Hyatt House Blogger Cooking Challenge
With the events of the past week, I’ve been convicted more than ever how important it is to make time for my kids and my family. Like so many of us these days, I tend to get wrapped up in work and all my various social media outlets. It is so tempting to do one more thing and one more thing until the window of opportunity is gone. Even when we’re together, I’m not always all there, but lately I’ve been making a concerted effort to spend more quality time with the people that matter most in my life.
A few weeks ago we took our annual vacation to Maine with our extended family, and on the way home we decided to stop over in Connecticut for a few nights just for the five of us. We were invited by the Hyatt to participate in their Blogger Cooking Challenge and stay at a Hyatt House and try out cooking a meal for our family in one of their hotel suites. Thinking that it would be fun to extend our vacation for a few more days — and because I never turn down the opportunity to scope out a new hotel, I accepted the challenge.
We stayed at the Hyatt House in Shelton, Connecticut.
When we arrived, we discovered that they had reserved two rooms for us — one was a suite with a king sized bed and a full kitchen and living area, and the other was an adjoining room with two queen sized beds. There were a total of three TVs between the two rooms, and my kids thought they’d won the lottery.
It’s really hard to photograph a hotel suite, but I gave it a shot. Isn’t this kitchenette adorable?
Of course it didn’t hurt that we were greeted with a delightful little cheese plate.
And the kids had cookies waiting for them in their room.
This is the view from the entrance into the king size bedroom. (The kitchen area was behind me when I took this shot.) That desk made a perfect little work area for me, although I didn’t do much work this trip. I can see how someone traveling on business for a length of time would love this suite.
I didn’t get a picture of this, but I appreciated how the bathroom was separated from the bedroom, and the tub and toilet were actually a separate room from the area with the sink. This is ideal when sharing a room with several people — I like to be able to do my hair and makeup at the sink while others are using the steamy bathroom.
The kids enjoyed having a room to themselves. You can see a sneak peek beyond the sitting area here in our suite.
The decor is modern and comfortable, and the beds are Hyatt’s typical dream beds. I seriously want one in my house. After a long day in the car, I immediately laid down on the fluffy pillows and dozed while the kids jumped from bed to bed and pretty much made nuisances of themselves to anyone unfortunate enough to be staying in a room nearby.
For dinner our first night, we headed over to the Chilis located next door. We don’t eat at huge restaurant chains very often, but I have to say, the food and service at this Chili’s was fantastic. They also gave us a 5% discount for staying at the Hyatt House.
The next day we drove down to Norwalk and visited The Maritime Aquarium. (That link is to my post, in case you missed.) Other things to do in the area include the Beardsley Zoo and the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. I’ve heard that the zoo is rather small and better for younger kids, so we opted for the aquarium.
One of the perks of staying at the Hyatt House is the full breakfast provided each morning complete with made-to-order omelets. This was of particular interest to me because I try not to eat gluten, and continental breakfasts are hard with that restriction. I love it when I can get eggs and hash-browns and breakfast meats — and when it is all complimentary, even better!!
Before we left the hotel for the day, I had submitted an order for groceries to be delivered to our room. Grocery Service is one of the amenities offered by the Hyatt House for those who want to cook in their rooms but don’t want to go shopping. I was curious to see how that would work, but it was basically just a blank list of categories that you fill in with the products you want. You can list brand names and varieties and be as specific as you want to be. Since I wasn’t familiar with what brands are available in Connecticut and also because I had no idea what kind of gluten free options were available in a traditional grocery store, I made my list very open ended.
When we got home that night, everything was waiting for us on the counter and in the fridge!
I decided to keep it simple since the kitchen was small. For appetizers while I cooked, we set out some fresh veggies, apple slices and a bowl of Pirate’s Booty — our family’s favorite snack.
Anticipating this challenge, I had brought along a jar of Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers in Marinara, and we decided to make Brie Feruzzano — which is basically, slices of soft Brie cheese with fresh basil leaves and RR Italian Peppers served on grilled Italian bread.
I ordered Italian Bread for the family and gluten free sandwich bread for me.
For dessert, we enjoyed cookies and ice cream.
The kitchen was equipped with pots and pans and things, but they weren’t in the best of shape so I ended up using the toaster rather than grilling the bread in a pan. That would be my only suggestion, is to make sure the kitchen equipment is kept in good condition. But I loved having the kitchen in the room. It’s a great way to save money when traveling with a family, and it was more relaxing than a restaurant. This would be especially nice for families traveling with younger children, who find restaurant dining to be stressful.
I put together this video of the meal preparation process, and it gives you a better view of the kitchen.
The Hyatt House also had a nice H Bar in the lobby where there seemed to be a lot of business people gathering in the evenings.
There was an indoor swimming pool that was pretty small, but we love that they provide towels so you don’t have to bring anything with you.
I also snapped a picture of this bathroom on the lobby level near the conference rooms because I thought it was just so pretty. I love the warm, modern decor, and this styling flowed throughout all areas of the hotel.
I’m always pleased when we stay at a Hyatt hotel. I love that they have a wide range of accommodations to suite most every budget. We found the Hyatt House to be luxurious yet comfortable — the perfect place for families or business travelers who may need to stay in a hotel for an extended length of time.
The Hyatt provided us with our rooms as well as a stipend to use for meals and area attractions.