Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Opened for business in 1976, the Hyatt Regency has a bold, angular '70s look -- the massive, 11th-floor walkway above New Jersey Avenue appears to defy gravity. Inside, you get a spectacular lobby (renovated in October 2008), but the guest rooms (last updated in 2005) look a bit worn out -- scuffed and stained carpeting and furnishings; some rust in the showerheads.
Were it not for the rooms, the Hyatt Regency would come highly recommended -- it has a great pool and fitness center. But if you need to stay in Capitol Hill -- a quiet, less-than-thrilling part of D.C. -- it's well worth considering two of the nearby boutique-y properties, the Hotel George and the newer Liaison Hotel. Both have much better (though smaller) guest rooms, great freebies, and, often, more affordable rates.
Prompt porters and desk staff; a helpful concierge
In the Capitol Hill area, a good springboard for sightseeing but a quiet area in the evening and on the weekends
The Hyatt Regency is in Capitol Hill, an area filled mostly with drab 1970s-style office buildings. It's on the low-lying Judiciary Square section, which means it's surrounded by federal and county courthouses, law offices and the campus of the Georgetown Law School. Though this older part of the city has fallen on some hard times in the past, it is now reviving -- best evidenced by the hip restaurant and bar scenes at the Hotel George and the new Liaison Hotel. Yet, traces of its dicey past linger, like a liquor store across the street and the John L. Young Shelter for the Homeless next door, and there's scarce nightlife and entertainment in the neighborhood immediately surrounding the hotel. But its location does have its advantages -- namely, it's a quick walk to the National Mall, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the White House, and other Capitol Hill sites. Plus, you don't have to venture far to see the U.S. Capitol Building -- just step out of the hotel onto treelined New Jersey Avenue, and look right.
Average-size rooms, all a bit worn and in need of updating
Guest rooms haven't been renovated since 2005. This might not sound like a long time, but for a large-scale business hotel like the Hyatt, five years can be enough time to really wear a room out. To put it in perspective, the beds in most quality hotels -- a Westin, Marriott, Hilton, and most other Hyatt hotels -- typically look like they're on steroids, puffed up, fluffy, and inviting. Not here. The beds look anemic and flattened, like a couple of Cuban sandwiches straight out of the press. When I pulled back the sheets in my room I found the mattress itself was old and tattered. The brownish dull carpets look worn and dirty, ceilings seem lower than the norm, and, adding to that '70s vibe, the door apeared to be covered with the kind of faux dark wood laminate found in a 30-year-old rec room. In general, the rooms just don't look as new and nice as you'll find at most other hotels in the price range, including the nearby Hotel George and the Liaison Capitol Hill.
While the hotel calls its gym a "health club" -- and it is a very nice fitness center with new equipment -- it's really a stretch to call it anything more than a gym. Unlike the health club at the Fairmont hotel, there are no saunas, locker rooms, personal trainers, squash courts, or spa services. Of course, the Fairmont charges for access to the gym -- at the Hyatt, access is free.
A big pool, but little else for families
The Hyatt might be fine for kids, but it doesn't really cater to them. The pool is large enough to keep little ones entertained, however, standard rooms are pretty cramped. Also, with the exception of the Capitol Building, most D.C. attractions are a long way from the hotel. For better options, check out our list of the best kid-friendly hotels.
Worn carpets; housekeeping issues
Carpets in the guest rooms are worn, and there are some stains on the furnishings and a few slight rust stains in the bathroom. In addition, I found the hallways to be littered with little wads of paper and crumbs throughout my stay.
Article One, the house restaurant, has an impressive view of the soaring atrium skylights; it sits in the middle of the lobby separated from it by massive, freestanding decorative dividers. Its lounge, at the other end of the lobby, has a sleek curved bar with flat-screen TVs. The lounge area includes working tables and seats for impromptu meetings and laptop space, as well as a cluster of cocktail tables and chairs. Semiprivate lounge areas can also be reserved for bottle service (for parties of 12 to 24 people), but it is relatively quiet at night, and not nearly as popular as the bar at the Liaison Hotel, across the street.
This large, 834-room Hyatt comes with a beautiful atrium lobby, a large, heated indoor pool, a superb fitness center with new equipment, a 24-hour FedEx office center, and a convenient location, close to the Amtrak station and the Capitol Building. It would be a fine pick, but its small, outdated guest rooms look worn out.