Mar232010

Hyatt Place University of California, Davis and Remembrance of Days Past

Hyatt Place U.C. Davis announced its grand opening Friday, March 19. The hotel has 75 rooms and is located adjacent to the UC Davis Conference Center and within walking distance of the arts complex including the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

This is the first hotel to be built on my undergraduate alma mater campus.

I see from the campus map that the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is located near the hotel. I have not been back to U.C. Davis for a function in 20 years. I should make a visit this year and see the new facilities for viticulture, enology and food science. These were my fields of academic study. I worked my way through my undergraduate years as a fermentation science major at UC Davis analyzing grapes, tomatoes, and dairy products.

Seeing the press releases today reminded me of the 1980s and my five years in California away from the coastal fog zone.

I remember a house full of books. The city library was in the park near my home and on the bicycle route to the university. People would drop off books and magazines for resale. Kelley and I kept a bedroom of bookracks to store all the 25 cents books and 10 cents magazines I purchased. We had all the magazine issues of Smithsonian, National Geographic, Architectural Digest, and a dozen science and history journals within a month or two of release. I raised my college school book funds by picking up current academic textbooks selling for a quarter at the library and sold them back to the U.C. bookstore for a couple hundred dollars every academic quarter.

We had an incredibly bright and loving golden retriever who moved with us from Monterey and traded her daily swims in the ocean off Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf (the tourist one) and Carmel Beach to the insufferably hot car rides up to Lake Berryessa in a little Honda Civic with no AC. And then we got the golden retriever puppies who decided to follow their big step-sister into the agricultural field holding pond in the middle of winter, only to realize they couldn’t swim. I saved a life or two that day. There was our white long-haired cat who became the first in a series of rescue kitties over the past 25 years when we adopted her from the parents of a veterinarian who died of cancer the year after graduating U.C. Davis veterinary school.

I recall the demonstrations led by the law school students to get the UC to divest funds from South Africa. I received a D+ in calculus due to missing one of the four exams to see the 1984 Nobel Prize for Peace recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak on campus. I don’t remember calculus, even though I had to repeat the course, but I remember Desmond Tutu’s speech and I recently saw him on Democracy Now still alive and kicking as an activist in Copenhagen for the Global Climate Summit in December.

The Whole Earth Festival was a huge party for U.C. Davis every spring. This year the festival happens May 7-9, 2010.

Hyatt Place U.C. Davis has rooms available for the festival weekend and currently is running rates of $170 per night (ouch!). The property is listed as a Gold Passport category 2 award for 8,000 points.

I am glad to see there is a Hyatt Place at U.C. Davis. The location is much more suitable for a campus visitor than the chain hotels located on the I-5 exits of Woodland and Sacramento.

Links: http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2009/04/13/story5.html

http://www.hotelinteractive.com/article.aspx?articleid=16510

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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