Park Hyatt Aviara Resort: A Hidden Gem in SoCal

by Shelli

What a great coincidence! Now that the newly renovated Park Hyatt Aviara has completed its major, and I do mean MAJOR renovation, it was back on my stay- again list. I caught some off-peak Hyatt award nights, giving me a fantastic opportunity to experience the newness of both the rooms and facilities. On my last stay, the renovation was in the early stages so I did see the renderings of the new modern room design and furnishings. Time to check them out for real!

Park Hyatt Aviara Backstory

Sometimes hotel gems are half-way around the world from where you live, and sometimes they can be in your own backyard. Maybe you’ve had the same experience I’ve had where you’re so busy traveling you forget to check out those potential local gems. I say potential because you never really know, even with high hopes, how bright those gems will appear. I finally had a chance to stay at my local gem, so here’s my Park Hyatt Aviara Resort review.

Based on recommendations from other San Diego Hyatt fans, I had very high hopes for the Park Hyatt Aviara, and for the most part, they were fulfilled. As a Hyatt Globalist who has stayed at many other Park Hyatt properties, I was curious as to how this Park Hyatt resort would compare, especially post-renovation and post-pandemic.

Below are some old photos before the renovations and some photos of the new look!

NEW look at the Park Hyatt Aviara!

Park Hyatt Aviara sunset

Sunset overlooking the gardens.

Park Hyatt Aviara garden view

Let’s talk about the slight misses first before we get to the wonderful parts.

The breakfast buffet was OK, but nothing really special about it. For me the two best items were the locally made rye bread and the amazing yogurt made in-house. It was vanilla bean yogurt (a flavor I would never eat on my own) and it was simply divine. Whenever I eat at a hotel buffet, if the yogurt is made in-house, I always try some. This was probably the best I’ve ever had. They only do one flavor, which seems a bit odd, but it’s perfect.

By the time I eat breakfast at a hotel buffet, it’s often really brunch rather than an early morning meal. I eat simply, choosing eggs, bread, and some greens. I was disappointed that there was no salad of any kind at the Park Hyatt buffet. There were some red and yellow sliced heirloom tomatoes which were awful. I can’t imagine any chef would taste these tomatoes and then serve them.

The other odd item at breakfast was that when I ordered a cappuccino I was told that even for a Globalist, it would be an extra charge. I did sample some of the regular coffee and it was horrible. Come on Hyatt, no cappuccino or espresso drinks without paying extra 🙁 Seems stingy to me.

*** Given the renovations and the post-pandemic changes, the buffet in the newly redesigned restaurant is for the most part gone. The new menu at Ponto Lago, which you can find here, offers a great selection. They still have their chocolate croissants and acai bowl on the menu. Those are awesome!!

There were two other misses in service. When I arrived to my room, there was no welcome amenity. Maybe the Park Hyatt Aviara doesn’t provide one like all the other Park Hyatt properties I’ve stayed at. Later in the day I was at the front desk asking for a map of the property so I could walk around and get the lay of the land, and I asked the front desk host if they did provide a welcome amenity. She told me there should have been something in my room and said she’d send something along.

A while later a bowl with five pieces of fruit arrived. Three of the pieces of fruit (the peach, nectarine, and apple) were old and mushy. Oh well, so much for the amenity.

Finally, my bill upon check-out was wrong. There was a charge for breakfast, which as a Globalist was included with my stay. There was also a charge for parking, when as a Globalist with an award night booking there should be no charge.

Swimming pool view from room

So that’s what was off during my stay. But there is a lot to like about this property, that’s for sure.

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The suite that I stayed in was great. I like the design, and it was very spacious. Both the bedroom and living room had a balcony. The bathroom was very large with plenty of hooks. Not having enough hooks in hotel bathrooms is one of my pet peeves, so I notice things like this. The suite had maybe the most mirrors in a hotel room I’ve ever seen! The bed was too soft for me but that’s a personal preference. I always enjoy the Le Labo bath products in the Park Hyatt properties.

*** You’ll notice from the photos below of the pre-renovation classic look of the rooms and suites. Time will tell if I find the new look as enjoyable.

Well, I am happy to report I’m thrilled with the renovations and the new modern look. The rooms now have my favorite hotel color schemes: beige, brown, and soft light colors. They did not renovate the bathrooms, which is a good thing because really they were not at all in need of upgrades. Furniture in the new accommodations is functional and more importantly, comfortable!

During my most recent stay I was upgraded to a pool suite. You can see all the photos here.

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Hotel History and Design

As I understand it the hotel itself was built around 1997 and Hyatt took it over in 2010. It’s a beautiful classic hotel with huge rooms, tall ceilings, wonderful artwork, and the grounds were lovely and well-lit so walking at night was safe and easy. There are flowers all throughout the hotel. There are many places in the hotel to sit and relax, read, work, or simply enjoy the scenery and views.

Park Hyatt Aviara pool

Pool and Spa Area at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

The Park Hyatt has two pools, a family pool and an adult pool. It was chilly the whole time I was there, so there really wasn’t much action at either pool. The spa has everything you need for some fun spa time. On a Friday early evening the spa was empty and very relaxing. I particularly liked the atrium area of the spa and appreciated the snacks and beverages they served in the spa. As a Globalist the spa was included with my room, so that was a nice benefit.

*** The pool area has totally been redone and the spa is still in the renovation process.

NEW Pool Area

Park Hyatt Aviara pool

I did have a meal in the Park Lounge which is the large area surrounding the bar on the main floor. On Friday nights they have music, as well. The food was good, the burgers were great, and the service was spot on.

Our server, Jeremiah, even took my raw onions back to the chef and upon my request had them grilled for me. I have no idea what the chef did but they were the BEST grilled onions, ever! The lobby/lounge bar and restaurant were hopping on this Friday, so it was the perfect place to enjoy some food, wine, and good music.

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Hotel Service at the Park Hyatt Aviara

The service at the Park Hyatt Aviara is excellent. The people and service at the hotel were warm, friendly, super helpful, and the staff seemed happy to be working at the Park Hyatt. I always like to ask how long staff has been at a property and how long they’ve worked for Hyatt. This group varied quite a lot and had been here anywhere from five years years to a few months. Many had worked at Hyatt properties before and one came from the Ritz Carlton chain.

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What To Do While Staying At The Hotel

Perhaps my favorite feature of this hotel is that it’s within walking distance to a beautiful marsh/lagoon. Batiquitos Lagoon is a must-see if you’re at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. You can walk anywhere from an hour to many hours and there are lots of different loops you can walk. The hotel provides a walking map with different routes of varying length. Definitely walk the lagoon when you’re here!

Even though there’s much to see and do in and around the hotel, I didn’t leave the resort at all. Carlsbad is a fun village and it has lots of shopping and a beautiful beach. For me though, this stay was just about being at the Park Hyatt and seeing what it had to offer. The standard rate varies from a low season price  to a higher season price so think $300 plus. The property does have a resort fee and parking fee, both of which were included in my stay as Globalist benefits.

This was actually my first stay at a Park Hyatt in the states. I’m no stranger to Park Hyatt properties, and often say I haven’t met a Park Hyatt I haven’t liked! There are certainly other Hyatt properties to choose from in both San Diego and Orange County.

However, if you’re looking for a resort feeling for a weekend getaway, try this hotel. The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort left me with a good impression. When I left after being there for a few days, I did feel like I had been at a retreat for the weekend. I enjoyed the peace and quiet and especially loved all the nature along the lagoons.

I’ve been asking my Hyatt fan friends which properties they’ll be booking in the near future. Here are the property locations that came up most often on their lists:

Lake Tahoe Hyatt Regency
Indian Wells Hyatt in California
Any of the Ziva/Zilara in Mexico
Scottsdale, Arizona Hyatt Resorts

I think this list means my friends love a good resort!

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Nathan September 1, 2020 - 4:07 pm

I never complain about a breakfast charge being on my bill at a Hyatt. First, because of the way you sign for breakfast instead of using a coupon feels *so* much better. And yes, it is a manual removal most of the time that gets missed, but I know to check for it and having it removed is NEVER an issue. So that is all around a win.

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Shelli September 1, 2020 - 6:06 pm

You make a good point, Nathan. Life with Hyatt is an all around win, I agree. Thanks for reading!

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