Using hotel points to stay on or near a ski mountain can save your family hundreds or thousands of dollars over paying with cash. On a ski vacation, families need convenience, but during the peak ski season, convenience usually comes at a steep cost. Thrown in the cost of lift tickets for the family and … a ski trip can cost even more than Disney World, easily. However, there is a way to save on lodging and lift tickets for a very reasonable number of points per night.
The Hyatt Place Keystone in Colorado is a Category 4 Hyatt property where you can use the Hyatt Category 1 – 4 Hyatt awards you earn each year with the World of Hyatt Credit Card to book a stay, or you can use just 15,000 Hyatt points per night. This is a great value compared to ski season cash rates that can be $300+ during peak times. There is a $25 resort fee at this property, but when staying on points at any Hyatt, you avoid paying resort fees.
My family has visited this property twice since it opened and underwent a renovation and rebranding a little over a year ago, and enjoyed our stay not just because of the award rate, but because you get a whole host of Keystone Resort extras when you stay there. This includes free lift tickets for those 12 and under. That’s right: Use points to stay near the mountain for “free” and have your kids ski free at a truly family-friendly resort.Kids Ski Free coupon Inside the Hyatt Place Keystone
The Hyatt Place Keystone is a couple hours from Denver on I-70 — at least during decent weather. During nasty winter weather, it can take longer and even become pretty treacherous at times. Just watch the weather and drive carefully if you aren’t used to snow and ice.
The Hyatt Place Keystone is located in a building that used to be known as the Inn at Keystone and then underwent a big renovation before re-opening in late-2017 as the 103-room Hyatt Place.
The lobby and bar area look fresh and modern and haven’t been overly crowded during either of our two visits in both 2018 and 2019.
Check-in was fast and efficient on both trips, though on neither stay were we proactively upgraded even with Hyatt Globalist status. The standard rooms are around 300 square feet and perfectly fine on a short stay, but did get cramped for a family of four with lots of bags and ski gear.
We did appreciate the couch in the room that is in addition to the two queen beds. Your crew (or stuff) can spread out a bit.
The room didn’t have a defined corner area for the couch the way you will find in most new-build Hyatt Place properties, but it was otherwise a standard Hyatt Place room with clean, comfortable beds and mountain themed photos.
The bathrooms are not the highlight of the hotel. Standard bathrooms here have one sink with plenty of counter space. However, the stand-up showers did not get much attention during the renovation. There have also been no tubs in any of the three rooms we have stayed in at this property, including a suite and rooms with two queen beds that are presumably booked frequently by families. This is a bummer for families who have little kids who are used to baths.
Speaking of a suite, on our most recent stay we booked two standard rooms (one for us, and one for grandparents). The first room was ready for early check-in when we arrived early around noon. As we waited for the second room to be cleaned, I checked the Hyatt app and saw that suites were still for sale for that night. I asked the front desk if there was any shot of an upgrade to a suite for our second room, and after doing some checking I was told that it was available. So if you have status that entitles you to a space-available upgrade here, don’t be afraid to ask.
The one-bedroom suite at the Hyatt Place Keystone was much more spacious than a standard room with a full-sized living room and second bathroom. This was much better for arranging our ski gear than in a normal-sized room.
Hyatt Place now requires that you book your stay directly with Hyatt to enjoy free hot breakfast. If you are using points, this is a non-issue as you have to book direct, but lots of guests at this property booked via third-parties based on conversations I heard at the front desk.
Technically, they were not entitled to breakfast, though in practice there was nothing preventing them from making a plate as there were no signs or people preventing this on the morning I was there.Hyatt Place Keystone free breakfast
The breakfast I enjoyed here in 2019 was better than in 2018, and featured real eggs, some delicious potatoes, sausage and (not so great) churros.
For the price and speed, breakfast was above-average. On ski mornings, having a fast and filling breakfast before hitting the mountain is very important.
Note that while plain old coffee is free, if you want a fancier drink from their espresso machine at the bar, that will cost you a few dollars. The Hyatt Place Keystone has a small business center where you can print your boarding passes and there are lockers available for your ski gear. If you want an apres-ski dip, you can find multiple hot tubs on various levels of the hotel, though none looked especially inviting to me.
When you stay here, you also have access to the Keystone Lodge and Spa’s fitness center, pool and hot tub. We didn’t use any of those amenities and opted to just leave our rented ski gear in the car overnight so we could drive to and from the base of the mountain. If that isn’t a good option for you, there is a free Keystone shuttle bus to the lifts and around the resort.Location of Hyatt Place Keystone
While we didn’t use the shuttle on our stays, let’s talk a little bit more about the location of the Hyatt Place Keystone. You can catch the resort shuttle bus right out front of the hotel and use it to take you pretty much anywhere within Keystone, but you could theoretically also choose to walk to the mountain in the morning if you were heading up from the Mountain House base. It is probably further than I would want to walk with kids and ski gear, but it is technically doable at about 1/3 of a mile from the door to lifts.
The red Keystone wagons make lugging your ski gear and kids so easy.
On our 2019 trip, Grandpa dropped us off at the drop-off parking lot right next to the gondola, so we didn’t have to use the red wagons.Free Kid Lift Tickets and Night Skiing
The Hyatt Place Keystone is a solid mid-range hotel option for you to use points to say close to the mountain, but it is the extras that make it the best deal in family skiing. First, having your kids 12 and under ski free when you stay at least two nights is really an outstanding offer. I can confirm that award reservations are eligible for kids ski free. A one-day child’s lift ticket at Keystone costs around $72 – $92 per day per kid, but by staying at this property you can totally avoid that expense. I’ll also add that we are 2/2 in having this offer honored on one-night stays.
In addition to free kid lift tickets, your group also all gets free night skiing on the day of arrival. Adult night skiing tickets were selling for about $80 per person during our visit in 2018, but we got them 100% for free! Night skiing ran from 4pm – 8pm, and on our mid-March 2018 visit (after the time change), the sun was still up at 7pm when we called it quits to head to dinner. It was “night skiing”, but without it actually being dark or cold.
Staying at the Hyatt Place Keystone also gets you one hour of tennis court rental, one yoga or fitness class per registered guest, free ice skating on Keystone Lake, 20% off of ice skating rentals, and admission to the Keystone Nordic Center. During the summer, you can get nine holes of golf after 4pm on your day of arrival, a guided mountain hike, and a gondola lift ticket for those 12 and under.
For a family, that is literally hundreds of dollars worth of quality inclusions at a place where you can stay for just the cost of your Hyatt points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve transferred to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. Having used points at a wide variety of ski-friendly hotels, I feel confident saying that the Hyatt Place Keystone offers the very best deal out there for skiing families who like to use their hotel points. It doesn’t hurt that the nearby Keystone Resort itself is my favorite ski mountain for families (don’t miss the Kidtopia ice fort).Keystone Kidtopia Ice Fort
We’ve stayed at the Hyatt Place Keystone twice in the last nine months, and I am 100% confident we will have more visits in the future as long as it remains such a great value both in terms of points and included extras.