Review: Hyatt Place Titusville / Kennedy Space Center - Rocket Launch Included


Every year in mid-November I try to plan some fun outing to celebrate my husband's birthday. Some years we have to sticking close to home here in Florida. Like when we took boat ride down the Weeki Wachee River one year and saw the manatees. Or the year we took a tour of a local animal rescue and my husband got to see live tigers (his favorite) just a few feet away from him.

Other years I have the ability to go all out and we take an awesome vacation, like the year we celebrated at Sandals Royal Caribbean (Jamaica) in a beach bed over the water after being one of the first people to tour the newly opened overwater bungalow villas.

I try my hardest to make it a fun time no matter what life throws at us, and this year for his 35th birthday I was not about to let COVID stand in the way.

Something to know about my husband before I go further, he loves all things "space" the way I love all things "travel". To him, his biggest bucket list trip would be leaving this atmosphere, even for a brief ride around earth's upper orbit. It fascinates him. So, naturally, when we moved to Florida in 2010, we started watching rocket launches. Unfortunately, we live clear across the state from the NASA launch pads, so we've only ever been able to catch them at a distance from our front yard. Still a cool experience though. Especially at night.

One time back in 2018, we tried our hardest to make it across the state (a 3 hour drive each way) to see the Space X - Falcon Heavy launch. It was "the big launch" that we didn't want to miss. I researched a perfect place to hang out and have a bite to eat, a dive restaurant called New York, New York, which had space on their lawn to pop up your portable chairs and see a clear view of the launch pad across the water. We got there early, picked out a spot on the lawn, ate an early dinner, and waited... and waited... and waited... For hours we waited with the rest of the crowed. And then, the launch was scrubbed last minute due to upper atmosphere winds. The new launch date was pushed to the very next night.

We drove the three hours home, got up the next day and attempted to do it all again, except we ran into a few situations that delayed us ever so slightly. That delay set us back fifteen minutes which meant that we were just a few minutes from our perfect viewing spot when the rocket launched. We had to pull over on a busy highway and try to view it all from there. It was a complete bust, sadly.

Up until November 15th, 2020, that was the closest we'd been to seeing a rocket launch up close. While my husband still thought it was pretty cool seeing it from 20 minutes down the road, I was still determined to get him to see one up close enough to see it launch from the pad.

When NASA and SpaceX announced they'd be doing the Dragon Crew launch on his birthday, I knew this was the perfect opportunity, if all went according to plan. But with a 50/50 chance it could be scrubbed, and knowing how exhausting the drive was, I decided to research options for staying in Port Canaveral for a night or two just in case. I was not going to do that back and forth in a day again, especially now that we had a 11 month old son.

Some brief searching led me to the newly opened Hyatt Place in Titusville / Kennedy Space Center. We're Hyatt rewards members, and frequent the Hyatt Regency Orlando airport hotel for our early morning flights, since the Orlando airport is a 2 hour drive from us. We also love being able to stay in a room that overlooks the runaway, the park and fly packages, and the fact that after we check out we just walk right to security from the lobby.

This new resort boasted on it's website that you can see the launch pads from select rooms and that it gave you a clear view of the launches. So I booked us a great rate in a guaranteed "space launch view" room -- the King Bed Launch View room to be exact. 

The next day we packed up an overnight bag for the three of us and the pack 'n' play for the baby and headed on our adventure. 


Getting There:

The GPS took us right to the area and road we needed, but because this was a new road and build, it had trouble getting us to the exact location. Thankfully, it wasn't hard to spot the hotel down the street and we were able to get to it with no problem.

Leaving was a little more difficult. I recommend you use the exit by hotel (turning left) otherwise you will be stuck on NASA causeway which means you have to cross all the way over the causeway and make a turn around at the first light. As much as that was out of our way, it was actually cool that we got to drive across and see the space center up closer.


Check-In

We arrived almost exactly 3pm, not wanting to risk the room not being ready. The baby barely slept on the ride over so he was overdue for a much needed afternoon snooze. We fully expected to get our room key and head right up to the room, pop up his playpen and lay him down for his name. But that wasn't what happened.

Instead, we were told due to the new COVID cleaning procedures, the room wasn't quite ready yet. Not wanting to sit around in the lobby wearing masks with a fussy baby while we waited, we opted to go walk around the ground and get fresh air. It's not a big place but there was a large parking lot and sidewalks around the building that we were able to walk. 

Of course, the stroll only lasted so long calming the baby down. We ended up sitting in the car waiting with the AC on. I kept going back to check on the room every so often, even though the Hyatt app usually tells me when the room is ready.

We didn't get a room until 5pm! I'm not one to normally care or complain about things like that. We try to make the best of it. But when check-in is promised by 3pm and we're standing there with a crying baby who needs a nap and to be changed, it's not the best situation.

My recommendation would be to just check in on the Hyatt app, go have something to eat or explore the area, and wait until the app says your room is ready. It's not worth sitting around there if COVID procedures are backing up check-in times.


The Property

The hotel is brand new, so everything reflected that. It's well maintained and kept very clean. As someone who frequents Hyatt properties pre-COVID, I know this is the standard for their hotels anyway.

There is a small waiting area in the lobby and then a lobby bar where you can order drinks and some appetizer type food off of a small menu. We opted to bring our own food for the night, so we didn't try the restaurant there.

There is a small pool area on the ground floor which is fenced in for the guests. There are only 5 floors and maybe a dozen rooms on either side of the building, so it's not a very large hotel. One side views the water and Kennedy Space Center across the bridge. The other side views the roadways, the local airport, and the Air and Space Museum. Definitely go for the water/Kennedy Space Center view even without a launch. It was beautiful and you get to see the sunrise.


What I Loved: 

  • Even if you couldn't get a view of the space center, they have a viewing room on the top floor which is accessible to all guests. You could use your room card key and gain entry to that room which has floor to ceiling windows and allows you to see the same view as the rooms up on that floor. They can also host events there.


What I'd Change: 

  • I did end up having to use the lobby bathroom while we waited. While it was a perfectly clean bathroom, I did have an issue with the changing table for the baby being outside of the handicapped stall. I understand why they did it, but there was so little space for the stroller in that main area that I ended up just taking the stroller into the handicapped stall and changing him in it.


The Room

Due to being Hyatt rewards members-- and probably also the check-in snafu-- we were able to score a pretty cool upgrade for the room. What was originally a regular room with a king bed and a sleeper sofa in the sitting area, ended up being the One Bedroom Suite which was gorgeous and offered us the exact amount of room we didn't even consider we needed with an almost one year old.

View my room walk-through video here:


You walk into a large entry way with access to the bathroom off to the left. In front of you in a kitchenette area with a sink, plenty of upper and lower cabinets, a coffee maker, mini fridge, and microwave. The mini fridge perfectly stored our pre-made baby bottles because it had spots on the door that held drink cans/bottles. There was plenty of space in there for our Jimmy John's sandwiches. Then the cabinets kept the extra snacks and baby food out of sight.

Beyond that area was a large table with four chairs and space on the end for the pop-up high chair we brought with us. A small TV was on the wall next to the table.

Then beyond that were two living room chairs next to the French balcony. Turning to the left you found yourself in the living room area tucked in the corner. A sleeper sofa, rolling ottoman and a large screen TV as well as another French balcony.

The bedroom door was across from the dining room table and inside was a king bed and plenty of floor space for the pack 'n' play. There were floating night stands with USB hook ups for charging our phones and an alarm clock that was set for 4am and woke us all up extra early (note to future self: always check that before you go to bed). A large TV sat on the dresser across from the bed and there was also a large closet with extra bedding, a luggage rack, and an electronic safe.

I apologize for the unmade bed, we had to wait to take photos in the morning sun.

A second door in the room took you from the bedroom to the bathroom which had double sinks and a  shower (no tub). Beautiful, but basic. The water pressure was adequate and the toiletries were the standard Hyatt ones.

We did try pulling out the sleeper sofa just to test how comfortable it was. Both of us (adults) laid down on it and found it to be more comfortable than others we'd been on, but you can still feel you're on a sleeper sofa with the metal frame below. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for other adults, but kids would be fine with it.


What I Loved: 

  • The view was incredible. Worth every penny we spent. 
  • The spaciousness of the suite made it so much easier for our family to spread out and relax. My parents even stopped by to watch the launch with us and we all had plenty of space to sit and talk without feeling on top of each other like most hotel rooms.
  • The layout gave whoever stayed in the living room additional privacy.
  • The two balcony doors allowed everyone to view the launch without trying to cram into one small doorway to see and hear it. Also, the fact they were doors and not windows allowed us to be able to actually open them and hear (and feel) the launch, not just see it.
  • Facing the East also meant a beautiful morning sunrise from the water, which we don't get to enjoy being on West Coast of Florida.

What I'd Change: 

  • The suites didn't have tubs, so for longer stay it would have been a lot harder to bathe our son. It would have been nice to see a handheld shower head extension option for families with little kids. But that wasn't a huge deal either.
  • The French balcony was a bit scary. There is a gap between the door and the railing/bars which a child could easily get a leg stuck or drop an item like a cell phone or toy through. We moved a chair and ottoman in front of the two doors when they were open to ensure extra protection for the baby and for us. I would also recommend an extra safety lock at the top of the doors that kids can't reach. Our son slept in the room with us, but if he was older I'd be very worried that he'd be adventurous and open the door while we were asleep. The only lock was the normal one on the handle which most kids could easily reach and operate. One higher up would ensure any kids sleeping in the living room area had extra protection from being able to open that sliding door.
I hate heights so this freaked me out! Him? Not even fazed by it.

  • When returning, we'd absolutely book this room again, but unfortunately Hyatt doesn't give you the option to guarantee the space center view from this room category. I'd love to see that an an option since I believe only a small handful of suites offer this view and I would rather pay extra to know I'm locking in the view I want for this category.

The Launch

The reason we even stayed here in the first place was the promise of the best view for the launch. Did it deliver? ABSOLUTELY!

Never again will I do anywhere else. There was nothing like sitting in the room in our pajamas, having dinner, enjoying a slice of birthday cake and not having to worry about anything else. We had a comfortable place to wait and then sleep. 

Waiting for the launch in his space-themed pajamas playing with his NASA toys.

After it was over, we sat in the living room watching the line of cars coming back from the causeway feeling so glad we weren't stuck in that line trying to drive home, exhausted in the dark.

We were so close we couldn't just see the launch directly from the pad, we could hear it all (including the sonic boom) and even feel and smell the heat from it. It was by far the coolest launch experience we could have asked for. A historic once-in-a-lifetime experience that gave us a chance to watch a group of people being launched into space right before our eyes, and we got to see it in the comfort of our hotel room. We'll never forget it and certainly try to recreate it again as our son gets older and begins to enjoy things like this.

What I Loved:
  • That we could open the balcony which meant we didn't just see it but got the sound, smell and feel of it all. This gave us the opportunity for the true full experience of it.
What I'd Change: 
  • There was ONE lonely tall tree on the edge of the property that was dead center in the view from our balcony on the 5th floor. I wish they'd have taken that tree down when they'd built the property because it's so oddly out of place being the only tree there and being right in the view of the launch pad from the hotel.

STAY TUNED FOR A LAUNCH VIDEO! COMING SOON!


Things To Do In The Area


Next time we go, our son will be older and we will be able to stay a few nights and explore. There are so many places just in the immediate area that are worth taking a look at. Within just a few minutes drive from the hotel you'll find a couple of cool options with the air and space theme.
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • American Police Hall of Fame Museum
  • Enchanted Forest 
  • Valiant Air Command INC & Warbird Museum 
  • American Space Museum & Walk of Fame
  • Space Coast Beaches (Playalinda has an awesome view of the launch sites)

There are also some dining options locally, but my recommendation would be to pick up something you can eat from the fridge. We did Jimmy John's (purchased about halfway though our trip in Clermont, FL and then put in our cooler bag on ice for the second half of the drive). Publix has subs, as well, or you can buy cold cuts from there to make sandwiches, too. 

But if you'll be there for a few days and want to dine, most of the good dining options are on US-1 North of the hotel.


All-in-all we loved this hotel, despite a few hiccups upon check-in. We'll be back and highly recommend the experience to our clients, family and friends.


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