BY MAUREEN N. MARATITA
While the lack of guests at the Hyatt Regency Guam during the pandemic was not good for business, it did allow the hotel to continue smoothly with a major renovation of its rooms.
Ilya — a Japan-based interior design company, designed the upgrade to rooms and suites which includes wood flooring, rugs and nightstands in the bedrooms, 65” television sets and tiling in the bathrooms. The TV sets were ordered locally.
Begun months before COVID, Sophia Chu, general manager of the Hyatt said, “We’re still in the process.” The hotel is currently renovating on the 7th, 8th and 9th floors.
The renovation is multi-million-dollar undertaking, Chu said.
The upgrade was purposeful, she said. “It’s a cleaner look — more modern.”
The Hyatt team was fully involved in the process, she said.
Particularly the wood flooring received attention for durability and moisture resistance. “We went through many versions and test various versions,” she said. The reaction has been positive, she said. “Guests have been pleased with what they’ve seen.”
The Salon has also been renovated, which Chu said gives the function room “a different, more-warmer residential feel.”
P.H.R. Ken Micronesia owns Hyatt, which it purchased in November 2006. “We’re very fortunate that our owners have been supportive,” Chu said.
Hyatt – which opened in October 1993 commands rates for its 450 rooms that are among the highest on-island. “It’s important that we continue to work on our product and improve the product.”
Other changes — while small — are proving successful. The lobby’s Deli now stocks freshly pressed juice from the Ignite Juice Bar. Other local products include shrimp from the University of Guam, local honey and micro greens. Chu said, “Any chance we get, we are working with farmers to bring in local products.”
Since gathering restrictions were lifted in Guam, the Hyatt is seeing bookings return for its function rooms. “We’ve definitely seen the ramp up from events,” Chu said. They’re not the size they used to be, she said. Events range predominantly from 100 to 200 or 250 people, but multiple events in multiple locales at the hotel is now common again.
The Seaside Deck has also hosted parties. “The outdoor events have become more popular,” Chu said.
Hyatt also plans the return of its own events. “This year we plan on putting on a wine pairing event over the summer. We hope to bring back our Wine Fest in October,” Chu said.
As for the dining options, Hyatt is seeing full venues. “We’ve gotten good support from the community,” she said. The Grand Market buffets on holidays throughout the hotel’s venues and the Café Kitchen Sunday brunches have proved popular. About 400 people attended the Mother’s Day Grand Market brunch buffet on May 8.
Al Dente Ristorante has re-opened for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. And the popular valet parking is back.
For the return of the visitor market, Chu said it’s a case of slowly but surely.
“With the increase in flights we’re in a much better place than we were.” There is progress, she said. “We are seeing the pick-up in the Korean market.”
Chu is chairwoman of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association. Occupancies continue to fluctuate across the hotel industry, depending on military groups and exercises, she said. “As the Korean market continues to grow and with the announcement of the increase in air seats from both Korea and Japan, we hope to see a stronger summer.” mbj