On a trip to Washington DC, my family was able to stay at a familiar hotel. The little things make all the difference, especially hotel service.
Returning to a Familiar Hotel
As part of a recent trip to Washington DC (I’ve actually been through the Capital three times in the last 15 days) my family traveled independently and met me there – more on that shortly.
We selected the Hyatt Regency Crystal City for proximity to others I was traveling with to the city and we were reminded why we love not only that property but also the city in general. We had stayed at the hotel several times in the past, however, this was the first time really exploring the city for my family from that hotel.
A few quick notes on the property though an updated review is upcoming.
- The guest rooms seemed refreshed though photos suggest the same decor as our prior stay – either way, it felt new to us.
- Service was impeccable at every turn
- Ubers into the city and major landmarks were surprisingly inexpensive and eliminated the need to do more on trips into the city because the transportation costs weren’t a penalty.
Service For My Family
As I mentioned, I traveled separately meeting my family at the property after check-in. At some properties, the front desk might make this an issue. Sam – get used to that name, I will mention it a lot – made it as easy as possible and treated my family as they would if I had checked in personally. I was on the reservation as a Globalist, but we stayed on my wife’s credit card category 1-4 certificates for the front end of our stay.
Sam could have opted not to upgrade us due to my absence. He didn’t do that. Sam could have made us check out and check back in rather than merging the reservation. He didn’t. Sam could have opted not to give them additional benefits like early check-in, or breakfast details. He didn’t. He opted for excellent customer service.
But that was really just the start.
Housekeeping is reduced at the hotel, as it is everywhere, but Sam sent up additional towels and toiletries. He greeted all of us individually or as a group by name when we passed through the lobby. If you’re an employer, find a Sam and do whatever you have to do to keep him. There are many beautiful hotels in the Washington DC area, but I doubt we will try them any time soon as a result of our experience. It’s worth a little bit extra (points or cash) for those that go beyond what the standard business hotel offers.
Coming back from the city one afternoon, our seven-year-old daughter was excited. She wanted to have a “fancy” dinner and after all, it was a mini-vacation, why not? They went shopping and bought some new items for the evening and Sam took note. My daughter asked where they should go and he made a recommendation. While I would have opted for a – ahem – slightly less fancy restaurant, his recommendation was fantastic.
He insisted on taking our photo before we went out to his recommendation, Fiola Mare on the Washington harbor.
Our daughter was able to order a “fancy drink” a berry mocktail. It was delicious and if it were an alcoholic version, it would be dangerous.
We moved on to an appetizer that doubled as dinner and a show. The burrata and nitro pesto was thrilling and reminded us of the amazing Gaggan (now closed) for its molecular gastronomy. The burrata came out and then a mortar and pestle with pesto ingredients were treated with nitrogen, ground, then poured over the top of the cheese where its moisture completed the pesto transition as it mixed in.
We all ordered pasta. Lucy had the Cacio e Pepe which she accurately rated a 7/10 (she insists mine is better, I didn’t argue), my wife ordered a seafood pasta, and I had a tortelloni bolognese in a crudo brodo. Mine was one of the most inventive I’d tried with the tortelloni stuffed with a perfect bolognese as opposed to dropped over the top.
The restaurant sent around a pair of desserts as we were celebrating. They personalized a note to my daughter as well.
The recommendation from Sam was an extension of his service and thus the hotel. Our experience at the restaurant was exquisite as was the rest of his service. It’s front desk employees like Sam that solidify our relationship with Hyatt and make us all feel truly appreciated. His service made all the difference.
What do you think? Have you had outstanding service at a hotel that made your trip?