Hyatt’s Footprint Expands: My Top 5 Choices from Small Luxury Hotels (SLH)

by Shelli

When Hyatt’s footprint expands, I get excited! As a Hyatt Globalist who spends well over 100 nights a year at Hyatt properties and who reviews Hyatt hotel rooms all over the world, I want options. My options increased when Hyatt announced the expansion of its program in partnering with Small Luxury Hotels (SLH). We waited to know which of the 500 properties in the Small Luxury Hotel portfolio would come onboard first, and now we have our answer. Hyatt announced the first 54 small luxury boutique hotels to be added as World of Hyatt continues to grow its footprint. As of December 6, 2018 you can book stays at these properties.

Where Are These Small Luxury Hotels Located?

When we look at the 54 choices, Italy, which had been missing in Hyatt’s offerings, is now well represented with Rome, Venice, Naples, and Florence getting bookable properties. The Greek Islands, Spain, France, and in fact all of Europe gets 49 of the 54 property choices. These allocations allow me through my loyalty to Hyatt to stay at properties in destinations where Hyatt’s footprint was either small or non-existent. Expansion of options is what every hotel loyalist wants.

Where Do These Properties Fall On Hyatt’s Award Chart?

Earn and redeem points is the name of the game, right? On the redeeming side, Hyatt did add a category 8 to its award chart making category 8 properties valued at 40,000 points. In looking at the 54 properties, award category 8 now has only 8 of the 54, category 7 added 9 properties, category 6 got 16, category 5 added 10, category 4 added 5 choices, and category 3 added 6 from the list of 54 Small Luxury Hotels. Much better than anticipated!

What Benefits Will Hyatt Members Receive at SLH Properties?

Hyatt members receive 5 points per dollar spent. It’s a nice touch on Hyatt’s part to include SLH benefits for all Hyatt members: like breakfast, late checkout, and room upgrades. Hyatt members earn points, night stay credits, and can use World of Hyatt points.

For the properties that will fall under Hyatt’s new room category 8, which means 40,000 points per night, be sure to check the cash prices. The prices and the category levels of these new additions might not make sense when you calculate the value using points versus paying cash for those nights. Remember that earning points and stay credit only applies to bookings through Hyatt. You can still book these properties at or through the property websites, so it’s best to do the math before spending your 40,000 points!

With the addition of these 54 (with Hyatt promising more to be added) and the 87 properties added by Hyatt’s acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality, that’s a bunch more properties I can look forward to!

My Top Five Choices

In creating the best criteria to use in sorting through all the properties, I picked properties in places I actually travel to and don’t currently have a Hyatt property choice I’m satisfied with. I chose at least one property from category five, six and eight.

Palazzo Vecchietti  Florence Italy  Category 8  40,000 World of Hyatt points

I do have a hotel I’ve enjoyed staying at when I visit Florence. It’s not fancy, but I love the location and the staff. It’s not part of a hotel chain, so I don’t earn any points or night credits. The rooms at Palazzo Vecchietti do look very comfortable and spacious.

Palazzo Vecchietti Room

Palazzo Vecchietti Room

At 12 rooms in an old historic building from 1578, it would be a unique experience.

I did some checking on cash rates and award night availability. The rates run from the mid $400’s to $600, depending on time of year. During the high season I found most nights I checked unavailable on points. Even at the high end of the cash price, at 40,000 points per night that’s barely 2 cents a point. I’m thinking I’d stop in to view what I imagine to be a beautiful building and get a sense of this property, but I’m not sure the splurge on points would be worth it. Might cut into my gelato budget too much!

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular Mallorca, Spain  Category 6  25,000 points per night

People who know I totally enjoy sampling Park Hyatt properties have been recommending the Park Hyatt Mallorca for years already. So when I look at this property from the SLH collection, I match it against the Park Hyatt, which is a category 5 hotel and 20,000 points per night.

Restoring historic mansions, as in the case with the Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, or historic buildings in general, always piques my interest. The photos of the hotel do present a gorgeous picture of matching modern and elegant design within a historical setting and architecture.

Hotel Sant Francesc Palma Mallorca

Elegant lobby.

Hotel Sant Francesc Palma Mallorca

Deluxe room

If you read my hotel reviews you’ll know I’m very partial to using light browns and beiges in hotel rooms, as well as wood floors instead of carpet. The Sant Francesc Hotel does all this, and I could swear the photo of the bathroom looks just like the bathroom in the Park Hyatt Bangkok.

Hotel Sant Francesc Palma of Majorca

Junior Suite Bathroom

I checked both cash and award night prices at both the Park Hyatt and the Sant Francesc Hotel during high and low season. Interestingly, the cash prices come within dollars of each other regardless of season. During high season when the hotels are in the $400 range, the lower award night points on the Park Hyatt makes it a bit of a better value. For me, when in Mallorca I’d try both properties, staying a few nights at each. Seems like a great opportunity to enjoy yet another Park Hyatt as well as a SLH property.

St. James’s Hotel and Club London, United Kingdom  Category 6  25,000 points

This hotel, which dates back to 1857 when the Club was founded for travelling diplomats, calls themselves the “Best Kept Secret in Mayfair”. I have a feeling coming into the World of Hyatt program may change that. The hotel location is fantastic, right off the entrance to Green Park. Walking around the city from this hotel to enjoy the major sights, shopping, and parks is doable for sure. The 60 rooms seem well appointed and furnished in a classic style.

St James's Hotel and Club

Executive Room

St James's Hotel and Club

Junior Suite

St James's Hotel and Club

Deluxe Suite Bedroom

St James's Hotel and Club

Suite Bedroom

No doubt, there are now many Hyatt hotel options in London. Being able to book SLH through Hyatt added four properties to that list. The St. James’s is the most expensive Hyatt property in London, with low season rates on a standard room around $400 and increasing to over $500 in high season. Both the Hyatt Regency and the Andaz are 25,000 points a night and easily $100 less in price, making the St. James’s a better use of points versus cash choice.

I’ve enjoyed stays at the Andaz in London as well as other London hotels not in the Hyatt family. Something about this property though draws me in. I think it’s the location. Though with London benefitting so much with the inclusion of 4 SLH properties at the category 6 level, I would take a closer look at the other SLH choices as well. I do feel a splurge coming on during my next visit to London. She’s one of my favorite cities!

The Sukhothai Shanghai  China  Category 5  20,000 Hyatt points per night

Last year a friend who works for Hyatt spent her vacation traveling around China and sampling Hyatt properties. The Park Hyatt Shanghai has been on my radar as a missing Park Hyatt from my wonderful list of Park Hyatt experiences. Talking with my friend about Shanghai moved the Park Hyatt to the top of the Shanghai list.

Mind you, Hyatt, whose presence is growing by leaps and bounds throughout Asia, has at least 7 other properties in central Shanghai. The Park Hyatt and the Sukhothai Shanghai price out within dollars of each other, though I did find some nights where the cash difference was $60 more for the Park Hyatt. It seems both properties range from $250 to $350 and both are category 5 hotels at 20,000 award points per night.

Sukhothai Shanghai

Executive Room

Sukhothai Shanghai

Executive Suite Living Room

Sukhothai Shanghai

Premier Room Bathroom

The rooms at the Sukhothai do favor my taste in hotel rooms with soothing color schemes, modern furnishings, hardwood floors, and amazing views. They describe themselves as a Contemporary Lifestyle Hotel and market the property to savvy urbanites. Hotel marketing is interesting to observe because now I’m wondering if I indeed am a savvy urbanite!?

Their stylish modern rooms would likely serve as the urban oasis promised by the hotel. From what I know about the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, an oasis would definitely be required.

Sukhothai Shanghai

Premier Room

Sukhothai Shanghai

Executive Room Bathroom

I’m thinking that in a city such as Shanghai with its abundant Hyatt options, I would split my time between the Park Hyatt and The Sukhothai. That would give me an opportunity to sample and compare Hyatt hospitality at one of their top properties in Shanghai as well as a new SLH addition.

Nira Caledonia  Edinburgh, Scotland  Category 5  20,000 Hyatt points

Finally Hyatt has an offering in Edinburgh! This small boutique hotel with its 20 rooms done in contemporary style using my favorite hotel color scheme of browns and beiges, suits me well. I like that they have so many room types, from a single petite room to much larger suites.

Nira Caledonia

Suite Plus

Nira Caledonia

Petite Double Room

Cash prices seem reasonable ranging from $113 to $204, depending on season. My go-to hotel in Edinburgh has been the Sheraton Grand Hotel, which I really like. The location of the Sheraton is great, the rooms are spacious, and I enjoy the Club Lounge. However, the Sheraton on the variety of nights I checked is on average $100 more a night. That’s enough of a difference to inspire me to give the Nira Caledonia a chance.

Nira Caledonia

Jacuzzi Suite Bedroom

Nira Caledonia

Suite Plus

Given the cash prices at the Nira Caledonia I wouldn’t use points because I certainly can do better than one cent per point with my WOH points. Edinburgh is a wonderful fun city to visit and I haven’t been back in a while. Might be time!

This Hyatt partnership provides more choices for anyone looking to earn or redeem World of Hyatt points.  You can earn World of Hyatt points with The World of Hyatt Credit Card, which is offering a welcome bonus of 40,000 World of Hyatt bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months, plus another 20,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 within the first six months.

World of Hyatt is also transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you can transfer over points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Final Thoughts

Now that the integration of these new Small Luxury Hotel properties has begun, I’m looking ahead and find that some on the list of properties being added to the Hyatt portfolio merit my attention.

It will be interesting to watch this unfold and see how benefits will be honored. The award charts for some of these unique properties seem a bit off in the cash to points value, but that’s for each of us to decide given how we value our Hyatt points. For me, one point of major excitement in this partnership is that even though Hyatt is rapidly expanding in Asia, these offerings expand Hyatt’s presence in Europe. Thank you, World of Hyatt, for showing Europe more love!

Do any of the properties Hyatt is bringing on board through this SLH partnership pique your interest? Are there any you’ve already stayed at that you’d recommend?

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Jass December 19, 2018 - 9:40 pm

Nice write up!

What hotel do you stay at in florence? Heading there next year and cannot decide where to stay. On the lookout for recommendations. Thanks!

Shelli December 19, 2018 - 10:18 pm

Thanks, Jass. In Florence I stay at Hotel La Scaletta. It’s a small hotel, humble yet perfect location and great staff. If you contact them, ask for Sylvia and mention my name. The O Cafe around the corner is a great spot for breakfast. The hotel is within walking distance to all the sites. You must try La Carraia for gelato and Fishing Lab for dinner!


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