Mar312008

Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa, Santa Rosa, California

March is my favorite month for California travel.

March is typically when the weather starts hitting the 70s on a regular basis and the hills are still green from the winter California rains. Coastal California receives the vast majority of its rainfall between the months of October and March. The hills start turning brown a few weeks after the last rains and by June most areas have little green color left.

The other day, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time since 2001. North, past Marin County and into Sonoma County is where the real northern California begins in my opinion. There are many Californias. Life in the OC is an entirely different experience and lifestyle than the Redwood Country California.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Sonoma County, an area now famous for wines, once had numerous old growth stands of redwood trees. Most were cut down to rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. The exclusive Bohemian Club is currently in the process of trying to get around redwood protection legislation to allow logging of the largest remaining stand of privately owned old growth trees remaining in Sonoma County, a 2,700 acre redwood grove on the Russian River watershed basin.

Santa Rosa is 50 miles north of San Francisco and is the last city over 50,000 people heading north on California Highway 101. Oregon is another 300 miles of driving through vineyards and coastal redwoods.

I lived in the northern coastal California town of Eureka from 1996 to 2001 and I frequently drove to San Francisco. Typically, I would drive down to Rohnert Park, about 10 miles south of Santa Rosa and home of Sonoma State University, and stay at the Doubletree Hotel.

Doubletree Sonoma pool, Rohnert Park, California

Doubletree Sonoma pool, Rohnert Park, California

Doubletree Sonoma Hotel lobby, Rohnert Park, California

Doubletree Sonoma Hotel, Rohnert Park, California

The Doubletree Hotel was the best major chain full-service hotel between Eureka and San Francisco back in 2000. And now there are several chain hotels with the Four Points Sheraton in San Rafael, Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma, Marriott Courtyard, Hilton and the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa. Several more Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inns, Holiday Inn Express, and Hampton Inns have also been opened along this stretch of Highway 101 north of San Francisco.

Sheraton Petaluma pool, Petaluma, California

Sheraton Petaluma pool, Petaluma, California

The Hyatt Vineyard Creek hotel has classic Spanish architecture with lots of wrought iron, and a Mediterranean inspired color scheme. The rooms are built around two large courtyards. Think of a figure 8, make it square shaped and you can envision the basic hotel design.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa, California lobby

Hyatt Vineyard Creek lobby
I was given a room overlooking the parking lot, but near the creek side for a relatively green view from the window. The preferred rooms have the view facing south and overlook the pool, creek, and gardens.

The garden grounds have several statues and art pieces. A large fountain wall, grass lawn, and vines decorate the hotel area. The outside grounds and pool are unique features of this Hyatt hotel for the Hyatt properties in northern California.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Gardens Sculpture

Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa, California sculpture garden

The room facilities:
The room is poorly designed for business work. The desk chair was quite uncomfortable. The cushion sank right down to the wood frame and my legs resting on the hardwood of the seat frame while working at the desk on my computer was a pain I could only stand for about 20 minutes.

The desk is placed next to the TV cabinet and the doors of the cabinet must be open to see TV, however, the TV cabinet doors do not fold back all the way. The cabinet door needs to be closed when working at the desk and this prohibits watching TV while working at the desk because the TV cabinet door was right in my face and in front of the desk lamp when open.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek room, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek room decor blocks the work desk

The bedroom seating consisted of two upholstered chairs in the room. These were reasonably comfortable, but my complaint is the plastic wrap the chairs were shipped in was still visible dangling around the legs of the chair. When I initially surveyed the room, the plastic gave the appearance of the chair stuffing coming out the bottom, but I pulled on it and confirmed it was the remnants of the shipping plastic wrap that was never cleanly removed from the chairs.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek room decor

Hyatt Vineyard Creek room, Santa Rosa, California

Room 316 on top floor of hotel. The room has screened windows.

A distinguishing feature of the hotel room is the 10ft high ceiling. Vertical space gives the room the feeling of a much larger space than your typical 300 sq ft hotel room. Furniture has appearance of old oak in a faux mission decor.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek, Santa Rosa - bedroom

Hyatt Vineyard Creek bedroom

Bathroom: Large wooden sliding door. No curved shower rod. Tub and shower head provided the best water pressure and temperature of any Hyatt hotel shower so far. That was lovely.

The patio rooms offered as a booking option are either on one of the two interior courtyards or there are a few rooms with patios adjacent to pool. Patio courtyard would be fun for group or family event as there are no barriers and rooms quite open. People preferring privacy should not go for these rooms as they are quite exposed to the hotel world.

TV is regular 27 inch Zenith TV.

The hotel has an attached conference center wing which opens onto a courtyard. The hotel is basically two 3-story squares built around two interior courtyards. The conference wing is the east side of the hotel and the main hotel section of guest rooms is the west side.

Room service prices are about the cheapest of any of the Hyatt’s in Bay Area. A breakfast entrée of eggs or an omelette can be purchased for $10 and with room service delivery charges and tax it is still under $15.

Major drawback of room is no mini-fridge. Here we are in the wine country and there is no refrigerator to chill wine and the ice bucket provided is definitely too small to chill a bottle of wine. This is a hotel set up for rest and relaxation and the addition of a mini-fridge would be a great enhancement.

Signage is poor. I could easily have missed the pool if I hadn’t toured the hotel thoroughly. The gardens and riverwalk on the back side are the highlight of the property, but the layout with the large iron gate between the pool and the interior courtyard makes it impossible to even see the garden area from the lobby and spa courtyard. I thought it was a parking lot back there until I exited outside the conference wing to find a beautiful 100 foot long wall fountain, art sculptures and the pool area.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek fountain, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek, fountain, Santa Rosa, California

Outdoor pool is inviting space for lounging. Santa Rosa can reach 100 in summer months and an outdoor pool is a relaxation feature and welcome, especially after a day out in hot sun. Pool is open 7am-10pm and a hot tub is also present. A café is located in pool area.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek pool, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek pool and pool cafe, Santa Rosa, California

The Brasserie restaurant is open 6:30am-11pm weekdays, 7am-11pm weekends.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Brasserie Restaurant, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Brasserie Restaurant, Santa Rosa, California

Fitness room seemed small for hotel this size and the color scheme was not soothing, in contrast to the rest of hotel. There are 2 treadmills, 2 stair steppers, 3 bikes, weights and bench, large balls, 2 TVs. It seemed cramped and claustrophobic to me.

The hotel is about to undergo a lobby remodel and one of the main features will be the installation of a bar within the lobby. This work is scheduled to be completed in June 2008.

The Hyatt Vineyard Creek Spa has ten treatment rooms for massage therapy and body treatments. Half-day, 3-hour packages range from $295 to $370 and include facial, massage, and picnic lunch. A la carte massage is about $110-$125 for 50 minutes or $160-$185 for 80 minutes. Manicures $40-$55 for 50 minutes, pedicures $50-$70, and combo for $85-$120.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Courtyard, Santa Rosa, California

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel courtyard, Santa Rosa, California

Needed hotel improvement: There are apparently no service elevators and twice I saw staff pushing a cart of garbage enter an elevator with guests, once with me in the elevator. In my opinion, a hotel of this caliber (AAA 4-diamond rating) should train staff to wait for a vacant elevator before using it with guests to perform maintenance functions.

Marriott Courtyard is located across the street from the Hyatt Vineyard Creek. I was able to see a room and tour the Courtyard hotel and the Hyatt has superior facilities and better room design.

Marriott Courtyard room, Santa Rosa, California

Marriott Courtyard room, Santa Rosa, California

Marriott Courtyard Pool, Santa Rosa, California

Marriott Courtyard pool, Santa Rosa, California

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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