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Back in the fall, I took the opportunity of a gap between the first two lockdowns in the UK to pay a visit to the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill to take a look at what London’s most central Hyatt property has to offer. I stayed at the Churchill for a total of five nights and although COVID-19 restrictions were still in force, they didn’t have a major impact on the experience or on what the Hyatt Regency offers.
Thanks to my healthy Chase Ultimate Rewards balance, I had the option of paying for this stay with Hyatt Points (via points transferred over from Ultimate Rewards), with Ultimate Rewards Points via the Chase portal, or with cash.
Despite the nightly rate for my stay being just £217/night including taxes and fees (~$282/night)…
…I elected to pay 25,000 points per night for a standard 1 King Bed room instead.
On the face of things, that may seem like a truly woeful return on my Hyatt Points (around 1.12 cents each), but because this booking took place during Hyatt’s amazing fall Bonus Journey promotion, and because my newly acquired (at that time) World of Hyatt credit card (review) gave me World of Hyatt elite status, I was given a 25% rebate on my booking.
In total, I ended up paying 93,750 points for a booking that would have otherwise have cost me £1,085/$1,411. That’s a return of almost exactly 1.5 cents per point which while nothing special at all, suited me just fine.
The Hyatt Regency London The Churchill takes up the west side of Portman Square in London’s Marylebone district and as such, it sits 5 minutes walk from Marble Arch Underground station and 10 minutes walk from Bond Street Underground station (good news for when Crossrail finally opens and offers services from Heathrow through Bond Street).
The property is also within a 2-minute walk from London’s main shopping thoroughfare (Oxford Street) and all the bus routes which that street offers (too many to list).
Location-wise, the Churchill does very well, and the area immediately around it is nice (if you avoid Oxford Street which is just full of tourists).
Anyone planning on staying at this property should consider buying London’s Hidden Walks: Volume 2 (you can buy it from Amazon in the UK and have it delivered to the hotel which much cheaper than buying it in the US) and follow the Marylebone Walk (walk #2 in the book). The self-guided walk starts at Marble Arch and is a great way to see and learn about a part of London that’s well worth a visit and that most tourists never see.
Entry & Check-In
You enter the Hyatt Regency London through the main doors that are partly concealed from the rest of Portman Square by the property’s impressive facade.
The check-in desks are to the right as you enter through the hotel’s large doors and a wide hallway runs parallel to the front of the hotel – from the check-in desks at one end…
…through to a sitting area and one of the two restaurants attached to the hotel at the other end.
Check-in was efficient and swift, but as I only held entry-level World of Hyatt Discoverist status at the time of this trip (courtesy of my World of Hyatt credit card), there was no upgrade forthcoming (one wasn’t expected or requested).
The front desk agent informed us of all the various COVID precautions that the property had put in place, let us know which amenities were available and which were not, and offered us the option of daily housekeeping or housekeeping on a schedule that suited us better.
First impressions were good. The property looked nice, the staff seemed very friendly and the hotel had clearly taken significant steps to keep staff and guests safe during the pandemic (hand sanitizing stations were easy to find, all staff wore masks and visors, and there was a very obvious effort being made to wipe all surfaces down after guests had moved on).
Elevators & Public Areas
The main elevators are to the left of the main entrance (as you walk into the property) and sit between reception and the hotel restaurant. As this was a stay during the time of COVID, the elevators were limited to three riders and, just in case people forgot that they were expected to give each other a little space, the hotel had marked out where guests were expected to stand.
The elevator lobbies on each of the floors are huge…
…and they give the property a very nice feeling of space as you get out of the elevator on your floor. Surprisingly (for a city-center property), the feeling of space continues into the hallways which offer plenty of lighting and the same decor as the elevator lobbies.
Standard 1 King Bed Room
The door to the room held a sign indicating that the room we were about to enter had been “cleaned and sealed” for guest safety…
…and it opened up to reveal a standard (for this grade of property) hotel room.
A standard 1 King room at the Hyatt Regency London offers 270 sq ft (25 sqm) of space with a “plush” king bed…
…a reading chair and a work desk…
…and a 42″ flat-screen TV mounted on the wall (opposite the bed) above a unit containing the minibar and tea/coffee making facilities.
Both sides of the bed have USB ports and power outlets (visitors from the US will need adapters)…
…and the work desk is particularly well equipped with power options.
The room’s closets offer ample space (although a few more drawers would be nice)…
…and this is where you’ll find the in-room safe (which, despite its size, somehow manages to hold a 15″ Macbook).
Some of the hotel’s rooms will have views over Portman Square, but this particular room looked out over a street to the side of the hotel.
The bathroom isn’t large but it’s still a good size. It offers a single vanity unit…
…a very good shower (no bath)…
…Pharmacopia Argan amenities…
…and, to my surprise, a Japanese-style toilet with a full complement of controls:
All things considered, this was a nice room to stay in. There was no noticeable noise from the outside, there was more than enough space for two people (it didn’t feel cramped or claustrophobic), the bed was very comfortable to sleep in, there were a few nice touches (given the circumstances) – like an abundance of hand wipes (replaced daily) and a very clearly sanitized remote control (sanitized every day) – and the water pressure in the shower was excellent.
Considering this is an entry-level room at the Hyatt Regency London, the size and the comfort are impressive.
Eateries & The Bar
The Hyatt Regency London’s main restaurant is called the Montagu Kitchen and is where the hotel serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Note: The Montague Kitchen would normally have considerably more tables than this. What you see above is the set-up for COVID distancing in 2020.
Adjacent to the Montagu Kitchen (and, essentially, part of it) is a seating area where guests can enjoy food, snacks, and beverages throughout the day.
During the time of COVID, the Montagu Kitchen offers guests QR codes (placed on each table) which a smartphone’s camera can scan and open up a website displaying the restaurant’s menus.
The Hyatt Regency London is also home to Locanda Locatelli, a Michelin-starred restaurant offering fine Italian dining from Chef Giorgio Locatelli. Anyone wishing to try out this location should make sure they try to book a table well in advance – link.
The bar at the Hyatt Regency is small but very memorable and it has a great Art Deco look to it.
Attached to the bar is a reasonably-sized terrace where, in true Winston Churchill style, guests can enjoy a cigar (purchased from the bar or brought in from outside) with blankets provided for the colder evenings and nights.
As with the Montagu Kitchen, the Churchill Bar offers visitors a menu (of snacks, bar food, and drinks) via QR code…
…and even makes sure that the complimentary snacks (provided at each table) are served in individual bags for maximum hygiene (why weren’t we demanding this before the pandemic?!).
While I didn’t get around to trying out the Montagu Kitchen (breakfast wasn’t included in my stay), I did get a chance to try out the food and drinks in the bar – both were very good. Best of all, however, was the friendliness and attitude of the staff who managed to be attentive without going over the top, and who went out of their way to make sure that hotel guests were well looked after (the bar is popular with visitors from outside the hotel too).
Overall, I was impressed with the Hyatt Regency London. The property’s location is excellent for exploring central London; the staff that I interacted with were all very welcoming, helpful, and polite; the entry-level room was a good size and very comfortable, and the hotel bar looks good and offers guests a convivial atmosphere in which to relax.
As importantly (given the time that I visited the property), the Hyatt Regency has clearly made a big effort to give guests the confidence that their well-being had been considered and that no corners have been cut in making sure that the common areas and cleaned frequently and that the rooms are cleaned thoroughly. Some of the other hotels that I’ve visited during COVID could learn a lesson here.
I was already planning to return to this property sooner rather than later but now having written this review and having reminded myself of how much I enjoyed this stay, I think I may make this the first property I visit once the latest UK lockdown is over.