The Hyatt Place Garden City extended a special reduced bereavement rate for my out-of-town siblings and friends (and me) to stay at the hotel for my mother’s funeral and the mourning period
You may have noticed that my posting has been sporadic in the past few months. On top of additional responsibilities at work (yes, I am employed full-time in addition to writing this blog), I have had family issues. My mother suffered a bad fall before Christmas and passed away last week. It was, and still is, a difficult time. Understandably, I missed a lot of time from work, visiting my mother and family. And then there was the funeral and the Shiva (Jewish mourning period). One thing I hardly did during this time was seek out deals (well, except for the Air New Zealand Business Class Australia deal) or travel – or blog. My heart was elsewhere.
But, I want to write about something good. I stayed at the Hyatt Place Garden City (Long Island, New York) Christmas day (December 25-26).
The hotel is not far from my parents’ home and it is near some of my favorite stores which always have great after-Christmas sales – so I always look forward to this stay as a treat of sorts.
Unfortunately, this Christmas visit was different than those of prior years. My mother had taken a bad fall a few days before and was in a hospital near the hotel.
At breakfast, Celeste Johnson, the General Manager of the hotel went out of her way to greet me. She sat down and we talked for at least a half hour about ourselves, travel and the hotel industry, etc.
Fast forward. A few days later, when my mother’s condition worsened and the hospital advised my family that she could die any day, I emailed Ms. Johnson. I told her of the impending situation and asked whether the hotel might be able to offer a bereavement rate for my family members (and me) who would be traveling from out-of-town for the funeral and mourning. She immediately responded yes, and wrote that the hotel would hold up to 20 rooms for us (I promptly let her know that we would only need a handful of rooms).
My mother passed away Saturday morning, January 5th. The funeral was to be Tuesday, January 8th. Saturday morning, I emailed Ms. Johnson with more specific details re: the number of rooms needed, the dates and number of nights (I was staying 3 nights, other siblings were staying 5 nights). Even though it was a weekend morning, she wrote back almost immediately. To be exact, my email was sent at 10:56 a.m. and I received Ms. Johnson’s response at 11:03 a.m.!
We were offered a special rate that was a savings of at least $25 – $50 per night over any other available rate. How marvelous is that?
My sisters and I, together with our respective families, all stayed at the hotel last week. Hotel staff went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. While one could say that all Hyatt Places are the same, it’s the treatment and the experience that make a difference – and I will never forget this stay.
I really believe that World of Hyatt as a whole, is comprised of people who genuinely care about others and will go out of their way for guests, especially loyal members. I am grateful for the World of Hyatt family, and in particular Ms. Johnson and her staff.
There is an additional lesson here: under proper circumstances (whatever those circumstances may be), don’t be afraid to ask for a group or special reduced hotel rate.