This week I’ve had two short, but back-to-back trips. I was in North Carolina Monday night thru Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night until Thursday evening in Fairfax, Virginia, and Thursday night to Friday morning in Herdon, VA by Washington DC’s Dulles Airport. As the result of the different cities, I stayed in four different Hyatts this week.
As I posted last, DOS and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport Sunday night before my Monday morning flight. This hotel is one of our favorite Hyatts, both for location, convenience, and wonderful staff. We stay here at least once a month, and it always feels like coming home; a familiar place with the staff always welcoming us back.
On Monday morning I flew to Raleigh, North Carolina and stayed at the Hyatt Place Raleigh/Durham Airport for one night. Hyatt Place is Hyatt’s mid-range property along the likes of Hilton Garden Inn, Marriott Courtyard etc. The hotels are mostly identical with a small lobby bar, and 24 hour food ‘pickup’ service; i.e. you order from your room, and pick up your order at the bar/front desk area. Although not fancy like a full-scale Hyatt, I enjoy these properties when traveling for work as they are casual, yet practical for the business traveler such as myself. The rooms are large, and this one especially in Raleigh was oversized compared to others. The rooms have a small fridge, large flat panel swivel TV, sectional sofa, King size or 2 doubles, and lots of charging outlets for electronics, as well as A/V connections to the TV.
On Tuesday morning I checked out, and was busy all day with a cutover about an hour’s drive away. As I was driving thru the country I took note of the beautiful trees and this church.
Late afternoon I drove back to Raleigh/Durham Airport, arriving around 5pm, with plenty of time for my 6pm flight. I then flew from RDU to CLT on a really dumpy American Airlines 319 jet. This aircraft was a former US Airways jet, and my “First Class” seat might as well been in coach on Cheapo Airlines as the legroom (pitch) was so horrible – my feet literally touched the seat in front of me, and when the man reclined his seat I couldn’t even get my laptop out from under the seat! So much for “First Class” on the Airbus 319, as equipped by US Airways and inherited by AA.
Also upon boarding, I noticed the overhead bins were already full in my row and across from my row. As I was one of the first people to board I knew no one else had put there bags there, and this was confirmed when I looked at the luggage tags, which said CREW. Yes, the Flight Attendants put their bags (3 of them!) in my and other passengers overhead bin space in row 3 (the last row of first, and shared with the bulkhead coach passengers in 4), leaving not enough room for the First Class passengers, as well as a couple of the bulkhead coach passengers. Row one has emergency equipment stored in it, leaving row 2 for the whole First Class section for overhead bin storage. US Airways had taken the coat closets out of First Class a couple of years ago, so the flight attendants just use the passengers space for their luggage; passengers be damned! I think they should be required to gate check their luggage (like strollers) and pick it up at the gate after passengers have deplaned, or at least put their luggage further back in the plane.
Fortunately it was a short 30 minute flight to Charlotte, so I didn’t have much time to be comfortable or worry about the poor service. After a quick stop in the Admirals’s Club in Charlotte Airport, I then connected to a CRJ-900 to Washington Dulles. This First Class on this brand new regional jet was wonderful – plenty of legroom and nice (and clean) leather seats with large windows. I was in 4A (last row of First) and had the single Aisle/Window seat, as it’s 1 x 2 in First Class on this plane. It also had wifi too, which I used my monthly Gogo inflight pass to surf a bit. This picture is facing across the aisle from me showing the two-seat First Class side of the plane; quite nice and fresh for a regional jet.
I got into Dulles on schedule, but by the time you take the train to the main terminal, and then a bus to the rental car lot, it was nearly 10pm. I was quite tired by then, and it didn’t help having only one attendant in the ‘Fast’ lane at National Car Rental. National is usually very quick and efficient; as an Executive Elite member I just pick the car I want and drive to the booth and give my license, but tonight it must have taken 25 minutes to exit the lot. Only when you’re tired right?
Tuesday and Wednesday night I stayed at the Hyatt Fair Lakes in Fairfax, Virginia. This high-rise Hyatt was located in a corporate business park, and was close to where I was working.
My first impression of the inside of the hotel after arriving at 10:45pm, was ‘it needs a facelift’, as it was a bit weathered and dreary. Not horrible, but just dull carpet, and hallways that felt a bit drab, almost hospital-like, with no warmth, color or style.
I perked up a bit though when I checked in and was upgraded to an 11th floor Panoramic Suite! There are only two of these Suites per floor; one at either end of the hallway, and features floor to ceiling windows in a 180 degree curved-shaped room, occupying the full-size aft width of the hotel – quite large and spacious. I was surprised with the nice upgrade; it helps being Hyatt Diamond and definitely makes me want to stay loyal to Hyatt – thanks!
So now it’s Thursday night, and I’m at my fourth and final Hyatt property for the week. I finished up work around four pm and proceeded on to the Hyatt Regency by Washington Dulles Airport. After first returning my rental car, I took the Hyatt shuttle back to the hotel. This hotel is an all suites hotel, and mine was on the 14th (top floor) and very nice. Technically it’s not a suite as it’s one large room divided by a console TV area credenza, but it’s spacious and has a fridge (believe me I picked up some brewskis after this busy week!), and has a wonderful view overlooking Dulles Airport. It’s now 8:30pm, and I’m heading downstairs for dinner. The work week is over (YEA!!!) and I’m flying home in the morning at 9:20am, so I don’t have to be up early.
Another week has quickly passed, and though it’s been a good week, as always I’m ready to go home and see DOS!