Hyatt Opens Its New “Lifestyle Brand” Hotel On South Beach

Hyatt Centric South Beach Bedroom

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Back in January this year Hyatt announced that it was going to launch another hotel brand (to go along with its other 9 brands) to fill, what I assume is, a perceived gap in their portfolio.  Hyatt decided that it needed a “Lifestyle Brand” to add to its hotel collection so it created “Hyatt Centric”.

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If you’re wondering what that means, or what it’s meant to signify, this is what Hyatt had to say:

“The Hyatt Centric name was inspired by the brand’s mission of putting its guest at the center of the action in the best destinations.”

Ensuring they lived up to the PR cliché of not making much sense, the Hyatt press release went on to say:

“From listening to our guests, we learned there was an opportunity to better meet the needs of a large group of travelers that we call Modern Explorers. These travelers are looking for a cosmopolitan vibe in the center of the action, so we worked to test various elements in real time, in real hotels over the past two years. Hyatt Centric is the culmination of that work,”

Leaving aside the fact that this sounds like Hyatt admitting that none of their other brands have properties that are either cosmopolitan or “in the center of the action” this raises two questions:

  1. Why would an “explorer” put so much stock in being in the “center” of somewhere? Aren’t they there to explore?
  2. Why would an “explorer” care about their hotel having a “cosmopolitain vibe” – won’t they be out exploring all day and night?

The truth of the matter is that this new brand has less to do with catering to a crowd that Hyatt has been ignoring and more to do with ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ – this new brand is Hyatt’s reaction to Starwood’s W Hotel chain (which has been around for a while), Marriott’s Moxy brand (also launched in January) and IHG’s Indigo Hotels.

W Hotels Sign

Image courtesy of Neil Kremer

In case you hadn’t already guessed, I abhor “lifestyle brands”. If there are two words that epitomise “style-over-substance” more than those two then I’ve yet to hear them. The W Hotels are a perfect example of what’s wrong with this type of property – their US hotels are almost all noisy, dark, gaudy and incredibly overpriced, their London hotel has some serious design flaws in its standard rooms and you have to travel all the way to Asia before you’ll find a W where the service is any good (and that’s thanks to local culture rather then anything the brand is doing).

When it was unveiled in January, Hyatt Centric promised a quick roll out of hotels this year and they appear to be keeping to their word. Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago opened in April and now Hyatt Centric South Miami Beach has officially opened its doors as well.

The hotel is located at 1600 Collins Avenue which puts it just north of Ocean Drive and a block from the beach.Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 21.17.54

The property is home to 105 guest rooms (including two suites), a restaurant that’s open throughout the day and a bar.

The recreational facilities include:

  • a “fitness studio” with cardio equipment and weights
  • a 3rd floor outdoor pool with sun loungers and cabanas
  • Recreational bicycles

The only pictures that appear to be available right now are artists renderings from Hyatt and, I have to confess, they look nice and, more importantly to me, look nothing like the inside of a W.

Hyatt Centric South Beach BedroomHyatt Centric South Beach BathroomHyatt Centric South Beach Bedroom

I genuinely hope this new brand works out for Hyatt because I’m a big fan of the chain – if they avoid the trap of believing the nonsense their PR machine spat out they may just do ok.  If they don’t focus on being ‘hip’ at the expense of service, quality and value they’ll be on the right track.

Right now it’s very early days for this new brand and there’s not much data to go on but early reviews of the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago have been mixed…but then there’s only been 18 of them:

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It’s interesting to note that it’s the service and value scores that are the ones already lagging behind the other aspects of the hotel experience. These could be just part of the teething problems that all hotels go through when they first open so let’s hope it’s just that. We don’t really need another chain of W Hotels on our hands.

Hyatt knows how to put together a hotel and how to treat its guests – I love their Park Hyatt hotels which, to my mind are some of the very best hotels you’ll find in major cities – so, in theory, they should know what they’re doing. It will be interesting to see what happens as these hotels get more guests through the doors, more reviews are posted  and as more Hyatt Centric properties open throughout the year. I’ll be watching those service and value scores very closely.

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