Grand Hyatt Melbourne: Yea or Nay? I Can’t Decide

by Shelli Stein

There are cities that become favorites even if you don’t actually live there. You simply enjoy them for all they have to offer and hope to visit them as often as you can. When it comes to cities that offer what I enjoy, Melbourne, Australia  always ranks HIGH on my list. It has a certain charm. The parks, gardens, the arts, the theater and so much more. And yes, the people too! And let’s not forget the great food options 🙂 I don’t get to Melbourne often enough. Yet each time I visit I get to know the city better. Melbourne matches me well!

For my most recent visit I decided to spread my time in Melbourne across a variety of Hyatt properties, one of which was the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. I do like to sample different hotels in Melbourne, as well as different areas of the city, so this idea worked well for me.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne lobby and reception desk

Grand Hyatt Melbourne lobby and reception desk

How I Paid and My Room Assignment at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Don’t think for a minute that I’ll go easy on the Grand Hyatt Melbourne as I pen this hotel and hotel room review. I may be a Hyatt fan girl, but that often means I hold Hyatt properties to a higher standard. After all, first impressions matter and if you’ve not yet stayed here I want you to have the best and most informed impression possible.

I’m not writing to promote Hyatt. I’m writing to inform readers!

Specifics About The Hotel And Some Grand Hyatt Melbourne Backstory

The hotel has 550 rooms and 23 suites. Standard rooms, which are of average size, start on the 10th floor and suites start on the 23rd floor. There are mostly Hyatt members as guests in the hotel—usually about 50%. On average, on any given day, there are about 17 in-house Globalists.

The hotel opened in 1986 and it opened as a Hyatt. It was originally called Hyatt on Collins and changed to Grand Hyatt Melbourne in 1992. The hotel ownership is a group based in Hong Kong and they own the Hyatt Regency in Perth as well.

I was told that Globalists like this property as a choice for Melbourne stays, and as you read more about the hotel and the amenities, you’ll see why. Clearly, the hotel is a favored choice among Hyatt fans.

The Grand Hyatt Melbourne is primarily a business hotel with not much in the way of leisure guests. It’s in the middle of the CBD making it a popular choice for conferences. The hotel maintains contracts with many businesses providing rooms for their business travelers. Due to the size of the available event spaces, it hosts many functions and weddings.

Typical guests stay on average 1-2 days. Though I did see some kids at the hotel, it’s not thought of as a family hotel as there really are no facilities for kids.

In case you’re wondering which months are the busiest and which months might be more off season, here’s your answer. As you might expect, winter time in Australia is their off season at the Grand Hyatt. Occupancy averages around 80% but there are definitely quieter periods in terms of occupancy during April/May/June. There is also a dip in occupancy during December.

Though Melbourne doesn’t get snow, it does get cold and rainy during those winter months.

The Grand Hyatt is a training hotel for Hyatt employees, so there can be high turnover in staff. It’s a BIG and BUSY hotel offering people great training. Hyatt hires from within, so once staff is trained they do tend to move around.

During my stay the hotel felt lively but never crowded. For a large hotel that’s unusual. There are six elevators so there was never a wait for a lift.

The design and motif of the hotel is non-descript. By that I mean it seemed like a city center hotel without much character. The lobby entrance is off a busy street and set back from the sidewalk. It doesn’t shout here’s a big and busy hotel, and you might even walk right by it and miss the entrance.

My recent stay at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne was for six nights. I could have used a World of Hyatt free night award or booked nights with Hyatt points. Hotels in Melbourne can be super pricey. The all cash rate hovered between $400 and $600 USD a night. I decided to use a combination of points, awards, and cash for my stay.

Remember, if you’re paying cash for a hotel stay, let Pruvo monitor your rate for price drops!

Grand Hyatt Melbourne is a World of Hyatt Category 4 property, meaning free nights for me were 15,000 Hyatt points per night.

My Check-In Experience

Checking in to the hotel went smoothly. Check-in is at 3pm. I arrived at 4pm. My room was ready!  When I arrived I was happy to hear I had been upgraded to a king suite. It’s a property that doesn’t hold back Globalist upgrades if they are available!

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Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Grand Hyatt Melbourne room which scored a 29 of 40 points.

Location (5/5)

I asked both hotel staff and many people I know who favor this Grand Hyatt why they choose this Hyatt property over other Hyatt hotels in Melbourne. Again and again I heard LOCATION location location! People love the area near the hotel because it is close to the CBD (Central Business District). For many this is a huge plus.

In under a half an hour you can walk to the theater district as well.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne view

Grand Hyatt Melbourne view

Grand Hyatt Melbourne view

Grand Hyatt Melbourne view

The lovely Melbourne parks are a longer walk from the hotel but well worth the time and effort. Melbourne is a walking city!

Pro tip: Head down the street behind the hotel and you’ll weave your way to the river. You can walk for miles on either side of the river and enjoy a lovely day in nature!

Not much of a walker? Not a problem. The Melbourne tram system is just outside the hotel. I never mind using the trams at all. It’s an extensive system. In fact, it’s the most extensive tram system in any city in the world!

Melbourne view from the Grand Hyatt

Melbourne view from the Grand Hyatt

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Lighting (3/5)

The suite did have natural lighting, with almost floor-to-ceiling windows both  in the bedroom and in the living room. Besides overhead lighting there were two standing lamps, one in each room.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite living room with television and couches

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite living room with television and couches

The lights, given the size of the rooms, were insufficient. There was only one small standing lamp by the couch in the bedroom. I ended up moving it to the living room to provide more light there.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne bedroom couch

Grand Hyatt Melbourne bedroom couch

Here’s what really made no sense in terms of the lighting.

In the bedroom, there was a master switch that either kept all the lights on or kept them ALL off. Usually a master switch will turn off all the lights, but then you can turn individual lights on again.

The lights in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom were not on a separate switch so you couldn’t turn them on and off by themselves. Unless I missed something in how the lights worked, this makes no sense to me.

The brightest areas with the best lighting were the bathroom and the closet. Why is that the case in so many hotel rooms, I wonder.

I had mixed feelings about the lighting because when it got dark in Melbourne I still needed to work. Brighter lighting or at least adjustable lighting works better for me.

The flip side of this is that because the lighting was a bit dim at night, it did encourage me to relax and have an earlier quitting time 🙂

Yes, I recognize that the average guest stays maybe two nights, but there are guests who work or just want to sit on the couch and read with proper lighting.

Window Access (4/5)

Having floor to ceiling windows in both the bedroom and suite living room area made a big difference. Natural lighting in a hotel room makes for a whole different experience. Without the huge windows and that light, the room would have been very dark.

I always prefer windows that open, even if only a bit. Fresh air makes a big difference.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne living room with television and table

There are two levels of window shades, one for sun/privacy and one for black-out darkness.

Bed Comfort (3/5)

The bed was too hard for me, but not as hard as some beds at other hotel properties I’ve stayed at.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite spacious bedroom

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite spacious bedroom

The pillows worked well and there were already different pillow types on the bed, so I was able to choose which worked best for me. Too often all the pillows are the same, but not in this case.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite spacious closet

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite spacious closet

Bathroom (3/5)

I’ll say right up front that this was a strange and tight space. There was a small bathroom just inside the suite entrance. Here, though, I’m talking about the main bathroom.

It had a shower stall and separate tub. The tub was a jacuzzi as well. It took up most of the bathroom.

There was only one sink, which in a suite this size seemed odd. Two sinks really does work better, but the tub size meant there was no room for another sink. I’m not sure if a bathroom in an old hotel like this can be renovated, but if so, I’d imagine guests would prefer more sink space and perhaps the elimination of the tub.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

One of my pet peeves in hotel shower stalls is that there is no place to put your sundries other than on the floor. Having a ledge for sundries is a simple thing that those of us who are now (or always did) bringing their own sundries when they travel might really appreciate. In this case there was a shelf behind the shower head.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite bathroom

There was no double light in the bathroom. The shower did have it’s own light. There was only one switch and it provided VERY bright light. I can’t recall the last time I was in a hotel room where the bathroom didn’t have lighting options. It’s handy to have a nightlight in a bathroom.

Interior Appointments and Furnishings (3/5)

One of the other draws to this hotel is that the rooms are a good size. Not huge but not on the small side either. That likely has to do with it being an older hotel and built when rooms were not designed to squeeze as many into a hotel as possible. So coupled with the location, room size is often a deciding factor when opting for a Grand Hyatt Melbourne stay.

My suite matched the one you’ll see online, both in design and layout. That’s a good thing because too often guests’ expectations are set by photos they see on hotel websites. And when the photos don’t match the reality it makes sense that guests take issue.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite living room

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite living room

Grand Hyatt Melbourne bedroom couch

Grand Hyatt Melbourne bedroom couch

I felt the suite design, with the two rooms separated by a door, worked well.

My general opinion is that the rooms, and this suite, need a refurbish. I’ve heard other guests mention this as well.

Hotel management is well aware of this. They started to plan for a refurb about five years ago. The hotel was closed for seven months during the pandemic. In case you’re not aware of pandemic restrictions around the world, Melbourne had the most restrictive pandemic experience of any city in the world. That slowed down renovation and refurbishment plans. However, plans for a refurbishment are currently being discussed and planned out.

The carpet in the suite was stained in places. The walls did seem to have been freshly painted. As it should be in a hotel, the general maintenance of the rooms is ongoing!

Let’s talk about that desk!

The chairs are awfully uncomfortable and are ergonomically off. I’m of average height, and whether I wanted to work at the desk or eat and use the desk as a table, the chairs did not match the desk height at all. As an aside, I did ask for proper work/desk chairs and they were quickly delivered to my suite.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne desk

I don’t like to criticize without offering a suggestion. For sure, take these desks out and replace them with a round table and some proper chairs. That would be a much better and much more comfortable use of the space!

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite desk and bar

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Suite desk and bar

The artwork, with one small piece in each room, was minimal. I prefer this because taste in art is so individual and I prefer that hotel rooms don’t overdue it on the art.

The living area had a functional low round table by the couch. The bedroom had a low round table as well.

The coffee/tea/snack area and the fridge were inside the bar area along the living room wall.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne bar with a bar counter

Vittoria is the popular brand of coffee capsules in Australia

Vittoria is the popular brand of coffee capsules in Australia

The peep hole on the entrance door is placed just right for the average height of women. That’s rare. This has long been a pet peeve of mine. Do only men check who’s knocking or ringing the bell? I think not. Easier for a guy to bend down than a woman to grow a few inches to see who’s at the door 🙂

Electronics (3/5)

Plugs and outlets were adequate. Not great but adequate. There were no outlets near the bed and NO universal plugs and USB charging ports. The desk area did not have outlets either. This would be a major item for a refurbishment as well.

If you need to borrow an adapter, one is provided in the room. This is a welcome touch.

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Amenities (5/5)

The hotel does send welcome amenities to Hyatt Globalists. I received chocolates. Simple and perfect for me. Who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate 🙂

YES on providing a Yoga mat! I’ve started requesting Yoga mats when I stay in hotels. If you’ve ever taken a close look at the “need anything extra” card presented in your hotel room, you’ll notice Yoga mat is often listed. I’m starting to notice, though, how few hotels actually have mats.

Sleep tips from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

The property provides water, and it was super generous whenever I requested more. It was also generous with whatever supplies you needed. That always leaves a positive impression on a guest.

Sleep tips from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Sleep tips from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Sleep tips from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Sleep tips from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

When writing hotel reviews I often review the minibar and available snacks. The minibar and coffee area was well-equipped with a kettle and Nespresso style coffee maker. I also enjoyed the brand of tea bags the hotel provided. There was a good size fridge underneath the Nespresso style machine. No complimentary snacks.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge

If you’ve been traveling the past few years you for sure have noticed that so many Hyatt Club Lounges have closed. They have not reopened and I doubt they ever will. This is the case across hotel brands, not just Hyatt hotels. And this is true both in the states and around the world.

Dress code at the Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Dress code at the Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Dress code at the Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Dress code in the Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

For the Grand Hyatt, there was no question as to whether the club lounge would reopen. They had to!!

The club is on the 31st floor with sweeping views of Melbourne.

Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Because of my Globalist status with Hyatt I had access to the lounges. The Club was excellent! I took breakfast there every day and the only item missing was salad.

Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Okay, hear me out on this salad point.

I like greens and salad as part of my breakfast. And it’s easy to offer to guests. I had a visit with the Front Desk Manager who also manages the club. She mentioned that vegetarian and vegan guests had recently mentioned that there weren’t many items at breakfast they could eat and that they would love to see salad for breakfast.  The manager was surprised to hear me mention salad as well because I’m neither vegan nor vegetarian. She took this as an omen and was talking with her chef about incorporating salad into the breakfast buffet!

Salad or no salad, you’ll be content with the offerings at breakfast.

Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Snacks at the Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

Grand Club Melbourne Lounge

As is the case with clubs, it was open all day for drinks and snacks (fruit, nuts, yogurt, beverages, and sweet treats). The club was actually open until 10 pm, which is much later than clubs are usually open. This was great for me because I worked while at the hotel so I enjoyed using the club as my office 🙂

Cakes were served during the tea/coffee hours in the late afternoon and I’ll admit they were rather good.

In the evening, the club served small bites, besides cheese, bread, meats and a few other items. The small plates were different every night and there was table service as well. The food was excellent!

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station with pork roast

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge Saturday night meat carving station

During my stay the club was well used but was never too busy. It was a TREAT to have such a wonderful club experience and was one of the highlights of my stay at the Grand Hyatt.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Club Lounge desserts

Great to see lots of staff onboard at the Club. The service team throughout the day was excellent. They were attentive and super helpful with whatever you needed.

Concierge Service at The Club Lounge

Inside the club is a concierge desk that was staffed most of the day and into the early evening. The concierge team was tops! Very helpful, very fun to talk with, and never a request I made was too much for them to handle. It was great to be able to secure assistance from them rather than having to go downstairs to the front desk if I needed something.

Club Lounge access can be purchased. It costs 100 AUD per person a night and there is no charge for children under 12.

Other Breakfast Options

There are not many large common space areas at the hotel. The lobby does not really provide seating areas. There is a large restaurant off the lobby that serves both breakfast and dinner. They are well used by hotel guests and locals.

What Guests At The Grand Hyatt Melbourne Complain About?

When I review a hotel I always wonder what complaints hotel guests have, so I ask the hotel team.

The chief complaint is the age of the hotel and its needing modernization.

Guests are not attached to particular rooms because floor plans are all the same with only the view being different—river view, city view, buildings view.

Other complaints are regarding the Club Lounge. It can be a challenge to manage expectations when it comes to lounges. Guests who have traveled to Asia and been exposed to some of the Club Lounges there are disappointed.

I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The club is huge (it once was a two-floor club), the service was excellent, and the food was great. I would say the food at night was more than small bites. If you wanted to make the club your dinner spot, you’d be happy with both the hot and cold choices each night.

It did have some fancy touches as well. Just leave some room for the pastry chef’s sweet treats at night!

Fitness and Spa Facilities At The Grand Hyatt Melbourne

If you like to workout, you will love the unique offering from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

Sharing space in the same building as the hotel is the City Club. It has always operated with public memberships. Hotel guests have full access. As you might imagine because it’s a full service gym, it’s huge and well-equipped.

There is a small pool and inside the locker room a sauna and steam room.

Pre COVID the membership was nearly double what it is now. It was never very busy during my stay. Even if membership was still at pre COVID levels, I can’t see it ever being busy to the point where that would be an issue. It’s a huge facility!

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Hotel Service at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne

You can tell I was not thrilled with the hotel suite and thought the design and layout were fine but some of the room features were detractors.

I was pleased with the service! This really does tie into my being impressed with the hotel. I had not stayed at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne before.

Housekeeping was always quick to deliver whatever I requested. If you’ve been traveling much these past few years you might have realized how short-staffed many hotels are. I did not find that to be the case at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne at all.

There was never anything I asked for from housekeeping, the front desk and concierge team, the hotel management team, or the Club Lounge team where the staff didn’t happily oblige. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly, warm and very helpful environment.

Final Thoughts On The Grand Hyatt Melbourne

The Grand Hyatt Melbourne is an unusual and wonderful hotel that’s in need of some TLC. For the most part, I do think it’s aged well which is likely due to the ongoing maintenance.

It is an expensive property when paying cash. You’ll have to think as to whether it is a great value on points or when paying cash. I think it can be worth the value, especially on points.

There are now multiple Hyatt properties in Melbourne, so it can be a toss-up as to which property to choose. What it offers and the service were both what you’d expect from a Grand Hyatt property.  For sure having the Club Lounge open made a huge difference.

The location can’t be beat. That I agree with. If being in the CBD suits you, you’ll enjoy the property. If having a great Club Lounge open is of benefit to you, you’ll enjoy this hotel. Every Hyatt hotel is different, every staff is different, and every guest is different, right? Some properties are bound to work better than others for what you’re looking for.

Would I stay here again?

I’m not sure. When the refurbishments are done, I’d certainly say yes. Putting together this review was fun because it brought back memories of an enjoyable hotel stay in a city I’m quite fond of.

I think of the Grand Hyatt Melbourne as a hotel for people who enjoy mixing their hotel stay with a great urban central-city location. If you enjoy spending time in a more local area of Melbourne rather than in a super touristy area, this property is not for you. When I’m in the mood for a CBD hotel stay, properties like the Grand Hyatt are perfect.  By all means gather up your travel gear and give this hotel a try and see what you think for yourself.

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