Updated on August 24, 2015
I was fortunate enough to spend two weeks in the middle of August down in Jacksonville, Fl. I was down there for work and got to enjoy my future hometown a little bit (I’ll be moving there next year). Being able to choose just about any hotel in the area that had government rates, it was a no-brainer to stay at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront!
Always looking to leverage hotel stays to maximize rewards, this hotel ended up being the perfect place for me. Since I was staying there for 15 nights, I was able to fulfill the Hyatt Diamond Challenge just in time for our Honeymoon to the Maldives in Sept/October! This is HUGE in that I can hopefully now get the upgraded Pool Villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives and get me and Jaime free breakfast during the trip! Combining this with the Sweet Dreams Sweet Rewards promotion from Hyatt made this stay pretty valuable for me!
Because I signed up for the Diamond Challenge before I started the trip, I was bumped up to Hyatt Platinum for the stay. I know, I know – you’re thinking, “You weren’t already Platinum? It comes with the Hyatt credit card!” Sadly I don’t have the card (but Jaime does!) – it’s on my list!
Without further ado, let’s get this started!
The hotel is in a good location downtown, right on the St. Johns river. It’s the closest hotel to both Everbank Field (where the Jaguars play), Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and the Florida Theatre. During my time there we got to see a football game at Everbank (Jaguars vs. Steelers…go Ravens) and a Tim McGraw concert at the Arena (Shotgun Rider Tour). And, although we didn’t see any of them, Colbie Caillat and other bands played at the Florida Theatre my first week there. There was also a Jacksonville Armada game the second weekend at the Baseball Grounds!
There’s also the Jacksonville Landing that is extremely close to the hotel on the water. It constantly has live music and has an assortment of restaurants and shops. Nothing overly spectacular here, although we had a good meal at the Irish restaurant, Fionn MacCool’s.
Overall, the Jacksonville downtown area is just pretty “meh”. There’s not a whole lot going on down here and not a lot of walking to shops and restaurants. The downtown area really has come cool buildings that seem like they have so much potential to be turned into a cool community, but alas, nothing yet. However, if you’re here on business, for a sporting event or a concert, it’s a great location and easily walkable to all those big attractions.
The hotel is pretty big. It’s got 19 floors, 16 of those with guest rooms on them. The 1st floor is the lobby with the hotel restaurants and bar (I’ll get to them later!). The 2nd floor is the conference/meeting/event floor and also has the walkway to the parking garage (it’s across Newnan street). The 3rd floor is the same as the second except actually bigger, as the meeting and reception rooms extend across the street into the parking garage! The 19th floor has the rooftop outdoor pool and the workout area/gym (also get to these later).
As you’d expect from a Regency branded Hyatt, it has huge conference areas (we saw multiple functions while we were there). From what I could tell, the hotel seems to cater mostly to those conferences and also people in town for the externals events (sporting events, concerts, etc.). If I was in town for a football game, I’d absolutely want to stay here (price depending – obviously!).
The hotel has two separate bars and three “restaurants” downstairs. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of the first floor (it hit me as I left but I was in too big of a hurry!). They have Jaxx Sports Bar, Trellises Restaurant and Currents Lounge. Trellises is the bigger, open seating area when you first walk into the hotel. It’s where you can get the hotel breakfast (either off the menu or the buffet). Although I didn’t personally get breakfast there, a co-worker of mine did, and said that it wasn’t worth the price. His wife did note however that their kids (about 4 years old) were able to eat free with her buying the buffet (about $20).
Jaime and I ate twice at the Currents Lounge and we really enjoyed it! It’s all the same kitchen, so that must tell you something about the other food options! We just went in for a beer and appetizers (pretty good wings!) and would recommend it. Pretty convenient when coming back from a football game or concert….
Finally, let’s talk about the room. First, some pictures:
I was more than pleased with the room. I was upgraded upon check-in to the top floor and obviously given a great view of the river! As someone who stayed there for 2 weeks, I can vouch that the bed is quite comfortable and I always got a good night’s sleep.
One of the hidden gems of the room is the FREE Starbucks coffee. That’s right, FREE Starbucks (you can see it in one of the pictures above). The room has 3 single-serve packets of coffee that get refilled whenever housekeeping comes through (2 dark roast and 1 decaf). I had a free Starbucks coffee every morning on the way to work and it was definitely a great benefit.
The 19th floor is where you want to be. It’s where the the workout room and the rooftop pool are!
It was extremely convenient to be on the same floor as both the workout room and the pool, and since my room was down past all of it, I didn’t get any foot traffic or noise near my room.
The best part about being there for multiple weekends was taking advantage of the rooftop pool bar! In the picture above you can see it on the right side under the orange roof. It’s only open from 12-7 Friday-Sunday, and, although it was pretty pricey, I enjoyed it. The bartender up there is great and couldn’t have been friendlier to us on every visit.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this hotel. It should be noted that the hotel is under renovation, and it’s scheduled to be completed by October, 2015. While I was there floors 6-10 were under renovation (my floor had already been completed). Another fact to be noted is that when checking in, I was told parking was $15 for self park or $20 a night for valet. I chose the self parking, and it was extremely easy and convenient. The funny part is that upon checking out, after 15 days, they only charged me $10.00 a night for parking. If you’re just there for a weekend, however, you can find free parking on the streets around the hotel!
I would highly recommend the hotel if you have business downtown, want to see a ball game, or are in town for a concert!