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OneWorld Business Class Lounge Los Angeles
New Tom Bradley International Terminal Los Angeles Airport
Air France A380 First Class Los Angeles to Paris
Air France First Class Lounge Paris
Air France Business Class Paris to Frankfurt
Frankfurt Christmas Markets
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Frankfurt
British Airways Club Europe Frankfurt to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways A380 First Class London Heathrow to Los Angeles
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
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.
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.
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.
The lobby definitely had more of a “classic” feel to it, though was beautifully decorated with well over a dozen Christmas trees.
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.
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.
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.
Then the room featured an extremely comfortable king bed with great bedding, a large sofa, and a desk with two chairs.
The bed faced a flat screen TV.
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.
Back near the entrance was the minibar and illy coffee machine.
The bathroom was spacious with double sinks, a soaking tub, and a walk-in shower.
The toiletries were Le Labo Bergamote 22 branded.
The toilet was in a separate room off the main bathroom.
In the morning I had breakfast at California Bistro, which is served daily from 6:30AM till 11AM.
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.
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.
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.
Then there was an entertainment room, which featured a billiards table, air hockey table, ping pong table, etc.
There was also a small business center near the entertainment room.
Then in the spa area was a large gym with modern equipment.
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…