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“We Would Return” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hyatt Carmel Highlands

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Hyatt Carmel Highlands
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, CA 93923   |  
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Ranked #20 of 23 Hotels in Carmel
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“We Would Return”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2010

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.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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758 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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San Francisco
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2010

Great location - stunning. However, the rooms are really only standard. We had free nights and I would never ever pay the full price for the room. We had two rooms and a child in each room and we asked for a rollaway bed and received and air mattress that was deflated about 1 hour into the night so that was not good.
The location is stunning and the view is breathtaking but the staff are a little snooty and the rooms are ok. We asked for early check in and were in our rooms at 4PM....! Thank goodness these were free rooms.....

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Lafayette, United States
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2010

Having read the prior reviews I was not sure what to expect. I stayed here for free on points. (would have been about $400 otherwise). We really enjoyed our experience. We were given a renovated room (516) which was on the far edge of the property with a huge balcony. The views of the ocean from the deck were great. The room had a real fireplace which was nice in the evening. The ground are nicely landscaped with lots of flowers. The food at the restaurant, Pacific's Edge, was very average. You're really there just for the great view of the ocean. Anyway, pleasently surprised by this property. If I had to pay for the room, I think the property is too expensive but everything in the area is pretty pricey for what you get.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Austin, TX
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2010

I was completely stunned and pleasantly surprised when we checked in to our fabulous one bedroom vacation club room (not a member though) for a 5 day stay. Pictures do not do this hotel justice. The location was ideal providing easy access to Pebble Beach for the US Open and to me, this is a much nicer location than anything in Carmel-by-the-Sea, simply for it's stunning ocean views and quiet, calming setting.

Check in was an easy, accurate breeze. A nice welcome was the wine tasting in the lobby lounge. I think I found my new favorite bubbly there. The Caraccioli Rose.... Nothing better than toasting the dramatic ocean view and cooler weather than with a glass of cold sparkling. The hotel staff from reception, valets, bellman, room service, restaurant, housekeeping to the manager, Greg Messenger were all perfectly warm and polite and great at their jobs.

Our room, #318, was the choice room at this property. Parking is right out front for come and go ease. The room was impressive with an open plan, an unbelievable bathtub, comfy living space, kitchen and the best bed i've ever slept on in a hotel. All areas can be closed off with giant barn doors for privacy. I was totally impressed with the decor choices in the room. My favorite thing was the fireplace. All you do is light a match and then the next day the fireplace butler comes and gets it all clean and setup for you again.

The hot tubs are scattered throughout the scenic property, which I loved and flowers grow in shocking color and abundance everywhere you stroll. The view from the balcony was the icing on the cake. Beautiful sunsets over the coast to the front and to the side, was the soaring pine tree forest.

We used room servce several times. It's expensive, but we thought it was worth it each time. The Pacific Edge Restaurant and the lounge off the lobby were both excellent. Our service was fantastic, even on a full, packed night. Although it would be so easy to pop in to the nearby Safeway for groceries.

The heated pool is so much prettier and serene than the pictures show. Our little boy loved swimming more than anything. I loved the abundant access to towels and comfy chaises poolside. We saw a bride and groom walk by. A small wedding here would be so nice.

Carmel is my new favorite place on earth and if I went back, I would stay here in Carmel Highlands at the Hyatt. I loved the nearby beach, the shopping village with the Carmel Valley coffee shop that we popped into daily, great restaurants (RG's for burgers and Stravaganza for breakfast) were both great with a child. Next time, I'm going to make time for a picnic on the nearby Carmel River beach and a drive up to Big Sur. A bicycle ride (available by the lobby) or a hike are also on my list.

If you are torn between staying in Carmel by the Sea or Carmel Highlands, stay here. You'll be so glad you did!!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2010

The hotel lobby and restaurant are very nice.

However, we were very disappointed in the room. Very small and dated. My wife and I (along with our baby), were all over each other for 2 days.

We were originally staying at the Hyatt in Monterey, but due to overbooking, we were offered the option of staying at the Highlands Inn.

The location of the hotel is excellent. But the guests are a bit stuffy. I guess for what this hotel normally charges per night, one would expect that type of crowd.

We will look to stay at an alternative place on our next trip to Carmel.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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NYC
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2010

Rooms:
We were in a newly renovated King that overlooked the pacific and was absolutely breathtaking. Everything in the room was brand new and showed no wear and tear. The room was quite spacious with two patios. One facing the pacific and the other facing the pool.

Service:
We found the front desk to be quite warm and helpful. The bellhops/valets went out of their way to help you. Valet parking is complimentary but as the valets emphasized they work for tips. That was my biggest complaint that they were vocal on they are paid on tips, each time I went to get the car. Housekeeping was efficient each day. Turndown typically came by on the earlier side but if you asked them to come back later they were more than happy to come back at a later specified time.

Food:
We ate breakfast each morning at California market and found the food to be excellent but the service somewhat hair brained. Some mornings service was great some it took ten minutes to get a re-fill for coffee. We did eat one night at Pacific’s Edge and found both the food and service was excellent. We had Bart as our server who was phenomenal. The sommelier was very friendly and had a plethora of suggestions. (as one would expect) Both of our entrees were cooked to perfection and with the accompaniment of the sunset we could not have asked for more. The one drawback was the rooms don’t have A/C. Now I am from the east coast and the employees swear if you leave the door open you will be comfortable. We were there in early June and found it somewhat hot at night. I could not imagine it what is like in August. We slept with the sliding glass door open with the screen closed, but the option of A/C would have been welcome.

Facilities:
The fitness was certainly an afterthought , it is in a tiny room below the Los Lobos suite. We never found it crowded and has two ellipticals, two treadmills and a small weight collection. The pool area was well maintained, but no full time employees dedicated to it or anyone to take drink orders. Everything else was in good condition.

Overall, we would absolutely return to the Highlands Inn. We stayed here on the Hyatt Big Welcome Back promotion, but I am not sure I would stay here at room rates in the $500-$600 range. Overall we enjoyed the resort and its facilities and when in the Carmel area will be our to go resort.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Gatos, California
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2010

We are timeshare owners A t Highlands Inn. My daughter (18) was returning from a camping trip and was going to stay at Hyatt in San Jose, but when she and her girlfriend arrived in San Jose Hyatt it was so dirty and nasty that she refused to stay there. The desk called Highlands and made a reservation for them, 2+ hour drive at 11:00 at night. When they arrived at Highlands they were told that they must have the wrong Hotel. Maybe they should check at the MOTEL down the highway. Like they weren't good enough to stay at the Inn. When they told the desk about their reservation being made by San Jose, the night clerk said that they would check it out. By the time the girls got to a room it was 3:30 in the a.m. they made then sit in the lobby all that time. Mean while, my husband and I were on the phone until this time trying to straighten things out. Rude is not the word to describe this person. I was friends with the previous owners and I know that he is rolling over in his grave. Anyone what to buy an overpriced timeshare????? This isn't even the half of the drama, it was bad really bad for the whole stay.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Address: 120 Highlands Drive, Carmel, CA 93923
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Monterey Peninsula > Carmel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Carmel
#4 Spa Hotel in Carmel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hyatt Carmel Highlands 4*
Number of rooms: 448
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

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