My friends and I have all had bad experiences with the Hyatt Regency. We all paid extra for a better room with a view, and on arrival found ourselves stuck with a room which didn't have the view they’s paid extra for.
Worse, our complaints to the management met with stony-faced silence. IN other words, they took our money, then failed to deliver the room we paid for, then tried to ignore our protests. Pity for them we were journalists, and could play the Media Card. But let me explain:
My partner and I bought a special package deal to Hawaii in February, which including 8 nights at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, I wanted to make sure that I had a room facing Waikiki Beach, because package deals sometimes leave you in a room at the back of the hotel. So, before I left home, I checked what types of rooms the Hyatt Regency Waikiki offered. The Hyatt said they offered three types of rooms: No-Ocean View rooms, Partial Ocean View Rooms, and Ocean View Rooms. So I told them I would pay extra money for the Ocean View Room.
They accepted the booking and took my extra money.
Then, just to make certain of getting an Ocean View Room, I joined the Hyatt Gold Passport Club. This offered me extra good service and a POINTS system for every stay, plus a Customer Service office. I emailed the Customer Service office and asked them to confirm our OCEAN VIEW ROOM. They checked my booking and did confirm it.
So, after all this work and extra money, Imagine my surprise when my partner and I arrived at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, and were sent to our room on the 22nd Floor, and discovered that it looked out mostly onto the high-rise car-park opposite. You could only see a tiny sliver of beach and water from the edge of the room's big sliding window. True, if you went onto the balcony and leaned out, and looked to the right, you could see a part of the ocean view … but we hadn’t paid for a Part-Ocean View Balcony. We'd paid for an OCEAN VIEW ROOM.
We said nothing about this at first, because the staff at the Hyatt were so nice. Lili at Reception sent fruit to our room because it was my birthday. Kalena at breakfast (in the Shor) went to the trouble of learning my first name, so she could greet me by name every morning. Nabil (Supervisor at poolside restaurant Swim) instantly cancelled my bill when the salt-grinder on my table ground rust into my meal instead of salt. These people and others really make a holiday enjoyable. I also had work to complete with the US Coast Guard in Honolulu.
But after several days, when my work was completed, I got to spend more time in my room, and the poor non-ocean view began to annoy me. So, I decided to write a review for my newspaper column, revealing what a bad experience I'd had with the Hyatt Regency room, and how I paid extra and felt ripped-off.
However, as a good journalist, I wanted a balanced review. So, I had to give the Hyatt management a chance to respond.
Therefore, I went to the Hyatt Regency front desk and spoke to the Day Manager, Francis. I told Francis I had paid extra for an Ocean View Room, but the room I was given looked onto the hi-rise car park next door. That was not an Ocean View in anyone’s book. You could see part of the ocean if you went onto the balcony and looked to the right. But the ocean was not visible from inside the room itself. At best, this could only ever be described as a Partial Ocean View room. It was definitely NOT the Ocean View Room I had paid extra money for.
Francis checked our room number on his computer, and rather bluntly informed me that the room I’d been given WAS LISTED as an Ocean View Room.
I said, "Francis, I invite you to come up and have a look at the room yourself. You can see nothing more than a tiny sliver of beach from the room itself, and only a part of the ocean if you go out on the balcony. So at best it's a partial ocean balcony, and it's absolutely NOT what I paid extra money for!”
Francis looked me up and down in that dismissive 'Faulty Towers' manner some hotel managers reserve for pests, and sniffily replied, "That's your opinion!"
I was a tad annoyed by this snide and dismissive response. So I played the Media Card and said:
“Thanks, Francis. Just so you know, I’m a journalist. I needed to be fair to this hotel, and give you a fair chance to hear and respond to my complaint. Now you've responded, I will be using your name and quoting your response in my newspaper review. Thanks for speaking out!”
Then I went back to my room, and sat down to start writing my review.
Within thirty minutes, the phone in my room rang. It was Renee Nakashima, the Hyatt's Senior Sales Manager. She said she's heard I was unsatisfied and wanted to know why. I told her everything I’d told Francis, adding that the hotel staff are generally excellent, but in my review I'd be saying the hotel management is cheating its customers by taking extra money for Ocean View rooms and failing to honour their obligations by delivering only partial ocean view rooms like mine. My review would say this was a kind of fraud, and by treating me this way the Hyatt Regency Waikiki disrespected and cheated customers. Renee was full of apologies. She said the hotel was having some trouble with room descriptions (obviously) but was trying to fix the problem. Meanwhile, she was going to immediately arrange to move me to a new room on the 38th Floor, with a real ocean view (see my photos) and also give me a Regency Club pass (to their private Club room on the 3rd floor, with a private balcony overlooking the beach - and free food and cheap drinks and free internet), plus she was going to take care of our $20 per day Hotel Tax.
So, for the last two days of our 8-day stay, we had the room we’d paid for, plus some fringe benefits. Sometimes it pays to complain.
I must add that, for a moment I was tempted to rip up this review, because of Renee Nakashima’s user-friendly response, which was so much more customer-friendly than Francis, the dismissive Day Manager.
However, when I returned homem I discovered that the Hyatt had failed to add any points to my Gold Passport. I contacted their Customer Service people again and asked why? They responded by saying, “Your reservation was booked through third party (my travel agent). As the rate that was paid was discounted room rate it is therefore ineligible for Gold Passport credit.” This was written despite the fact that I’d paid extra money to upgrade my room rate. As usual, the Hyatt delivered this bad news AFTER I'd paid them, and once again failed to deliver. The management apparently have never heard of the old retail slogan, "The Customer is always right."
It was this last offensive response from the Hyatt that convinced me to sit down and write a review. And here you have it. I have been to Hawaii many times, and stayed in many hotels. The Hyatt is a good hotel with great staff. But the Hyatt Regency management's unfriendly and unsavoury room policy makes this hotel the worst I have every stayed in, in Waikiki. For three-quarters of my stay, they cheated me out of the room I'd paid extra for. Then they cheated me out of points. That was a bridge too far. I will never stay at the Hyatt again.
Unique Quality: The hotel isn't on Waikiki Beach, but is across the main road from the beach and has a good beach view. Sadly, even if you pay extra for that view, you may not get it. That's what happened to me. Be aware, the management has a special room category which they call a FRONT OCEAN VIEW. They didn't mention this when I paid extra for an Ocean View Room, but they did mention it when I complained that my Ocean View Room didn't have a view of the ocean! They thought this was an OK way to treat their customers. I thought this was the best reason to stay at the Outrigger Reef or Hilton Hawaiian Village next time I visit Hawaii.
Directions: The Hyatt Regency is on Kalakaua Avenue, but the main entrance is on Uluniu Avenue. To reach it, turn left one street before (Kaiulani Avenue) then turn right into Koa Avenue, and turn right again into Uluniu Avenue. The Hyatt entrance is on your right.