Kissel Uptown Oakland Signature Suite Review
The Kissel Uptown Oakland, which opened just a month prior to my stay in 2022, is part of the Hyatt Unbound Collection. I have had good luck at my previous Unbound properties including the Párisi Udvar in Budapest, The Driskill in Austin, and The Confidante in Miami. So I decided to try a couple of nights at the Kissel Uptown in the East Bay near San Fransisco.
I booked a room with cash for $149.25 + taxes per night for a total of $171.94 per night. The property is a Category 5 which means the standard points cost is 20,000 points per night. I think that the property would be better positioned as a Category 4 based on location and average room price.
The Kissel Uptown is located in the Uptown neighborhood of Oakland. Uptown is a gentrifying area of the city. There are lots of new apartments and condos going up right next to auto repair shops and derelict buildings. There is a Target store just across the street and a Whole Foods about two blocks over. The Cathedral of Christ The Light, a landmark in Oakland, is a short walk as is Lake Merritt, a fantastic place to go for a walk or a jog.
The closest BART subway stop is 19th St/Oakland where you can catch the Red, Orange, or Yellow line. It is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. It is easy access to downtown San Fransisco or SFO or OAK airports. I actually flew in to SJC (San Jose) airport and was able to take a bus plus the BART to the hotel.
I arrived around 10pm on a Thursday night. As a Globalist, I had been pre-upgraded to a premium Signature Suite. Note that the standard suite is the Broadway Suite so I was upgraded to something beyond what is typically offered to Globalists.
I was assigned to Room 6615 on Floor 6. The building has a total of 7 floors. The hotel is a new build and is connected to a condo/apartment building with the hotel taking up the southern half.
The night desk staff didn’t seem very well trained; no mention of my Hyatt status or that I had been upgraded. I had to ask about the location of breakfast — she didn’t seem aware of Globalist benefits at all. It was clear throughout my stay that the hotel was still working out opening issues and was understaffed.
The lobby area is quite beautiful with artistic light installations and decor inspired by the early 20th century.
Otto’s, the onsite restaurant, takes up about 1/2 of the lobby area.
My room was located on Floor 6. The halls continue the decor theme from the lobby.
When you enter the room, you are in the “dry bar” area with two coffee set ups, tiny mini fridge (as in you could fit two bottles of water in it if you remove the shelves. Not sure what they were thinking), and a unique chandelier. Two bottles of Evian were provided.
There is a sliding door that leads to the toilet portion of the bathroom. So if you had guests, they could use the toilet without going in to the shower/bath area.
The next area is the living room. A half wall divides this section from the bedroom. The suite is only 600 sq ft and is really more of an open studio than a true suite. A TV is mounted to the half wall. The furniture is unique and reminds me of what you might find in an Andaz or Thompson hotel.
The other side of the half wall is the bedroom. The king bed faces another wall mounted TV over a desk. A small wardrobe is in the corner.
A door leads to the main part of the bathroom from the bedroom.
With windows on two sides of the room, there is plenty of light. Which proved to be a challenge as the curtains have a small gap around the sides that do not block out all of the light. The larger windows can be vented to allow in fresh air which was nice as I don’t think the HVAC did much to circulate air. The views are mostly of the surrounding neighborhood though off int he distance you could see the San Francisco skyline.
The room also got a lot of noise; the windows even when closed did not keep out neighborhood sounds and if you are bothered by urban noise, you might want to bring earplugs.
Some rooms have terraces which would have been a nice addition.
The bathroom has a single vanity in the middle with plenty of counter space and a built in ledge for additional storage.
To the left of the sink is a free standing tub under a frosted glass window. To the right is the open shower with wall mounted shower head. The shower control is located on the half wall so you can turn on the water without getting wet. There is also a lip on the floor so you don’t have to worry about flooding the bathroom from the shower (though I did have an issue with the sink getting the floor wet).
The water temperature was very strange. It took a good two minutes to get any warm water no matter the time of day. If you turned off the water and came back five minutes later, it still took two minutes to warm up. I’m not sure how that is possible.
Beyond the shower is a separate room with the toilet and a triangular corner sink and fun wallpaper. With two sliding doors, the toilet can be completely closed off from the rest of the room and bathroom.
The bath products are wall mounted in both the shower and main sink (the small sink didn’t have any products). The brand is Essential Elements and seemed high quality. The only individual product was a small bar of soap. In addition to the products below, the sink had a bottle of hand soap and a bottle of lotion.
Breakfast, included for Globalists, is served in Otto’s in the main lobby. Both mornings of my stay there was one employee serving all the guests, busing tables, and making coffee drinks. He did a great job, but it still meant uncleared tables and long waits to get service. Both times I just sat myself and picked up a menu off of the counter bar.
The food, however, was worth the wait. One of the best Globalist breakfasts I’ve had at a Hyatt. My order the first day was so good that I repeated the exact same order the second morning.
I had the Fruit Bowl which had very flavorful berries, mango, watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi, topped with mint and greek yogurt. The orange juice tasted fresh squeezed.
I also ordered the California Burrito.
It was a ton of food and the total came out to $34. The entire amount, plus the tip, was removed from my bill as a Globalist.
In the afternoon and evening Otto’s turns into a bar and offers lunch and dinner options.
I was told that there is also a roof top bar called High 5ive but you have to actually leave the property and walk down a side street to get to it. It is only open in the evenings; when I walked by during the day I couldn’t even find where the entrance was and there is no signage. I ran into another person trying to find the bar, lost in the hotel.
There is a small gym located on Floor 3 (no signage in the elevator however). It looks out in to the courtyard of the apartment portion of the building. I did notice two Peloton bikes.
There is no pool.
As I mentioned, the service seemed to be an area of growth for the brand new property. This is often the case at hotel openings. The hotel seemed understaffed (except for the valet, I always saw two or three people waiting around for cars to pull up) and undertrained. I know that in 2022 staffing is extremely challenging, so I have hope that this will be an area that the hotel will improve upon.
As a Globalist I was offered daily housekeeping but they came while I was in the room so I declined.
The Kissel Uptown in Oakland, California is a new build property that opened in March 2022. The location is in a changing neighborhood that some might not feel super comfortable in. Still it offers easy access to Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. The building and rooms are beautiful with fun/unique decor. There are some strange issues with the building (lack of sound proofing, passive HVAC, curtains that don’t keep out the light and temperamental water temperatures) that they may yet figure out. The staff also needs to be improved. But the room upgrade and Globalist breakfast made for an enjoyable stay.