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Review: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Earlier this summer I spent four nights at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach in Orange County. This was part of a family trip with my cousin and her kids, who had already booked a beach house for the long 4th of July weekend, and this was the most convenient hotel.

I am very conflicted about this property. In theory it’s a great option for either a quick getaway for Californians, or a decent beach alternative for families who don’t want to stay in the thick of Anaheim. It is, however, really rather expensive, and has a bit of an identity crisis.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Booking details

We were there over peak dates, and when I booked all the standard rooms were sold out, so I paid a cash rate of ~$ 220 per night, and booked through Citi Prestige to take advantage of the complimentary fourth night benefit.

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is a Category 5 property with Hyatt Gold Passport, so free nights would have started at 20,000 points, had they been available.

On top of this, there’s a daily Resort Fee of $ 25 (plus tax) which includes:

  • surfboard/golf bag storage
  • use of the 24 fitness center
  • two bottles of water daily in each room

Thankfully, this was waived for Diamond members without my even asking, as that’s possibly the most ridiculous justification for a resort fee I’ve ever encountered.

Lobby & Check-in

The property is inspired by California Spanish architecture, with stucco walls, red-tiled roofs, and an abundance of fountains.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The hotel does not have self parking (though you can park on the street a few blocks away, or in the public city lot). Valet parking is pricey.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

Conveniently, however, the hotel also offers a shuttle to nearby shopping and dining destinations.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The lobby was massive (and difficult to photograph), with large windows and doors facing out to the grounds and the ocean beyond.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

A sign prominently displayed the holiday activities, including a notice that the usual beach amenities would be unavailable on the 4th.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach activities

The concierge and reception were to the left of the main entrance, and while both were disastrously understaffed on the 3rd and 4th, they were quite efficient.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach lobby

Our check-in was painless. We were given a rather necessary map of the resort grounds, indicating both the Regency Club (in the center above the lobby), and our room (to the left near the spa). To the far right you can see the abundance of conference facilities.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach map

We were advised that while there were corridors, the most efficient routing would be through the courtyards, so off we went.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

Regency Club King Room

The elevator bank for our block of rooms was outrageously slow, and of a similar era to the decorative phone in the vestibule.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

We then walked through a maze of hallways to our room.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The room was on the 4th floor, overlooking the Spa courtyard, and that’s the end of the interesting things I could potentially say about it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, as this was pretty much the most cookie-cutter of any mid-level hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bath amenities

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bath amenities

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Every Hyatt shower ever, basically

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach bathroom

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

On the plus side, the room did have a patio, which had a nice view of the gardens. It was a lovely place to use my Google Fi hotspot from (more on the Wifi situation later).

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach King room

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach spa courtyard

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach spa courtyard

Regency Club lounge

The club lounge at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach does offer snacks throughout the day, but as we were primarily there to visit family we only ever made it at breakfast.

The lounge was on the 4th floor, in the center of the property above the lobby. During the busy days, a staff member was stationed outside to match names and occupancy with room numbers. Based on how crowded the space was, this was definitely necessary, and was probably a lesson learned the hard way in previous years.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach hallway

The room was of a decent size, with a small balcony overlooking the central courtyard. There were about a dozen tables of various sizes, along with a few computers. Due to the holiday, the lounge was swarming with children and their grandparents, so I don’t have pictures of the seating arrangements.

The breakfast spread, however, was quite good!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

All the selections were fresh, and well-managed. Items were promptly refilled, and empty plates whisked away.

The only note I have about the lounge was the coffee setup. Custom coffee machines have a time and place, and a busy club lounge is not a good fit for a machine that takes two minutes to produce a cup of coffee.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

The line was generally at least four deep with bleary-eyed parents trying to caffeinate themselves while their toddlers banged on the table. A carafe of drip coffee would have been a welcome touch.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach club lounge

Resort Village

One of the things the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach strives to be is a destination resort, and they have an abundance of shops in addition to the typical restaurants.

To the right of the main entrance is a covered walkway that leads to the shops.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

There’s a surf shop, which also has bicycle rentals:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

And a “dry goods” store filled with snacks, beach toys, liquor, and more. Truly, you could stay here and never have to leave the property for anything!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

All of this (along with a couple of restaurants) were clustered around a pair of fountains.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The beach

Beyond the village, a lush lawn led to the beach bridge.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

The bridge is a wonderful asset, as the property isn’t actually located on the beach front, and you’d otherwise have to cross over Pacific Coast Highway.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

There was both an elevator and a set of stairs leading down to the beach, along with stacks of beach chairs and towels.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach grounds

In one of the most fantastic up-sells I’ve seen, the hotel offered a “Sand Service” for those who didn’t want to schlepp chairs the rest of the way to the beach:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach services

Wait, I take it back. The “Beach Bonfire” package is even more impressive:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach services

I don’t know if the prices are set that high in hopes that no one actually buys them, or if people are actually paying $ 200 for a beach fire, but goodness!

The beach itself is lovely though, as is the bike path running alongside it.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The pools

We didn’t spend any time at them (why would you when it was such glorious beach weather?), but the Hyatt has multiple pool zones.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

The hot tubs were clustered in gardens between one block of rooms:

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

While the main adult pool was in a larger area, and featured an abundance of chairs.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach chairs

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More chairs

Down a trail and at the edge of the resort was a children’s pool and play area, replete with waterslides!

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

The kids’ zone also offered cabana rentals, which looked rather nice (though again, pricey).

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach kids’ pool

The neighborhood

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t spend that much time at the hotel. Most of our time was spent playing on the beach:

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Newport Beach

Watching the thematically-appropriate sky-writers:

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Oh hai!

Or enjoying the Americana (and ice-cream bars) of Balboa Island:

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So many flags.

There’s a ton to do in this part of Orange County, and myriad shops and restaurants. Or you can just relax by the beach, and enjoy the OC vibe (and people-watching).

The Wifi

This gets a separate section, because the internet at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach was so horrific as to defy description.

About 80% of the time, this was the kind of internet service I was getting:

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The 20% of the time I could get a connection, it was outrageously slow. Here’s a speed test from the desk in the room (and after engineering had supposedly been fiddling with it):

Hyatt Huntington Beach Wi-Fi speed

As a comparison for the less tech-savvy, here’s a speed test from just now in my apartment:

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So the internet was completely unusable in the room, and only moderately acceptable in the common areas like the club lounge. Based on that, rooms closer to the center of the property might have better connections, so I would ask for one of those.

Bottom line

As I mentioned at the beginning, I am sorely conflicted about the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.

Service was fantastic, the property was clean and well-maintained, and Orange County summers are truly delightful weather-wise. The facilities are great, and it feels like you’re at a destination resort when you’re roaming the grounds.

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Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

On the flip-side, the property is expensive, and I felt nickel and dimed by all the add-ons. Conferences are abundant, and the interior feels very much like your typical convention hotel. There’s also the fact that the rooms are desperately in need of an update, and the Wifi situation is just unacceptable for 2016.

So I’m torn. I won’t be staying again until the internet is improved, and realistically not until the rooms are updated, but I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend against someone else staying here, as the hotel does have a lot going for it.

Have you stayed at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach? Would you recommend it?

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/09/08/huntington-beach-hyatt-regency-review/One Mile at a Time

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