sojourneys


Hyatt The Pike Long Beach
January 3, 2015, 4:46 pm
Filed under: hotels, Hyatt, reviews | Tags: , , , ,

Is Hyatt The Pike Long Beach a Hyatt Regency? Or a Hyatt Place? It’s neither and therein reposes its awkwardness. Formerly the AVIA Long Beach, rooms are more comfortable and well-decorated than a typical Hyatt Place. The centerpiece is a rotatable TV console, which allows viewing in the working and lounging alcoves of the room, as well as in the sleeping area.

DSC00364DSC00365DSC00366

The bathroom is especially spacious and the marble walls certainly add a touch of luxury.

DSC00373

In terms of facilities, it’s a mixed bag with a beautiful rooftop pool but a paltry gym with but a few cardio machines and free weights. And unlike a Hyatt Place, there is no complimentary breakfast. Notwithstanding, Hyatt The Pike Long Beach is well placed for guests to enjoy the leisure options and commercial connectivity of the bustling port city of Southern California.

DSC00378

Advertisements


Andaz West Hollywood
January 3, 2013, 8:05 am
Filed under: Andaz, hotels, Hyatt, reviews, USA | Tags: , , , , ,

The Andaz is Hyatt’s collection of boutique hotels, and I enjoyed the vibe, intimacy, and amenities of the Andaz West Hollywood as much as I did during my previous stay in 2011.  The check-in staff (“hosts” in Andaz lingua franca) recalled details of my last stay, and thoughtfully asked if I would like a similar room looking out to the famed Sunset Boulevard in the immediate vicinity and the downtown Los Angeles skyline beyond.

Image

Image

The room I was assigned was spacious, and one special feature that distinguishes the front-facing room from those that look out into the fabulous residences that line the hill behind the hotel is that rooms facing the front come with a relaxation alcove with lounge sitting and a separate flat-screen TV of its own.  Not that guests will be utilizing the TV all that often with the spectacular views of the glittering Los Angeles skyline especially at dusk.

Image

Image

A refreshing change from the Portico Spa products found in all other generic Hyatt properties is the aromatherapy series of toiletries set from Lather by Modern Apothecary.

Image

Image

Facilities include a fairly basic gym, but fitness buffs might want to time their visits as the hotel as saw fit to place the treadmills and elliptical trainers in the direct rays of the relentless Southern California sun in the morning hours.

Image

Guests of the Andaz West Hollywood should take a trip to the rooftop where the pool–as well as verdant flora and more great views–await.

Image

Image

Image



The Hyatt Regency Orange County

The Hyatt Regency Orange County exists–along with the myriad other properties such as Marriott, Residence Inn, Sheraton, etc–primarily to serve the throngs of tourists flocking to the nearby hallowed Disneyland.  Indeed, Disney runs a tour desk in the lobby and a regular shuttle ply the hotel and America’s favorite playground.

Image

Perhaps it’s because of this reason that the Hyatt Regency Orange County has the most capacious atrium lobby of any Hyatt I’ve yet encountered and the smallest rooms.

Image

Image

Image

The room I was assigned was basic.  A king-sized bed when you enter, a flat-screen TV to the side and a workdesk awkwardly placed directly in front of the TV, a side closet, and a bathroom across.  The designers of the hotel probably expect guests to be out all day making the most of the Southern California sunshine and visiting the numerous places of interests.

Image

Image

Facilities include a decent sized pool (expect it to be filled with kids) and an adjoining gym with the standard StayFit equipment.



Andaz West Hollywood, California

The Andaz West Hollywood, situated on the fabled Sunset Boulevard, is a jewel in Hyatt’s crown, and a model of what hotels ought to be — bereft of stuffy check-in counters with staff rooted to their station and in their place, welcoming hosts equipped with tablet PCs to process check-ins and who multifunction as concierge-extraordinaire.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

The overall feel of the place, from the architecture to the lobby decor to the guestroom furnishings exude an urbane, contemporary vibe without crossing into pretentiousness.  Hence, guests feel relaxed, welcomed, and at ease.

Andaz in Hindi means “personal style” and the host who checked me in thoughtfully asked if this was my first stay at the property, and when affirmatively informed, proceeded to switch the originally assigned room that was to face Hollywood Hill to one on a high floor (the 12th) that faced the city–a magical sight of the Sunset Strip at night with its glittering and shimmering lights, and on a clear day, the silhouette of downtown Los Angeles beckoning in the horizon.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The View King room I was so thoughtfully assigned to was one of the most spacious I’ve stayed in, and generously appointed.  In addition to a study desk, there is a section by the floor-to-ceiling window–partitioned by heavy curtains–a chill-out area featuring a chaise lounge and loveseat sofa. With the exception of alcohol, guests are free to partake of the minibar that is stocked with organic tea, orange juice, soda, and snacks.  The bathroom features delightfully-natural toiletries from Mill Valley, CA-based Pharmacopia.

There is an adequately-equipped gym on the mezzanine floor, but the best-kept secret is the rooftop pool offering panoramic views of the surrounds, from the gated abodes of the wealthy on Hollywood Hills to the gleaming towers of downtown LA and everything in between.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

All-in-all, Andaz West Hollywood has been one of the more distinctive Hyatt properties I’ve stayed at, and I look forward to being able to return in the near future.



The Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs, California

When I select a hotel, a few factors are primary in my consideration: location, facilities (gym and pool), and value-for-money.  The Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs acquits itself admirably on all three accounts.

Image

Located in downtown Palm Springs, the hotel is a stroll away to the quaint, eclectic collection of shops–from art galleries (there seem to be so many in Palm Springs!) to cafes to salons that line North Palm Canyon Drive as well as adjacent arterial roads–and a short drive to nearby attractions such as the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (a two and 1/2-mile ascent to the peak of Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness abroad the world’s largest rotating tramcars) and the Desert Hills Premium Outlets, a veritable capital of consumption, in neighboring Cabazon.

Rooms-wise, this is an all suites hotel, and upon check-in, I was upgraded to a premier king room, for which I was glad, because the living area windows of the regular rooms of the atrium lobby hotel face the corridor.  The room was spacious with a separate living and sleeping areas separated by a walkway and the bathroom.  There is a 42″ flat screen TV in both the living and bed rooms.  Bathroom amenities feature the standard White Ginger collection from Portico Spa, although it may be time for Hyatt to update the toiletries to something more contemporary.  The balcony was spacious with a splendid view of the surrounding hills and golf course.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

A well-equipped gym greets fitness fiends.  There are elliptical trainers, treadmills, and weight resistance machines that target some of the core muscles, as well as free weights in the form of dumbbells.  The outdoor pool was heated to room temperature when I was there during the Christmas holidays, making it quite inviting.

ImageImageImageImage

The only downside of the hotel is that it is fairly old.  The decor is starting to look dated and stuffy, and the bathroom especially could do with better lighting.  The need for an update aside, the staff are friendly and efficient, and the well-appointed and fairly comprehensive amenities combine to make guests feel welcome and comfortable.  And at US$102 a night (including taxes) during the December season, I thought it was value-for-money.  For Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum members, parking, Internet, and in-room bottled water charges are waived.

ImageImageImageImage



AVIA Long Beach, California
December 30, 2011, 3:29 pm
Filed under: California, hotels, Hyatt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

AVIA Long Beach, now part of the Hyatt stable of hotels, enjoys a strategic location astride downtown Long Beach on one side and mere strides away to The Pike at Rainbow Harbor and the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center on the other.

Image

The excellent location aside, during my check-in on Christmas eve, I found the front desk staff unfailingly polite and friendly, and I was upgraded to a Grand King guestroom, a contemporary, well-appointed facility whose highlights include a feature wall with swivel flat-panel TV that can swing to face the living or sleeping areaa, and a spacious white marble bathroom displaying toiletries from the bamboo creme collection of Pasadena-based Lather.

ImageImage

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Although the property has a modest collection of 138 rooms, the sun-lit lobby that adjoins the all-day diner (AVIA Kitchen) and bar (AVIA Lounge) invites in plenty of natural light that expands its confines.  The fitness facility, comprising only five cardio machines and a set of dumbbells, is disappointingly small.  The rooftop pool however boasts delightful views of The Pike as well as the surrounding business area, including the historical Queen Mary–a luxury ocean voyager-turned WWII troopship-turned floating hotel.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Altogether, I found my stay very agreeable, and certainly look forward to being welcomed back by the hospitable staff and to be able to further explore the beautiful City of Long Beach.



The Holiday Inn Los Angeles International Airport

This was my first stay at the Holiday Inn Los Angeles International Airport, and it was everything I imagined an airport hotel situated near LAX would be — a relatively aged property, high on functionality, low on aesthetics.

The hotel is designed to facilitate a short stay for those who need little more than a convenient place to turnaround before the next flight.  This is especially crucial for LAX, because what is ordinarily an hour’s drive to the frenetic airport could easily turn into a two-hour nightmare on the infamous choke-a-bloc Los Angeles freeways.

There is a constellation of all the major hotels around LAX, and airline crew retiring from their flights for the day before reporting for the following day’s routes are a constant feature in the lobby of the Holiday Inn.  There is a small pool and a meager fitness room comprising a couple of treadmills and eplliptical machines that are not worth the walk out from the lobby into an adjacent compound.