Back in April my daughter and I visited Buenos Aires, Argentina and both Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo, Uruguay. Our time in Uruguay was brief, just three days and two nights. We spent both at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo, a new hotel in the lovely Pocitos neighborhood of the Uruguayan capital. This was also my first stay with the brand.
When I first settled on the Hyatt Centric Montevideo as the preferred hotel, it was a Category 3 property, costing 12,000 points per night. I waffled between using points or paying $125 per night for the stay. Barely over 1 cent per Hyatt point is not an ideal redemption, but I also didn’t relish the thought of spending $250. It was either one or the other. Or look elsewhere.
But Hyatt is not without serendipity. The Hyatt Centric Montevideo was reduced to a Category 2 property just weeks before our stay, making award redemption a much better value. Now at 8,000 points per night, I was getting more like 1.5 cents per Hyatt point. Far more tolerable. Given the typical cash rates at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo, points are the way to go the majority of the time.
Arriving at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo
We arrived into Montevideo by bus from Colonia del Sacramento (SEE: Turil Bus Guide from Colonia to Montevideo), which dropped us at the Tres Cruces Mall/Bus Depot. From there we took a taxi to the Hyatt Centric Montevideo. This cost 240 pesos (~$8 USD). Not exactly cheap compared to the city bus, but not terrible either. The convenience was well worth it. Plus, it was after dark, and we just wanted to get there.
I was immediately struck by the unique character of the hotel when we entered. The lobby of the Hyatt Centric Montevideo isn’t large, but it is beautiful. On one side you have a space that looks sort of like an interesting industrial library with the shelves at the back.
On the other side is a lounge area and the bar. As I found out later, this is a great spot to hang out. The check-in desk is beyond the wood sculpture centerpiece, off to the right. The Hyatt Centric is displaying the current trend of moving to very open check-in desks and spaces.
I was greeted as a Discoverist World of Hyatt member by the front desk agent. One odd thing this time around was that I had to present the passport for my daughter as well and she had to sign an agreement just like mine. This wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means. I was just surprised. I’ve never heard of a minor needing to sign anything.
Or maybe the agent was completely confused. Based on the conversation he had in Spanish with the other front desk agent, he was obviously very new.
We were given room 1103, just two floors from the top. It was a twin-twin room, just like I’d booked, with a view of the city. A beach view would have been nice, but the lack of an upgrade as a Discoverist did not surprise me. Layout was typical, with the two twin beds together, a table and chair, a desk in the corner by the entryway. Very standard. The entry has a luggage rack area, and an interesting coat rack.
The bathroom was the nicest feature of our room at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo. It is fairly large, and you can enter either from the front entryway or from the room.
There is no tub, but that is fine by me. I prefer just a nice shower. My daughter would have liked a tub, though.
The shower is lovely. It includes both an overhead rain shower and a wand, and it is sizeable (but nothing like a Park Hyatt shower, still my favorite).
The toilet and commode are in a separate room within the bathroom that has its own door.
Here is our 11th-floor view. Good morning, Montevideo!
Overall, our room at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo was excellent. Not large, but nice, and with a great bathroom. Just in a moment of keeping family travel real, here is the room on our final morning.
Headed downstairs to plan the next two days after saying goodnight to my daughter. I didn’t really intend to get anything in the downstairs bar, but the service offered by the bartender couldn’t be resisted. He was friendly and attentive to everyone who decided to stop by.
A glass of Malbec and bowl of popcorn later, and I had most of what I wanted to do planned out. The trick was to figure out how to do it all without killing my daughter’s feet any more. We’d had four busy days in Buenos Aires, plus a day exploring Colonia del Sacramento.
I slept much better at the Hyatt Centric Montevideo than at the Hilton Buenos Aires the nights prior. The bed and pillows are quite comfortable. I may have also finally adjusted to the time change, as I’d struggled to fall asleep each night in BA.
Breakfast at Plantado
I decided to splurge and eat at the hotel restaurant our second morning. Normally I won’t eat in at a hotel unless it is complimentary, but I honestly wanted to give it a try. Plus, there was very little else to do. My daughter had asked me to let her sleep in, which means I had like two hours to kill (LOL). Here is the breakfast menu for Plantado, the Hyatt Centric Monevideo restuarant.
The full buffet costs a whopping $960 pesos (~$29 USD). To avoid that, I ordered a coffee and eggs Benedict, which together were like a third of the cost. It also kept me from overeating.
Unless you get free breakfast as a Hyatt Globalist, I wouldn’t choose the buffet. Paying $30 in an inexpensive country like Uruguay is crazy. Even what I ordered cost ~$10 USD. You can find pastries a few blocks away at a nice little bakery for like $4. For two people. This is what we did the first morning. You can also grab something quick at the Chesterhouse Coffee shop attached to the hotel.
The buffet has a selection of cold cuts, bread, pastries, yogurt, fruit, and a salad bar, in addition to the hot options. Everything was arranged nicely, and it looked like a great spread. But still not worth nearly $30 per person.
When traveling with children, a pool is the most important amenity of a hotel. I kid you not. That is almost always the first question asked. If we’re doing a lot of sightseeing, we may skip the pool, but it’s nice to come back to at the end of the day. The pool of the Hyatt Centric Montevideo is on the basement floor. There are a number of lounge chairs, but it really isn’t the same as being out in the sun.
The pool itself is small, but nice. It’s barely 8 feet wide or so, but it runs the length of the room. The dim lighting is only broken up by a single skylight. Just be aware that people entering from the street can see you sitting in the chairs below.
The Hyatt Centric Montevideo also has a fitness room on the same basement level at the pool.
I belatedly saw that the hotel offers laundry service for $500 Uruguayan pesos. This is about $15 USD, and about twice what I paid for it to be done by a local lavadero. However, we probably would have gotten our laundry back in less than 24 hours, which would have been awesome. Instead, we used a laundry service a few blocks away, and it cost barely less.
You can also request for your minibar to be stocked. There is one in the room, but it is left empty unless you ask the hotel to fill it. I didn’t catch what prices were like.
I’ll also comment on the phones on each floor. So retro. And potentially a problem in an emergency, if one does not know how to operate it.
My one complaint about the hotel is the check out process. Check-out should not take 15 minutes. As there are only two desks and often only one front desk staff, we ended up waiting a while. Even after that, it took amazingly long for them to finalize the bill and hand me one. I’m way too used to dropping the key on the desk and walking out the door. Even when I do wait for the “all set”, it usually takes 15 seconds.
The Hyatt Centric Montevideo is in the Pocitos neighborhood, which is a nice area along the ocean. There is a beach literally across the street and down the road a couple hundred meters. Not to mention the Montevideo sign is literally across the street from the hotel. Best time to get a photo is early morning, when no one else is about.
Getting around Montevideo is pretty easy using either Uber or the public bus. There are a couple lines that run straight along La Rambla Republica del Peru which can take you straight to Plaza Independencia and the old section of the city. You can also catch one to Tres Cruces Mall, the major bus depot. Pocitos itself is very nice, with lots of restaurants and some shopping.
The Hyatt Centric Montevideo is the only hotel in the city for the die-hard Hyatt loyalist, so its not like you have another option. But even for those open to other brands, it is a nice hotel in a nice neighborhood. We really enjoyed our stay. What made it even better was that we stayed for free, and the value at the hotel in terms of points is generally good. I was ecstatic it was reduced to a Category 2 property. If you give Uruguay a visit, consider the Hyatt Centric Montevideo for a stay in the capital.