Hotel Review: Hyatt Centric Key West Resort and Spa

Spoiler alert – I had a really hard time deciding how I felt about this hotel. I mean, my reviews are normally my thoughts about a hotel based on my stay. But after visiting the Hyatt Centric Key West for a few days, I discovered my thoughts about a hotel can be changed by what I expect going in (and how much the hotel costs).

KWHyattFrontSign

Right after getting home from our stay, I wrote about how I spent 75,000 Hyatt points to stay at this hotel. I would normally think that many points for a 3 night stay would be expensive. That was until I looked up a cash price of a room and saw it would have cost us $1876.84. That means this hotel, after taxes and fees, would have cost $650 a night. Turned out this was “season” for Key West and as our favorite bartender told us, “Those rich people from New York need to spend their money somewhere.”

Collecting miles and points has allowed us to stay at some really neat places, including many that we would/could never stay otherwise. That being said, I still have trouble thinking of any place that would have cost us this much if we paid out of pocket except for the time when I traded my DVC points to stay at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. Given, we didn’t pay out of pocket to stay there but I definitely got the vibe we were way out of our pay grade.

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View from our room at Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica – Jan 2006

So then, what did I think of the Hyatt Centric?

Arrival and Check In

Since we drove from Orlando, it was 7 hours in car from when we left home to when we arrived at the hotel. It was also about 3 hours since our last stretch/restroom break. We wanted to park, check in and get to our room. We were also about 1 hour from sunset so we wanted to get the formalities done as quickly as possible.

When I drove up to the hotel, there was no one outside of what appeared to be the lobby. After I drove around looking for a parking spot for check-in (there wasn’t one), I just pulled to the side of the lot and put my flashers on. I walked in and asked “Where do we park for check in?” I guess this was a strange question as I had to rephrase it. “How do I get through the gate to park?” At this point, I was given a key card and told to self park and then check in. Fortunately, the parking lot was small and a short walk to the check in desks. We did not need help with our luggage (since we were only there for a long weekend), which was a good thing because there were no bellhops in sight. Once we were inside, the front desk staff was pleasant and we only had to wait about 5 minutes to check in. The formalities were dealt with quickly and the clerk thanked me for my “Gold Pa…..World of Hyatt membership.” I commended her on a quick recovery (World of Hyatt was only a week old at this time. Before that, it had been the Gold passport program.). Check in was quick and efficient. We were offered a glass of champagne or flavored water (included as part of our resort fee), that we declined, as we just wanted to get to our room. We were directed to our room, which was outside the lobby and up one floor. We walked to the elevator, passing the spa, and went up one level to our room.

I found the lack of someone to guide us when arriving to the resort seemed strange for a place of this price point. If you are not going to have a greeter, then you at least need to have a few parking spots designated for guests who are checking in near the entrance. I don’t mind having to cart my luggage (I actually prefer it). but having to take my bags from self parking to the lobby is not acceptable for a hotel charging this much.

Room

When I booked this room with points, the only one available was an ADA accessible room. I hate when hotels play with the inventory like that for award space – after all, how many ADA rooms do they have and was I denying someone who actually needed an ADA room because that’s the only room they were offering with points? There were plenty of other rooms for sale at the time, but none that I could book with points. Fortunately, I received a welcome email from the hotel a couple of days before our stay. I replied and asked if they had a regular room available, I’d like to leave the accessible room for someone who needed it. To the hotel’s credit, I received a reply within 30 minutes telling me that my room assignment would be taken care of. We apparently were given a one of a kind room (or two of a kind , to be factually accurate).

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Hotel layout of Hyatt Centric Key West. Is it just me or does it look like no room has a good view of the water at this hotel?

KWHyattBalconyAs seen on the overhead view of the resort, we had one of the two rooms located on top of the spa, overlooking the parking lot. They did attempt to hide the parking with trees and we had a outside porch with chairs, although I couldn’t see spending much time outside. I could say that since were paying with points and that I asked for a different room than I booked, that this would be OK. But I couldn’t help but feel like this was one of the WORST located rooms in the hotel. That being said, it was large, it had a HUGE walk in closet area, nice bathroom and for the most part was quiet, so we kept what we were given.

In all, it was a tastefully decorated room that fit the Key West area. There were power plugs everywhere and USB outlets on each side of the bed. The room also had a refrigerator and a Keurig coffee maker (Green Mountain K-cups were provided but we bought Starbucks K-cups and milk for it at the drugstore down the street). Unfortunately, the coffee lids left in the room did not match the coffee cups. I left a note for housekeeping and this was resolved the next day.

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Our bedroom at the Hyatt Centric Key West. The walk-in closet is off the left and the bathroom entry is to the right by the room entrance. The patio is behind me.

We didn’t discover some of the more interesting things about the room until after we woke up the next morning. Like the grout in the bathroom was originally white but was now gray because it hadn’t been cleaned in a while, and the floors left my socks a nice shade of black (I like to walk around with my socks on and they were filthy when I took them off). Not to mention the damage to the room (the light shades were crushed). The toilet seat was also very thin plastic and literally buckled when you sat on it. This is all totally unacceptable from a hotel in this price range.

None of these matched one the most WTF moment we’ve ever had in a hotel. I had noticed, and mostly ignored, a remote control that was in the closet. Sharon got curious and wanted to see what it did. I’m so happy she did.

I mean, like, I can’t even. What is that?? Disco closet lights? My mind tried to wrap around this oddity. Did we get the Bachelor/Bachelorette Party room? What else had gone on in that closet? Why did they leave the remote in there if it didn’t get used? I stopped thinking before I’d want to change rooms.

OK, so I’ve essentially torn this hotel down. Was there anything good?

Location

The Hyatt is the best location I’ve ever stayed in Key West. This was the view of the sunset on our first night there. We sat on the dock on the back of the resort with the drinks we got from the pool bar.

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Sunset from the Hyatt Centric Key West dock

The next evening we walked to Mallory Square for the sunset (and entertainment). It was only a 10 minute walk and we were treated to this.

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Key West Mallory Square Sunset

So it wasn’t all bad.

Hotel grounds

The Hyatt Centric grounds were a saving grace because this definitely was nice place to stay. They had turtles and birds (you could feed the turtles but the birds bite :-)) The pool area, albeit small, was very nice. They had a games area with a 1000 piece puzzle (someone completed it in a day – WTG!), foozball and boardgames, and a beach area with some sand and chairs. Key West is not known for beaches and this appeared to be for those surprised by this fact. They also had rentals of jet-skis from the property and the fishing docks were only 5 minutes away.

 

Final Thoughts

I’m really torn when I think about this hotel. There were so many things to like. It has a fantastic location on Key West. The rooms are large and tastefully decorated. The hotel grounds are inviting with many extras. I’d love to say that I’d stay here again.

I just can’t get over the price. For the amount that this hotel charges, it should be so much more. The service should be flawless, where you don’t have to look for someone when you drive up to the front door. The rooms should be spotless, not with dirty floors, damaged fixtures and flimsy toilet seats. I’m not even going to go into whatever that lighting in the closet was for.

The only reason we stayed here was because every other hotel we usually stay at on Key West was really expensive that particular weekend. In fact, if I could not have redeemed points, we probably wouldn’t have made the trip. Even though I had to part with 75,000 points, I’m OK with that if I don’t think about it too much. I had the points and weren’t holding them for any other trips. For that, it was worth it. If I had paid $1800+ for the room, I probably would think differently. I don’t have to worry about that, because I’d never spend that much for a room. Your Mileage May Vary.

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