Back in June, Hyatt announced that eligibility for free breakfast at Hyatt Place properties would be changing from November 1.
In the past, every guest was eligible for free breakfast, no matter whether they booked their stay directly with Hyatt or via an OTA like Expedia or Hotels.com.
The change that came in on November 1 is that only World of Hyatt members who book their stay directly with Hyatt will get free breakfast. If you’re not a World of Hyatt member or book through a site like Hotels.com, you won’t be eligible for free breakfast.
I was curious how they’d be enforcing this seeing as Hyatt Place breakfast areas are usually open buffet areas and you seat yourself, versus regular hotel restaurants where you’re seated by an employee who takes your room number.
We checked in to a Hyatt Place in Houston on November 2, so this gave me a perfect opportunity to see how the change would be rolled out. There was a flyer in our room advising of the change, while the elevators also had signs to ensure guests were aware of the changes.
When heading down for breakfast on Saturday morning, it was like nothing had changed. No entry restrictions, no staff checking guest eligibility – just a wide open buffet as usual.
Things were different this morning though. As we walked through the lobby, the person working at the front desk called out to us and asked for our room number. We gave that to her and continued on our way seeing as I’d booked directly on Hyatt’s website and so knew we were eligible for free breakfast.
After breakfast, we headed back to our room and I noticed the sign below which I’d missed earlier on. The sign was outside the breakfast area and was facing the elevators; that makes sense as that’s presumably the direction most people would be coming from towards breakfast. We’d taken the stairs down to breakfast which is why we’d missed the sign before that.
What’s not clear is what happens if you didn’t book directly with Hyatt and want breakfast. I called the front desk to ask how much breakfast costs in that scenario, but they didn’t know. They advised that I’d have to call Reservations in order to get a breakfast price which seems bizarre.
The above sign says that guests need to see the gallery hosts for breakfast, but it seems like the gallery hosts wouldn’t be able to give you a price either seeing as they’re not the Reservations team. Besides, if you called Reservations, how would the gallery hosts know how much you’ve been quoted for breakfast other than taking your word for it?
Hyatt has had five months since their original announcement to ensure there’s a smooth rollout at Hyatt Place hotels, but based on my initial experiences it doesn’t seem to be running smoothly at all. There were no restrictions at the hotel we’re staying at on the third morning after the policy change. The new policy was being enforced on the fourth morning but staff didn’t seem to know how much breakfast would cost for guests who didn’t book an eligible rate.
Hopefully these are just teething problems and hotels will put in place better procedures. Otherwise, I foresee a lot of frustrated guests in the future who show up for breakfast and can’t pay for it even if they want to.
Have you stayed at a Hyatt Place since November 1? If so, how has that hotel been dealing with the new breakfast policy? Let us know in the comments below.