I was excited to visit the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay as I’ve been making my rounds at different hotels across the state of Florida to assess the similarities and differences in quality, policy, and procedures during COVID-19. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted at the front door by a bellman who had on a mask. He opened the door for me and while this is always a nice touch it is especially a great touch right now because it was one less thing that I had to touch. I noticed that the bellman was opening doors for all guests which while small was one more point of great customer service that this Hyatt was doing to keep their guests safe. After I stepped into the lobby, I immediately saw a hand sanitizer station which I thought was placed appropriately for people to use right when they enter the building. As I approached the front desk, I noticed that all guests were wearing masks. I was informed that the hotel was doing their best to keep all normal activities and amenities as normal as possible. This meant I could look forward to daily housekeeping! Out of all of the properties that I’ve visited during this time this was the first hotel to offer this. The hotel also had social distancing markers on the floor to help encourage the guests to keep a safe distance. In the elevator there was a sign that requested that only 3 guests be in the elevator at one time. The pool and hot tub were open but there were occupancy limits to both the pool and hot tub to help keep safe distances. Once I arrived at the room there was a sign on the door notifying me that the room had been sanitized. Once I entered the room it was spotless from top to bottom. All stationery and pens had been removed. The remote had a plastic covering on it that informed the guest that it too had been sanitized. During my stay at the Hyatt I could tell the difference between a luxury property and midlevel and budget hotels. This property went above and beyond in their measure to keep their guests safe. I highly recommend that travelers select a luxury hotel for their stays during this period of COVID-19 if you want to feel extra safe and secure during your vacation. I can’t wait to return to Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay or any other Grand Hyatt, Andaz, or Hyatt Regency properties!
In my quest to research different brands and properties I decided on this property because of its location to the beach. The property is a beachfront hotel that sits right on the beach (Atlantic Ocean). Once I entered there were two staff people at the front desk that were happy to greet me. The lobby was fairly empty and only had a few guests in it. This was the first indication to me that this hotel may actually be busy and full with guests because at other properties the staff were away from the front desk working on other tasks. The front desk staff were very friendly and helpful. They did not mention any of the changes I had to ask them about any new changes. I learned that at this property similar to others there would be no housekeeping. If we needed any linens, we would have to request them from the front desk. Our rooms would not be cleaned until we checked out. The hotel had a bar that was open but the hours were reduced. I also learned that the bar was only serving canned and bottled drinks. The property was still offering their breakfast but the offerings only included items that were packaged such as muffins, danishes, oatmeal, and yogurt. The public areas such as the lobby lounge and pool areas were open. I learned that this hotel was operating at full capacity and was actually sold out. Although the hotel was sold out it never felt crowded and everyone was honoring the social distancing rules. Most people did not wear masks but everyone was respecting the social distancing rules. I applaud Marriott for all that they are doing to try to keep their guests safe and return to normal operations. I do hope that at some point they will reintroduce cleaning to the rooms.
I decided to do a short staycation at the Holiday Inn and Suites Hotel (I-Drive S) property because I needed a break and I also needed to get out and start to research the climate of what hotels are doing to entice travelers to return to their property. The hotel had a great rate so I jumped on it. Once I entered the hotel there was a bit of a wait as no one was at the front desk. This may be something that we should expect at least for now while staffing levels have been decreased. Once the front desk agent appeared, she was very friendly. She gave me all of the changes that had been made. One of the larger changes was that there would be no housekeeping. If we needed any linens, we would have to request them from the front desk. I learned that the front desk staff was temporarily helping out with duties that are usually reserved for housekeeping and custodial staff. I learned that instead of having our rooms cleaned daily, our rooms would not be cleaned until we checked out. The hotel has a restaurant but it was also closed. However, the hotel was providing breakfast in a bag for guests which I thought was a nice gesture. The public areas such as the lobby lounge and pool areas were open, the hotel guaranteed that these areas would be cleaned regularly. The hotel was quite empty if I had to guess I’d say the hotel was running at maybe a 40% occupancy. There were not many cars in the parking lot. In my mind that was a great situation. There were no crowds the hotel was very quiet and peaceful. However, for some people they may not like the reduction of services and amenities. I applaud IHG for all that they are doing to try to keep their guests safe. I do hope that at some point they will reintroduce cleaning to the rooms and use protocols such as what other hotels and resorts are doing but each company has to start somewhere. Stay tuned as I will post more reviews as I explore the local area to see what various hotel brands are doing post COVID-19 to try to keep their guests safe.