Last Thursday, I finished my 6 marathon run on 6 continent in less than 5 day adventure. It was certainly my most trying event yet, both logistically and athletically. There were some times that I honestly thought I would not complete some of the runs (will have more info in another post!) and it was things along the way that helped me to be able to do it. Still time to donate to WWP, the charity for this run! donate here
How Hyatt Went Completely Above And Beyond!
When I first started putting the planning wheels to this event, I contacted Hyatt’s Jeff Zidell (Senior Vice President of Gold Passport program) who is a fellow runner (check out this interview with him here). I told him what I was going to be doing and asked if he knew if Hyatt staff in the various cities I would be in would be interested in running along the way with me. He said to e-mail him a list of Hyatts I would be at and he would reach out to them.
Fast forward several months to when I finally had nailed down the last hotel. While I would not be sleeping in any hotels until the end of my journey, I did need to either find a hotel in each city or rent a car so I would have a place to throw my gear. Hotels are just easier so I did not have to worry about messing with paperwork or directions. I had booked 3 Hyatt hotels throughout the 5 days of my journey and sent those to Jeff (keep in mind that this was just a couple of weeks before I was to leave).
I had asked Jeff if the hotels I was hitting could really streamline the check-in/check-out process (even though I am a Diamond member, there can be some lines at hotel elite lines), put some water in my room for my hydration pack (which I asked to be billed to my room), and if there were any runners that wanted to join me along the way.
Over the next couple of days, each hotel reached out to me to get my arrival/departure information and nail down some specifics. I honestly expected nothing more than I had asked about – but was totally blown away by what each hotel did for me when I arrived!
Hyatt Capital Gate – Abu Dhabi (Marathon Run #3)
I had actually just been to the Hyatt Capital Gate a couple of weeks before this for a training run (review of the hotel to come) so was already familiar with this beautiful property. I was contacted by a couple of people from the hotel before my arrival, including some of the directors from the departments, to nail down specifics. I was also told that some of the hotel’s runners would accompany me for a bit.
When I arrived at the hotel and approached the elite counter, I gave my name and they immediately went into high gear. They welcomed me, gave me my check-in paperwork already taken care of and told me that one of the directors I had spoken with would be out shortly to say hi. I had the chance to meet Ashwin, who had helped me out so much with the details, and he told me that the runners would be waiting downstairs whenever I was ready to go. I told him I needed 15 minutes to change and fill my pack.
Waiting For Me
I entered my room to find several large water bottles waiting, which was fantastic so I did not have to start the run looking for water. I quickly changed and filled my pack and headed downstairs.
Three runners from various departments of the hotel were waiting for me. Amazingly, they were willing to accompany me for the first few kilometers of this run – a run that took place in 108 degree weather in the very hot Abu Dhabi afternoon. They helped me with a nice route around the hotel and I had a great time getting to know them a bit before they had to return to work.
I was honored to have these three wonderful people join a complete stranger on a very hot day (taking their break from work to do so) and only wish I had more time to spend with them. Thank you, Hyatt Capital Gate, for being a great host!
Grand Hyatt Santiago – Santiago, Chile (Marathon Run #4)
This hotel was somewhat of a last minute booking for me. While I wanted to base at the Hyatt, I was ready to pull the trigger on a hotel nearer the airport because of time constraints. However, when an American Express FHR “sale” (or currency error) popped up, I thought for the $5 it would be worth seeing if that worked out. End of the story, Amex said that the error would be honored and I added the Grand Hyatt to my hotel list.
Reception By The Hotel
At this hotel, the general manager, Marc, was the one who reached out to me. He was incredibly supportive and helpful! He really sounded excited about the event (he is also a runner) and was very welcoming to me.
During my exchanges with the hotel before my arrival, they generously offered me a ride from the airport. Very unexpected but great appreciated! It was a bit of a ride from the airport (about 20 minutes) and I was a little nervous because a late arrival was leaving me only about 5 hours of time at the hotel. Since this was run #5 and I was already around the 5 hour mark for most of the runs, I was in doubt that I would actually finish it. Not having to worry about transportation made it a little easier!
When I arrived at the beautiful Grand Hyatt, Marc met me at the door and we headed up to the check-in desk for the Club Floor on the 16th floor. We had a nice chat on the way up and he escorted me through the check-in, ensuring it went very quickly. Then we headed up to the 19th floor. When we got off the elevator, we went to the large double doors near the elevators and he opened them to reveal something unbelievable. Inside, he and the staff had set up a scene fit for a marathon finish line! They had a finish banner, a prize cup, Gatorade bottles, GU gels, bananas, little goodies, and Grand Hyatt running gear. It was completely unexpected and shocked me! I almost thought I would cry at this point at the kindness of Marc and his staff.
Incredible Hospitality and Thoughtfulness
I rushed into the room to get my gear on and couldn’t help but think at the time that this was quite a large suite for their Diplomatic Suite (which is what I had booked). It turns out, it was not the Diplomatic Suite but the Presidential Suite – all 2,500 square feet of it! I was completely bummed I could only spend about 15 minutes total in this luxurious room but the extremely kind and generous gesture was certainly not lost on me!
As I flew downstairs to start, Marc again met me down there and we got a photo with the staff before they sent me off with a loud cheer and clapping. Unbelievable! It was just the huge boost I needed and without them, I never would have finished in time. Thank you so much, Marc and the Grand Hyatt Santiago!
Grand Hyatt Washington – Washington, DC (Marathon Run #6)
Reception And Check-In
Moving on to the final stop was the hotel that I would finally get to sleep in! The social media manager had been in contact with me to make sure everything was set. While she was not able to be at the hotel when I got there, one of her colleagues was and she met me with a nice bottle of water as we made our way to my room. I did not even need to go to check-in at this one as they had everything all set for me.
After filling my hydration pack (they had filled the mini bar with a lot of water bottles!), I headed back downstairs where Nisha met me again and took a couple of quick photos for them to post about the event. From there, she helped me get to the convenient metro station and I was on my way!
Fast forward several miles and Christine, my original contact with the hotel, and one of her other colleagues (Caitlin) met me and Glenn. We were around mile 20 or so and they joined to run with us for a couple of miles. It was again one of those major boosts at a distance in the run where it can get even more tiring. We had a great time chatting and I was ever so thankful for these two wonderful ladies taking time to help me out.
When I finished this run, it was the end of the entire event. I was all of a sudden just physically exhausted knowing it was all done. My family and I headed back to the Grand Hyatt and I was met with the most amazing of surprises when I walked in my suite – the hotel staff had left me a beautiful placard congratulating me on the achievement and and signed by various staff members with encouraging notes. It was a perfect way to end such an event and a very humbling one at that!
Thank you so much, Christine and Grand Hyatt Washington, for being my host at the final run. You all made it extremely special and I felt very humbled by your efforts.
It is an amazing thing to see people go out of their way to make someone feel special and encouraged. I had asked for a quick check-in/check-out and water and was blown away by what I received. These stops at Hyatts made me thrilled to be a Hyatt Gold Passport member and truly made me feel a part of the Hyatt family – not only that, but I now have a running shirt and jacket that even says “Grand Hyatt Santiago” on them. 🙂
They all helped me get through some difficult spots on the run and I will forever be grateful for everyone that made this possible with the various Hyatt hotels. Mega thanks to Jeff who put the wheels on this and got this all going. Here was a tweet he sent when I was done:
— Jeff Zidell (@jeffzidell) September 11, 2015
Actually, Jeff, I am very proud to know you and to have met each one of your fantastic colleagues. I am also proud to be a Gold Passport member. It is things like this that will forever make me loyal to the Hyatt brand of hotels.