Hyatt Regency Cambridge

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The Hyatt Regency Cambridge, at 575 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was host to Gaylaxicon in 2005, Arisia from 2007 through 2010, and United Fan Con in 2008.

The largest event ever in the hotel was a 4000-person academic event which the hotel considers to have been too large. Hotel staff have opined that 2200 people for a 3-day event or 2500 people for a 4-day event would not be too large. This is based on the presumption that 4-day events are less peaky in terms of actual hotel occupancy.

Function Space

24,981 square feet of function space, including a 3-season function tent, are found on floors 1, 2, 10, 14, and 16.

Physical Description

The dimensions of the Presidents A and B ballrooms are incorrect on the Hyatt's web site. The airwall as built is 4 feet further west (into Presidents B), making Presidents A 39x37 and Presidents B 34x37. The drawings in Meeting Matrix, however, are correct.

The Presidents Ballroom airwalls contain two doors, one for the A/B airwall and one for the B/C airwall. It is theoretically possible but extraordinarily time-consuming to swap these doors to other locations in the airwall. Sections of airwall can be omitted, creating additional doorways. Airwalls cannot be closed on top of dancefloor.

The function rooms on the Patriots Corridor have sheer curtains, but hang points are present from which one can hang blackout drape without needing pipe.

Access to the Riverside tent requires designating Haym Solomon or half of Thomas Paine as a prefunction space. The tent takes about two weeks to set up. At the end of the 2007 season it collapsed catastrophically; the Hyatt books functions into its replacement as late in the season as December. Third party tents may also be set up in the space, though they cannot take advantage of the permanent HVAC.

Function rooms 203 and 204 have boardroom tables which can't be moved. Function room 201 has no boardroom table.

Charles view has blackout shades that actually work; at midday with the shades down, the exit lights are easily the brightest thing in the room. Nonetheless, it is a challenging space to maintain at a pleasant temperature. This problem is exacerbated by the presence of several HVAC zones and by the confusing control systems. The convention services storage room on 16 used to be a kitchen and still has some working equipment including two small sinks, an ice machine, and a dish sanitizer.

There are public restrooms on 1, 2, and 16. Function room 203 has a single bathroom (with tub and, as of 2007, broken hot water tap on the sink); Empress has mens and womens rooms two steps up from its upper level and an accessible single bathroom at the same height as the upper level. No other function room has its own bathroom, not even BU Lounge.

Access Control

Two function rooms, Empress and Media Room, have hard keys, and the rest are cardkeys. Since it is the only thing on the 16th floor, Charles View can also be secured by locking off the elevators from that floor and securing the (hardkey) stairwell doors. Any room can be "rekeyed" for $50. This does not make the room strictly client access only, but it does guarantee that no previous customer has access, and limits hotel staff access somewhat.

Aquarium has locks on only one of its two doors (making the hotel's claim that it can be "locked" technically true but the implication that this secures the room false). Presidents Ballroom does not have locks on the doors at all.

Room Turns

Opening and closing airwalls in Dawes and Paine can be done in 5 minutes between adjacent timeslots if the rooms are otherwise set theater facing in the same direction and there are no other set changes going on at the same time. Setting up or striking the chairs in any of the Patriots Corridor rooms takes 15 minutes.

The hotel can clear the chairs from Presidents CD and close the C/AB airwall in about an hour. Just closing the D/C or C/AB airwall is 25-30 minutes. Closing the A/B airwall and resetting A and B is 15-20 minutes. The hotel claims to be able go from every airwall closed to all open and some seating in place in only 30 minutes, but in practice it is an hour. These times are additive. The hotel claims that all the airwalls in Presidents can be opened and closed independently except that the A/C airwall cannot be opened or closed unless the B/C airwall is open.

Putting down or taking up dancefloor can be done in any 2-hour window.

Room changes can occur while convention staff are in the room, and even while general attendees are in a different part of the room blocked off with portable dividers.


There are two 60A 3-phase power drops in the 16th floor function room, one in the Riverside tent, and three assorted 60-100A 3-phase power drops along the west wall of the Presidents Ballroom (one in B, and one at each end of the west wall of D). The hotel has two power distribution units which can be attached to these power drops. The drops and PDUs use the same IDC connector as those at the Boston Hyatt, from which an additional PDU can be borrowed for a $400 fee. The hotel has an unknown quantity of high capacity feeder cable such as one might use to extend the distance of the PDUs from the drops. There is also a 60A 3-phase camlock (not IDC) drop and a 2-phase NEMA 6-20 (that is, standard/househould "Edison" 208V 20A) drop in William Dawes A, and a 50A single phase and various 15-20A ungrounded three phase outlets in the 16th floor storage area.


The hotel's A/V, including internet access in function rooms, is contracted out to Swank Audio/Visuals. Swank's director is Jesse Blanner. Their Sales Coordinator is Tim Donovan, 617-491-3724 (phone) 617-441-6513 (fax) (email). Gary Sloan also works for Swank. The deadline for ordering internet access is 5 minutes before you need it.

Guest Rooms

469 guest rooms, including 10 suites, are found on floors 2-15 (there is no floor 13).

Physical Description

For the most part the room layouts are very similar to each other, including the furniture. King rooms have two bedside tables and the headboard on the wall nearest the hallway; Double rooms have only one bedside table and the headboards on the long wall further away from the door to the room.

Guest rooms 237 through 252 are behind an automatic swinging glass door which can be disabled to either manual or open; if it is held open the fixed glass pane next to it should be marked so that people do not walk into it.

Guest rooms 205, 213, 239, and 249 are Murphy Bed rooms. The Murphy beds are Queen sized and the Murphy armoire, which cannot be removed from the room, also has built-in side tables.

Guest rooms on the 2nd floor except room 202 have 10 foot ceilings instead of the usual 8.

Guest rooms x06 and suites x32 have balconies overlooking the atrium.

Rooms on the 12th floor are smoking, despite some documentation on the Hyatt corporate site otherwise.

Headboards in all the rooms are permanently attached to the wall. Apart from this, furniture in the rooms is easy to move, and Arisia's 2007-08 contract specifies that the charge for this is $25 if two weeks' notice is given. There are no overhead lights in the main area of any of the rooms; all light is from desk and bedside lamps.

Some rooms on 9 and 10 have wired ethernet jacks to compensate for poor wireless reception there.


The hotel has an account with Passkey. When setting up Passkey blocks note that Hyatt Corporate has admin level visibility into Passkey and will make telephone reservations in any available block regardless of the permissions on that block. This makes Master and VIP blocks useless; instead, make a bunch of reservations for the rooms you think you might need and transfer them as the details become available. Rooms (and suites) on the master bill need to have ordinary reservations made for them, so the hotel can import the pickup and drop dates. Importing rooms from Passkey does not preserve the Passkey reservation number, so using that as a primary key in a rooming list will result in scrambling reservations made with the same name but different details. Also note that Passkey reservations without confirmed payment (usually a credit card) will not import into the hotel's runtime system even if the rooms are on the master bill, and that Passkey does not support more than 4 people in a room.

The hotel prefers for Comp Room and Master Bill information to be provided in the rooming list, but late submission of the rooming list may result in that information being dropped internally in which case you will have to provide the lists separately.

As rooms are canceled after the import, the hotel will release the rooms in Passkey and reimport reservations made off the waiting list. It is up to the convention to maintain a waiting list and notify people on it that they can make their reservations in Passkey. If you prefer to control access to Passkey and make the waiting list reservations yourself, note that you will need credit card information and clear communication with everyone on the waiting list, which makes it considerably more difficult. The best policy is probably to consider the waiting list to be a notification mechanism, not a guarantee of a place in line.

Additional convention staff users can be created in Passkey by asking the Passkey contact (in Arisia's case Chris Jellison, 617.237.8229), without requiring permission from the hotel.

Hotel room tax is 14.45%. Late checkout and furniture removal fees are not taxable.

The hotel does not intentionally overbook, but overstays and damaged rooms occasionally require an incoming guest to be "walked". The hotel prefers to walk guests to the Courtyard By Marriott (ex-Radisson) on Memorial Drive, with second choice being the Doubletree on Storrow Drive.

Use as Dormitory Space

During the fall term, Boston University has in the past rented rooms (150 in 2007) for students, and replaced the furniture with their own dorm furniture. BU provided their own labor and storage for this operation. During the fall term, BU provided a shuttle bus to campus. The BU students were all gone by Christmas. BU did not rent rooms for students in 2009 and is not likely to again in the near future.

Front Desk

Anthony McComas and Chris Rainville work at the Front Desk. Constanza Cortes in Reservations is their speaker-to-Passkey. Rebecca Howard at 617 492 1234 x4205 also works in Reservations.

The front desk cardkey system has a limit of 99 keys per room. In addition to autosequencing, cardkeys are also encoded with an expiration date, so those extending their stays sometimes have to rekey.

There is an automated checkin/checkout machine in the lobby. This machine cannot do split folios; these have to be brought to the front desk.

George Papadogiannis (, 617 492 1234 x4228) is the concierge.


Housekeeping staff ordinarily start at 6:30-7 on weekdays and 9 weekends, and continue until 1pm, at which point any rooms with Do Not Disturb signs still present will not receive service. Housekeeping maintains lists for "automatic clean" (the default), "daily priority" (with time specified), "clean upon request", "no-service" and "no-service-plus-towels"; rooms can be added to these lists through the rooming list, at checkin, or by calling the front desk from the room. Rooms on the priority list can be given windows as small as one hour.

The hotel owns their own linens and gets them washed at Royal White. Royal White uses red bins and does not rent out additional linens.


There are six elevators: four passenger and two service. All six were uprated in 2006 or early 2007.

Elevators 1-4 are identical high speed traction glass passenger elevators with capacity of 3000 lbs, 8'0" elevator door height, 8'5" inside ceiling height, and irregular shape. Note: the width given refers to elevator door width; inside cab width is about 5 inches wider. Doors are not centered on the cabs. Elevators 1-4 travel from floors 1 to 16.

Elevators 5 and 6 are service elevators, 55" deep by 80" wide, with 42" wide by 84" high centered elevator door. Elevator 5 travels from the basement to floor 14. Elevator 6 travels from the basement to floor 15.

Valet parking staff who have been pressed into temporary service as bellhops may not know the location of the service elevators, or they may not know the code to the door which blocks the most convenient access thereto. There are other unlocked paths to the service elevator, or the door in question can be propped open during peak checkout times.

Hotel staff can lock off floors and turn on and off call response. If a floor is locked off, elevators with call response enabled will still respond to calls from that floor.

There are also narrow escalators between 1 and 2, a narrow staircase from 2 to 3, and fire egress stairways at each extreme end of the hotel. The stairways are unlocked but sometimes the door handles for reentry break and the doors then have to be propped. The east stairwell emerges at the end of the Patriots Hallway row of function rooms, but the west stairwell's first floor access is only to a remote outdoor area.

Restaurants and Concessions

The hotel operates a single restaurant, Zephyr, which ordinarily seats 150 between a main section and the Zephyr Terrace, which is open to the atrium. Seating for an additional 25 can be brought in to Zephyr Terrace using Convention Services inventory. In summer there may also be outdoor seating on the Zephyr Patio. The chef is Robert Daugherty; the restaurant manager is Philip. The offerings ordinarily include a buffet dinner (set up in Zephyr Terrace) from 5:30pm to 10pm and lite fare from 10pm to midnight (during which time Zephyr Terrace is not needed for seating even during a convention). During periods of light load the buffet is sometimes shortened to 6:30-9. During periods of heavy load the light fare is sometimes extended to 1am. Turning from the buffet to lite fare sometimes causes hiccups in service. Zephyr accepts reservations both on paper and through OpenTable, though the hotel is willing to disable OpenTable for the duration of any sufficiently large convention.

Using the Zephyr Terrace for convention functions requires an hour buffer on either side, and the hotel sets up for Sunday brunch the night before so the space is not available on Saturday night. Arisia '07 successfully scheduled a meet and greet in this area from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday.

The hotel's liquor license requres its bars, including portable bars, to be "clean and clear" by 2am, and closing is enforced nightly by Cambridge police. In practice this means that last call is at 1:30 in the fixed bar and 1:00 for portable bars. The door to Memorial Drive from Zephyr locks at 1am.

The hotel has a Kosher kitchen on the 14th floor and relationships with outside vendors to bring in Kosher food. They will also bring in non-Kosher food from Bombay Club.

The hotel will set up an inexpensive food and beverage concession stand if desired (this uses about 10 tables from their inventory, and also three or four sections of rope and stantion). They strongly prefer to put this at the base of the escalators to provide access to the service areas. For Arisia '07 they also set up a hot dog cart near the elevators.

There is a small business center on the 1st floor with two PCs and a photocopier. The hotel possesses a card which allows free access to these, but photocopy runs of more than 75 sides require reinserting the card. Consumables access for the photocopier is unlocked.

The front desk has a small number of wireless ethernet devices to lend (supported by access charges); these are charged for only if they are not returned.

There is a coat storage area behind a locked door near the Front Desk. The room is 160 sf irregularly shaped, with 25 linear feet of permanent coat racks to hold 250 coats. The hotel has portable coat racks for another 150 coats, but not all of these will fit into the room at once.

There is a sundry shop on the 1st floor with Boston-themed items. Apparently this is due to be replaced with a dedicated convention registration area, and the sundry shop will move to the space currently occupied by the coat check.

The hotel has four bicycles available for rent.

Health Club

The hotel has an indoor pool/health club located on top of the parking garage. The weight room is open 24 hours, but the pool, steamroom, sauna, and locker rooms are open only from 5am to 10pm unless 24-hour access is written into the contract (as it was for Arisia '07). Access to non-hotel-guests, if provided by contract, is by cardkey available from the Front Desk. A maximum of 25 people are allowed in the pool at any one time.


The hotel has a 421-car parking garage with a clearance of 6'8" on upper floors and by some reports 7'9" on the ground floor. It is not nearly large enough, even if you arrange for the general public to be able to park in the reserved valet spots. The hotel is willing to help arrange overflow parking at MIT (including having MIT leave up the gate of the West Garage), but be careful to communicate clearly which MIT parking exactly has been arranged. There are approximately 40 perpendicular free parking spots behind the hotel on Vassar St and a further 90 parallel spots on Vassar St between the hotel and Massachusetts Avenue, which may be available on weekends and which are probably the best bet for Dealer vehicles such as E350-based hi-cubes.

The garage has a new prepay collection system and is not ordinarily manned. The hotel can issue paper validations for day parking, at any negotiated price. These validations are used as payment of a short stay and don't appear to expire, at least not quickly, though they're not good for overnights. They also issue plastic in/out privilege cards, which are intended for overnight parking, and which do expire. The garage computer is capable of keeping track of the number of in/out cards outstanding and saving that many spots in the garage.

There are a few parking spots on the circle leading to the garage and front door. Vehicles parked here (if your contract provides for this) must have keys left with the hotel so that the fire department can move them if necessary.

There is limited room to park trucks on the loading dock. Arisia '07 got permission to park "two 15-foot or one 24-foot" truck in the space leading to the dock, starting Wednesday night and through the weekend. However, Valet also uses that space for oversize vehicles.

Until recently, the hotel arranged employee parking at Modern Continental next door away from MIT during high traffic events. This arrangement has fallen through and now hotel employees park on the street during parking-intensive events.

Shuttle Bus

The hotel operates a minivan-based shuttle bus which ordinarily runs hourly from 7am to 7pm serving points in Cambridge and Boston, primarily Harvard Square. This shuttle bus does not take luggage and is intended for the amusement of guests rather than their arrival and departure.

Arisia's contracts specified additional shuttles, which the hotel has supplied by hiring buses of the given capacity from Bethany Transportation. The hotel will add hours to those in the contract at cost. Bethany's minimum shift lengths are 3 hours. A 45-passenger single door bus from Bethany cost $65 per hour in 2008.


The operational chief of the hotel is Abdussellam S. Bareento (pronounced as if it had only one e),, 617.441.6445. Abdu was recently promoted to Executive Assistant Manager from Director of Rooms in recognition of the fact that he was already pretty much running the hotel.

The director of engineering is John Callahan. Wayne Pollard also works in engineering.

The hotel outsources security, other than one overnight staffer, to A P Pro Events.