We’ve stayed in Hyatt Place hotels many times, but never one like the Hyatt Place in Knoxville.
tldr: Hyatt Place Knoxville Review
What do you get when a 100 year old hotel in downtown Knoxville is renovated as a Hyatt Place? It’s the best Hyatt Place “Sandwich” ever!
The middle is exactly what you’d expect. But the top & bottom….. WOW!
The ground floor of the Hyatt Place Knoxville is just beautiful & like no other Hyatt Place I’ve ever seen. And the top has a rooftop bar that would rival the nicest hipster bars in any big city.
Sandwiched between the high class top & bottom is a perfectly fine 165 room Hyatt Place hotel.
Booking & Reservations
The cash price of this Hyatt Place is usually $200-300 per night. But the Hyatt Place Knoxville room rates jump up when demand is high.
Want to stay here when the Vols take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on the 3rd Saturday in October? Hyatt Place rooms for that football game will cost you a cool $1,054 per night after taxes.
Besides football game weekends, guess what’s another high demand time for hotel rates in Knoxville? Graduation.
Our daughter Kendall just graduated from UT with a BS in Communications and a BA in Sociology. There were roughly 4000 graduates so I’d guess that ~10-20k people needed hotel rooms that weekend.
That would explain why room rates were YIKES! $585 per night after taxes.
My 90 year old father made the trip with us so we needed 2 adjoining rooms. We really liked the Knoxville Hyatt Place. But we didn’t like it enough to spend $2000 on 2 rooms for 2 nights!
Thankfully, Zuzu & I have learned how to get around these high hotel prices. We’ve even written a guide on how anyone can stay at expensive hotels for free.
If you join the Hyatt Loyalty program, called World of Hyatt, you can use points to get free nights at Hyatt hotels. And while the cash prices for a room can jump up 500% when there’s high demand, the points price of this Hyatt only goes up 19%.
Redeeming points can make for some crazy good deals vs paying in cash and that’s exactly what we got on this trip.
Award Category 3 Hotel
Although the Knoxville Hyatt Place is now an Award Category 3 hotel, it was just a Category 2 Hyatt property when we booked this trip.
When we visited, the Hyatt Place Knoxville Downtown was normally 8,000 points per night. With Hyatt’s dynamic pricing, off-peak nights were only 6500 points and peak nights are 9500 points.
We got hit with peak pricing of 9500 points per nights.
How Much Were Our Hyatt Points Worth?
Our 2 nights for Spring Commencement were 9500 points for each of our adjoining rooms. If you do the math, that means that each Hyatt point was worth a whopping 6.15 cents ($585 / 9.5k points = $0.0615)!
Most travel bloggers value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents (like Kyle at Live & Let’s Fly) or up to 2 cents per point. We got 3-4 times that!
It’s amazing how much money we saved here by responsibly using the right credit cards to earn Hyatt points!
Here’s the reality of the situation. All the hotels in all of Knoxville were really expensive for this weekend. If we weren’t able to get these rooms with points, we would been staying about 30 minutes away from Knoxville.
And if we had been that far away, my 90 year old dad would have probably skipped his granddaughter’s college graduation.
Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Hyatt Place is close to everything that you want to see and visit in the city.
For this Knoxville graduation trip, we were close to UT’s campus and the graduation venue. We were also close to the condo where Kendall and her friends live. And the Hyatt Place is also close to lots of great restaurants on the Strip and in Knoxville’s Market Square.
After long days of graduation ceremonies and parties, that great location made it alot easier for everyone, even if you’re not a nonagenarian!
The Hyatt Place’s street address is the same as the mailing address.
The closest airport to the Knoxville Hyatt Place is McGhee Tyson Airport. TYS is a public/military airport 12 miles south of Knoxville, in Alcoa, TN.
Plan on a 20-30 minute drive along Alcoa Highway between Hyatt Place Downtown and the Knoxville airport.
Other Hyatts in Knoxville
There are no other Hyatt properties in Knoxville, or even in East TN.
Check in was fast, friendly and efficient. But it was surreal due to the surroundings.
When I stay at a normal Hyatt Place, I expect a very plain, utilitarian lobby and check-in desk. Something like this.
The Hyatt Place Knoxville is not even close to a normal Hyatt Place.
As soon as you step inside this Hyatt Place, you’re going to wonder what the heck is going on!
“Check out the brass rails, deep wood, dark tile and plush lobby furniture…” said no Hyatt Place ever.
The lobby is truly fitting of a luxury hotel in a 100 year old building, which was originally named for Admiral Farragut of “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” fame.
Near the Clinch Avenue side entrance of the Hyatt Place Knoxville, there’s a PLUSH lobby seating area. You’ll find an ATM and a marble topped table with computers which are free for guest usage.
Up a few steps is a multicolored mosaic, lit up like a piece of art. Next to that is a comfortable seating area with rich leather furniture around a big screen TV.
Sitting here with a drink, it’s easy to imagine you’re in Admiral Farragut’s private library and George Vanderbilt is about to drop in on his way to Biltmore Estate in nearby Asheville.
Grab & Go Market
Just like in every Hyatt Place, the Knoxville hotel has a small Grab & Go Market next to the front desk. Need a water, soda or a snack? There’re right here.
Upon check-in, we were given a couple room upgrade options thanks to my World of Hyatt Globalist status.
If we wanted non-adjoining rooms, we could get upgraded to high floor rooms with a nice view of downtown Knoxville or a view of the Smoky Mountains. But with my dad on this trip, we needed 2 adjoining rooms. We still got a room on the top floor but the view wasn’t all that great.
While perfectly fine, our king bed room was a striking contrast to the opulence of the lobby.
It was exactly what you’d expect at any Hyatt Place in any city.
The King sized bed was flanked by a pair of nightstands with swivel lights and a pair of electrical outlets.
The bed and bed linens were upscale but not luxurious. The medium firm mattress slept well during our 2 night stay. Sheets were all clean and crisp.
The rest of the room was identical to every other Hyatt Place I’ve stayed at.
Same light wood finish dresser & armoire for a closet (with iron, ironing board & safe). Same mini-fridge. Same TV & full length mirror. Same sectional couch with pull out sleeper sofa mattress.
The room also had the standard Hyatt Place desk setup:
- Rolling Desk Chair
- Desk Lamp
- Ice Bucket
- Coffee Maker with Tea
- House Phone
- Weird Magnetic Strip with Bottle Opener
We opted for a pair of adjoining rooms so that Grandpa could be right next door.
Since this is a 100+ year old building, the rooms were slightly different. Grandpa’s room was a bit bigger but it was still exactly what you expect in a Hyatt Place.
View from our Room
Like I said, we were offered rooms with a premium view but we opted for 2 adjoining rooms with lesser views.
Along the Clinch Street side of the Hyatt Place, we had a south facing view of downtown Knoxville. We could see a glimpse of Ft Dickerson park and a few other hills across the Tennessee River.
Yonder past them (which we couldn’t see from our room), are the Smoky Mountains.
No surprises in the bathroom.
Everything was clean. Towels were medium thickness. There’s a hair dryer in a bag under the sink. Walk in shower worked as expected.
KenetMD soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
Restaurants & Bars
Let’s recap. Spectacular lobby, unremarkable (but perfectly fine) rooms. So what’s the top of this Hyatt Place Sandwich?
Five Thirty Lounge Rooftop Bar
Holy Rooftop Bars, Batman! Talk about an Instagram worthy bar!
With 3 distinct areas, the Five Thirty Lounge is just unexpectedly spectacular.
Take the elevator to the roof of the Knoxville Hyatt Place and you’ll enter in the middle of Five Thirty Lounge.
To your right is the indoor bar area. It’s as stylish as any of the posh Manhattan bars that we saw on our holiday trip to NYC.
The bar itself is like a piece of artwork. Having been in over a dozen other Hyatt Place hotels, it’s just bizarre to see this chic bar only one floor above our room.
Why name this the Five Thirty Lounge? Head toward the front of the building and you’ll realize that the address is 530 Gay Street.
The front of the Five Thirty Lounge is a rooftop area that looks out toward the University of Tennessee campus and the bulk of downtown Knoxville.
Walk to the back of Five Thirty Lounge and you’re on the main party rooftop bar area. Sorry, but I’m going to share this picture again. Hard to believe this is a rooftop bar in Knoxville, TN.
Several firepits for larger groups and maybe a dozen tables on this part of the bar were all packed on this Friday night.
While there were a few seats available for a single or a couple, make sure to get a reservation if you have more than 2 people wanting to visit the Five Thirty Lounge.
My pictures are from a Friday night. The rooftop bar was full and there were no reservations available all Friday or Saturday for groups larger than 2.
Jumping back to the lobby, here’s the other bar that has no business being in a Hyatt Place.
I’m running out of synonyms for “surreal” so I’ll just say that the lobby bar would feel more at home in a luxury hotel like a Hyatt Andaz or Park Hyatt than in a Hyatt Place.
In fact, compared to some of the most expensive hotels we’ve stayed at, it’s better.
The Hyatt Place Knoxville lobby bar is easily nicer than the Andaz 5th Avenue bar and on par with the restaurant & lobby bar at the $1000/night Park Hyatt New York where we stayed for free on a Christmas holiday trip to NYC.
Just off the lobby, there’s a Starbucks for all you Green Tea Crème Frappuccino® Blended Crème addicts. Show your room key for a 20% discount.
Back to the reality of staying in a Hyatt Place, there’s a free breakfast buffet for all guests.
The breakfast buffet area is just off the lobby so the lobby’s design flows into this area. It’s more stylish than any Hyatt Place breakfast area I’ve ever experienced.
Sadly, that’s where the luxury experience ends. The food drops back down to the expected Hyatt Place quality.
I know I’m at a Hyatt Place so I can’t say that I’m “disappointed” eating what seems to be powdered eggs and processed sausage links.
I won’t take stars away from this review of the Hyatt Place Knoxville for a breakfast that is as good as any Hyatt Place breakfast. It perfectly met those expectations.
But it’s just unreal eating “meh” level food in such swanky surroundings.
Though small, there is a gym for you here. Free weights, exercise machine and a yoga room are available for guests of the Knoxville Hyatt Place.
There are a number of decent size meeting rooms past the lobby on the ground floor. And one of these meeting rooms has quite the claim to fame in the history of college football.
SEC Founded in Knoxville
Back when the Hyatt Place Knoxville was the Farragut Hotel, my University of TN Vols hosted a meeting of the old Southern Conference in Knoxville. The Southeastern Conference was birthed in this meeting room.
According to this bronze plaque, the SEC was created at the Farragut Hotel in downtown Knoxville, TN on December 12, 1932.
But was that really when the SEC was founded?
According to Wikipedia:
The SEC was established December 8 and 9, 1932, in Knoxville, TN, when the thirteen members of the Southern Conference located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains left to form their own conference.
Wikipedia pulls that info from the official SEC Sports website but SECSports.com also says, “Since its formation in 1933, the SEC...” because the 1st meeting of the SEC school Presidents was February 16, 1933 in the podunk town of Birmingham, AL.
It’s clear that the SEC was started in Knoxville on either Dec 8-9, 1932 or Dec 12, 1932. And the Tennessee haters at SEC headquarters think that it wasn’t formed until Feb 16, 1933 in Birmingham.
Wifi access is free at the Hyatt Place Knoxville Downtown. The internet signal was strong in our room, in the lobby and in the rooftop bar.
After logging in to the Hyatt Place wifi network, I consistently got a download speed of around 8MB.
Want to bring your dog on your trip to Knoxville? The Hyatt Place is pet friendly.
There’s a $75-100 pet cleaning fee and you can bring 1 dog up to 50# or 2 dogs that total up to 75 pounds.
Valet parking is available at the front door of the Hyatt Place Knoxville on Gay Street.
You’ll pay $28 plus tax for overnight valet parking. A nice perk of Hyatt Globalist status is that valet parking is free.
There’s a lot to do in downtown Knoxville near the Hyatt Place.
The Tennessee Theater is steps away, as is Nama Sushi and the Regal Riviera movie theater.
Convenience Store: The Market
Looking for a convenience store near the Hyatt Place? About 2 blocks up Gay street is The Market where you can find just about anything that you need.
Blackhorse Pub & Brewery
In the mood for beer? Don’t miss the Blackhorse Pub & Brewery. It’s just 1 block up Gay Street form the hotel.
I think that the World of Hyatt is the best hotel loyalty program out there. Last year, we stayed at a ton of Hyatt hotels and hit the top Hyatt Elite level of Globalist. Globalists get some great perks. Here’s how the Knoxville Hyatt Place fulfilled the promised Globalist perks.
There was no dedicated line for World of Hyatt Elite members at the Hyatt Place Knoxville. While it didn’t matter when we checked in, there were some times that I saw lines at the 2 registration stations.
At check-in, the Hyatt Place Knoxville front desk staff quickly thanked me for choosing Hyatt and hitting top level Globalist status.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, Hyatt Place Knoxville offered 2 different choices for free room upgrades. They had several rooms on the top floor, some with a very nice view. But the only adjoining rooms didn’t have a great view. Since adjoining rooms were our priority, we took that option.
While this hotel was luxurious on the ground floor and the rooftop, no Hyatt Place charges a resort fee. Globalists get Hyatt resort fees waived at fancy places like the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort where we stayed in Hawaii.
Earning Hyatt Points
This entire 2 room, 2 night stay was free. If we had any charges, I would have earned an extra 30% bonus in Hyatt points from Globalist Status
At check-in, we were given a bag with 2 water bottles.
While I didn’t test the standard, the login did prompt me to use my World of Hyatt email address to receive faster internet.
Without us asking, we were offered a 4pm late checkout for both rooms.
Man, I’d love to see a Hyatt Regency Club that matches the style of the lobby and rooftop bar. But this is just a Hyatt Place so there’s no club.
One of my favorite perks from Globalist status is getting a free breakfast for up to 4 people. But this was a Hyatt Place so everybody gets the standard free breakfast.
As Hyatt Globalists, we got free parking for our 2 cars for 2 nights. That was $112 (+ taxes) that we saved.
Hyatt Place Knoxville Downtown Review: 5 of 5
This may be the nicest Hyatt Place in the world. While the rooms and free breakfast were exactly what I expect at a Hyatt Place, the lobby and rooftop bar at the Hyatt Place Knoxville were jaw dropping.
While this may be the nicest lobby, the new Hyatt Place Panama City Beach takes the title for BEST Hyatt Place.
Bottom Line: Would We Visit Again?
Yes, we’ll be back! With a busy schedule, we didn’t get to take full advantage to the Hyatt Place’s perfect location in downtown Knoxville. Next time could be even better than this trip!
Read More About Knoxville
Zuzu & I lived in Knoxville, TN in the mid-90’s. These days, we visit our kids who goto school at UT and we attend as many UT Football games as possible. Read more about Knoxville and how we get to stay at expensive hotels here:
The Hyatt Place in Knoxville is an old hotel that they gutted and revamped so it has more quirks than a newly built hotel. IIRC it used to be the Farragut hotel a century ago or so. Not that I’d remember. Still a great hotel. Every time my mother-in-law visits we put her up there and everyone’s happy.
That’s right, Christian! The original Farragut hotel opened in 1919 & was named after Admiral Farragut. Did you see the plaque that notes the SEC was founded here in 1932? Also of note is that the NY Yankees stayed here in the early 1930’s on an exhibition tour thought Knoxville. So you mother in law has slept where Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig have stayed!