My favorite hotel stays of 2012

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2012 marked a significant shift in the way I think about and target aspirational hotel stays.  In the past few years, my goal was to land suites, suites and more suites at as many W and St. Regis properties as I could find.  I had good success using that strategy however I eventually hit a road block with SPG because their very best properties are a poor use of the very valuable SPG currency (35k+ per night). Hyatt, on the other hand, has a very reasonable top tier redemption structure requiring 22k for their best properties.

In compiling my top 5 hotel stays of the year, the most obvious observation is that every property is a category 5 or 6 Hyatt.  While I stayed at some admirable SPG properties and chose their program as my primary hotel for earning, Hyatt was the clear winner when deciding to burn my points.  The other interesting observation for me was how many deluxe rooms made the list over suites.  Three out of the top five rooms, including my favorite stay all year, were in deluxe rooms as opposed to suites. Here are my top 5 favorite rooms from 2012.

5. Park Hyatt Tokyo – Park Suite King

4. Hyatt Regency Kyoto – Deluxe Balcony Twin

3. Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa – Deluxe Tatami Twin

2. Park Hyatt Washington DC – Ambassador Suite




1. Park Hyatt Sydney – Opera Deluxe




Honorable Mentions
W Fort Lauderdale (Two Bedroom Suite w/ Kitchen), Westin Miyako Kyoto (One Bedroom Suite), Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (Standard Room), Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas (One Bedroom Suite w/ Kitchen), Tambo Del Inka (One Bedroom Suite), W Santiago (One Bedroom Suite), JW Marriott Lima (Standard Room), St. Regis Washington DC (Standard Room), St. Regis Washington DC (One Bedroom Suite), Radisson Blu Longyearbyen (Standard Room), Radisson Blu Oslo (Standard Room), Marriott Nagoya (Standard Room), Park Hyatt Tokyo (Deluxe Room)

And finally, a few scary hotel statistics from my year to make you feel better about NOT being a road warrior.
SPG Totals
100 Paid Nights
18 Award Nights
Hyatt Totals
47 Paid Nights
17 Award Nights
Marriott Totals
7 Paid Nights
6 Award Nights
Club Carlson Totals
4 Paid Nights
3 Award Nights
Hilton Totals
1 Paid Night
Total Nights in a hotel in 2012
203 Nights (~56% of the year)

Where was your favorite hotel stay?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. #1. Waldorf Astoria Chicago, hands down! My favorite place on earth. Going there again this weekend for $187/nt ((normally > $500) for a 900+sf Astoria suite with the Hilton Friends and Family promotions, with likely upgrade with my Hilton Gold.

    #2. Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach with an Ocean View. View included view of the Bagpiper at dusk. Can see/hear him while sitting by the fireplace. Gorgeous.

  2. wow — in Japan, those are standard rooms for Diamonds? They look great and I’m planning an upcoming trip. Were they pricey?

  3. They are all Hyatts yet the majority of your stays are with SPG.

    My favorite is the a toss up between the Grand Hyatt Kauai overall, Conrad Koh Samui for facilities, and Park Hyatt Paris.

  4. @Michael – In Kyoto and Hakone I booked standard rooms on points (18k and 22k Hyatt points respectively) and these were the complimentary upgrades as a Diamond.

    @Tummy – The ease of obtaining Ultimate Rewards and transferring to Hyatt is the real driver. I held onto most of my SPG points earned this year.

    @jer – I agree.

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