped to the top floor pool that we had heard was very nice and it was.  Thom is taking his nap now while I write this and then we’ll enjoy the lap pool, cucumber water and hot tub.

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Park Hyatt Pool is nice

Tonight it’s off to dinner with Ronnie and Andrea, old friends, and then Dublin tomorrow night.  Vacation is THE BEST and yes, I appreciate it even looking at a brick wall.  Life is good.

Best Place to Stay in Saigon-Park Hyatt At Your Service

Lobby is warm and inviting with music in the evenings
Lobby is warm and inviting with music in the evenings

Yes, I am a hotel snob. I spend months every year staying in hotels for business so in many different cities so I consider myself very picky in my hotel standards. I have stayed at glorious hotels and ones that make you want to take a bath after sleeping on the questionable linens. Just thinking about that makes me itch and want to scratch all over. Thank God I don’t travel with a blacklight—it would be a nightmare to discover what else is staying with me on hotel surfaces in China.

But on to a happier review-The Park Hyatt in Saigon is THE place to stay. First and foremost, the service was ridiculous from the multiple smiling faces to open the large doors at the entrance to the desk clerk to the pool guy to the restaurant staff. All happy, smiling, engaging and over the top with their friendliness. All spoke great English as well which makes everything easier for us when we travel. We appreciate it, Park Hyatt!

Now, as a Diamond Club member for Hyatt due to my frequent travel, I do get special perks that I do so appreciate. We were upgraded to a suite mid-way through the visit as one became available—all at no charge. The regular room was very nice but, oh my, the suite featured a huge living room, bedroom and massive marble bathroom. When we came down for our huge complimentary buffet breakfast (another perk), we had to share our room # with the hostess. The difference in service from the regular room # to the suite # was very noticeable. The manager was summoned and ran to our table before the coffee to ensure that we were happy and he even came back again at the end of our meal to get reassured again that all was good. Mr. George—What can we do to make you stay happy? It was F*&!ing amazing! My motto is always, Expect Nothing/Appreciate Everything, so we just grin like silly kids and soak it all in—the cold skewers of fresh fruit served poolside every day and the fresh fruit platter that magically appeared daily in the room as well were all immensely enjoyed.

Pool was warm with cold fruit kabobs served every afternoon-delightful!
Pool was warm with cold fruit kabobs served every afternoon-delightful!

Although there was construction going on at the spa next to the pool, it wasn’t too distracting as we soaked up the ambience of an urban outdoor setting with palm trees and a delightful pool-not too hot or cold and large enough to do some laps. The Park Hyatt is definitely not a kids/family hotel so it was fairly quiet as well, unlike the Grand Hyatt pool in HK that was filled with kids.

The lobby was gorgeous with tall ceilings, lush upholstered chairs and couches and live entertainment in the evenings as you sipped your cocktails. The business center was staffed with eager to please staff who helped us research some business information. The concierge assisted us with information needed on taxi’s and shows. There is a beautiful Opera House across the street that has a running show “O” that we wanted to see but just didn’t have time. Next Time!

Every room in a hotel in Asia has complimentary water because you can’t (or shouldn’t unless you want to get very, very sick) drink the tap water but when we got to the suite, we discovered that the chosen few get even better bottled water when you are a suite resident. Perk! Thom was fascinated with the metal Vietnamese one cup coffee press so we ended up buying several at the airport gift shop to bring home. We love our coffee! We picked up some Vietnamese coffee too at the airport with our last Dong.

Enjoying room service in our fabulous suite
Enjoying room service in our fabulous suite

The view of the street from the suite (we could now see the river) was always fascinating, though we learned to keep the windows closed because there were several birds very interested in coming in to join us in the suite. One morning we woke up to very spirited singing as the business across the street started the work day with the guys (in black pant/black tie/white shirt) and ladies in traditional green Vietnamese tunics/pants singing loudly what could have been the national song as the video playing above them on the building façade showed the Vietnam flag. They ended their chorus and filed into work at 7:30 a.m. ready to start the day fully energized. Awakened by their lovely voices, we were ready to being our day in Saigon as well!

Thanks to the Park Hyatt for your truly World Class Customer Service. It was appreciated and will be remembered.