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As of November 2018, Hyatt is now partnering with Small Luxury Hotels (SLH), adding 54 hotels to their overall program footprint. These hotels are nicely integrated into the World of Hyatt program; you can both earn and redeem Hyatt points from SLH stays, and you can even search for them at hyatt.com. One of the best parts of the partnership is that all World of Hyatt Members that book SLH hotels directly through Hyatt receive specific perks detailed here, including complimentary continental breakfast and WiFi, early check-in, late check-out and a single room category upgrade.
I spent some time perusing the participating SLH properties, and more than a few caught my eye as potentially great places to book a stay. After sifting through my favorites across the globe, I finally settled on the top 7 I would be most interested in booking at a Hyatt award. In general, SLH properties require at least 15,000 Hyatt points for an award night, but some go all the way up the chart to the new Category 8, requiring 40,000 points per night. The cheapest property I found was Category 3 (12,000 points per night), so don’t expect to find any basement bargains.
Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia
This resort on an exquisite island off the western coast of Malaysia, about halfway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, tops my list of SLH hotels that I’m interested in booking with Hyatt points. Not only is it an idyllic setting and a lovely property, but the cost per night is fairly reasonable as well. It is a Category 5 property, just high enough that you cannot use the free night certificates from either your World of Hyatt Visa or from the spending or 30-night tier bonus (SEE: 2 things you’ll miss after 2019 if you’re a Hyatt loyalist). But 20,000 points still seems reasonable for the property.
Your points will get you into a 71-square-meter Garden Villa at the Pangkor Laut Resort, but you may be able to upgrade into a hill or beach villa for a small co-pay. Or splurge and see if you can spend a couple nights in one of their sea villas, constructed on stilts directly over the ocean. Rates for Garden Villas start at a little over $200, but can easily climb to $350 per night. Read reviews of Pangkor Laut Resort from TripAdvisor here
Hotel de Orangerie, Bruges
Bruges was part of my original itinerary for our visit to Europe this past spring, along with Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Both of those got scratched when I shortened our trip to a week, but it hasn’t left the list of places I want to visit. The Hotel de Orangerie may be where we stay if we make it there in the near future. I was previously planning on staying at the Crowne Plaza, but this may be the new pick. It is also in the heart of Bruges, and looks like a lovely traditional hotel. Like before, the main issue is room capacity, as base rooms bookable with Hyatt points offer only one double or two twin beds.
The Hotel de Orangerie is in Hyatt Category 5 as well, requiring 20,000 points per night. This is a bit steep in winter when rates dip to around €150 (at least based on the 1.5 cent value I give Hyatt points), but when rates climb to €215 or more, points are definitely the way to go. Read reviews of the Hotel de Orangerie on TripAdvisor here
On The Rocks, Santorini
The Greek Islands amid the brilliant blue water are one of those places I hope to visit sooner rather than later. I have a few in particular that are at the top of the list, including Santorini. The only chain hotel options I know of on this beautiful island are both former top-tier SPG properties that have now been brought into the Marriott program. The ability to redeem Hyatt points instead is obviously appealing.
On The Rocks is in Hyatt Category 6, requiring 25,000 points per night. Rooms in summer are anywhere from €250 to €440 per night over the dates I checked, making Hyatt points a great option for a romantic stay among the Cyclades. Read reviews of On The Rocks at TripAdvisor here
Palazzo Vecchietti, Florence
Although my wife and I spent five nights in Florence back in 2016, it was one of those places where I felt that we barely scratched the surface. I mean, you could spend more than a day in each of the art museums to truly begin to appreciate them. Add in the fact that there are a number of museums, plus many other historic and cultural sites, and you’ll soon find than 10-14 days is a more appropriate budget for this Tuscan city.
An appropriate budget for lodging is something you’ll have to wrestle with as well. I was very happy with our pick of the Hilton Florence Metropole, even though it is quite a ways from the city center (SEE: Hilton Florence Metropole Review). However, if we ever headed back, something a bit more centrally located would be a whole lot nicer. The SPG options at the time cost a ridiculous number of points, as did the hotels with other chains. This new SLH option doesn’t really break that mold, as it is a new Hyatt Category 8 and requires a massive 40,000 points. Not worth it in winter when rates are barely over €200 (although I still won’t pay that much out of pocket). In summer, however, saving €669 is certainly worth 40,000 points. Florence hotels can be ridiculously expensive.
Overall, it looks like a lovely property. Not to mention it has an utterly enviable location. The Palazzo Vecchietti is located in the heart of Florence, on the corner of Piazza della Repubblica and a three-minute walk from the Duomo. Read reiews of Palazzo Vecchietti on TripAdvisor here.
Liostasi Hotel & Suites, Ios
If one Greek Island wasn’t enough, how about planning a stay at the Liostasi Hotel & Suites in addition to the other property on Santorini? Actually, a number of the participating SLH properties on the list are on various Greek islands. Ios is a little less frequented than the other, more popular, islands of Santorini and Mykonos, and this is one of the reasons this property appeals more than others.
Rates at the Liostasi Hotel & Suites generally start at around €200 for a junior suite, the base room type available with Hyatt points. During certain seasons, this can rise to over €300. At 25,000 points per night (Hyatt Category 6), this may or may not be the value you’re looking for in terms of cents per point. But the serenity of this hillside hotel and picturesque azure waters of the Aegean Sea stretching out before you is arguably worth it.
Park Hotel ai Cappuccini, Gubbio, Italy
How about staying in a monastery from the 17th century in an Italian village far from the major cities? Sound tantalizing? Then the Park Hotel Ai Cappuccini is for you. The exterior may be centuries old, but the style and services offered are modern. I’ve resolved that next time we visit Italy, we’ll venture beyond Florence, Rome and Milan. It may mean driving Italian roads, but to see and stay in places like this will be entirely worth it.
The best part is that this hotel is only a Category 4 property. You can use either 15,000 Hyatt points, or your Category 1-4 free nights that are awarded annually from the World of Hyatt Visa, from the 5-brand challenge, or when you hit 30 nights within a calendar year. Depending on the season, rates vary between $130 and $270, making Hyatt points a great option for summer stays. Read reviews at TripAdvisor here
Hotel St. Petersbourg, Tallinn
One of the cheaper options on the list at Category 4, the Hotel St. Petersbourg in Tallinn, Estonia makes the list simply because Hyatt doesn’t have a footprint there. Few chains do. Club Carlson is about the only one that has you well covered. This corner of Europe is one that is frequented far less than the popular destinations in western Europe, but don’t overlook it. The Baltic states have their appeal, not to mention are a lot gentler on the pocketbook than nearby Scandinavia.
Cash rates aren’t bad at the Hotel St. Petersbourg. In the winter I’m seeing nights available for as cheap as €115. Not an inexpensive stay, but maybe not worth burning 15,000 Hyatt points per night. As summer approaches, rates eventually creep over €200, making 15,000 Hyatt points or a Category 1-4 free night certificate a great use at this property.
There are a total of about 50 participating SLH properties at which you can use your hard-earned Hyatt points, so take a look at the list for yourself. These are my top picks. What do you think about the new relationship between Hyatt and SLH? Will you be using your points at any of these properties?
Photos all courtesy of Hyatt.com and Small Luxury Hotels.