Review: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Earlier this summer I spent four nights at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach in Orange County. This was part of a family trip with my cousin and her kids, who had already booked a beach house for the long 4th of July weekend, and this was the most convenient hotel.

I am very conflicted about this property. In theory it’s a great option for either a quick getaway for Californians, or a decent beach alternative for families who don’t want to stay in the thick of Anaheim. It is, however, really rather expensive, and has a bit of an identity crisis.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Booking details

We were there over peak dates, and when I booked all the standard rooms were sold out, so I paid a cash rate of ~$220 per night, and booked through Citi Prestige to take advantage of the complimentary fourth night benefit.

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is a Category 5 property with Hyatt Gold Passport, so free nights would have started at 20,000 points, had they been available.

On top of this, there’s a daily Resort Fee of $25 (plus tax) which includes:

  • surfboard/golf bag storage
  • use of the 24 fitness center
  • two bottles of water daily in each room

Thankfully, this was waived for Diamond members without my even asking, as that’s possibly the most ridiculous justification for a resort fee I’ve ever encountered.

Lobby & Check-in

The property is inspired by California Spanish architecture, with stucco walls, red-tiled roofs, and an abundance of fountains.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The hotel does not have self parking (though you can park on the street a few blocks away, or in the public city lot). Valet parking is pricey.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Conveniently, however, the hotel also offers a shuttle to nearby shopping and dining destinations.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The lobby was massive (and difficult to photograph), with large windows and doors facing out to the grounds and the ocean beyond.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

A sign prominently displayed the holiday activities, including a notice that the usual beach amenities would be unavailable on the 4th.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach activities

The concierge and reception were to the left of the main entrance, and while both were disastrously understaffed on the 3rd and 4th, they were quite efficient.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

Our check-in was painless. We were given a rather necessary map of the resort grounds, indicating both the Regency Club (in the center above the lobby), and our room (to the left near the spa). To the far right you can see the abundance of conference facilities.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach map

We were advised that while there were corridors, the most efficient routing would be through the courtyards, so off we went.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

Regency Club King Room

The elevator bank for our block of rooms was outrageously slow, and of a similar era to the decorative phone in the vestibule.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

We then walked through a maze of hallways to our room.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The room was on the 4th floor, overlooking the Spa courtyard, and that’s the end of the interesting things I could potentially say about it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, as this was pretty much the most cookie-cutter of any mid-level hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bath amenities

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bath amenities

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Every Hyatt shower ever, basically

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bathroom

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

On the plus side, the room did have a patio, which had a nice view of the gardens. It was a lovely place to use my Google Fi hotspot from (more on the Wifi situation later).

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach spa courtyard

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach spa courtyard

Regency Club lounge

The club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach does offer snacks throughout the day, but as we were primarily there to visit family we only ever made it at breakfast.

The lounge was on the 4th floor, in the center of the property above the lobby. During the busy days, a staff member was stationed outside to match names and occupancy with room numbers. Based on how crowded the space was, this was definitely necessary, and was probably a lesson learned the hard way in previous years.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach hallway

The room was of a decent size, with a small balcony overlooking the central courtyard. There were about a dozen tables of various sizes, along with a few computers. Due to the holiday, the lounge was swarming with children and their grandparents, so I don’t have pictures of the seating arrangements.

The breakfast spread, however, was quite good!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

All the selections were fresh, and well-managed. Items were promptly refilled, and empty plates whisked away.

The only note I have about the lounge was the coffee setup. Custom coffee machines have a time and place, and a busy club lounge is not a good fit for a machine that takes two minutes to produce a cup of coffee.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

The line was generally at least four deep with bleary-eyed parents trying to caffeinate themselves while their toddlers banged on the table. A carafe of drip coffee would have been a welcome touch.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

Resort Village

One of the things the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach strives to be is a destination resort, and they have an abundance of shops in addition to the typical restaurants.

To the right of the main entrance is a covered walkway that leads to the shops.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

There’s a surf shop, which also has bicycle rentals:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

And a “dry goods” store filled with snacks, beach toys, liquor, and more. Truly, you could stay here and never have to leave the property for anything!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

All of this (along with a couple of restaurants) were clustered around a pair of fountains.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The beach

Beyond the village, a lush lawn led to the beach bridge.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The bridge is a wonderful asset, as the property isn’t actually located on the beach front, and you’d otherwise have to cross over Pacific Coast Highway.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

There was both an elevator and a set of stairs leading down to the beach, along with stacks of beach chairs and towels.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

In one of the most fantastic up-sells I’ve seen, the hotel offered a “Sand Service” for those who didn’t want to schlepp chairs the rest of the way to the beach:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach services

Wait, I take it back. The “Beach Bonfire” package is even more impressive:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach services

I don’t know if the prices are set that high in hopes that no one actually buys them, or if people are actually paying $200 for a beach fire, but goodness!

The beach itself is lovely though, as is the bike path running alongside it.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The pools

We didn’t spend any time at them (why would you when it was such glorious beach weather?), but the Hyatt has multiple pool zones.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The hot tubs were clustered in gardens between one block of rooms:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

While the main adult pool was in a larger area, and featured an abundance of chairs.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach chairs

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More chairs

Down a trail and at the edge of the resort was a children’s pool and play area, replete with waterslides!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

The kids’ zone also offered cabana rentals, which looked rather nice (though again, pricey).

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

The neighborhood

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t spend that much time at the hotel. Most of our time was spent playing on the beach:

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Newport Beach

Watching the thematically-appropriate sky-writers:

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Oh hai!

Or enjoying the Americana (and ice-cream bars) of Balboa Island:

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So many flags.

There’s a ton to do in this part of Orange County, and myriad shops and restaurants. Or you can just relax by the beach, and enjoy the OC vibe (and people-watching).

The Wifi

This gets a separate section, because the internet at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach was so horrific as to defy description.

About 80% of the time, this was the kind of internet service I was getting:

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The 20% of the time I could get a connection, it was outrageously slow. Here’s a speed test from the desk in the room (and after engineering had supposedly been fiddling with it):

Hyatt Huntington Beach Wi-Fi speed

As a comparison for the less tech-savvy, here’s a speed test from just now in my apartment:

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So the internet was completely unusable in the room, and only moderately acceptable in the common areas like the club lounge. Based on that, rooms closer to the center of the property might have better connections, so I would ask for one of those.

Bottom line

As I mentioned at the beginning, I am sorely conflicted about the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.

Service was fantastic, the property was clean and well-maintained, and Orange County summers are truly delightful weather-wise. The facilities are great, and it feels like you’re at a destination resort when you’re roaming the grounds.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

On the flip-side, the property is expensive, and I felt nickel and dimed by all the add-ons. Conferences are abundant, and the interior feels very much like your typical convention hotel. There’s also the fact that the rooms are desperately in need of an update, and the Wifi situation is just unacceptable for 2016.

So I’m torn. I won’t be staying again until the internet is improved, and realistically not until the rooms are updated, but I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend against someone else staying here, as the hotel does have a lot going for it.

Have you stayed at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach? Would you recommend it?

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About Tiffany

Tiffany Funk is a passionate traveler who splits her time between California and Italy (when she’s not traveling elsewhere!) Her posts offer a different perspective on earning miles, tricks for balancing multiple household accounts, and break down the basics of redeeming miles for aspirational travel -- whatever those aspirations may be!

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Comments

  1. I think a big cause of your issues may have been the busy holiday. We went last October, and with the exception of a small conference, it was very very quiet. Internet was fine (didn’t measure, but didn’t have any issues either), and there were no crowds for breakfast, chairs, etc.

  2. 18 MBPS might not be fiber optic speeds but it isn’t glacial, either. Fast enough to handle streaming needs, anyway. Certainly not slow enough to warrant the exaggeration.

  3. Tiffany, recently looked into making a reservation here in January but Hyatt’s website informed me that the main pool is closed for renovations in Nov, Dec. and Jan. and that only “Slyders Water Playground” is open during this time. Is that area mobbed with children? Does it have a large enough deck to handle the crowd that would otherwise go to the pool? Trying to estimate what the impact of the closure of the main pool would be. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  4. I’ve stayed with my SO a year or so ago for a little weekend break from Colorado. We had free breakfast which was pretty good and a room with a view of the fountains and kind of the ocean. Room was very nice, property was spacious. The beach left a little to be desired given the walk and lack of beach cocktail/food service, and it’s a long walk to town for other food options. The review is pretty much spot on, we didn’t have a bad time by any means but are conflicted about returning especially as Puerto vallarta or Cancun are about the same travel time for us.

  5. @ Donny — But when the connection is so intermittent, the spurts of speed aren’t really the main concern. If I’d been able to connect 100% of the time at a slow speed it would have still been frustrating, but not impossible.

  6. @ Jon Brewer — Probably the combination of the holiday and summer in general, I think. It was much quieter later in the week than on the 3rd and 4th, but still lots of families.

  7. @ Brandon — Well, it doesn’t have a very large deck, but since it’s winter…you’d probably be fine. I don’t know how many people would be sitting out by the pool that time of year. And there’s always the beach!

  8. Stayed once, haven’t been back.

    LOL at your “speed problems”. Guess you won’t be visiting my neck of the woods anytime soon where a 2mb down is rare joy…

    Nice review.

  9. Tip for next time: Get the ADA room. When we last stayed only the ADA room was available on points but we were pleasantly surprised by its massive size.

  10. @Tiffany, I agree. I am from Southern CA, and spent my bday there, coming out of four years in South Korea, and was disappointed in the same features that you mentioned. The Hyatts overseas have bling and extremely better breakfast buffet spread than in the U.S.. I was hoping that the Huntington Beach property was just going to be similar in its inner style, but it was just meh. The wifi was bad back in 2013 as well, and I don’t see much improvement there. The lounge service at night was mediocre to say the least. I won’t be spending my points or money there again. I can have better experience renting an airbnb for less and still have access to a beach and great local restaurants.

    Lovely property, but just too isolated in many ways, and if the weather turns bad, then well, ….

  11. Wow Tiffany, one of the most brutal and cocky reviews I have ever read from you! 18mbps is slow for a hotel on a holiday weekend? All the pictures show the otel as a beautiful property, which it is. The room is a very nice standard room, not plain and not fancy, whcih is why you’re spending $220 a night at the hotel and not $600+ like every other beach hotel in the area. Also, I dont think your apartment speed is any comparison. Might as well compare my Jaguar to the MTA bus that everyone shares together. Huntington Beach is a very upscale area and the area is very affluent. The prices are high but no more than any other upscale hotel in the area. Try finding a beach hotel (3 star or higher) this nice ANYWHERE in SoCal on 4th of July under $500 a night

  12. We love this this property! It is the last thing from being a dump. I don’t know how you got a room over 4th of July for $200+, when I checked it was into the $400’s. Our family of four spent 4th of July there two years ago and had an amazing time. We loved the club, beach, pools and bike rentals. We rented a cabana on the actual holiday which was a smart move because it was very crowded for sure and we had our own guaranteed space. We found the service to be outstanding and would use points or pay cash to stay here again in a heartbeat. In fact, we are looking at returning for a weekend in October.

  13. Well, I have been to the area and I also planning a holiday in Orange County soon. To be honest I’m not sure that $200+ for this hotel in this area at this time of the year can be considered as expensive! I struggle to find an upscale hotel in this area that’s worth the price tag. Even the outrageously expensive Ritz Carlton Dana Point does not look much nicer (at least looking at the Oyster photos) to pay 800+ for an ocean view room. Any other recommendations at the ~200 range?

  14. @ Leon R @ Carrie — I never said it was a dump. In fact, I said the opposite — that the grounds and rooms were well-maintained, and service was great. But the rooms are not impressive at all compared to the rest of the resort. That’s just the reality, and is why I’m conflicted about the hotel.

    We booked late, and checked in on the 3rd, which I think helped with the rates. When I had looked at Friday-Tuesday it was $550+, so I feel your pain there. And I don’t think the rates as such were expensive, but rather the prices for the add-ons, resort fees, etc. With just parking and the resort fee you’re at an extra (taxable) $61 a night, and I can see the various costs adding up rapidly for a family.

    In regards to the internet — I can handle slow internet (I spend half my time in stone houses in Sicily!), but inconsistent internet, especially in the latter part of our stay when the hotel was down to 40% occupancy, is a problem. Getting 18mbps during the 20% of the time you’re able to connect at all is not impressive for a Wednesday in urban California. I can’t imagine hosting a business conference here with that kind of performance.

    As I said, the grounds are lovely, but there are some polarizing aspects of the property that people should be aware before they decide to book, which is sorta the point of OMAAT trip reports.

  15. We visited this property for several days in August just as the summer travel season was winding down. Given that the IBM rate for a 2Queen room was north of $240, I also react with amazement to your rate over a holiday weekend. Multiple searches over many months for many date sets shows this property to be priced at $400+ over weekends and summer. At $200 it’s a nice value. At double, I’d be disappointed.

    We had good wifi bandwidth, so I think location is key. We loved the main restaurant, but found the food at the pool restaurants commercial grade at best. Service was friendly to a fault, but we had numerous housekeeping glitches including missed service and repeated missed turn downs. Also had a room service meal of terrible quality.

    Our take on the rooms is they were not distinctive or beyond expectation in any way, but well cared for and did not look at the end of their life cycle.

    The resort caters to families with young children and as a result there is often a lot of noise in the rooms. Also I was surprised a the general rowdiness of many guests and the lack of decorum. It is not a sedate respite on weekends, but rather like W hotel geared to young families making their annual splurge. All that said, as a previous comment noted, if you want to upgrade substantially in quality, be prepared to pay north of $500 a night at Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, etc.

  16. @ A — The room prices in Orange County are what they are, and there are very few modern or even current properties. If you want a resort, I would probably work with a Virtuoso agent to see if you can get a package rate that includes breakfast and some extra amenities.

    If you want a good location but don’t need resort amenities, I would check out the Kimpton Shorebreak as well — it’s definitely not a luxury property, but it does avoid the issues some of the other hotels have as far as being far from everything.

    Airbnbs and vacation rentals can be a great option too. That’s what my cousin had done with her family and our moms, and if you don’t mind doing your own breakfast dishes is probably the best way to get space+views.

  17. Love the snark, er, candor. That place depresses me every time I drive by it. So generic.

    Huntington Beach used to be cute, a little rough around the edges, living up to its Surf City name. Now it’s so corporate. I still love Newport Beach though (the peninsula and Balboa Island).

  18. I stayed with my family for a week in June when I cancelled a St Regis Monarch Beach stay due to its SPGexit.

    Rooms were $400 up but I got a terrific Diamond Suite Upgrade to a SoCal suite with two bathrooms.

    It’s very similar in design to the Monarch Beach hotel, but without the ultra-luxe trappings. But with the addition of a club lounge and a beach, and a more central location.

    It’s the best place for an OC beach stay without blowing the budget.

    Be warned though. No late checkout for Diamond members.

  19. 18MBPS is not slow. I get that it was intermittent. But that’s a pretty good clock rate. So that’s not really proof of your issue.

  20. Always love your reviews Tiffany – thanks! Wish Ben would get rid of Daniel, Nick, and Ford and leave the writing to just the two of you. Have to disagree with you on the coffee machine in the club lounge though. That Egro machine cost more than the car I drive. I’d wait in line for 20 minutes to have a cup of that coffee over a big commercial carafe of the medium roast Starbucks that most hotels serve.

  21. Last year, my friends and I went to Huntington Beach for a bonfire. Hyatt had a pretty fancy set-up at the fire pit next to us; lo and behold, none of their guests showed up. One of the staff members came over to our group and offered us the food intended for their guests: Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Jet Puffs Marshmallows, and Hershey’s Chocolate, all things we could have easily bought at the Vons 5 minute away. Had I known it was $200+, I would have taken everything…

  22. I don’t understand the negativity about the place when the cost is factored in. Plus it’s a holiday weekend and things get crazy and overrun, that’s par for the course. The room was lovely. Was it opulent, no. But again, for the cost and the location, it was quite nice. I don’t think this was a fair review. Oh and the coffee thing – okay, maybe because of the crowds you could make a suggestion to management to consider a brew pot as a quick alternative but I’m not so sure it should be part of the review. In general I find this writer’s reviews a bit snobbish so maybe I’m not objective, I don’t always read them because of how I’ve felt after others, but anyway, I just don’t think this was really fair for the out of pocket cost to get this review.

  23. @ tim — Oh, don’t get me wrong, the coffee was delicious! But when you have a bunch of guests on a crowded weekend having a supplemental setup with filtered coffee would have been a nice addition that would probably have cut the line in half, as some people just don’t care, others struggled with the machine, etc.

  24. @ omgstfualready — Keep in mind the rate I paid is half of what this room would sell for on a weekend in summer. Am I unhappy for the price I paid? Not at all. But if someone is considering spending $500+ for the same room, I think it’s reasonable to want to evaluate the property as a whole.

  25. Lol. That is one of the most egregious resort fee amenities listing I have ever seen. Glad they just waived it for Diamonds. Really absurd.

  26. Apparently you’re not too tech savvy either if you think 18mbps is slow. How about comparing the speed to another hotel’s speed rather than to your personal internet connection at home which is obviously a top tier package. I doubt you’ll find many other Hyatts with faster speeds. Certainly won’t be finding faster speeds at IHG brand hotels in the US very often

  27. Tiffany – I completely concur with your review. Mixed bag property that ultimately disappoints the Hyatt Brand. I stayed NOT on a holiday weekend – mid-week, actually. Front desk so understaffed, room category same as yours – and similarly outdated. Elevators slow. Club overcrowded (though offerings good). The real clunker for me, the adult pool does not open until 8…meaning no early morning swim before a meeting. As a frequent Hyatt customer, I can say I’ve never stayed at one of their properties where I didn’t get a swim in before heading to whatever meeting I was in town for… but couldn’t at this property. Gates to pool activated by room key and not activated until 8. When I asked the front desk about it, she actually said, “Swimming in the morning isn’t really a California thing.” Whaaaaat? Ah, well… I will give this one a pass the next time I’m in the area on business.

  28. I agree 18 Mbps is not bad at all…most people have 30 Mbps at home. I have had 5 Mbps before and still been able to stream video etc.

  29. @ Billy D @ Mark O — I think you’re missing (or maybe I wasn’t clear enough) that the main problem was the connection. 20% of the time, there were speeds of up to 18Mbps, which isn’t an unusable speed if it’s consistent.

    When you only have 12 non-consecutive minutes of service for every hour of usage, that’s a problem, and one the hotel should work on.

  30. I don’t use Wi-Fi when I’m on vacation, except maybe once per day to check emails on my phone. But maybe since you’re writing a review you need it. The price you paid seems OK to me and most of the add-ons are avoidable except the resort fee. You can eat elsewhere if the hotel restaurants are expensive and buy your alcohol and snacks at a supermarket. And the beach chairs are free which some places gouge you on. On the subject of parking fees, have you ever tried calling the front desk before check in to see if you can haggle the parking fee out of the picture? I’ve done it a couple of times and it can work as long as the parking operator is not a separate entity. Anything can be negotiated if you’re bold enough! As for the state of the room, yes it’s a bit out of date but still looks alright and clean. And the grounds are beautiful. I would stay there after reading your review. And anything is better than Anaheim unless you’re going to Disneyland or attending a trade show (like me).

  31. Stayed here on HY points in spring 2016 and requested a room with a water view which turned out to be a view of the PCH and beach parking lot. Nothing special. Spent most of our time strolling the beach or driving the coast. Hotel is adjacent to a new shopping center with other dining options. Check out Million Miler Secrets’ review for map of free street parking a few blocks away. We paid the hotel parking fee for convenience, but it’s outrageous; subject to valet availability, waiting for your car can be a long wait.

  32. I was there 3 weeks ago. The grounds are lovely, but it was packed and our service was NOT great. I was disappointed. Our room was small and worn. The beach location was nice. We usually stay at the Hyatt Orange which is a more basic hotel, but we are treated like rock stars there and always upgraded.

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