The Park Hyatt Aviara is an outstanding, classy, luxurious hotel in Southern California that has tons of activities for kids. It's a complete experience ... fabulous service, good dining options, great rooms, great views, and lovely common spaces. The Park Hyatt can also be had for reasonable rates, so I think it also represents a great value for all the amenities and luxury it offers.
The Park Hyatt is located in the community of Carlsbad, maybe 40 minutes north of San Diego proper. By no means is it convenient to San Diego, so if your itinerary involves a lot of things in central San Diego (zoo, SeaWorld), you might consider staying somewhere else. However, this hotel is close to Legoland, which is actually our driver for staying in Carlsbad. The Aviara resort is massive ... it includes this Park Hyatt Hotel, a Four Seasons Residences (timeshares), golf, tennis, beach volleyball, and everything in between. It's so big that there is a shuttle bus that runs around the property taking you to different places. Given it's location, and it's relative seclusion, you will need a car if you are to enjoy your time here.
What really stands out for me at the Park Hyatt is the common spaces. The lobby is spacious, airy, and opulent. When you walk in to the lobby, you are greeted by a fabulous view framed by the building itself. The hotel is built up on top of a bluff, so there is this nice panoramic view. But there isn't this mausoleum feel that you can sometimes get at an opulent resort hotel ... there are people and kids milling about, and everything about this hotel feels very high-end casual. The staff as well are all very friendly, whilst working to clearly a very high set of standards. Friendly, warm, respectful, proactive, well-trained would be the words I would use to describe many of the staff at this hotel. There are several pools, some kid friendly, others adult-only, so there's something for everyone. There's even a free game room, with a bunch of PlayStations, pool tables, shuffleboard, and a large TV so you can communally watch a sporting event. Very fun for kids. Finally, for the younger children, there is a playground / playstructure next to the tennis courts. Convenient to get some energy out for an hour or two. I just wish there was food and bar service down there! Finally, the fitness center is fabulous. The exercise equipment is what you would expect (very nice), but what was impressive was the locker room. There's a whirlpool and saunas inside the locker room so you can get some quiet downtime whenever you need it.
We stayed in one of the Park Suite rooms. It's essentially a one-bedroom suite with an enclosed bedroom, so it's perfect if you are travelling with very small children. The room is very nicely appointed, with good furnishings and tasteful decor. The bathroom is huge, as to be expected at a hotel in this class ... separate tub and shower stalls, double sinks, lots of storage, and a separate water closet. The Park Suite isn't huge, but it's definitely a good choice if you have more than two adults.
There are many dining options at the Park Hyatt. We had a breakfast included plan, so we had the buffet everyday. It's nice, but the menu doesn't change, so if you are staying here for a while, it does get a little boring. We've also had several dinners at the Lobby Lounge -- basically the lobby bar with a bunch of sofas. Very comfortable place to end the day with your family -- it even has a pretty good kids menu. If you don't want to dine on-site, there are lots of options nearby that you could drive to.
The one thing that annoys me is the mandatory Valet Parking and the Resort Fee. I understand ... that's just the trend and most hotels of this caliber do this. However the Resort fee is $25, and the Valet Parking is $35 with no self parking available. So that's $60/night additional for your typical guest. I personally believe that that is unreasonably high as a percentage of the room rate. It's not a surprise, it's not enough to prevent me from coming back, but I believe it borders on excessive.
Overall, we wouldn't hesitate to come back. We've stayed here a number of occasions at the Four Seasons Residences, and even at this particular hotel back when it was managed as a Four Seasons hotel. I'm happy to report that the transition to Park Hyatt is seamless, and the same standards seem to be maintained. It's family luxury defined, and frequently a good value to boot.
The Park Suite may not be much more expensive, but is a lot more spacious than the standard room. P...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.