sojourneys


The Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo
January 4, 2015, 12:53 pm
Filed under: hotels, reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

Most folks equate American airport vicinity hotels with no-frills, crowded properties filled with throngs of harried flight attendants and hustled business executives. The Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo beats all expectations. The property boasts a sunlit lobby with water features, spacious communal dinning areas, and friendly staff to boot.

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Guestrooms are well-planned to maximize a sense of spaciousness, and feature thoughtful decor and large windows that are a notch above the typical cookie-cutter Hyatt Place hotels that are starting to look like they could use a refresh.

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The Hyatt Place fitness rooms are bare minimum, but at least the one in Hyatt Place Los Angeles/LAX/El Segundo looks out to the pool, which has lounge beds and tanning chairs to take advantage of the sunny year-round Southern California climes. A self-service business center at the side of the lobby rounds up the hotel amenities.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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



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.



The Houses of Wisteria Lane – On the set of Desperate Housewives

One of the highlights of the Universal Studios tour is surely the set of the fabled Desperate Housewives.  Here, set designers have recreated a microcosm of American suburbia on steriods with its ensemble cast of zany characters including Terry Hatcher as Susan Mayer, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van de Camp, Eva Longoria Parker as Gabrielle Solis, Nicollete Sheridan as Edie Williams, and others.  Do you recognize any of the houses here?



Los Angeles Landscape
January 1, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: USA, vacation | Tags: , , , ,

California well-deserves its moniker of The Golden State.  It is a state–and at 160,000 square miles the 59th largest in the world were it a country–that is truly blessed with nature’s wondrous abundance.  Despite the frigid temperatures in the teens, the December trip to Southern California left me renewed in my appreciation of nature’s resilience and its healing qualities.

From Los Angeles to San Diego, this trip sojourned to nature’s creations as well as man-made wonders.  I’ll be sharing more in the weeks to come, but for now, the last set of pics in this post comes from the internationally-ranked University of California at San Diego.

 And last but not least, the Geisel Library Building, an architectural masterpiece that though designed by William Pereira in the late 1960s, remains as 21st century as it has ever been.  Find out more at the UCSD Libraries homepage.