A biweekly staff review of East Coast and regional lodgings.
One of my earliest and, peculiarly enough, fondest childhood memories is of staying at an extended-stay hotel in suburban Richmond in 1988. My family was house-hunting, but as far as I was concerned, we could have stayed put at the hotel.
The details are a bit fuzzy around the edges. I remember that our room was two floors, or at least had some kind of loft. There was, of course, a kitchen. The coolest part, though? The Murphy bed that came out of the wall.
Flash forward 26 years. When I began to explore my room at the Hyatt House at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, I was as giddy as my former 4-year-old self.
Hyatt debuted the upscale
extended-stay brand in 2012. This was my first experience staying at one of its locations.
My room was probably bigger and better-equipped than many people’s first apartments. The kitchen was outfitted with an almost full-size refrigerator, a microwave, two cook-top burners and, amazingly, a dishwasher. Then I started opening all the cabinets and drawers, which felt like prying until I remembered that this was all mine for the night. I found cooking tools, tableware, a toaster, pots, pans and a tiny bottle of dish soap. A pitcher had been thoughtfully placed in the fridge. On the wall across from the kitchen hung a bulletin board adorned with a few takeout menus from area restaurants — a generous touch, considering that the hotel has its own bar and restaurant.
The kitchen flowed into a little work area with a desk, which morphed into the living area, followed by the bed and the bathroom. The division of the vanity area and the toilet-and-shower bathroom meant little since I was traveling alone, though in general, I approve of such arrangements. The sink area included a pretty large double-door closet and an illuminated makeup mirror, as well as not-too-fancy toiletries, though there was no moisturizer — a pet peeve of mine. I was also a bit flummoxed that although there was a wastebasket under the vanity counter, there was none in the bathroom.
Overall, though, I was left wanting for nothing. After a long day, all I wanted to do was kick back and relax. Before collapsing, I rotated the very large flat-panel television toward the bed. I appreciated that feature, which meant that whether you were on the bed, on the sofa or in the kitchen, you could have a straight-on view.
When I’d worked up a sufficient appetite by lying very, very still, I went down to the hipster-named H Bar. I can’t say exactly what I expected, but because the amenities and the hotel’s design seemed intended to appeal to a younger audience, my vision was something along the lines of a pulsing scene of millennial merriment. The reality: a group of middle-aged regulars enjoying a few sedate brewskis around the bar with the genial bartender. Two couples in the same demographic as the bar guests trickled in to order some food, as I had decided to do. I braced myself for generic, mediocre hotel-restaurant food. Instead, I got a pleasantly smooth tomato bisque laced with spice and topped with garlic croutons that may have even been house-made.
Breakfast the next morning offered plenty in the way of standard buffet food, though I decided to pass on the omelet bar (nice touch) in favor of a restrained bowl of cereal.
I’m undeniably picky when it comes to hotels, so there’s always a certain level of apprehension in trying something new. In the case of Hyatt House, neither my inner 4-year-old nor I could have asked for more.
Hyatt House — Raleigh- Durham Airport
10962 Chapel Hill Rd.
Rooms from $99.