Welcome to Point Me to First Class, the only show for employed professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are looking to optimize their higher-than-average expenses to travel the world. I'm your host, Devon Gimbel, and I believe that your expenses are your greatest untapped asset if you know how to leverage them. Ready to dive into the world of credit card points and miles so you can travel more, travel better, and travel often? Let's get started.
Welcome back to the podcast everybody. I am recording this episode in February which means three things. Number one, we are about three months into winter here in the Chicago area with most likely another three months of winter to go. Even though it hasn't been too horrible so far this year, I'm always thinking about potential warm weather destinations where I can thaw out for a bit.
Number two, I'm about six weeks out from my family's next trip, my kid’s spring break in March, which I cannot wait for because we are heading to Costa Rica. We're going to be staying at a Hyatt resort that I continually hear people rave about, the Andaz Papagayo.
Number three, partially because it's one of the best ways to grab points deals but also partially because I'm compulsive when it comes to travel planning, I'm already thinking ahead to spring break 2025 and plotting out where we might want to travel then. My main criteria being that we need to be able to use points for our flights, our hotel stay, or both, and it has to be somewhere warm. Because I'm pretty much freezing from November through May, and all I want during this time is sunshine and heat. So I have warm weather destinations on my brain.
With that theme in mind, I wanted to do an episode today comparing three popular tropical Hyatt hotel properties where you can use points for your next warm weather vacation. The three Hyatt hotels that I'm going to be putting head to head are the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Hawaii, the Andaz Mayakoba in Mexico, and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts on the island of St. Kitts.
I actually visited all three of these properties in the last year. I've been to the Andaz Mayakoba and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts twice each over the last couple of years. So I've spent a good amount of time at these properties to give you an idea of what you can expect at each and which one might be the best fit for your travel plans.
Whether you're looking to head for warmer weather to thaw out from the winter, wanting a relaxing so location or trip with your partner, or taking the family for a beach vacation, there are so many great options to save a ton of money using points for a tropical hotel stay. So here's what you can expect on today's episode.
I'm going to break down for you the basics of these three height resorts including how much they cost in points, how much cash you can potentially save when you use points to book them, and how they stack up against one another when it comes to their rooms, the properties in general, their pools, the food, and some other unique features of each property.
I'm going to tell you which of these three properties is my favorite and which one I think is actually a little overrated, which might be a surprise. I'm hoping that today's episode will give you a little bit of guidance if a warm weather Hyatt hotel stay is on your travel wish list. So let's dive in.
First, let's talk location, where each of these properties are and how to get there. The Grand Hyatt Kauai is, not shockingly, located on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The Andaz Mayakoba is located on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, just south of the Cancun area, and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is located on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies in its eastern Caribbean Sea.
Now, how accessible each of these locations is to you will, of course, depend on where you're starting from as your home base. As someone who is situated in the Midwest of the US, Hawaii is actually the least accessible for us. It takes more flying time to get all the way over there than for us to get to Europe. So unless you're already located on or near the west coast, expect a trek to get there.
There are some airlines that fly directly into Lihue Airport on the island of Kauai, but otherwise you're probably looking at flying into Honolulu and then taking a quick connecting flight over to Kauai. Once you get to Kauai, the Grand Hyatt is just a quick and scenic 25 minute drive from the airport.
Now the Andaz Mayakoba is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico just south of the Cancun area where the Cancun Airport is located. Of the three properties that I'm reviewing on today's episode, I think this is probably the most easily accessible for lots of people since Cancun Airport is a major hub in Mexico. There are tons of direct flights from the US that service this airport daily, including all of the major domestic airlines like American, United, Delta, and Southwest.
Between Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean, this is the only location that I can fly to directly from Chicago, which might not be the case for you depending on where you're starting from, but it is more centrally located to much of the continental US than either Hawaii or the Caribbean. So this is a great option if you don't live on one of the coasts or if you just want to visit Mexico. Google Maps says that it's a 35 minute ride from the Cancun Airport to the resort. But in my experience, that's been more like 45 to 50 minutes with traffic, especially since the main road to the airport was recently under construction.
The last property in the trio that we're looking at today, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, is located on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies in the Eastern Caribbean Sea, a bit southeast of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Now, if you happen to live in Miami, you are in luck because American Airlines runs direct flights a few times a day from Miami to Robert L Bradshaw airport on St. Kitts. But otherwise, there are not a ton of direct flight options into St. Kitts.
Delta operates a direct flight from Atlanta, and United operates a direct flight from Newark. But other than those or American flights out of Miami, JFK, or Charlotte, you're going to be taking a connecting flight if you want to get here, but believe me when I say that it is worth it.
Once you do get to St. Kitts, getting to the resort from the airport is pretty quick and easy. You can just grab a taxi right outside the airport and be checking into your hotel room about 25 minutes later. As an aside, I really enjoy the drive from the airport to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.
Once you get outside of the more developed area around the airport and pass the resort complex on the west side of the island, there is a stretch of drive where you have the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. It is just really, really beautiful. If you're like me and you really like looking out of the water, grab a seat on the left hand side of the car on your way down to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts for the best views of the Caribbean Sea.
Now let's talk about what you need to know about how to book a stay at each of these properties. For those of you who are not yet super familiar with Hyatt and how they price award stays, let me first explain a little bit about the Hyatt award chart. Unlike some other hotel chains where the points price for rooms can fluctuate all over the place, Hyatt uses an award chart to price hotel stays for the majority of their properties. This award chart applies to all of the Hyatt Hotels, except for their all-inclusive properties and the Miraval properties, which both operate under separate award charts.
Hyatt categorizes all of its properties with a number ranging from one through eight. So category one hotels cost the least amount of points, or usually cash, to book, and category eight hotels cost the most amount of points to book. Additionally, each category has three different points prices for rooms, what's called off-peak pricing, standard pricing, and peak pricing.
But because of this award chart and it's three tiers of points pricing, you're always going to know how much a room is going to cost you to book in points. There's a ceiling on how many points Hyatt will charge you for a room or a suite at any particular property, even during really busy or high demand times of the year when the cash prices for the same room can be significantly higher than usual.
Another unique aspect of Hyatt is that you can use your points to book a standard room or even a suite as long as one is available on points. When it comes to suites, Hyatt has two different levels of suites that you can book. The first is standard level suites, which is their base category of suites. The second is premium level suites, which are a level above the standard suites and cost more points.
But if standard or premium suites are available to book using points, you can book yourself straight into those at the time of booking regardless of whether or not you have any status in the World of Hyatt program, which is just a really great option in my opinion.
In terms of categories, the Andaz Mayakoba was recently bumped from a category five to a category six hotel, and both the Grand Hyatt Kauai and Park Hyatt St. Kitts are category seven hotels. So these are all on the higher end of properties that you can book through Hyatt.
As a category six hotel, standard rooms at the Andaz Mayakoba are going to cost anywhere between 21,000 and 29,000 points per night depending on whether you're booking at off-peak, standard, or peak pricing. Standard level suites can be booked here for anywhere between 36,000 to 44,000 points per night, and premium level suites are going to run you 42,000 to 58,000 points per night.
Our most recent stay here was for a five day vacation in August before my kids went back to school, which is off-peak for this property. So we booked a standard room at 21,000 points per night for a total of 105,000 points. The same standard level room for those days would have cost about $2,900 to book using cash. So for those of you who are into calculating redemption value, that's a redemption value of 2.8 cents per point, which I think is solid.
Both the Grand Hyatt Kauai and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts are category seven hotels. So award stays here are going to cost a bit more. You can book a standard level room at either of these properties for anywhere between 25,000 to 35,000 points per night, a standard level suite for 43,000 to 53,000 points per night, or you can go straight for a premium level suite by paying anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 points per night.
Now at up to 70,000 points per night required for booking, these are not what I would consider budget properties. But the value of those points in terms of the cash cost that you can save can be substantial. For example, we visited the Grand Hyatt Kauai during spring break this past year and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts during winter break. So both of these were at peak pricing since these are some of the highest demand travel periods of the year.
For the Grand Hyatt Kauai, I booked us straight into a premium level suite for our seven night stay, which cost 358,000 points. But the cash cost of that same suite for our dates of stay was $17,400, which was a redemption value of 4.9 cents per point.
From a purely redemption value perspective though, the Park Hyatt St. Kitts stay was the obvious winner of the three properties. We originally stayed at this property the first time for part of my kids Winter Break in 2022. We liked it so much that I booked it for their entire winter break this past December for 10 nights.
Now here's something that you should know about Hyatt that I am not crazy about. I've seen this a lot more at their higher category properties than at the mid-tier and lower category properties. That is that I feel like they artificially limit room occupancy at some of their hotels. At the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, the standard king rooms and the suites have a max occupancy of three people, which frankly, I think is dumb. As much as I'm a huge Hyatt fan and a Hyatt loyalist, I am not a Hyatt evangelist. When they do dumb stuff, I'm going to name it.
Now it's one thing for hotel to have a max room occupancy of two or three people if the room is like 72 square feet total, or there are strict fire code or safety regulations like there are in many European hotels. That is not the case at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. The standard single king, standard suites, and premium suites are more than large enough to accommodate two adults and two kids. So I really don't like that many of the rooms have a max occupancy of three people.
But because of this, each time that we have visited the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, I've booked us into two standard connecting rooms because we have two adults and two kids. Then we've used suite upgrade awards that I get as a benefit of having Globalist status in the World of Hyatt program to automatically upgrade one of those rooms to a standard level suite.
Now here is the good news. I did ask the staff there the last time that we stayed how strict that room occupancy limit is. For example, our kids are still pretty small at eight and five years old. I asked that if we had booked a standard room or a standard suite for three people, could we have called and added the second child to the reservation. They said that they probably would have allowed that.
So for anyone checking out a Hyatt property where you see the max room occupancy is three people, it might be worth contacting the hotel just to see if a fourth person would be allowed on the reservation to save you from having to book two rooms. Now not every Hyatt Hotel is going to allow this, but it does sound like the Park Hyatt St. Kitts will allow four people in a room which is great.
But back to how I booked this stay. I booked two standard level rooms for 10 nights each. Since this was a period of peak pricing, each room costs 35,000 points per night for a grand total of 700,000 points for our entire stay. Yes, that is an obscene amount of points for one vacation, but this is where the potential value of using points for Hyatt stays is really evident, at least to me.
This is also why, in recent years, I have hoarded Chase points like they're little gold nuggets and use them almost exclusively to transfer to Hyatt. Because standard level rooms were pricing out at over $2,000 a night during the time period that we stayed, a 10 night stay in one room would have cost about $25,700. We booked two standard level rooms for our trip. So those 700,000 points saved us from spending what would have cost probably around $51,400 for two rooms over 10 nights. Which at a redemption value of 7.3 cents per point is pretty damn good.
Now I do want to say a few things here. First, I would not have spent $50,000 on this hotel stay. I don't know if I will ever spend $50,000 on a hotel stay, but that's not on the table for me right now when I have other financial priorities that I am allocating my disposable income towards. To me, this is the power of points. I don't have to spend $50,000 on what has become one of my favorite destinations because I have points.
I'm also not judging what anybody else chooses to spend their money on. I am all for your spending $50,000 on a hotel, on flights, or on a trip that brings joy to your life. In that case, just make sure that you're earning as many points as possible for that expense if you are going to pay out of pocket.
Now I'm telling you what I booked at these properties, how many points it cost, and how much those same rooms would have cost in cash for those same dates of stays so that you can get an idea of whether it'd be worth it for you to use your points at these properties and to understand what the potential value of those points can be.
For those of you who are wondering what points you can even use to book a stay at one of these hotels or any Hyatt property, there are three main sources of points that you can use for Hyatt stays. Number one is Hyatt points themselves that you have earned either through paid Hyatt stays or from earning Hyatt points on a Hyatt cobranded credit card from a welcome bonus or from putting spend on Hyatt credit card.
Number two and three is that Hyatt is a transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Bilt points. So you can earn Chase points with Chase rewards cards or Bilt points with the Bilt MasterCard and then transfer points from your credit card account over to your Hyatt account to use for points bookings.
Now that you know what to expect in terms of the potential points prices to book these resorts, I want to compare them head to head based on their properties, the actual rooms that I've stayed in, and their amenities like restaurants, pools, kids club. As well as highlight what I think each of these places does particularly well and areas that I thought were not as impressive.
As far as general property and layout, the biggest difference between these three destinations is just the sheer size of the hotel and grounds at Grand Hyatt Kauai versus the Andaz Mayakoba and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. The Grand Hyatt Kauai has 602 rooms and suites and is situated on 52 acres, making it by far the largest of three hotels that I'm comparing today.
Because of its size, this does not feel like a small boutique style hotel. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a mega resort, but it is a large property and some of the areas are fairly spread out. So expect a bit of walking to get from one end to the other. From the guest parking lot, for example, it took about 10 minutes to walk back to our hotel room if I was walking by myself and easily 23 minutes or more if I was dragging one or both of my children.
Now you probably won't mind that though because the grounds of this hotel are absolutely stunning. There are incredible ocean views from most of the public areas, really lovely gardens and lawns to wander through as you navigate around. There's also a pretty extensive pool area with several connected pools and a separate large lagoon style pool with like a sandy beach area and zero entry zone that's really great for people with small kids. I think that there's also a waterslide somewhere in the pool complex there, but I never found it because we mostly hung out at the lagoon type of pool.
But one thing that I did not personally love about the pools here is that for the size of the resort, it didn't seem like there was enough seating or enough pool chairs to me. It's a personal pet peeve of mine to stay somewhere where you have to go out and claim your pool chairs super early in order to be able to find two or three together in a decent location.
Or where people leave towels or personal belongings in order to claim pool chairs but then not come down to the pool until the afternoon for hours and hours. So no one actually has space for the people who are at the pool to have chairs. I feel like that happened not infrequently at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. For that reason, I didn't really love the pool situation there.
Now moving on to the other resorts. At 214 and 124 rooms respectively, the Andaz Mayakoba and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts are tiny in comparison to the Grand Hyatt Kauai. But both of them are equally beautiful in my opinion. The Andaz Mayakoba is situated in the Mayakoba complex south of Cancun which is a man made lagoon system that connects four hotel properties, the Fairmont, the Banyan tree, and the Rosewood hotel along with the Andaz Mayakoba.
The resort itself is functionally split between two areas called the lagoon side and the beach side, which are connected by an approximately one mile long path. Now, the lagoon side of the property is surrounded by canals and mangrove forests while the beach side of the property is obviously located on the beach with access to the ocean.
On the lagoon side of the resort are the majority of the hotel rooms and pools as well as several restaurants, the kids club, and the main check in area. The beach side of the resort has fewer rooms, a really great zero entry kind of family pool, and two restaurants.
Whether you're staying on the lagoon side or the beach side, you have full access to both areas of the resort, and you can get between them either by walking along the connecting path or by using one of many resort bicycles that are available around the resort or by catching a ride on a resort golf cart if you have children who refuse to walk more than seven steps at a time, if you have mobility issues, or if you're just tired and don't want to walk that far in the sun and the humidity.
I actually really loved walking the connecting path between the lagoon side and the beach side of the Andaz Mayakoba. It's really scenic, and it passes over lagoon canals in several areas. So it's just really nice for animal spotting and bird watching, and it's just really calm and peaceful.
I also really liked the pool situation at the Andaz Mayakoba. On the lagoon side of the property, there are several interconnecting smaller pools including some pools with more shallow areas for kids and an adults only pool. As opposed to the pool situation at the Grand Hyatt Kawhi, the pools of the Andaz word never crowded, and there always seemed to be plenty of chairs and even semi private cabanas open for use all day long. This is my kind of property. One that never feels crowded, even when the resort is at high occupancy.
Additionally, there's another pool on the beach side of the property that's great for adults and for kids. Even that pool didn't seem to get very crowded at any point throughout the day.
Moving on the Park Hyatt St. Kitts property is the smallest and the coziest of the three locations. The resort itself is located at the southernmost tip of the island, which is fairly sparsely populated. There are no other major hotels or resorts in the area. The resort is positioned in such a way that when you're on the property, it feels almost entirely secluded from everything else once you're there.
There are only 124 total rooms, including 47 suites on the property. These are arranged in small buildings of like four to six rooms apiece. I haven't been in every single one of the rooms there, but from the way that the buildings are positioned, I would guess that most of them have some view of the ocean and the resort grounds. I don't think that you would end up with a bad view in any of the buildings.
This is in contrast to the Grand Hyatt Kauai where then there's like an entire wing of one of the hotel buildings that has rooms that face the parking lot, which personally I don't think was particularly scenic. The other thing that I love about the Park Hyatt St. Kitts rooms is that they all have either a ground floor patio or a private terrace with some of the premium suites having enormous private outdoor spaces of over 700 square feet or more.
Opposed to the Grand Hyatt Kauai and the Andaz Mayakoba that both have multiple pools and more of a pool complex type of feel, there's only one main pool at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. But it has a couple of several different areas like a zero entry beach area that has some sand, a separate shallow section that's really great for kids, and then a much larger common pool area that is deeper.
There's also a separate adults only pool located somewhat above and behind the main pool, which is a great option for people traveling without kids or adults who are lucky enough to have kids who actually want to hang out at the kids club during the day.
When it comes to the grounds and the pool situation between the three Hyatt Hotels, I don't think that there's an obvious clear winner. Each of these properties are absolutely beautiful in different ways, and they all have great pool options. I think that the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is my personal favorite for seclusion, and the Andaz Mayakoba has the other properties beat in terms of how nice it is to walk around the property with its different areas.
Now, let's talk rooms. At the Grand Hyatt Kauai, we stayed in one of the premium level suites, the Ocean View suite, which was really big. I think it was over 1,000 square feet total. It had a separate bedroom, one and a half bathrooms, a large living room, a dining room, and a huge terrace with amazing ocean views.
This was absolutely fantastic for our family of four. I honestly don't think that you could go wrong with any of the suites at this property. The amount of space that you get, the private outdoor space with stunning views, and just the general design and decoration of the room. I think this was a fantastic value to book on points.
One thing that I would be aware of about this property though, as I kind of mentioned before, is that a significant portion of the rooms face away from the ocean with some of them overlooking the large guest parking lot. So if you do book a standard level room here, I'd probably be sure to request to have an ocean facing room if possible if that sort of thing matters to you.
Now the Andaz Mayakoba is much smaller than the Grand Hyatt Kauai, has 214 rooms, including 41 suites, and we have visited this property too. So we stayed in a standard level suite on the lagoon side once and a premium level suite on the beach side once.
The first time that we stayed at this property was back in December of 2019. That was actually before I had a lot of experience using points for hotel stays. So I actually booked that stay using Chase points through the chase travel portal. Yes, I did that thing with my points that I tell you all not to do. But I didn't know any better than, and that's okay.
For that trip, I think I use close to 350,000 Chase points to book a bilevel suite on the beach side of the property. But we ended up getting upgraded at check in to a beachfront bilevel suite because they were doing a bunch of construction around the area where our original suite was located.
I have to tell you, if you ever decide to visit the Andaz Mayakoba and you have the points or the cash to book the bilevel beachfront suite, it is incredible. It's basically your own little townhouse with a living room, dining room, bathroom, and kitchen on the first floor, and then a separate bedroom, a huge bathroom, and a private terrace on the second floor that overlooks the ocean.
It also has a private patio and a plunge pool at the ground level. You can walk straight from that outdoor area to the beach and the ocean. It’s just absolutely stunning. The only downside to staying on the beach side of this resort, in my opinion, is that the main restaurant where breakfast is served is located on the lagoon side. So you're either going to have to walk or ride a bike or call for a golf cart to get you over there in the morning. But other than that staying on the beach side is really great if you love ocean views, or if you want to stay on the smaller kind of quieter part of the property.
Now when we went back to that resort this past August, I booked us into a standard level room using points. Then I used a suite upgrade award that I get as a Globalist benefit to secure a standard level suite, the lagoon view plunge pool suite. Now for those of you who are not Globalists but you still want to book a suite, the great news is that there are tons of suites available at this property. So chances are good that you can use your points to book yourself directly into a standard level suite when you're making your reservation.
All of the suites here have their own private plunge pool, and I have to say that this was an absolute game changer for my family. I loved that my kids could plop around in our plunge pool for hours every day. I think one of the reasons that the main resort pools never feel overcrowded here is because so many people have access to private plunge pools in their suites.
I also love the general layout of the suite. The private pool is located on the terrace adjacent to the living room area of the suite, and the two are separated by a large window. So you can sit on the couch in the air conditioning and still be able to watch your kids in the pool the entire time. It's genius.
The standard suites here all have a separate bedroom and bathroom that you can block off from the main living area. We also had two private terraces. There was a small one off of the bedroom and then a larger one off of the living room that had a few seating areas and the plunge pool.
The rooms here at the Andaz Mayakoba are organized into small three story buildings with just a few rooms per floor. So there's a lot of space and privacy between the buildings. I really enjoyed staying on the lagoon side of the property for our most recent stay because the rooms overlook the canals and the mangroves, and it's really quiet and peaceful and most of the restaurants and pools are on the lagoon side so everything is really, really easily accessible.
Now for the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, I mentioned that I've stayed here twice, two years in a row. Each year we have had one standard two queen bedroom connecting to a beach front suite which is the standard level suite at this property. Now the two queen room is a great kind of standard hotel room. It's nice. It's spacious. There's enough room for a table and chairs in the room. Park Hyatt’s tend to have really, really large bathrooms.
One, I think the best features of the bathrooms at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is that they have like sliding doors or retractable walls. So if you want, you can fully enclose the bathroom for privacy. Or if you want to soak in the tub and literally look all the way out to the ocean, you can open up the retractable walls of the bathroom and just have really, really incredible views.
The bathrooms there also have a really large shower, a completely separate huge soaking tub, and dual sinks. Both of the times that we've stayed here, we've had ground level rooms, which I really liked because from those you can walk straight out from your patio out into the rest of the resort.
Now the standard level suite is even more spacious than the base level room with a separate bedroom that can be completely closed off from the living area with sliding doors, or they can be kept open. The living room has a large sectional kind of sofa and a table and chairs. So there's plenty of space for several people to hang out.
But my favorite feature of all of the rooms here is that the floor to ceiling windows or doors that lead out to the patio or terrace are completely retractable. So you can essentially open up the entire wall leading to the outdoor area which I love.
I don't think it's fair to try to rate or compare standard level rooms to suites to premium level suites. But I will say that of all of these three properties, I love the decor at the Andaz Mayakoba the most, and I think that the rooms are overall the best at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts when you factor in just how great and spacious the bathrooms are and the ability to open up those retractable walls to the outdoor spaces. I also have to give the Andaz Mayakoba extra points for having those private plunge pools in all of their standard level suites. This was such a huge hit with my kids.
Okay, now let's talk food and restaurants. I feel like I should preface this section by revealing to you all a very weird aspect of my psyche, which is that I hate spending a lot of money on food. I appreciate eating good quality food. I certainly want people to be compensated well for preparing food, but I hate spending money on food. Food is almost always a really expensive if not just frankly overpriced at resorts. I think this has to do with the entirely transient nature of food. Obviously you eat it, and then it's gone. Whether it cost $4 or $400, there's nothing tangible to hang on to after a meal.
But anyways, one of the reasons that I love having Globalist status with Hyatt so much is that we get free breakfast on all of our stays. That is not an insignificant benefit when you consider that breakfast for four people can sometimes run up to $200 a day like at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.
But here are my overall impressions and thoughts about the food options at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Mayakoba, and Park Hyatt St. Kitts. In terms of breakfast and your breakfast benefit if you are Globalist, I think the Andaz Mayakoba wins here. Breakfast is served at the main restaurant on a property called Cocina Milagro and includes both a huge buffet with Mexican and more continental options as well as prepared dishes from an ala carte menu.
For the gluten lovers out there, there's also an extensive bakery display including conchas, which are just phenomenal. I could consume my body weight in those each day. So do not miss the breakfast at Cocina Milagro if you do visit the Andaz Mayakoba.
Now, there are three other restaurants on property here including an Italian kind of seafood restaurant that's directly on the beach, a more casual poolside restaurant on the beach side of the property that serves fantastic dishes like ceviches and tacos, and a fine dining restaurant that I know nothing about since they don't serve chicken tenders and therefore we never ate there.
Now, one thing to mention about that Italian sort of seafood restaurant that is directly on the beach of the Andaz Mayakoba, the food there is phenomenal but when I say that this restaurant is on the beach, I mean on the beach. You will be sitting at a table. The table is sitting on top of sand. The chairs you're sitting in are on top of sand.
There's something's a little bit nice about having your feet in the sand while you're eating dinner, but I didn't love it. If it's windy, there's a lot of sand around. Again, if you have children, chances are they're not sitting politely and quietly at their little chairs the entire time. They're running around in the sand. They're getting their hands in the sand. Then you’ve got to figure out how to wash their hands before you all eat.
So if you want to try out I think it's called Sotavento is the restaurant name at the Andaz Mayakoba on the beach. Again, the food is amazing. My recommendations don't go there with your children. Or what you can also do is you can place an order there and then have them just package it up to go, and you can eat it either back in your room or you can eat it you know somewhere on site on the property where the actual dining situation is a little bit better. So that's just a word about that one restaurant.
As much as I love the breakfast at the Andaz Mayakoba, I cannot say the same thing about the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Now I mentioned before that one of the benefits of Globalist status with Hyatt is that breakfast is free. Now at resorts like the Andaz Mayakoba where there is no club lounge then you get breakfast at the main resort restaurant for free as a Globalist.
Now the Grand Hyatt Kauai does have a club lounge. So the options for Globalist is that they can eat breakfast there for free, but they don't get a free breakfast at the main hotel restaurant included as part of their status. I may be a huge outlier here, but I was incredibly underwhelmed with a club lounge at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. I thought the food options were really limited.
Remember, my bar when it comes to fine dining is pretty low. But stale bagels, some scrambled eggs, and coffee from a machine is not exactly a culinary dream come true.
As much as I was unimpressed with the breakfast offerings at the club lounge, remember also that I hate spending money on food. So I toughed it out for a few days. Then finally, we just gave up and insisted that we were either going to eat at the main resort restaurant for breakfast for more food options and better tasting food, or just go off property entirely and eat at local restaurants. So we ended up paying for breakfast at the main restaurant on property for the remainder of this day, and everybody was happier for it.
Then in terms of the other restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, I actually can't offer much useful information because we mostly ended up eating at local places outside of the resort. I love that this is such an easy option. It's so easy to do if you do have a rental car with you on the island.
But if you do have a plan to stay here, make sure that you check out the little coffee stand that's about five minutes up the road from the resort. It's called Little Fish Coffee. It is incredible. Also make sure that if you're going to have dinner outside of the resort, make reservations. All of the local restaurants were packed every single night the entire time, even as early as five, which is when my family eats dinner because we have little kids and also we're geriatric and we can't stay up late.
So while we barely ate on property at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, we almost exclusively ate on site at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. If there's one thing that you need to know about the food options at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts it is this. They are fantastic, and they are expensive. Okay, that's two things.
But the Park Hyatt St. Kitts has four main restaurant options. There's the Great House which serves continental fair and is where the breakfast is served. There's Fisherman's Village, which serves seafood and Kittitian cuisine. There's the Pool Bar that has things like salads and burgers and sandwiches. There is the Stone Bar, which is an adult's only fine dining restaurant, which means I know nothing about it.
Here is the good thing about the food options at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. Overall the food is fantastic. I thought there was a ton of variety, and I didn't get bored with the options even at the end of a 10 day stay. Now if you do not have dietary restrictions that prevent you from eating seafood, be sure to order the coconut prawn curry at Fisherman's Village and thank me later. It has to be one of the 10 best things I've ever eaten in my life.
Now here is the bad thing about the food options a Park Hyatt St. Kitts, it is crazy expensive. I don't even mean just for people with weird hang ups about food prices like me. I mean, it is objectively expensive. Because not only is the food itself really pricey, but every time you order there's also an 18% service tax and another like 15% something-something tax.
So all of your food bills are the cost of what you ordered plus easily another 30% or more. That adds up, especially if your family demands to eat several meals a day like mine. So I just made peace with the fact that we were going to be spending $400 to $500 a day on food for the four of us. That's not even including breakfast, which thankfully we got entirely free as Globalists.
Here is another thing that you need to know about the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, and that is that the coffee is terrible. I am no coffee aficionado, but I do know the difference between crap coffee and not crap coffee. The coffee here is pretty crap. Just go here knowing that. You'll be less disappointed.
So when it comes to the dining options and the food, here's how the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Mayakoba, and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts compare. Worst breakfast option for Globalists and most underwhelming lounge award goes to the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Take advantage of the great local eateries and restaurants and grab a bunch of food off site here or hit up the Costco on your way in from the airport for provisions.
The Andaz Mayakoba and Park Hyatt St. Kitts both have phenomenal breakfast, especially for Globalists who get to eat free, but the Andaz Mayakoba wins for the tastiest breakfast options. Otherwise, both the Andaz Mayakoba and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts have several solid restaurants with a good range of food options for your meals. But start putting money away, extra money into a food fund for the Park Hyatt St. Kitts now if you have a stay planned there because you are going to need it.
Now, two additional things to know when it comes to food costs and options at these resorts. At the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, kids five and under eat free. Entirely, like all their meals, all their food free. That is a huge cost savings particularly at this resort. So if you have little ones, go here before they're six, order all the smoothies or burgers that they want so that you can steal what is left.
Also the Andaz Mayakoba does not charge for food for kids, and I can't remember if the cutoff was five and under or six and under, but definitely make sure that you ask about that if you go here. Again, to be able to have one or multiple kids eat entirely free during a stay can be a huge cost savings.
Now, another option that I would have seriously considered if we didn't have breakfast included for free as Globalist is that the Andaz Mayakoba and Park Hyatt St. Kitts both offer an all-inclusive meal package that you can add separately as an add on to your reservation after booking your room.
Now you can request more information about their all-inclusive food packages by emailing the hotel concierge after booking, but I think that if you do not have Globalist status, this could actually be a really, really solid option for food and drinks at these resorts so that you aren't stressing out over every $8 iced tea that your husband orders, which is honestly a ludicrous amount for like four ounces of iced tea. But really, check out all the all-inclusive food options at the Andaz Mayakoba and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.
Now one of the questions that I get most often about different Hyatt resorts when I travel is what are the kids clubs like? I wish I could give you some useful information about that. But unfortunately, I can't because my kids refuse to go to kids clubs because they're little human barnacles that don't want to detach from us on vacation.
But here is what I can tell you. When we were at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the kids club was entirely shut down, and there wasn't any information about when or if it was going to reopen. The Andaz Mayakoba and Park Hyatt St. Kitts both have operational kids clubs, and they both looked great from the entryway from what I could tell before my kids turned around and ran out.
The kids club at Andaz Mayakoba is located on the lagoon side of the resort and is mostly indoors with several play areas and also scheduled activities during the day that your kids can sign up for like crafts. The kids club at Park Hyatt St. Kitts looks other level, like absolutely incredible.
It has both an indoor and a huge outdoor area that is fenced in so the kids are totally contained and safe. It's got a climbing wall, slides, a basketball hoop, an entire playground. They also have scheduled kids activities twice daily here that sounded really, really fun to do, unless you're my kids. But I would consider the kids club at Andaz Mayakoba and Park Hyatt St. Kitts fantastic amenities for most people traveling with kids.
All right. Before I give you my final ratings in this head to head contest of tropical Hyatt resorts, I wanted to shout out one final thing about each property that I loved. Starting with the Grand Hyatt Kauai, this is not going to sound like the most glamorous amenity in the world. But I think this is the number one amenity that more hotels should offer guests that has the highest potential positive impact on them, and that is access to free laundry facilities.
I cannot stress enough how amazing it is at the Grand Hyatt Kauai has public use laundry facilities in each building for hotel guests. In terms of vacation quality of life improvers, this has got to be at the top of the list, or at least at the top of my list. When you come back four or five outfits instead of 23 for each of your kids because you know that you could do laundry every day if you needed to, it means that you can travel carry on only, you don't get frustrated when they spill ice cream or ketchup on their shirt for the third time in one day, and you're less likely to lose your mind when their clothes get covered with beach sand.
We have had to send, unexpectedly, clothes for laundry at both the Andaz Mayakoba and Park Hyatt St. Kitts because kids, and it is always obscenely expensive. Park Hyatt Kauai gets 10 stars, 20 stars for having on site laundry facilities.
Honorable mention for highlight at the Andaz Mayakoba is their free nature boat cruise that you can take. The entire Mayakoba complex is connected by canals. You can tour that whole area on the nature of boat cruise.
Both times that we have visited this property, the boat cruise has been a favorite for both my kids and the adults. It's a really lovely way to spend about an hour. The guides are really fantastic. They point out wildlife, especially things you know like the caiman, the little baby crocodiles, the turtles for your kids to look at, and it's just a really relaxing way to tour the entire complex by boat.
Now the best intangible feature of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is the service. Everyone here is really attentive and provides great personalized service. I have to give a special shout out to their concierge who really went out of their way and helped me find a pharmacy on the island that actually had delivery services so that I could get some medicine delivered straight to the hotel when one of our kids was kind of dealing with an issue that wasn't going away while we were there. Their concierge really went above and beyond for us, and it was just so appreciated.
Okay, you have now heard the good, the dreamy, and the not so good about the Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Mayakoba, and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. But which one would I rank the highest in a head to head coach contest? Well, first of all, this is obviously entirely subjective. The truth is that all three of these properties are fantastic and a great use of points. I think that you can have a phenomenal vacation at any one of them.
But from most favorite to least favorite I would rank these as number one, Park Hyatt St. Kitts. The location is secluded and stunning. The rooms are beautiful and the food is great, if not outrageously expensive. There's a reason that we came here two years in a row, and this is just a really special property. Whether you're traveling alone, looking for a getaway with your partner, or traveling with family or kids, I think this is an absolutely fantastic resort.
Coming in at number two is the Andaz Mayakoba. This resort is so easily accessible for most people located in the US. The property is really fun with the lagoon side and the beachside locations, has a really casual atmosphere with great pools, great restaurants, and it's a great value for the points especially if you score a suite with a private plunge pool. This resort is great for families, but it could also be wonderful for an adults only trip.
Finally coming in at number three, and I acknowledge this is a bit of heresy in the points travel world, but it's my opinion and I'm sticking to it, is the Grand Hyatt Kauai. There are a lot of fantastic things about this property. But the difficulty in getting there from the Midwest and the sprawling and kind of mega resort feel to it made it fall down the list for me when compared to the other two options. Now I am probably an outlier here since so many people absolutely rave about this property, but it's not one that I'm dying to return to.
So there you have it. A head to head comparison of three tropical Hyatt resorts that you can book on points. I hope this episode has been a fun one for you, especially if one or more of these properties has been on your points travel wish list. I wish you happy points travel planning, happy points travel traveling. I will see you back here same time next week for another episode of the Point Me to First Class podcast. Have a great week everybody.
Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of Point Me to First Class. If you want more tips on turning your expenses into travel, visit pointmetofirstclass.com to learn more. See you next week.