Whereas the pandemic has ravaged the lodge trade, a number of properties have used the steep drop-off in journey to their benefit.
Nestled north of San Diego within the coastal group of Carlsbad, the Park Hyatt Aviara accomplished a renovation undertaking in October of final 12 months. However this wasn’t only a nip-and-tuck operation. The sprawling resort property shuttered its doorways for six months close to the onset of the pandemic for a full-scale $50 million transform — all and not using a single visitor.
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I used to be in Southern California simply weeks after the property’s reopening, so I took the chance for a weekend keep. Resort life would possibly look completely different now, however from top-notch service to spectacular facilities, it was the small touches that actually made this five-star lodge nonetheless five-star-worthy within the midst of the pandemic. Better of all, the lodge is a wonderful use of World of Hyatt factors.
If you wish to keep at a family- and adult-friendly resort for a momentary escape from the world, right here’s what you might want to know concerning the totally reworked Park Hyatt Aviara.
Park Hyatts are thought of to be Hyatt’s most luxurious model with properties that mirror a “residential-inspired luxurious expertise.” These are Hyatt’s phrases, however after my expertise on the Aviara, I’d are likely to agree.
I’m at present a World of Hyatt elite member (due to a fast-track Globalist provide by the use of my American Airways standing), however this was my first keep at a Park Hyatt property. For sure, I used to be excited.
Most Park Hyatts don’t come low-cost, as you would possibly anticipate for five-star opulence. Common nightly charges on the Park Hyatt Aviara recurrently exceed $550 per evening earlier than taxes and a $44-per-night resort charge. With every thing included, you’re encroaching on $700-per-night territory for a base room.
Fortunately, the Park Hyatt Aviara generally is a fairly nice worth once you use World of Hyatt factors. Surprisingly, the lodge is listed as a Class 5 property, which means you’ll want simply 20,000 factors per evening for a base King Backyard View room. All Hyatt resort charges are waived on award stays, too.
It’s straightforward to get at the very least 3 cents to three.5 cents per level in worth, simply exceeding TPG’s valuation of World of Hyatt factors at 1.7 cents apiece.
Now by means of Feb. 28, 2021, the deal is even sweeter with 25% of your redeemed World of Hyatt factors again if in case you have the World of Hyatt Credit score Card (15% of your factors again in case you don’t have the Hyatt bank card). This promo additionally provides you free parking, saving you $40 per evening on the Park Hyatt Aviara.
All through the final half of 2020, I took benefit of this promotion a number of occasions, together with a keep on the Andaz West Hollywood.
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Now, let’s crunch the numbers for the Park Hyatt Aviara.
For a two-night keep, after the 25% rebate, I redeemed simply 30,000 Hyatt factors for a keep that will’ve price me over $1,500 in money (I used to be upgraded to a dearer King Coastal View room by the use of my standing). That’s an unbelievable worth of 5 cents per World of Hyatt level. And as talked about, I saved $80 in parking over the course of the weekend. We’re already off to a implausible begin.
In the event you don’t but have Hyatt factors, bear in mind you may switch factors immediately to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio out of your eligible Chase Final Rewards playing cards, such because the Chase Sapphire Most well-liked Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Associated: Why I went all-in on the World of Hyatt bank card through the pandemic
The Park Hyatt Aviara is a few 40-minute drive from downtown San Diego or a few 90-minute drive from Los Angeles. The easiest way to get right here is certainly by automobile, though an Uber isn’t out of the realm of chance both.
The property is ready a mile inland from the Pacific Ocean, atop a hill with stellar views of the coastal Carlsbad space. Each Legoland and the principle strip of Carlsbad with retailers and eating places are a number of miles away. However neither feels significantly shut because the lodge is situated in a quiet (and residential) a part of city, close to the shores of the Batiquitos Lagoon.
That’s a very good factor in case you’re on the lookout for some tranquility.
In a previous life, this property was a 4 Seasons lodge and actually, the 4 Seasons Residences are nonetheless round, sharing the identical land down the street.
The Park Hyatt Aviara is a large 200-acre resort, however the footprint truly feels lots smaller than it truly is. There’s just one principal constructing that homes all 327 visitor rooms, together with 43 suites, and 83,000 sq. toes of indoor restaurant, bar, assembly and occasion house.
Farther afield (lower than a mile or so away) are the six tennis courts and the Aviara Golf Membership, each of which require trip on the complimentary shuttle to achieve.
Associated: 5 methods I take advantage of my lodge card advantages to journey in luxurious
Upon driving as much as the principle reception space, I used to be promptly greeted by a valet attendant who assisted with my baggage. Keep in mind, all visitors — not simply Hyatt Globalist members — who use factors for a keep by means of Feb. 28, 2021, get complimentary valet or self-parking.
The very first thing that you just’ll in all probability discover inside is a basic, brilliantly illuminated foyer and lounge space with recessed lighting and daylight pouring in. Your eyes are drawn to the ceiling above the place a surprising, reflective artwork piece hangs.
Since I used to be visiting proper earlier than the vacations, the lodge was additionally adorned appropriately with poinsettias, wreaths, garlands and a towering tree on the heart of the house.
Instantly to the left of the entryway are the check-in desks, all with shields in place as an additional measure to guard lodge employees.
Whereas occupancy was low all through the weekend, I arrived similtaneously three different visitors who had been additionally checking in. With just one employees member doing check-in and one other on the concierge desk, issues moved a bit slowly.
Usually, through the pandemic, anticipate a barely slower tempo of service at not solely this property however and motels and resorts all over the place.
As soon as it was my flip, nevertheless, I used to be greeted by an exceptionally pleasant employees member who confirmed my improve to a coastal-view room. With nobody else in line behind me, the agent even walked me to the elevator as she continued to clarify the facilities of the lodge.
I used to be additionally shocked that the lodge had not solely emailed visitors forward of time to allow them to find out about pandemic-related amenity modifications and closures but additionally confirmed my improve a number of days earlier than arrival.
At check-in, you’ll even be given a booklet with details about all on-site companies, working hours and a day by day schedule of resort actions.
As I walked over to the three principal elevators, I acquired a greater sense of the aesthetic of the inside of the lodge.
General, the decor of the foyer lounge is what I’d describe as California basic with a bit of recent aptitude. There was a very good mix of marble and hardwood flooring and carpeting, a coloration palette of grey and white tones and loads of pure lighting. It was inviting with out feeling too over-the-top ostentatious.
There are quite a few seating areas simply previous the check-in space and lengthening into the foyer bar and terrace. The furnishings, accents and vibe simply felt new.
One factor to notice: As a result of the Park Hyatt Aviara sits on a hill, you truly enter the lodge on the third flooring. I used to be given a room on the fourth flooring, only one degree above the foyer. Nevertheless, purely out of behavior, I’d press “1” within the elevator at any time when I wanted to get to the foyer. The primary flooring homes the spa and a few visitor rooms, in addition to entry to the pool areas and courtyard.
I’d sheepishly notice my mistake, get again within the elevator and press “3.” This occurred a number of occasions. (Sure, the third flooring is labeled “foyer” degree within the elevator however previous habits die onerous.)
The Park Hyatt Aviara’s principal constructing consists of 5 tales, with visitor rooms on all ranges aside from the third-floor foyer degree. A five-story construction could sound small, however the constructing actually expands outward versus upward.
The hallways twist and switch and it could generally really feel like they go on eternally. I had a room on the far finish of a type of hallways, and I definitely acquired my steps in every time strolling to and from the elevators. Not that I minded after every thing I ate. (Extra on that beneath.)
The corridors have very plush carpeting so in case you’re rolling your personal baggage, anticipate to get a little bit of an arm exercise too.
When you make it to the room, you’re welcomed into an inviting, homey house with extra of the identical impartial tones from the foyer. One factor I instantly seen was you would truly odor how new the room was. I’d describe it as a high-end furnishings showroom-esque scent.
Instantly to the fitting behind a pocket door was a big marble lavatory with a soaking tub, separate bathe and double sinks. All the bathtub facilities had been Le Labo-branded — no bulk toiletries right here.
To the left upon getting into was the closet and storage space. Curiously, whereas every thing within the lodge gave the impression to be up to date, one merchandise that didn’t get a revamp was the nonetheless purposeful however ancient-looking in-room protected.
Farther into the room had been the principle points of interest: a fluffy king-sized mattress, a sofa adorned with just a few ornamental pillows and an ottoman and a espresso desk.
Throughout from the sofa was one other spherical desk with two chairs that was nice for in-room eating however not so good as a workspace. Sadly, there isn’t a correct desk within the room, which isn’t completely shocking contemplating this can be a resort.
The decor wasn’t precisely minimalist, however it was pretty fashionable, clear and easy. There have been tasteful items of paintings and pottery scattered all through the dwelling house, too. I might really feel the “residential-inspired luxurious expertise” that the Park Hyatt goes for.
It’s not my private favourite fashion however it labored and was cohesive.
Each room and suite on the Park Hyatt Aviara has a personal outside house. My upgraded 500-square-foot king room had a smallish balcony with two chairs, a desk and views of the property and lagoon within the distance. Oddly, the outside space had no lighting.
One factor that stood out to me was that the entire in-room facilities that you just anticipate in a five-star lodge had been obtainable — with out even having to request an merchandise.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, I’ve stayed at varied higher-end properties that haven’t supplied objects or companies akin to a espresso maker, ice bucket or in-room eating. Then, there are some motels which have stripped objects akin to bathrobes, glassware or hair dryers, solely supplying them upon request. That is completed for the sake of security — but additionally doubles as a cost-cutting measure.
Not so on the Park Hyatt Aviara. Every little thing you’d anticipate from a luxurious lodge was obtainable within the room. There may be an Illy espresso machine and kettle, actual glasses and dishware, a wine opener, plush bathrobes and slippers, full in-room eating, shoeshine and laundry service, a stitching package and sure, even a notepad and pen.
These aren’t noteworthy objects by themselves, however I used to be impressed by the truth that every thing was obtainable for visitors ought to they want them. Maybe the one factor lacking was a completely stocked minibar. The fridge — devoid of any objects aside from chilled creamer — remains to be within the room, nevertheless.
Each day housekeeping and turndown service are nonetheless obtainable if you need that, too.
The Park Hyatt Aviara has a full stack of facilities on provide. In spite of everything, this can be a resort property.
After all, through the pandemic, issues are naturally going to be extra restricted. As an example, throughout my keep, the health heart was closed however the lodge got here up with a nifty answer. Exercise tools — together with an elliptical, bike, free weights and a treadmill — was positioned within the patio space of a number of blocked-off visitor rooms on the bottom flooring.
Because the space was coated, visitors might use the tools exterior rain or shine. Fortunately, it was sunny and brilliant through the course of my keep.
Weights and yoga mats can be delivered to your room freed from cost.
Courtyard, pool and spa
The property has some stunningly attractive outside areas together with a large courtyard and an outside terrace on the foyer degree. Actually, every evening I caught the solar setting over the Pacific Ocean from the terrace.
There are two swimming pools on the property which can be fully redesigned. First, there’s an grownup pool nestled away to the aspect of the lodge that provides personal luxurious cabanas and has sweeping views of the Batiquitos Lagoon within the distance.
Then, there’s a a lot bigger household pool full with a waterslide tower with two slides and a tide pool splash pad. Throughout my keep, there have been no quite a lot of different visitors utilizing the grownup pool whereas the household pool was barely extra crowded.
Each swimming pools share the identical poolside restaurant and bar, Water’s Edge.
Whereas I didn’t splurge on any companies, the Aviara Spa is a large house situated on the bottom degree, taking over 15,000 sq. toes. There are a complete of 20 particular person therapy rooms with an indoor solarium lounge space, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and locker and dressing areas. A 50-minute therapeutic massage begins at a cool $180.
Like with every thing else on property, examine with the lodge to see what facilities can be found earlier than making any spa plans.
Golf, tennis and lagoon
Away from the principle areas of the property are the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, six tennis courts and a jogging path on the Batiquitos Lagoon. The tennis courts are situated about midway to the lagoon and golf course, that are adjoining to one another.
With a view to get to those components of the lodge grounds, a shuttle within the type of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is supplied.
As a runner, I appreciated the jogging suggestions that the lodge supplies within the booklet at check-in. There’s even a web site and app that listing varied paths surrounding the property for all ability ranges.
If working in your golf swing indoors is extra your fashion, the lodge additionally presents two Topgolf Swing Suites close to the principle foyer. The ground-to-ceiling display screen has a choice of digital video games and may be rented out for a gaggle operate (at any time when that turns into a factor once more).
Each day actions
At check-in, you’ll get a full listing of day by day resort choices that vary from exercise lessons to household actions by the pool. Throughout the pandemic, the listing of choices can be a bit scaled again since there are fewer visitors. And for security causes, every thing takes place outside.
I used to be the one visitor who took the “Restore and Rejuvenate” yoga class on Saturday morning. The setting was perfect within the courtyard and each the trainer and I had been carrying masks.
Meals and beverage
As soon as working at full steam once more, the Park Hyatt Aviara may have no scarcity of meals and beverage choices. At the moment, there are 4 choices open — with two extra eating places to come back later in 2021.
First, there’s Water’s Edge with poolside informal meals and drinks and the Aviara Market, a to-go cafe.
On the time of my keep, there have been additionally two choices for sit-down eating.
Pacific Level encompasses the bar and outside terrace in the principle foyer and served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be aware that the current menu (as of this writing) is rather more restricted now than it was throughout my go to.
From early morning to late night, the meals at Pacific Level was contemporary, tasty and never outrageously priced for a Park Hyatt.
I significantly loved my dinner of seared steak and cauliflower together with creme brulee (that had an ideal caramelized prime) for dessert.
In the meantime, the Argyle Steakhouse is situated on the grounds of the golf course and was solely open for dinner. As talked about, make sure to examine the lodge’s web site for the newest info on sit-down eating availability through the pandemic.
For each Pacific Level and the Argyle Steakhouse, there are warmth lamps obtainable which had been appreciated for cold California nights.
Throughout my keep, the seating areas had been additionally properly spaced for the entire meals — aside from dinner on Friday evening. Many non-hotel visitors (native Carlsbad-area residents) dine at Pacific Level and there have been a number of bigger teams that evening. Fortunately, I used to be seated in a bit of the terrace that was faraway from the motion.
Whereas servers and waitstaff throughout the board had been wonderful and really personable — from Water’s Edge to Pacific Level to the Argyle Steakhouse — the precise service itself was additionally very gradual. As an example, the meals at Pacific Level took over an hour to reach at my desk on my first evening.
In distinction, although, in-room eating was very immediate after we ordered breakfast for our ultimate morning. Gadgets had been individually wrapped and plated and the patio seating within the room was an ideal setting.
In the event you’re staying at a lodge now, it’s important to handle expectations. Facilities might not be obtainable. Service could also be gradual. Chances are you’ll even have to go away the property.
However apart from slower-than-usual service, the completely reworked Park Hyatt Aviara actually impressed me. Aesthetically, the property is attractive. And the lodge was in a position to largely execute on five-star niceties — even within the midst of a pandemic.
From top-notch meals to personable service and in-room facilities, I loved my first-ever Park Hyatt keep. And it’s a downright steal at 30,000 World of Hyatt factors for 2 nights (40,000 factors with out the present rebate). If a resort keep is what you want for a second of peace amid the insanity, the Park Hyatt Aviara is definitely not a nasty selection.
Featured photograph by Chris Dong/The Factors Man.