Review: Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

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Park Hyatt Aviara Resort


On the tail end of my Europe trip I spent a couple of nights in the Carlsbad visiting a friend, and decided to spend one night at the Park Hyatt Aviara. The hotel got rebranded from a Four Seasons to a Park Hyatt back in 2010, and I do eventually hope to visit all Park Hyatt properties, so figured it was a good opportunity to check this one off my list.

The hotel is part of the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts network, so for booking a rate of $195 I received the following through American Express:

  • Noon check-in upon arrival, when available
  • Guaranteed 4PM late check-out
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Room upgrade, if available
  • $100 property credit to be used during the stay

As a Hyatt Gold Passport member I get the breakfast and room upgrade (in theory) included as well, though technically since this is a resort 4PM check out would only be included as a Diamond member on a space available basis (it’s guaranteed as a Diamond member at non-resort properties), while it’s guaranteed through American Express. More importantly, it’s tough to beat the $100 property credit on a one night, $195 stay. For what it’s worth, American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is offering a third night free at this property as well, valid for bookings made through June 15, 2014, for stays through December 31, 2014.

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Anyway, I arrived at the Park Hyatt Aviara in the afternoon, and it’s rather funny that on the same complex are the Four Seasons Residences. While the hotel was rebranded as a Park Hyatt, the residences continue to be Four Seasons branded.

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Park Hyatt Aviara entrance

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Park Hyatt Aviara entrance

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Park Hyatt Aviara entrance

As soon as I pulled up to the hotel I was welcomed by the bellman and pointed towards check-in, which was located inside the lobby and to the left.

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Park Hyatt Aviara entrance

The lobby definitely had more of a “classic” feel to it, though was beautifully decorated with well over a dozen Christmas trees.

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby

At check-in I was promptly welcomed by the associate. She ran over the benefits I’d receive for booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and for being a Hyatt Diamond member, and she gave me two printouts with benefits available to me on the stay through each program.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Gold Passport Diamond welcome letter

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Park Hyatt Aviara American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts welcome letter

She informed me I had been given a “room with a view that should be nice,” and directed me to the elevator bank at the far end of the hallway. Despite the low occupancy I don’t think I received an upgrade, as I was assigned a Park King room on the fifth floor. For what it’s worth the hotel’s lobby is on the third floor.

The hallways were extremely long, and my room was located towards the end of a wing.

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Park Hyatt Aviara hallway

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King hallway view

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Park Hyatt Aviara room entrance

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Park Hyatt Aviara floorplan

The room was huge for a standard room at over 500 square feet. The hotel was also recently renovated, and if the pictures were accurate the decor looked like it was straight out of Aunt Tilly’s Teashop prior to the renovation. While the room felt fresh, I feel like the decor was totally off for a Park Hyatt, and felt more like a Radisson Blu. Admittedly this will never be an ultra-modern Park Hyatt due to the building and setting, but the decor just didn’t fit with the brand in my opinion.

Still, it was certainly a nice and spacious room. There was an entryway with the bathroom to the right and a closet to the left.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King entryway

Then the room featured an extremely comfortable king bed with great bedding, a large sofa, and a desk with two chairs.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King sofa

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King sofa

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King desk

The bed faced a flat screen TV.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King TV

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King

There was also a nice little balcony with a couple of chairs and a small table, though there wasn’t much of a view to speak of.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King balcony

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King balcony

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King balcony view

Back near the entrance was the minibar and illy coffee machine.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King coffee machine

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King minibar

The bathroom was spacious with double sinks, a soaking tub, and a walk-in shower.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King sinks

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King walk-in shower

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King soaking tub

The toiletries were Le Labo Bergamote 22 branded.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King toiletries

The toilet was in a separate room off the main bathroom.

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King toilet

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Park Hyatt Aviara Park King closet

In the morning I had breakfast at California Bistro, which is served daily from 6:30AM till 11AM.

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro

I was hoping just to order an egg white omelet for breakfast, which cost ~$15 on the menu. The buffet would have retailed for ~$30 per person and I was entitled to breakfast for two (through two methods — Fine Hotels & Resorts and Gold Passport Diamond), so I didn’t think it was unreasonable to see if they’d let me instead just order a $15 omelet, though they were inflexible and told me that only the buffet would be included. Fair enough. So instead I went to the omelet station at the buffet and ordered it there instead.

The buffet itself was really good for a US property, and while the selection wasn’t huge, everything looked fresh and high quality.

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro breakfast buffet

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Park Hyatt Aviara California Bistro cappuccino

After breakfast I walked around the property for a bit. The property is huge at over 200 acres, though I wasn’t overly impressed by the facilities. I guess if you’re into golf this is a great property since they have a golf course, but for those of us that don’t play I feel like there wasn’t anything overly impressive. The grounds felt a bit run down, at least compared to what I’ve gotten used to at Park Hyatts. The pools were certainly nice, though not nice enough to make this a destination resort for the non-golfer, in my opinion.

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

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Park Hyatt Aviara views

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Park Hyatt Aviara pool

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Park Hyatt Aviara pool

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a lobby lounge which seemed to serve a nice afternoon tea, though I didn’t partake.

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Park Hyatt Aviara lobby lounge

Then there was an entertainment room, which featured a billiards table, air hockey table, ping pong table, etc.

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Park Hyatt Aviara billiards table

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Park Hyatt Aviara entertainment room

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Park Hyatt Aviara grounds

There was also a small business center near the entertainment room.

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Park Hyatt Aviara business center

Then in the spa area was a large gym with modern equipment.

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Park Hyatt Aviara gym

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Park Hyatt Aviara gym

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Park Hyatt Aviara gym

Anyway, on the whole this is certainly a nice property, though I don’t think Hyatt is doing themselves any favors by calling it a Park Hyatt. This property would fit in much better as a Grand Hyatt, especially since it has 300+ rooms, which is much bigger than a Park Hyatt should be.

For me this wouldn’t be a destination property since I’m not into golf. That being said, for $195 with a $100 property credit it was certainly an amazing value, and I’d return if I were visiting the area again. But I wouldn’t return just to stay at this hotel.

Hopefully that’s fair…

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Comments

  1. The $25/nt resort fee and $35/day valet parking fee are a bit excessive…on par, if not higher, than Maui resorts. That said, everything has been functional and pleasant on my stay so far. Looking forward to the first Park Hyatt breakfast of 2014 this morning!

  2. I don’t get the high prices and high categories of these southern California resorts. The experience just isn’t that great. They must be targeting high end meetings and weddings, but why would independent travelers want to go there? There are much better places.

  3. this place was a wonderful escape when it first opened as a four seasons resort. each of our visits was honed to perfection, four seasons style and not a blade of dead grass. looks terribly run down in comparison and blue walls, oh my! i wonder if the residences are in the same state.

  4. Now you’ve convinced me to go try the FS next door instead. It’s also an AX FHR and the upgrade benefit would be from a 425 sq ft room with kitchenette to a 1,200 sq ft villa/residence with kitchen. Parking is free and I cannot find any mention of a resort fee. That’s a savings of $60/night with $35 on parking and $25 resort fee. No $195/night rate with $100 F&B credit, however. Did you go between Christmas and New Years?

  5. The reason the residences are Four Seasons is that they are time shares. I used to go to the hotel when it opened as a FS. I wouldn’t go now as their are much better options and my guess is that it is a franchise operated under license from Hyatt.

  6. Tried to use a DSU but was told it can only be used to book into the park luxuary suite even though Park suite and park deluxe suite are available.

  7. late comment, but is this hotel “doable” in a taxi or uber from San Diego airport? curious is the 30 miles too far? Thanks… and by too far I mean more than $60 one way?

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