True story….I left Hyatt, but came back!

By on February 29, 2012
The following blog was written by Stephen Buenaga.  Stephen is one of our Directors of Human Resources.  Here he reflects on the experience of leaving Hyatt and eventually returning.  We’re grateful to have him back and hope you enjoy his blog!

Stephen Buenaga, Director of Human Resources at Hyatt at the Bellevue.

Confucius once said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is true of working at Hyatt. Before I got into Human Resources I worked in retail for fifteen years. Every morning I would get up and just dread going to work. In the 6 ½ years I have worked here I have never dreaded coming to work.

I started working with Hyatt Hotels Corporation in February 2002 at the Grand Hyatt Washington as an Employment Manager. I was promoted to Benefits Manager a year later and in August 2004 was promoted and transferred to the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing as the Assistant Director of Human Resources. My goal was to be a Director of Human Resources and I was on my way!  Through a series of events I had to resign in July 2007. While I was gone, I always checked to see if there were any openings with Hyatt because I knew I wanted to come back. I kept in touch and in 2010, a Director of Human Resources position became available and fortunately I was hired back.

Here is what makes Hyatt different and why I love working here!  During my time away from Hyatt, I worked for two different companies. Both companies did some type of an employee opinion survey but when the results came in nothing was done with it. We looked at the results and just filed them away until next year. I felt like they were telling us “don’t worry about them, get back to work”. Why put in the effort if we aren’t going to do anything with it? Here at Hyatt we do something with it. We get all of the associates to participate in planning meetings so we can get their feedback and create change.

Here at Hyatt our full-service hotels have Employee Dining Rooms.  Ours at Hyatt at the Bellevue is called “8-Teen Café” (because it is on the 18th floor). Every day we have a hot meal, and a salad bar and it is all free. You can imagine how much it would cost a day to buy lunch or dinner; my guess is I save about $50 a week by being able to eat in the Employee Dining Room. But more importantly it gives me a chance to get out of my office, away from work, and to spend time with my co-workers.

Also when I was rehired with Hyatt, I received credit for my prior service. Meaning that the five and a half years I worked for Hyatt would be counted towards my rehire service.  So I came back to Hyatt with the same amount of benefit time that I had when I left, which for me was 3 weeks of paid vacation, sick days and holiday pay.

I planned to write only 3-5 paragraphs for this blog and you can see I went a little over, but it is very easy to write and talk about something when you feel so passionately. I feel passionately about the company I work for and the people I work with are my family.


About Ronisha

One of Hyatt's Regional Talent Acquisition Managers, Ronisha recruits for Hyatt's College Programs and supports our full-service locations within the East Coast and Midwestern regions of the United States. A lover of all things "social", you can follow her on Twitter at @ronishagoodwin


  1. Michael J. McColgan

    February 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Hi Steven,
    You are correct. I Remember my days with Bethesda Hyatt and Grand Hyatt WDC. about 8 years ago now. These were great benefits about the Hyatt family. It was also fun and a different experience everyday you came to work. I am currently working as General Manager of a small Family entertainment laser Adventure Facility and I try to implement on the same levels of service which I learned from Hyatt. Hopefully one day I will be able to get back into my Hotel and Restaurant management background.

  2. Christopher Buenaga

    February 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

    As Steve’s twin brother, I too worked for Hyatt for 4 1/2 years and loved every minute of it. However, as I chased gold instead of following my heart, I left and took a job that in a short period of time I realized what a mistake I made. Long story short, 18 months from leaving I was hired back to Hyatt and I could not be any happier. Having a brother let alone a twin working with the same company is icing on the cake!

    Christopher Buenaga
    Hyatt Regency Princeton

  3. Deb Buenaga

    February 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I am Stephen’s wife and just want to say “Thank you Hyatt”. Thank you for making my husband happy again! When he is happy at work he comes home and can be a wonderful husband and father to our 2 amazing boys. Our youngest son has special needs but always knows when he sees a Hyatt and loves when he gets to stay at a Hyatt! But please don’t tell him that “Hyatt does not belong to Daddy”. When he sees a Hyatt or talks about Hyatt he refers to it as “Daddy’s Hyatt”. When we (as a family) attend the special family events we always feel welcome and honored to be a part of the “Hyatt Family”. So.. Thank you Hyatt!

    • Suneel Arya

      March 1, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Its so wonderful to hear about Hyatt. Please help me also to be part of this wonderful community. My best wishes to you and your lovedones.

  4. salvador mendoza

    February 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Welcome back brother Steve. I had heard that you were back and was thrilled to have ran into you when I was dropping off my son at Temple the Fall of 2010. I believe that was the first weekend back to the Hyatt Family.

    I always enjoy our conversations and look forward to many more. All the best my friend. See you soon.

  5. teresa

    March 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Stephhen, it’s a great story, may be my question is far beyond what you expect. I used to work with Hyatt, I’ve got enormous experience,and I’ll always remember those days.One friend of myne resigned with a note ‘not eligible for re-hire’.Is that means for some period of time, or it means that he’ll not be able to work with Hyatt at all?Appreciate if you can answer.Thanks

    • rgoldberg

      March 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Hello Teresa, typically this means that this person con not be employed at Hyatt. Obviously, there are circumstances where this can be reconsidered. Best to ask your friend to contact the property that they worked at.

  6. Judy

    May 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Boy do I love this story! I wholeheartedly agree Stephen, with all of your thoughts. It took me two years to get up the courage to actually leave, to pursue another avenue in my career. And, while I haven’t gone back, yet, I do know for a fact that Hyatt is the best. There’s a family atmosphere which exists that, quite frankly, is not evident anywhere else. I fondly remember my days there and am still good friends with many of my former colleagues.