As it became obvious that I’d need to be in Central Florida for a number of nights during the Summer, I quickly determined that this would be a great opportunity to take a run at the Hyatt Diamond Challenge. By staying at least 12 nights within 60 days of applying for the challenge, I’d have the opportunity to earn Hyatt Diamond status for the rest of 2015, all of 2016 and the first couple months of 2017. Only paid stays are eligible for this challenge, so while award stays were out, points + cash stays are considered eligible.
After some research, I decided that the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport would serve as my second home for a number of days throughout the challenge. As a Category 1 property in Hyatt’s Gold Passport program, stays at this location cost just 5,000 points per night for a full award stay, or 2,500 points and $50 per night on a cash + points rate. I used a combination of cash + points and cash-only stays, based on the rate the room was going for on each of my trips to Orlando.
As part of the Hyatt Diamond challenge, participants are awarded 1,000 bonus points per night for the first six nights of the challenge, which meant I was really parting with something like 1,500 points per night during cash + points stays, while still earning a few hundred more points back on the paid portion of each stay.
In addition, a Summer 2015 promotion offered by Hyatt promised an additional 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 points after staying 5, 10, 15, and 20 nights, respectively, over the course of several months. All told, I was arguably able to book my points and cash rooms for $50 per night while actually making more points than I was spending!
The Stay Experience
Hyatt Place properties are meant to be as similar as possible. While lobby layout, precise breakfast options, amenities like pools and fitness centers, and other such features may vary a bit from place to place (pun intended), I’ve found the rooms to be very similar across the three locations I’ve stayed at most recently.
All rooms at the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport have an L-shaped couch with a pull-out bed in addition to either a king or two queen beds.
Sizable TVs are fed with HD channels.
A small desk area provides ample workspace for a night or two.
Rooms also have a wet bar area with enough counterspace to fix beverages or lay out take-out food, along with a mini-refrigerator.
The bathroom area is a bit small, but perfectly manageable:
All Hyatt Place locations offer free continental breakfast buffets to all guests. Don’t expect anything special: cereals, a bit of fruit, a few pastries, a toaster, and some breakfast sandwiches that I don’t particularly like are all you’ll find. That said, I wouldn’t expect anything more from a Hyatt Place, given its budget-minded positioning and limited set of services.
The Gallery is Hyatt’s name for the front desk area, which includes a bar and variety of desserts and small plates that can be ordered for a reasonable charge. Hyatt Place locations don’t offer room service, but you can call ahead to have various dishes from their limited lunch and dinner menu prepared before coming down to the lobby to collect them.
The lobby of the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport offers a sizable area to meet with others, and a pair of computers useful for printing out attraction passes or airline tickets. The hotel also offers a complimentary to and from the Orlando Airport, located less than 10 minutes away.
Soundproofing at the hotel is quite good; despite its close proximity to the airport, I never found myself bothered by planes taking off or landing throughout the night.
Overall, the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport is nothing special. That said, I’ve stayed there consistently throughout the Summer and will continue to do so when I travel to Orlando in the future. It offers exceptional value in a city where hotel stays can be expensive, and its proximity to the airport means it’s not too far removed from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, International Drive and other Orlando icons.
For just 5,000 points or 2,500 points + $50 for a night, it offers exceptional value, especially now that I hold Diamond status with Hyatt. Diamond members receive a welcome amenity of 500 points each time they stay at a Hyatt Place location, meaning a one night stay can really be had for an even better deal, all while earning paid night credits toward Hyatt promotions and elite status.
If you’d prefer to be a little closer to the action, the Hyatt Place Orlando Convention Center and Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal are listed as Category 2 properties, meaning you can nab a night’s stay for 8,000 points or 4,000 points + $55. These are a fair value, too, and are perfect for families looking to travel to Orlando on a budget.
I can recommend all of the Orlando Hyatt Place locations without reservation. Don’t go in with high hopes for a luxurious stay, but find yourself pleasantly surprised at how comfortable your Orlando trip can be while parting with just a fraction of the dollars or points you’d need to stay at many of the more premium hotels and resorts in town.