Posted by David Lyon April 26, 2010 07:53 AM
Hotel renovations are often the hostelry industry's equivalent of getting a haircut and a new dress. Read listings on TripAdvisor or Expedia and you'd think every hotel out there had done a complete makeover, when all they did was change the drapes and paint the scuffed walls. So it's a pleasure to discover a real renovation that makes an already excellent property even better. The Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel & Spa already had spacious, well-appointed rooms and great water views of Newport harbor, courtesy of its location on Goat Island. But the $35 million redesign that began in 2007 and wrapped up this month is a true transformation.
In addition to new room appointments and a very classy new lobby, they got rid of the eyesore parking lot (there's a garage) and turned it into a grassy Great Lawn. Of course, the hotel is thinking ahead to wedding season. But there's just one problem with large grassy expanses in the middle of a harbor: Canada geese and the, uh, processed grass they leave behind. Enter Darby, the Hyatt's border collie. Now entering her third year, she patrols the lawn and shoos away the geese. "She's really cost-effective," says general manager John Karchner, "and the guests love her." For the record, this Hyatt is extremely pet-friendly. (And they have their own loyal, well-paid house-keeping staff.)
David Lyon is co-author of the food and travel blog www.hungrytravelers.com.
Photos courtesy Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel & Spa