We are vacation club owners in Sedona and this year we decided to use some of our points to visit this property. We have visited the Hyatt Vacation Club at Sunset Harbor, Key West twice but this was our first trip here. We stayed 3 nights - Sun to Tues.
We flew into Monterey Pennisula airport which was a breeze. I had priced tickets to both San Francisco and San Jose as well and we decided for the slight difference it was worth flying into Monterey. Glad we did and would highly recommend this airport as the easiest and most convenient. Hertz had run a AAA special so we were able to get a mid-size rental car for less than $100 for all 3 days. The drive from the airport to the property was easy and no more than 30 minutes.
The property was easy to locate. The sign for Highlands Drive is right on the main road and well marked. Checking in was a breeze as another poster noted. Because we arrived on a Saturday, there was not any reception - apparently it took place the Thursday before we arrived. The check-in desk clerk was very nice and even looked up our Gold Passport number so that incidental expenses could be applied. We were promptly shown to our unit.
We stayed in 310 which was classified as a one bedroom unit. There was a parking lot right outside our entry door that was very convenient so parking was not an issue. We had an ocean view (although we found it later it was classifed as a "horizon view" - see below) from our balcony, a king size bed, the spacious bathroom that's been described below, wood-burning fireplace and kitchen. We were immediately surprised to find out that just like a hotel, we would be offered daily housekeeping and had the option for room service. This is the exception to the norm for a vacation club property. At the Sedona as well as the Key West properties, you can take your own towels down and exchange for fresh ones, but you have to make your own bed and there is no room service. Housekeeping is done 1 x during a week stay and not at all if you stay only 3 nights as we were at Highlands. So this was a pleasant surprise. The other exception was the onsite restaurants. The decor of the room was nice although you could see a few places where the wallpaper looked worn and we thought the carpet was a little old. But overall it was a very nice room. The only complaint we had (which I think was mentioned by another poster) was because of the wood burning fireplace there seemed to linger a musty order. My husband said it was for lack of positive ventilation that didn't completely get rid of the odor.
The first night we ate in the lounge because we had a late lunch in Carmel. Views at the lounge and in Pacific Edge were beautiful! We had the calamari (nothing special) and I had the clam chowder (very good but could have been hotter) and my husband had the beef which he said was good. Service was excellent.
The next night we ate at Pacific Edge. We had made reservations and were promptly seated. The hostess was very nice and gave me a black napkin (versus the pale yellow on the table) because I had on black pants. She lowered te sun shade. So far so good. Our waiter brought us some water and then disappeared for 20 min. No offer of a cocktail or any other drink. In the meantime, the sommelier came over and by then because we knew what we were going to order we opted to give up on the cocktail and just order a bottle of wine. The server came back and we ordered appitizers (I had the pear tart) and our (sea bass for me scallops for DH) meals. The food was delicious and so was the wine. We finished our meals and it was at that point the server made his one and only visit to ask if the food was alright. The menu listed French Press coffee for two which we decided we didn't want. The server came back and asked if we wanted dessert (ordered 1 to share). It was half-way through our dessert we saw the table next to us (different server) being served espresso. Humm not on the menu and not offered by the server. Maybe we should have asked, but for a restaurant that bills itself as fine dining I think it should have been offered. The server brings the bill. It's incorrect and because he has disappeared again we had to flag down the hostess who then had to go find him to get it corrected. So for us - food was great but can't rate it highly for service. We noticed that each server had several tables and it appeared understaffed and we didn't notice any management.
We ate at the Market restaurant our last morning (we cooked in the kitchen the other two mornings) and enjoyed the meal. No problems with service and food was good.
I used the small fitness center (treadmill) and there was no one there. Worked for me. We didn't use the pool or hot tub. Did observe a nice fire pit.
My DH decided to inquire about 2 bedroom units at the sales office in the event we decided we wanted to reserve a 2 bedroom unit in the tuture. He was told there weren't any for sale - that wasn't his question. It turns out that there are only five (5) 2 bedroom units for the entire property. That is what he was finally told. So vacation club owners be aware of that information. Maybe because it's an older inn. That's also when he found out that the unit we were in was considered a "horizon view" whereas the units on the level above us were considered "ocean view." Not a major factor because we thought we had a nice view, but just interesting to know. I couldn't quite figure out the "hotel rooms" versus the "condos" either. There are some units there that have absolutely no view other than a walkway. I mention this because anyone might want to know before they make their reservation through the vacation club website (which is not the regular hotel website) so you could request a certain unit. We would request the units on the floor above us, e.g. 417. Now I'm curious about the 500 level units given the post below.
We did an eval with the property and commented on both the good and bad. Will be interesting to see if there is any follow-up.
We would return. Location was great for seeing Monterey and Carmel. It was nice to have the option of cooking or room service/eating out.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 448 room luxury resort nestled in Monterey pines overlooking Point Lobos State Reserve. Oceanview rooms include wood burning fireplaces and private balconies and 11 suites also include in-room double spa baths, kitchenettes. Renowned Pacific's Edge Restaurant(dinner only) and California Market Restaurant (breakfast & lunch). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt Carmel Highlands Hotel Carmel
- Highlands Hotel Hyatt Carmel
- Carmel Highland Inn
- Carmel Hyatt