CHICAGO-Fourteen Hyatt Place Hotels, a new hotel brand introduced by Global Hyatt Corp., have opened and two to three hotels are expected to open each week through the fourth quarter. The company, based here, plans for 120 Hyatt Place hotels to be open by year’s end. The select service hotels are designed to both enable Hyatt to enter secondary and tertiary markets, in addition to offering consumers a hotel option with the latest technology and a more informal atmosphere, says senior vice president Jim Chu.

Hyatt launched the new brand to offer a “Hyatt-like” experience in suburban, secondary and tertiary markets where it was not feasible to have a 400-room hotel, Chu says. The prototype for the hotel is 127 rooms with the current Hyatt Place hotels ranging in size from 127 to 150 rooms, he says.

The new hotels will have “next generation” entertainment with 42-inch flat screen high-definition televisions with stereo quality sound that guests can plug their MP3players or laptops into, he says. The entertainment systems “create an experience in the hotels very much like what you have at home, or aspire to,” he says. The hotels will also have free Wi-Fi access both in the rooms and common areas with a “Print Me” feature. With the “Print Me” feature, a guest is given a code when they want to print a document and is able to have the document print in the hotel’s business center, Chu says.

As opposed to lobbies, the Hyatt Place will have “galleries” with a host who greets guests and seating areas including a coffee bar, den with a television and kitchen/pantry area. The coffee bar will also serve beer and wine in the evenings. The hotels will also have pools and fitness centers.

A study commissioned by Hyatt found that the respondents do not necessarily separate their personal and professional activities and that, when working at home, 71% also watch television, 53% listen to music and 59% use the internet. Additionally, people were looking for a “consistent dining experience” with “quality food,” Chu says. The hotels will have restaurants that have quality dining that is “consistent hotel to hotel” but that do not compete with existing restaurants, he says.

In 2005, Hyatt purchased the AmeriSuites hotels, and many of them are being remodeled into the Hyatt Place hotels. The new guest rooms are being fully renovated with beds and beddings, the entertainment centers, a paneled wall to separate the sleeping area from the seating area, new “wall finishes” granite countertops for the bathroom and coffee/bar area, new carpentry and the addition of a roller bag storage area. Additionally, corridors are being renovated in addition to remodeling the lobby into the gallery area to make it “more like if you were coming into a home,” Chu says. The cost of the renovations is approximately $25,000 per guest room or approximately $3 million per hotel, Chu tells Starting in 2008, Hyatt expects all additional Hyatt Place hotels to be new construction, Chu says.

The first of the Hyatt Place hotels opened in Lombard, IL in March 2005. Hyatt Place hotels are currently open in and around Chicago, Atlanta; Phoenix; Cincinnati; San Antonio; Louisville, KY and Nashville.

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