Hyatt Announces “Hyatt Loves Local” Initiative

How can a corporate giant in the hotel industry help support local small businesses? Hyatt Hotels Corporation just may have the answer.  As of November 17, Hyatt will show its love for local businesses around the world that are impacted by COVID-19,  by debuting a new program whose goal is to uplift and collaborate with small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.   Simultaneously, Hyatt has launched this new program — Hyatt Loves Local — to reignite guests’ joy of travel, through distinct, local experiences.

As part of this new program, nearly 60 Hyatt hotels and resorts in destinations across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East are providing complimentary resources and exposure to select local businesses that have struggled during the pandemic. In turn, these businesses are able to continue operating in different ways and offer Hyatt guests distinct and enriching experiences that foster a meaningful connection to the destination’s local community.

In this new travel landscape, Hyatt remains committed to reimagining the hotel experience – going beyond cleanliness to consider the entire hotel journey. Guided by creativity and care, Hyatt’s path forward is about reigniting the joy of travel. Hyatt Loves Local enriches the travel experience and helps strengthen local communities during this unprecedented time.

“By always listening to our guests, members and colleagues, we understand their strong desire to not only experience the Hyatt hotels’ destinations but also to have the opportunity to support local communities,” said Amy Weinberg, senior vice president, brand loyalty, brand marketing and consumer insights, Hyatt. “We have been caring for the communities in which Hyatt hotels operate for more than 60 years, and we are proud so many Hyatt hotels around the world are finding new, creative ways to lift up beloved local businesses in this time of need through Hyatt Loves Local.”

From culinary and wellness to fashion and art, Hyatt Loves Local community collaborations span a variety of industries and are taking place at Hyatt properties now and rolling out through the fall. Further, as part of Hyatt’s Change Starts Here commitment to foster inclusivity and achieve equality together, some Hyatt Loves Local collaborations are with minority-owned businesses, which are more likely to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The initiative has certainly had a positive impact on Kevin Mobley, owner of Anna Bell’s Kitchen in Atlanta. Hyatt Regency Atlanta is celebrating the city’s rich food culture by providing complimentary kitchen space to Mr. Mobley’s Anna Bell’s Kitchen Mac & Cheese shop, as well as selling Anna Bell’s goods in the hotel’s Lobby Market. The space at Hyatt Regency Atlanta allows Anna Bell’s, a  minority-owned business, to continue selling its coveted homemade macaroni-and-cheese dishes to hungry locals and guests, while also expanding to ship its product nationally. The business previously prepared its recipes in commercial kitchens and sold products at farmers markets before the pandemic suspended many of these shop operations. 

Derrick Morrow, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta’s General Manager, told me, “We’ve been caring for the Atlanta community for years, This hotel has a great history with the civil rights movement in the past.  We were designated a “Hotel of Hope” by Martin Luther King Jr. It’s great to support Anna Bell’s Kitchen. We care and help these businesses to pivot. It’s a fun way to support local businesses over the holidays and beyond. We couldn’t be prouder to have this relationship and there is no better comfort food than mac and cheese. Our Hyatt Regency Atlanta guests love enjoying a classic Southern dish from a celebrated local business from inside our hotel.”

 The hotel’s Executive Chef, Thomas Mckeown, told me, “We are super excited to partner with Anna Bell’s kitchen. We’ve supported the local community for a long time. I met Kevin at the local farmer’s market, and we created a friendship – we’ve known each other five years. When the idea came to support a local business, Kevin’s came to mind – his mac and cheese is absolutely fantastic. Opening our doors and kitchen to him made a lot of sense.   Kevin takes over a walk-in cooler, and preps product in the kitchen, all his product is stored here, and he ships to local vendors.”

So why is the mac and cheese so yummy?  Chef Mckeown said, “It the cheese from England, it has a nuttiness and it caramelizes on top. It’s fantastic.  Kevin uses organic milk from Alabama, supporting a local business, and pasta from Italy. He uses sustainable products where he can, and that is also part of Hyatt’s food philosophy. His products will be sold in our lobby market. “

Mr. Mobley told me:  “It is the biggest blessing of 2020. I can’t stop sharing it with everyone – I’m over the moon.”

He added, “When Thomas reached out to me I realized we could grow by a hundred fold in their kitchen. And make a lot of gains in efficiency. We make everything in very small batches. And it will maintain the quality I won’t compromise on. Everything’s perfect. We can freeze everything and ship it to retail space in perfect condition.  We have the infrastructure now so we can have inventory on hand.”

Because of this Hyatt initiative, Mr. Mobley expects holiday sales to increase by 300% this year. “We have nine local retailers, and we supply local farmer’s markets. The secret to the mac and cheese? We use a local farm in Alabama that produces the milk, along with organic  pasta from Italy and cheddar cheese from England. It’s the Tesla of food. I’ve worked on this recipe for 15 years. It was my great grandmother’s recipe.” 

(It retails for $10 for one pound for $10, two pounds for $20, five pounds is $45. You can order it on the website and have it shipped to your home for the holidays.) “I run a tech company by day, but the mac and cheese business is a labor of love.   The actual first mac and cheese was developed by Thomas Jefferson’s slave chef. The original mac and cheese was developed at Monticello.”

He added, “Hyatt is an incredible partner – they have helped me to expand tremendously. “

But that’s just one great example of this new Hyatt  initiative. Here are a few others.

  • Espresso in the Emerald City: In the heart of Seattle, Motif Seattle, a Destination Hotel, is collaborating with Monorail Espresso, a woman-owned business that started as a mobile espresso cart. As a result of the pandemic, Monorail Espresso saw sales drop 50% at its two open brick-and-mortar shops and have temporarily closed its third shop, so Motif Seattle was enthusiastic to help. Starting in late October through the end of 2020, the hotel will feature a pop-up shop, named MxM, in the lobby where visitors can purchase coffee, beans and Monorail Espresso swag.
  • Women’s Fashions in Ski Country: High in Colorado ski country, Grand Hyatt Vail is hosting a pop-up shop from local women’s clothing boutique Wild Heart. Owned by a former hotel employee, the shop was forced to close during the pandemic and has reopened with limited capacity. The Grand Hyatt Vail pop-up will help bolster Wild Heart sales and introduce the boutique to hotel guests seeking stylish apparel and accessories for their mountain getaway. 
  • Socially Distant Workouts in the Big Apple: Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel in New York City, has opened its doors for concierge fitness company BACH to host on-property, socially distant yoga and Pilates sessions. Due to the pandemic, BACH was forced to stop training about 80% of its clients but the new arrangement with Guild Hall allows it to reach new clientele. Hotel guests receive an exclusive 10% off a session when booking services through the MINDBODY app, while BACH instructors enjoy complimentary fitness studio space inside Gild Hall. The collaboration launched October 2 and will continue through the end of the year. 
  • Hair Care in Hollywood: This fall in Los Angeles, Andaz West Hollywood teamed up with hair and beard experts at Barcode Barbershop to offer professional cuts and shaping and styling for men and women on the hotel’s rooftop overlooking the sparkling Sunset Strip. After temporarily closing during the pandemic, Barcode Barbershop has reopened at 25% capacity, so additional space at Andaz West Hollywood throughout September and October provided its stylists with the opportunity to offer more cuts than would otherwise be possible.

So I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of supporting minority-owned businesses, and this new initiative has definitely inspired me to join World of Hyatt, the brand’s loyalty program. I couldn’t join at a better time.

And I’m definitely considering ordering some mac and cheese for Christmas!

For more about my Wanderlust Travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham, and please subscribe to

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