My hotel stay mistakes are relatively infrequent in recent years. The dumbest mistake I ever made was on our 1989 honeymoon in London and thinking a hotel mini-bar was free. Somehow free booze on the Pan Am flight translated in my jet-lagged head to free booze in our London St. James Court hotel room. We drank over 100£ of mini-booze for a major buzz before I finally asked a housekeeper if there was a charge for drinking all those little bottles of alcohol.
Possibly an equally big mistake occurred this week when I was pitched a Hyatt Vacation Club timeshare presentation on Christmas Day after checking in at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn. There was a call to our room about an hour after arrival and my wife was told that I had a coupon waiting for me in the lobby. There was no mention of Hyatt Vacation Club in the phone call, but I knew that is where the desk for HVC is located when Kelley told me where to go for the coupon.
I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge and I have been haunted by Christmas ghosts all week since my stay at the Carmel Highlands Inn. I wish it were all a dream and I could repeat Christmas Day at the Highlands Inn and turn down the Hyatt Vacation Club timeshare presentation offer that sullied the ending to what was otherwise a pleasant hotel stay. $150 was not worth over two hours of our limited family time together this Christmas week during my paid stay at the hotel. I deeply regret letting the HVC sales staff intrude on our family vacation getaway.
Hyatt Stay Certificates for $249 nights at Hyatt Highlands Inn
There are some good tips in this post for getting a discount on the published rates at Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn and other high-priced Hyatt hotels and resorts.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn had a published rate of $399 per night for much of the Christmas week ($359.10 AAA rate). There is a $20 daily resort fee and 10.5% tax making the daily published rate about $420 to $460 all-in per night for the lowest rates.
A two-night Hyatt Stay Certificate Elite Level brought the rate down to $269 all-in per night. I published an article on Loyalty Traveler a few weeks ago on Hyatt Stay Certificates for big hotel rate savings.
I got that loyalty traveler buzz after I booked two nights for a total room cost of $269 per night compared to the otherwise lowest AAA rate at $417 per night with breakfast. The Hyatt Stay certificate saved nearly $300 on a two-night stay and I was able to handle the entire transaction online.
Hyatt Stay Certificates are paper certificates that must be mailed. I was concerned the certificate may not arrive in time when I ordered Monday morning, December 19 for a Sunday arrival on Christmas Day.
Hyatt Stay Certificates shipping cost:
- FedEx Express Saver shipping is $6 for a certificate order (not valid for Hawaii or Alaska).
- FedEx Two day = $14.
- FedEx overnight = $25.
I went with 2 day delivery on my Dec 19 Monday morning order and the FedEx delivery happened Tuesday night while I was out of the house. A signature was required so the envelope was not left on my doorstep, but FedEx returned Wednesday afternoon. My total Stay Certificate cost for two nights at Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn was $512.
Unique Upgrade Opportunity
Even better was the message after making my reservation that I had a unique upgrade opportunity. E-upgrades are used by Hyatt as a means of upselling room reservations with the opportunity to get a room category upgrade for a small additional fee that generally results in a savings compared to the published rate for the room.
- Big Sur Suite = $39 extra per night.
- Ocean View Townhouse = $69 extra per night.
In my previous stays at Carmel Highlands Inn I have always received a complimentary upgrade to the Ocean View Townhouse. In 2010 I was upgraded to the Point Lobos Suite. I have never stayed in the Big Sur Suite and that is a corner room with loads of windows. I only selected the Big Sur Suite for my upgrade opportunity hoping for a chance to photograph the room.
Christmas Day at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn
On Christmas Day I checked in and received room 420 in the timeshare section of the hotel. This is the first time I have ever been given a room in the Hyatt Vacation Club section of the Highlands Inn. I was disappointed that I did not get the Big Sur Suite or an ocean view townhome.
The positive feature of the room is it probably has one of the best unobstructed ocean views of any room I have seen at Hyatt Highlands Inn. The balconies of the neighboring rooms are mostly not visible when standing out on the balcony of room 420.
The major negative of the room is it was the first room I’ve ever stayed in at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands without two bathrooms and the sitting room is basically shared with the bedroom. We had to move the dining table chair to partition off the bedroom from the sitting room.
This room is also the only room I have been in with just one TV. Once the partition between the sitting room and bedroom is closed there is no TV to view from the bed. The TV swivels and is viewable from the bed or the sitting room, but guests must choose which direction to face the TV and the bedroom partition must be open to see the TV from bed.
HVC sales teams took over Highlands Inn lobby in 2011.
Apparently I had not been to the Highlands Inn in 2011. My wife and I were surprised to see the lobby was reorganized to set up a series of timeshare presentation desks where there used to be large open space with beautiful black and white photographs.
2010 Carmel Highlands Inn lobby
2011 Carmel Highlands Inn lobby
There was a Christmas tree in the lobby when we arrived on Christmas Day. My family was surprised to see the tree being cut apart and removed on Monday morning. The lobby is usually a tranquil place to sit and relax and gaze out the wall-to-wall picture windows. On both mornings of our stay the seats by the windows were being used by the Hyatt Vacation Club sales force for meetings and the setting was anything but a tranquil place to relax while staying at the hotel.
These are lovely seating arrangements, but the photos fail to show the HVC sales desks located off to the sides. From my observations during our stay there is a good chance there will be a timeshare sales pitch happening a few feet from these seats.
The largest pod of gray whales I have ever seen were spouting in probably ten or more places as I sat in the lobby gazing out the window. My sister tried to sit in the lobby and enjoy the scenery, but she went back to the room to get away from the three timeshare conversations happening simultaneously in three sets of window seats.
I had never even encountered the HVC sales staff in several previous stays at the Carmel Highlands Inn. In 2011 there was a major conversion of the hotel property with the former Hyatt Vacation Club offices being converted into the Fitness Room and the HVC offices being moved into the lobby. My sister wondered why they didn’t use one of the conference rooms on the floor below the lobby for the HVC desks? That is a good question.
The old Hyatt Vacation Club office was located in the timeshare section of the property and the small fitness room for the property was located beneath the lobby. The larger fitness room is now located in the former Hyatt Vacation Club office and is a great improvement, however and unfortunately, the HVC sales team has taken over the Hyatt Highlands Inn lobby.
Hyatt Highlands Inn is a beautiful place to stay. My past stays have always left me desiring more.
This Christmas week stay ended badly for me by participating in a Hyatt Vacation Club timeshare presentation. I sold out my family time for a $150 credit on the hotel bill.
Merry Christmas folks!
I scrooged you again for the Christmas holidays.
Related Loyalty Traveler posts:
In the Heart of the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn (January 5, 2009)