REVIEW - HYATT REGENCY MONTREAL
For my trip to Montreal in February, I decided to stay at the Hyatt Regency property on Rue Jeanne-Mance in the downtown core of the city.
While researching things to do in Montreal, I learned that the city was holding its annual “Montreal en Lumiere” festival and the Hyatt Regency happened to be located adjacent to some of those activities. I was recently given elite status with the Hyatt hotel chain at an event I attended and I wanted to give the service and perks a test drive. The price was right for a few days stay despite the big event in town, so I decided to give it a whirl.
Here are some of my thoughts on the property……
From Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, I hopped into a cab and was able to get to the front door of the Hyatt Regency in less than 15 minutes for a fixed price of $38 CAD. The alternative would have been to take the much cheaper 747 Airport Express bus, but with only the weekend to explore the city I wanted to get down to business right away. Sadly, from what I could gather, there is no direct train access from the airport into the city.
The hotel property is at an ideal location – only a few blocks of walking takes you right into the historic Vieux Montreal neighborhood. The hotel itself is attached to the Desjardins Complex, which seemed to be an odd conglomeration of a shopping mall, food court, train station, and underground pedway. This meant that in the frigid Canadian winter, I was able to leave my hotel room without a coat or snow boots and grab some dinner or pick up a snack to take back to my room. Through the Desjardins pedway or by walking out of the Hyatt Regency’s front door you could access Montreal’s subway system at the Place de Arts station located directly across the street.
The only hassle is that the hotel lobby is located on the 6th floor of the building, so entering the hotel from the street level (as I did multiple times when attending Montreal en Lumiere festivities) requires waiting for an elevator, walking through the lobby, and then taking another elevator to your room.
The room was average sided for a North American hotel property. I was allocated a room on a high floor overlooking Rue Sainte-Catherine. The standard furniture was all present – a large wardrobe with dresser drawers, a TV on a cabinet that contained a fridge, a desk, two double beds, and a lounge chair. The furniture was modern enough, though nothing that really pops out and makes a statement. The lobby of the hotel appears recently renovated and very modern, so when you open the door to your room there’s a bit of a let down when you realize the “revisioning” didn’t extend above the lobby. The view overlooked some of the city center, the Montreal en Lumiere festival grounds, and included Mont Royal in the distance.
Wired internet was offered for a fee, and a coffee machine was available that featured regular, decaf, and Tazo brand teas.
Despite being quite content at first with the quality of the room, a closer inspection revealed that the room was not nearly as clean as one would like to see. While unpacking my clothes my eyes were drawn to a goopy red stain located on some of the bedding. I took a closer look at the substance and it appeared to be some type of jam or jelly. I’m not much of a complainer when it comes to hotel rooms (I once saw a mouse in my room at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali, Hawaii and still had to work up the nerve to request a room change!), so I ended up giving the 2nd bed a thorough check before deciding I’d be safe sleeping there and simply left the 1st bed empty.
After unpacking I went to set up my toiletries in the bathroom where I discovered that more remnants of the previous tenant had been left behind by the housekeeping staff. The faucet had a distinct white, powdery substance coating its surface that upon further inspection appeared to be mouthwash or toothpaste residue. Additionally, there was hair caked onto the side of the sink. Again, not being a complainer, I used one of the hand towels to turn on the hot water and used some soap and disinfectant I had with me to sanitize the area.
Despite the rocky start, housekeeping did a good job of maintaining the cleanliness of my room for the remainder of my stay. It’s the first impression that counts though, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that this Hyatt Regency property was a bit dirty.
The majority of the staff I encountered throughout my stay were efficient and moderately friendly, though no one really seemed enthused by their job or the opportunity to make me feel welcomed.
The check-in agent was able to find me a room immediately, though she rejected my request to honor any of the Hyatt Platinum benefits that my newly gifted status promised. The rationale provided for the denial was that I had not purchased my stay directly from Hyatt (I had used Expedia). My understanding of the Hyatt program was that I would not receive credit for the stay in terms of elite night/stay credits, but the status benefits would still be provided.
While many of the benefits aren’t really important to me, the free internet access was something I was looking forward to utilizing. Upon check-out at the end of my stay, I raised the issue of free internet access again. The check-out agent requested my Hyatt Platinum card and after typing away at her computer for several minutes handed it back to me and said she was going to make an exception for me this time, but in the future the benefit was not something I was entitled to for purchases that were not made through Hyatt. This was contrary to my understanding of the program, but perhaps I have some research to left to do.
I did not interact with any of the staff in the restaurant or bar due to my previously mentioned issues with cleanliness in the hotel. I just figured I was better off eating somewhere else, and really when traveling that's almost always the best policy - eat outside of the hotel.. Just about 99% of the time you'll get a better experience service and taste-wise.
The Hyatt Regency struck me as a nice property with indifferent staff. The location is fantastic, the quality of the room is solid, yet the housekeeping and customer service staff failed to impress me. With a little more focus on doing a good job (i.e. thorough cleaning of rooms and a fuller understanding of Hyatt’s elite program), I’d be much more inclined to stay at this property again. For my next stay in Montreal, I think I’ll try Starwood’s Le Meridien instead.