Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hyatt Place in Bethlehem

I happened to be visiting the new Hyatt Place (45 W. North Street at Guetter Street, Bethlehem) at the same time as WFMZ reporter Jaccii Farris and her camera guy. I barely escaped the lens as I visited with Maria in the sales office. Click the link above for the story.

The hotel's grand opening is next week, but I had a chance to see it before the crowds. After managing housing for lots of people in my last job, and traveling quite a bit myself, I can appreciate the amenities the hotel offers visitors to Bethlehem.

First, technology and contemporary living style rules. There's a check-in kiosk (like you'd find at an airport). Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Two computers in the lobby provide free faxing and printing for guests. Each room has a mini-fridge. The gym and pool are small but modern (so the whole building does not smell like chlorine). And, the property is 100% smoke-free.

I was most impressed by the hotel's 24/7 "Guest Kitchen" (pictured below). At any time of day or night, the same staff that can check you in or get you another pillow (they call them gallery hosts) will also make you a hamburger, ice cream sundae or cobb salad. You can place an order on a touch screen that is reminiscent of Wawa's. You can also grab a cup of real Starbucks coffee and something to eat in a case that looks a lot like the kind you'd find in a Starbucks cafe. Nothing they're offering is revolutionary, but touches like those make traveling more comfortable.

In addition, there are lots of little nooks, including in the lobby ("gallery") and in each of the rooms. The sofabed in each room has a huge cushioned ottoman that would be perfect for curling up with a book, or to watch bad late night TV on your 42" flat panel screen (see below).
There is a 70-person flexible meeting room, as well as some space off the dining area that could be set for a 20-person dinner (including on the patio) - perfect for a rehearsal dinner or other private meal. Some catering is done on-site, but the Apollo Grill will cater a full menu for private events.
So with all these amenities, you are probably wondering - how much? I checked the rack rate for tonight, and it's $139 for a room with a queen bed, about the same as Hotel Bethlehem.

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