Feb012010

Hyatt Regency Monterey Photo Album

The Monterey pines on the ridge between Monterey and Carmel darkly dot the tree covered hills like a Monet painting. Muted sunlight filters through the rolling fog on the upper part of the landscape and various shades of golf course green lay the foundation of this Monterey Peninsula natural canvas.  The window I am looking out from the bed is Hyatt Regency Monterey, suite 860. The nearly wall width windows outline the dimensions of the morning’s visual setting.

The only sounds I hear are surprisingly quiet riding mowers moving across portions of the golf course immediately outside the hotel room. When I arrived yesterday the room temperature felt to be in the 70s. I have both windows fully open and the fans running this morning. It is in the mid-50s outside, but this is Monterey and the room only has a heater, no air conditioning.

There are signs in the room suggesting guests open the windows and turn on the fans if the room is too warm. This was an adequate solution for me as the colder air outside on this January day quickly cooled the room. I dread to think what measures one would employ if this were one of our rare 85 degree days experienced five to ten days a year most years on the Monterey Peninsula. Some years the hot days occur in the middle of winter, although more likely to occur annually in September and October.

The Hyatt Regency Monterey resort has two pools. The pools are an oasis from the uncommon sporadic days of outdoor heat. Typically Monterey has 60- to 70-degree weather around 80% of days locally in this California coastal microclimate. The main pool by buildings 3, 4, and 5 was in use by a couple of families and some kids on a 59-degree, partly cloudy January afternoon in Monterey.

We take the weather as it comes in Monterey. 59-degrees with medium humidity in January can be warmer than a foggy, high humidity 59-degree day in July. The kind of July day that is relatively frequent in a typical year on the Monterey Peninsula. Most of the United States, aside from parts of Alaska, have extended periods annually when the temperature is over 80-degrees. In Monterey, as in much of the coastal Pacific north of Monterey, California and on up to British Columbia, the rare days when it reaches 80-degrees sustained rarely exceeds two to four days in a row. Of course this is only true for the immediate coast within a couple of miles of the Pacific Ocean.  Go inland five miles during summer months, or however deep the fog belt and Pacific Ocean natural air conditioner extends, and most of the west coast is regularly 90-degrees and over in the summer months. But this is winter in Monterey and 60 degrees is baking for people who have been living in snow and ice for the past couple of months.

I love this view from the Hyatt Regency Monterey.  The nearest houses are hundreds of yards away and almost entirely obscured in trees. From the bed I gaze to the hills and see thousands of pine trees, yet only a glimpse of a few houses. This setting is unique for Monterey hotels. The Hyatt Highlands Inn or Pebble Beach resort hotels have similar tree-filled views, but the Pacific Ocean vista for enhanced viewing pleasure at these other hotels means prices are typically $300 to $600 per night.

My sister stayed at the Hyatt Regency Monterey hotel last month. Her room was across the hall from the room where I am now. Her room was a standard size hotel room, limited space, basic bathroom shower/tub, and a window overlooking the parking lot. Highway 1 traffic sounds can be heard from rooms not facing the golf course when the window or patio door is open. Some rooms at the Hyatt Regency Monterey are within 50 yards of the freeway (Buildings 20-26). Building 26 even has balconies and patios facing the freeway side.

Last month I asked my sister if she would like me to book her room and secure her and her husband a suite or would she rather book her own room and go for the free Hyatt night after two hotel stays. She went for the free night offer. She had a surprisingly good rate of $119/night for a Friday and Saturday weekend stay. She does not have Hyatt Gold Passport elite status.

My main advice for the Monterey Hyatt Regency is book a golf course view room. This hotel is an old hotel locals knew as the Mark Thomas in the 1970s. The hotel is located on the southeast side of Highway 1. The ocean is about one mile away on the northwest side of Highway 1. The hotel location is secluded from the city of Monterey. A car is desirable to get to tourist parts of Monterey which is about a 30 minute walk to downtown.  Monterey’s Del Monte Beach can probably be reached by foot in 20 minutes.

Two words – “Elite Status”

Yesterday I checked into the Hyatt Regency Monterey on an $89 limited time offer rate using Corporate Code #13147. I used one of my complimentary suite upgrade certificates in my Diamond elite account and received advance confirmation for a suite. Diamond members receive four electronic upgrade certificates annually. A single upgrade certificate can be used for a stay up to seven nights.

I called the Gold Passport Diamond member customer service line and asked for the 2,000 point G2 bonus code to be applied to my stay. At check-in I opted for an additional 1,000 points Diamond amenity rather than taking a free pay-per-view movie or food & beverage credit for my stay.

As a Diamond member I received complimentary Regency Club access with free sodas, coffee, cookies throughout the day, evening appetizers, evening dessert selections, and complimentary breakfast. Two computer stations and a printer are also available in the Club lounge.

My sister would have had to pay a rate $40 more per night for access to the Hyatt Regency Club.

I regularly read articles from travelers who do not find value in chain hotels and hotel loyalty programs. They would rather pay for trending boutique hotels, Priceline stays, the hotel with the best TripAdvisor review, or even skip the chain hotel scene altogether for a more economical option.

Hotel loyalty program elite members can experience so much more of a hotel without spending so much more money. Hyatt Gold Passport offered complimentary elite status to members in 2009 and several fast-track elite options including stays count double from October 1, 2009 to January 31, 2010.

Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest both require 25 stays in a calendar year to reach top elite level within the hotel loyalty program structure. Hyatt Gold Passport’s Diamond members and Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum members receive complimentary suite upgrades and elite bonus point gifts per stay on top of the percentage differential points bonus for being an elite loyalty member.

$55 Million Renovation

The Hyatt Regency Monterey has just been through a $55 million transformation. The Stay Fit fitness club and Accista Spa are two of the biggest changes in the past year.

The Hyatt Regency has six tennis courts with complimentary access for guests. There are two pool areas, both with swimming pools and whirlpools. The pool complex near the lobby and TusCA restaurant and room buildings 3, 4, and 5 has ping pong tables and a large chess board.

The Garden Terrace pool complex is between buildings 24, 25, 26 (road side) and 12, 14, 15 (resort side). Golf course facing buildings are 6, 7, 8 and 9, 10, 11. Half the rooms in these three-story buildings face the golf course and half face the parking lot.

Before the renovation, the Hyatt Regency Monterey received numerous poor reviews from guests feeling ripped off by the high price and old style hotel set-up.  I have provided a photo album with nearly 200 pictures showing different parts of the resort. There are plenty of activities and facilities to make the Hyatt Regency Monterey a good vacation hotel.

My main tip for guests unfamiliar with the hotel is to pay the premium to secure a golf course view room. The two main detractors of this property are the rooms looking out over the parking lots and the rooms facing the freeway side of the resort where noise can be a disturbance. The room interiors are nicely decorated regardless of the room location.

I live close enough to the Hyatt Regency Monterey that Tiger Woods could probably reach the green in two or three shots from my place. This was my first actual room stay at the hotel.

I liked it.

Being a Hyatt Gold Passport diamond member with a suite upgrade certificate and complimentary Regency Club access certainly made this a better hotel stay than the average guest might experience. And that $89 limited time offer rate I booked is probably as rare as our 80 degree days for pricey Monterey.

Here is a link to my Hyatt Regency Monterey annotated photo album on Picasa with 175 hotel photos.

I also have a Picasa annotated photo album for the Hyatt Highlands Inn Carmel with about 200 photos.

Golf course view Hyatt Regency Monterey

Golf course view Hyatt Regency Monterey

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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