Hotel reviews, Travel Diary, USA
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First real hotel upgrade – 6 years ago. Hyatt Regency Waikiki

View from our balcony Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Roughly this time in 2013 we had just checked in at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.

View from our balcony Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Our view

After a big trip, by big I mean status run with 10+ flights from Hawaii to Peurto Rico we had landed back in Hawaii to have the holiday part. I was ill on arrival at the Hyatt in Kauai. We asked about a doctor but due to the time of day and day of the week, we didn’t have a hope of seeing one before our flight back to Honolulu. So we hired a car, had a look around and I just got more ill.

View from our balcony Hyatt Regency Waikiki
We had multiple balconies

I had a small sniffle which became a head cold across the series of flights back from San Juan. By our final flight, from Dallas to Lihue, we had bought Nyquil with the hope that I would rest and hit the ground running. What it managed to do was put me to and keep me asleep when I probably really needed to wake up. I slept through the decent and was woken just to get off the plane. Very unusual for me. I was groggy and out of it but still head cold-y.

View from our balcony Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Still panning around

The next day, with the hire car, we realised it wasn’t just a head cold. Going up the slight hill of a mountain, the small ascent, caused immense pain. Tears were forced out of my eyes and no matter how much TW slowed the car down I couldn’t pop my ears or release the pressure causing the pain.

View from our balcony Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Different balcony – pretty much the same view

This is what prompted a more urgent request to see a doctor. I wasn’t deemed ill enough for the hospital but also it wasn’t really a typical hospital. I was told I didn’t really have the option of sitting in the emergency department to wait. It was clear to me that something was happening with pressure. I didn’t want to fly but our only option for medical seemed to be back on Oahu. So, we took the flight as scheduled.

Lounging part of the lounge room Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Massive lounge room, with a separate lounging couch – kitchen is off in the back of the photo. I guess it was a wet bar not a kitchen.

Our final night had been booked at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our flight back to Sydney was super early in the morning. When we checked in I asked about a doctor and was told one was just nearby. I could walk in to be seen. We asked for an extension of stay because I was ill and there would be no way I could fly in the morning. With an attitude consistent with the conversation thus far, which could only be described as rude with contempt, our check-in agent informed us there were no rooms. The entire resort, every single room was sold out and we had no option but to check out in the morning.

Loitering part of the lounge room Hyatt Regency Waikiki
I guess this is the spot where you loiter and stand around

Our last night of a big trip, I wasn’t too interested in dwelling on the poor form of the hotel. I did jump online to see if there were any rooms available. Not only were there still rooms available on their website, but they also had them in the section we had booked. It no longer exists but we booked the adults-only retreat tower. This kind of ground my gears but off to the doctors.

Tv watching part of the lounge room Hyatt Regency Waikiki
You get to watch tv over here – and there is a bathroom off behind the tv for guests.

Pretty quickly the doctors had me in and started treatment. I eustachian tube dysfunction was causing the pain and a sinus infection was what started it. The infection starting to drop in to my throat and hopefully they could catch it before it was a full blown chest infection.

The guests bathroom Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Small but containing everything a guest would need, that is guests of ours.

Steroids and a minimum of three more days to be able to fly. Ok. So. We have to check out tomorrow because I don’t want to book the Hilton, even though we are here and I am sick. I would rather the effort of moving than give more money to a hotel that employs super rude staff to greet me. Being sick, my tolerance for shit was pretty low.

Bedroom Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Our bedroom, it was a decent spot for relaxing while sick. I didn’t really need to leave the room – all the best of Hawaii was right here.

This is how we ended up with our first real upgrade. The next morning we head over to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, we had slept on the decision on where to book and as we are packing we decide we will use points to upgrade to a club room and reduce our out of pocket. We booked a standard rate at the Hyatt Regency and called to use points as an upgrade – which it is good to see their website can now book these in. On checking in I asked if we had done the process correctly because the agent making the booking seemed confused by the request. Was it because of my accent or was she just unsure?

Bathroom Hyatt Regency Waikiki
The bathroom was so big and in 3 sections, we didn’t really get a great photo. The bath was immense. Shower fantastic and this hotel was the first time I lost TW in a bathroom. He would spend hours in there playing with all the settings.

The agent didn’t really answer this, she was super nice and said it was booked in but didn’t explain it was correct or how I should do it in future. And she was taking her time with something, probably our ID checks or whatever. My eyes started watering because of the pressure so I explained to her we were staying because of my illness, the Hilton had been horrific and if I was sick I felt we deserved the club room to relax. Though I didn’t know if I would be able to enjoy it because I had no appetite, was super dizzy, feeling really ill and had a tonne of tablets to take.

Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Inside the hotel. Hyatt Regency Waikiki

When her head lifted again, she said she was upgrading us. Woohoo. She said some words that we didn’t really process but what we thought she was different for each of us. TW thought she said suite, I thought she said the second floor. What she had said was one of our “penthouse suites”. Possibly sub-penthouse. I can’t remember now if we were top or second top floor. But the suite had a name and we had an amazing upgrade.

Club lounge deck Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Club lounge deck Hyatt Regency Waikiki – one of the few where you have to pay for alcohol

It was incredibly nice of her. She heard and was empathising with being sick. “Nothing worse than being sick on holidays,” was one of her statements. Well, if you need to get sick for a sweet suite upgrade one of us was willing to do it every time lol. It was just the most amazing room, with great views. The problem? The pain of the elevator. Yep, riding up and down in the elevator caused me a lot of pain.

ABC store at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki
ABC store at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Now, upgrades come from status or Privé bookings. We don’t get a suite every time but we do get breakfast. Still, it was our first and will likely always remain the most memorable proper free hotel upgrade we have.

Hot tub Hyatt Regency Waikiki
I did not swim or go near any water. TW went surfing and swimming and shopping without me and at one point he got stuck in the lift. When getting me breakfast, so we got some apology items for that inconvenience.

It is also worth noting that insurance covered the doctor’s bill and medication, the change fee for the flights and also the cost of the hotel room. At that time our meals were also covered. The insurance was credit card insurance and the excess on the claim was $100 I think. We didn’t claim for using our points but we didn’t really end up out of pocket for the three days extra. On my check up with the doctor, they advised I probably should wait another day or two. I was on the edge of the minimum acceptable and for insurance purposes. They (and yes they, three doctors were assessing me) didn’t feel they could hold me back any longer but for health purposes, they recommended longer. It took 6 months to recover.

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