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TravelGrand Hyatt Vail review - The Points Guy

Grand Hyatt Vail review – The Points Guy


Located right off the slopes of Vail, one of Colorado’s most iconic ski resorts, the Grand Hyatt Vail is an ideal lodging choice for those looking for access to the mountain while having some distance from the hustle and bustle of the busy resort. With its own ski lift and an on-site ski valet, you can be on the slopes in no time. A prime location at the banks of Gore Creek gives guests direct access to many walking trails and a serene, authentic Colorado feel.

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

During the planning phase of my spring ski trip out west, I was pretty open as to which resort to visit and which property to stay at — it just had to be on the Epic Pass and be available on points. Fortunately, the Grand Hyatt Vail provided the best option — and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our decision.

What is the Grand Hyatt Vail?

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

The Grand Hyatt Vail, part of the World of Hyatt program, is the type of property where guests can expect easy access to the ski resort while enjoying the luxuries of a true resort hotel. With 285 guest rooms and suites, this luxurious property offers a room type for everyone — ranging from your standard studio to a two-bedroom suite — with many rooms featuring sweeping mountain views, balconies and even fireplaces. The hotel also has several restaurants, a slew of on-site activities and even a heated hot tub and pool (available 365 days a year).

While the Grand Hyatt Vail certainly appeals to skiers and snowboarders during the winter months, it’s also a great destination for nonskiers, as there is plenty to do on and around the property, both inside and outdoors.

Although we didn’t visit during the warmer months, it’s an attractive hotel for those in search of a resort-style summer vacation in the mountains, too, with many hiking and walking trails nearby.

As this property is part of the Hyatt hotel chain, guests can reap their World of Hyatt benefits while also redeeming and earning points within the program.

How to book the Grand Hyatt Vail

Naturally, one of the best ways to book the Grand Hyatt Vail is by using your World of Hyatt points. As a Category 7 property within the World of Hyatt award chart, the hotel costs 25,000 points (off-peak), 30,000 points (standard) or 35,000 points (peak) per night. Over the next year, the property shows the entire winter (meaning mid-December through mid-April) as peak pricing and most of May, October and November as off-peak pricing. The rest of the months range between off-peak, standard and peak, depending on the particular date.

This pricing means if you’re looking to go during ski season, you can expect to redeem 35,000 World of Hyatt points per night. With TPG’s July 2024 valuations giving World of Hyatt points a value of 1.7 cents per point (thus a $595 valuation per night), this is a great way to redeem your points since the paid nightly rate over the winter ranges between $650 and $1,500 per night.

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Additionally, when using your World of Hyatt points, resort fees are waived — which will save you $55 per night at the Grand Hyatt Vail. Now, if you’re looking to visit in spring or fall, rates can be as low as $300 a night, so you’ll want to do the math to see if redeeming points is worthwhile.

Alternatively, if you have a Category 1-7 free night award — which you earn after the 60 and 100 Milestone Rewards thresholds — those can be redeemed at this property, even during peak nights. In fact, this is how I booked my two-night stay when rates were 35,000 points or close to $1,000 per night.

Keep in mind that when booking any Hyatt hotel, you’ll want to use one of the credit cards that earn the most points for Hyatt stays, as well as one that possibly offers automatic World of Hyatt elite status for value-added benefits. These include:

  • World of Hyatt Credit Card: Earn 4 points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at Hyatt hotels and resorts; automatic Discoverist status; and five elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.
  • World of Hyatt Business Credit Card: Earn 4 points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at Hyatt hotels and resorts; automatic Discoverist status; and five elite night credits per year toward a higher tier.

Related: How to plan your ski trip with points and miles

The location of the Grand Hyatt Vail

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

The location of this property can be seen as hit or miss — it really comes down to your personal preference. The Grand Hyatt Vail sits in Cascade Village (if you are looking at a trail map, it’s the village as far to the east as possible), and there’s not much else nearby. There’s no true “village” like you’ll find on other parts of the mountain, so there won’t be any shops or restaurants right out your front steps. However, the hotel operates a shuttle to both Vail Village and Lionshead every 15 to 20 minutes, and while I never experienced the shuttle myself, I heard from others that it ran pretty efficiently. Or, if you rent a car, both villages offer two free hours of parking in the morning and free parking anytime after 3 p.m.

But this more removed location also makes it desirable. The property is quiet and peaceful. While on the back patio or relaxing in the hot tub, you only see the mountains in the backdrop — not a busy street with crowds of people. And the hotel offers a ton on-site, so you might find that you never need to leave.

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

Those looking to spend the day on the slopes will also appreciate the chairlift right outside the property. Because the chairlift is exclusively for hotel guests and those staying in the nearby condos, there is never a lift line. In fact, with this chairlift, you can fully avoid the base of Vail throughout the entire day — if you want.

However, if you’re traveling with little ones who are enrolled in ski school, you might find yourself taking the shuttle or driving to ski school. Because of this, you’ll need to leave plenty of extra time in the morning and, unfortunately, miss out on the true ski-in, ski-out experience — one of the reasons you stay at this property.

During our two-night, three-day stay, we actually never left the property post-skiing, and that worked extremely well for our family. We visited the villages during the day while taking a quick ski break and utilized everything that the hotel had to offer after a long day of skiing. If we had been staying for an extended period of time — more than four nights — we probably would have preferred a location closer to the village. But for our stay, we appreciated the location.

Rooms at the Grand Hyatt Vail

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

With many room types available at the property, you’re bound to find one that works for your needs. The standard rooms — which are those available with points — include a 340- to 360-square-foot room with either two queen beds or one king. Slightly upgraded rooms include mountain view rooms and deluxe mountain view rooms, which are the same size as the standard rooms but have better views and, in select rooms, balconies. Then there are premium rooms, which are larger at 540 square feet; each of these offers mountain views and a fireplace — plus two queen beds or one king. From there, many suites of various sizes are available, with the largest being a two-bedroom presidential suite.

During our stay — which was during Presidents Day week, a peak time of year — I overheard many people being upgraded to deluxe and/or premium rooms, which made me believe that the property is quite generous with their upgrades.

As a Globalist member, we were actually upgraded to a mountain-facing Grand Suite with a separate bedroom with a king-size bed and a living room. Although the upgraded room was a premium suite — with two truly distinct areas — we found the space to be tight (for a typical suite), but we did appreciate having a separate bedroom to separate us from the kids. With a pullout couch in the living room, we were able to also squeeze in a rollaway, giving each kid their own bed — a game changer when traveling with my family.

The room also featured a spacious, cool-toned bathroom with a door between the marble-tiled shower, the toilet and the vanity. The detail was nice to given four people were sharing the bathroom.

We were assigned a first-floor room that featured a patio instead of a balcony. We actually appreciated the patio, as we could walk right outside, and the kids could play in the snow. We were also just a few feet away from the creek, which gave us that relaxing feel while sitting on the chairs outside.

Our location was also within walking distance of one of the hot tubs, making it easy to go in and out without having to schlep through the hallways. But keep in mind that the rooms on the ground floor can get quite cold; it required us to crank up the heat a bit. If you run cold, you might want to steer clear of the first floor, but I personally loved the convenience of being able to walk right outside the back patio.

Hotel room patio. JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

Restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Vail

With many restaurant and dining options at the Grand Hyatt Vail, mealtimes at the property were incredibly easy.

Gessner Steakhouse & Bar

Gessner Steakhouse & Bar offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is where we ate breakfast every morning and where the hotel offers a large menu or a full buffet breakfast. I personally ordered off the menu each morning, but the buffet looked quite appetizing, too — especially since you can order an omelet with the buffet. Because of my Globalist status, breakfasts were included in our nightly rate. Without the Globalist benefit, the buffet is $22 per person. My children enjoyed pancakes every morning, which would’ve cost $19 without the free breakfast benefit.

Gore Creek Market

For breakfast — or just snacks, pastries, prepared sandwiches and more throughout the day — there’s the Gore Creek Market. This was a great grab-and-go option for us that we utilized at times for breakfast, post-ski snacks and even late-night ice cream. At the market, you’ll also find everyday essentials such as Advil, razors and water bottles. The market is the best way to go if you want to keep your food costs down — especially for breakfast.

Fireside Lounge

Off the lobby, there’s also the Fireside Lounge. This was an ideal place to sit and relax while listening to music and enjoying the views. With the fireplace going, you could get a drink, appetizers or a meal. Cocktails hover around $18. After 4 p.m., this was quite a lively and social area, with a patio off the back and steps down to the pool deck.

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

Makoto Vail

If you’re really looking to treat yourself, especially if you enjoy Japanese cuisine, there’s the brand-new Makoto Vail helmed by renowned chef Makoto Okuwa. We ate at this restaurant one night and absolutely loved the food, as well as the vibe. We also thought the pricing here was pretty reasonable — some of the items we ordered included ramen ($15), edamame ($8) and a salmon avocado roll ($16). For our family of four, the meal ended up costing about $130 with tip included. In fact, it was almost comparable to the cost of our room service the night before.

Activities at the Grand Hyatt Vail

Ice skating, sledding and daily treats

While our goal was to spend the bulk of our visit skiing, the hotel offers so much more. For the kids (or kids at heart), there’s an ice skating rink with complimentary ice skate rentals, sledding and daily treats at 4 p.m. From cookies and milk to s’mores, this was a great apres-ski activity for the entire family. There are also many fire pits around the property to sit and relax by.

Pool deck

The hotel also has a pool deck with a year-round heated pool and a hot tub. There’s a separate — and less crowded — hot tub at the back of the hotel, alongside the creek, too. This was a highlight for our family after a long day of skiing.

Game room

Just off of the market shop, there’s a small game room. Here, you’ll find two foosball tables, a life-size Connect Four and a comfortable TV area with video games. My kids loved being able to just go on their own and hang out after a day of skiing.

Seating area at the market and game room. JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

Topgolf Swing Suites

Possibly our favorite activity was Topgolf, which offers interactive games such as golf, soccer, hockey, dodgeball and carnival activities.

Located right on the property, the Topgolf Swing Suites make it possible to enjoy hours of incredibly fun entertainment without stepping foot off the property grounds. There are four reservation time slots available per day, allowing you to enjoy the suite in the morning, afternoon or evening. We thought the pricing was reasonable at $150, and although we just had our family of four, the suite can fit up to 12 people.

At each suite, there is a hostess who will teach you how to play and then also bring you food and drinks. The menu was similar to the regular restaurant menu, with many food and drink options. For a nonskiing activity, this ended up being a highlight, even for my daughter, who was hesitant going into it.

Ski valet at the Grand Hyatt Vail

One of the most convenient aspects of the hotel was the complimentary ski valet. Attached to the hotel, the ski valet makes it so you never have to go outside to boot up and get ready. The valet holds your skis and boots for you overnight, with the boots nice and warm in the morning when you retrieve them. There’s also plenty of seating with wire baskets to keep your shoes (or anything else) while you’re on the slopes.

At the ski valet, you can also rent skis (there are many package options), making your trip that much easier. We brought our skis from home with us, so I don’t have firsthand experience with renting here, but it looked to be an incredibly easy process. (You could even demo for the day.)

Besides the ski valet, there’s a small ski store. It came in handy when my daughter announced that her ski socks no longer fit, especially since pricing was comparable to any local shop.

Right outside the boot room, there’s the Cascade Village lift, taking you midway up the mountain. From there, you’ll notice a green trail to the Pride Express lift that will take you to the top of the mountain. Despite being all the way on one side of the mountain, we still found it easy to navigate to Vail’s famous Back Bowls, some of our favorite skiing while at Vail.

Note that when returning to the hotel on skis, the trails are primarily blue and black, but you can always get back down using the Cascade Village lift to avoid some of the harder runs, if needed.

Globalist benefits at the Grand Hyatt Vail

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

Those with Globalist status, Hyatt’s top-tier loyalty status, are treated very well at the Grand Hyatt Vail. In fact, there are many perks to make your stay that much more enjoyable. Due to having the World of Hyatt Credit Card and traveling quite often, my husband and I have maintained Globalist status for 15-plus years.

Since we used points to book the trip, resort fees were already waived at this property, but if we were staying during an off-peak time when it made more sense to pay for the room (instead of using points), we would’ve still had resort fees waived due to our Globalist status. Additionally, those with Globalist status on an award stay receive complimentary parking. At the Grand Hyatt Vail, parking is a hefty $55 per night, as only valet parking is offered, so with our status, we saved $110 by having this fee waived.

Another benefit for those with Globalist status is the full complimentary breakfast for up to two adults and two kids. During the check-in process, I was told about the benefit and informed that this perk could be used at the breakfast restaurant, for ordering room service or at the market — with no dollar cap.

We utilized the sit-down breakfast option both mornings and did a mix of ordering off the menu and the buffet, though one morning, my son preferred items from the market. This mix and match worked incredibly well for our family and allowed us an amazing, hearty breakfast before a long day on the slopes.

And, as mentioned before, the property seemed to be quite generous with room upgrades for those with Globalist status — or truly any status. We visited during school break, so the hotel was almost at capacity but was still willing to give us any room available, including a premium suite.

Accessibility

The Grand Hyatt Vail offers six different wheelchair-accessible room types with 32 inches of clear width, ranging from standard rooms to one-bedroom suites. All options have roll-in showers.

Throughout the hotel, you’ll find many wheelchair-accessible areas, including the lobby, several public spaces, the restaurants and the swimming pool (with a lift). The elevators also have brail, making it convenient for those with vision impairment needs.

The hotel felt very open, with wide hallways and doorways. I have a father-in-law in a wheelchair, and I felt as though he would have been able to navigate to many areas and into the elevators with no problem had he been traveling with us.

Additionally, aside from valet parking at the hotel, the concierges can help guests reserve accessible transportation for a fee with advance notice.

Alternatives to the Grand Hyatt Vail

JENNIFER YELLIN/THE POINTS GUY

If you aren’t swimming in Hyatt points and want to consider a different property — while still using some form of points — there are a few different options.

  • If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, you’ll want to consider The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort. This Lionshead Village property is within walking distance of the village’s gondola. However, we found the rates to be quite high, and even when using points, you’re looking at a hefty resort fee of $50 per night.
  • There’s also the brand-new Residence Inn Vail. Although not a ski-in, ski-out property, you’ll have access to complimentary breakfast and a free shuttle to the mountain. Stays on points are typically more reasonable, and there are no resort fees.
  • Hilton Honors members might want to consider the Highline Vail — a DoubleTree by Hilton. Although slightly removed from the mountain, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to three different locations to get you to the slopes easily.

Now, a popular question is whether one should stay at the Grand Hyatt Vail or the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek since both mountains are part of the Epic Pass and less than 20 minutes apart. While both mountains are amazing — and some skiers and riders prefer one over the other — if you are mountain-agnostic and basing it on which Hyatt property to stay at, here are my thoughts.

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a Category 8 property, making it more expensive than the Grand Hyatt Vail by 10,000 points per night during the peak winter season. That alone helped sway me to stay at the Grand Hyatt Vail, though I’ve stayed at both properties.

That said, there are pros and cons to both. The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek has a better location right at the base of the mountain and a nearby ski school — a huge convenience for some families. You are also within walking distance of the village, with a large ice skating rink surrounded by many stores and restaurants. However, when comparing the two properties against each other, I prefer the Grand Hyatt Vail. Both are wonderful, but the Grand Hyatt Vail has more of a resort feel, and its outside grounds — including the pool and the hot tubs — were top-notch.

Bottom line

For a two- or three-night trip, I would stay at the Grand Hyatt Vail property again. We had a fabulous experience and really appreciated the luxurious offerings. However, for a longer stay — or one where I want to explore more — I might opt to stay closer to Lionshead or Vail Village.

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