After a night in the Regency Mission Bay and a night at the Andaz San Diego, our third and final night on our mini-vacation was spent at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. The resort is located in Carlsbad, actually about 30 miles north of Downtown San Diego. It is 3 miles from Legoland, and 20 miles from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
My girlfriend and I had spent the day at the Safari Park, and were happy to arrive at the resort for a night of R&R (and as it turns out: pool, air hockey, foosball, and shuffleboard). We dropped our car with the Valet, which is the only parking option at the resort, costing $35 nightly. Tony at the front desk went out of his way to make a positive impression, offering info on the spa and restaurants, upgrading our room, and walking us to the elevator to get us on our way.
Our original booked room was an ADA King tub room, which I booked due to availability with the government rate. Tony upgraded us to a Park Suite, likely in part due to my Hyatt loyalty.
Our suite was exceptionally large. It featured 1 1/2 Baths. It had two balconies each with chairs and a table. It had a living room with two single-person chairs and a sofa, master bedroom with a single-person chair and ottoman and a desk work-area. It also had a walk-in closet and a master bath with dual-vanities and a separate tub and shower.
While the size made the room comfortable to me, the furnishings I felt were less than welcoming. Not for a lack of an update though, as the hotel website states it was renovated in the last couple of years.
We dropped off our belongings and went back to the lobby to inquire about the on-property restaurants.
There are several on-property options for dining, but for dinner the concierge printed us menus for both the Lobby Lounge and Vivace. We settled on the lobby lounge, and found a seat on a couch. Shortly afterwards we were brought pistachios and green olives, and we placed our order.
We shared a non-alcoholic Strawberry Campari Crush, which was terrific, and munched on House Smoked salmon, Applewood Smoked Bacon truffle Mac and Cheese, and the Brandt Natural Beef Sliders. For dessert we took back to our room a slice of the Aviara Cheesecake.
All in all our evening meal was delicious. I preferred the sliders to the Salmon, and the cheesecake would have been better if my girlfriend had shared more with me!
After loading up on our dinner, my girlfriend scrolled through hotel activities and discovered that the Park Hyatt featured a game room. We went in search for the room and found it on the opposite end of the hotel one level below the lobby. In it were pool tables, foosball tables, an air hockey table, and in a separate area a bar and shuffleboard table. It also featured an video game area with an attached Xbox. We were the only ones there, and so we played a round of roll-pool, a few rounds of air hockey, a single game of foosball, and some games of shuffleboard.
When we were thoroughly worn out, we went back to the room where we plopped into bed and immediately.... turned on the TV and watched it until 1 A.M when we finally passed out.
In the morning we made our way to the California Bistro for the breakfast buffet. As part of my Diamond membership benefits, we both received complimentary breakfast.
The buffet was a decent size, offering standard fare: waffles, sausage links and patties, scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon, and more. The food was enjoyable, and there was better selection than at the Mission Bay's Regency club, but it paled in comparison to the prior morning at the Andaz. It was comparable to the buffet's found at Hyatt House and Hyatt Place hotels.
Our last quest was to tour the Spa. We had tried to visit the previous night, but it was already closed by the time we got over there. Spa access at the Park Aviara is free for Diamond members, and the receptionist led my girlfriend on a tour of the ladies' spa while I quickly strolled through the men's.
There was nothing particularly great about the spa: but for anyone who wants to get away there was a relaxing Jacuzzi available. There was also a solarium, where I found myself kicked back enjoying a magazine while my girlfriend showered at the spa. Between running all over the place over the last three days and being out in the sun all day at both the Zoo and the Safari park, I was thoroughly exhausted, and the solarium was the perfect place to get some comfortable relaxation.
After packing up, we left the hotel around noon and headed back to Sacramento.
Between a night at the Regency Mission Bay, a night at the Andaz Downtown San Diego, and a night at the Park Hyatt, I discovered all had their special aspects, and I think the Park Hyatt would easily be the best option for a couples getaway. Less rowdy than the Regency and more refined than the Andaz, the Park Hyatt caters not so much to the family crowd or the partying crowd. That's not to say there was a lack of activity options for families. Quite the contrary: a family pool, game room, and close proximity to Legoland and the Safari Park make this a decent choice for families, but ultimately the focus seems to be on making this property more of a retreat than a family getaway spot. Golfing, tennis, an adult's only pool and bar area, a spa, and upscale dining options all lend to this aspect.
In the end, this was an excellent hotel, though I'm impartial to waterslides at the Regency Mission Bay and both the Regency's and Andaz's proximity to the city of San Diego and the beaches. I was also disappointed that none of the rooms have solid views of the Ocean, though there are a couple from which you can supposedly see the ocean from.
If you have a chance, check out my video from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park. Available in both 3D (top video) and 2D (bottom video) below.
2D Version Above (3DTV and Glasses Required)
3D Version Below