Although quite sprawling, the property certainly provides the ambiance of a first-class resort. Beautiful, spacious public areas, well-kept grounds. While located immediately adjacent to an excellent public beach, it actually is separated from it by the multi-lane Pacific Coast Highway. A pedestrian over-crossing provides access to the sand and surf, so it's easy to use. We stayed here, however, for the annual three-day meeting of a professional society, and did not make use of these amenities. We can, however, vouch for the unending friendliness of all of the staff we encountered, from the guys who always hold the front door open for you to the concierge, desk staff, bellmen, and housekeepers, all of whom always greeted you as you passed. Our 3rd floor (out of 4) room provided an ocean view, which was nice, but it also meant that we couldn't keep the sliding door open at night for fresh air because of the traffic noise from PCH. With the door closed, the sounds were almost entirely muted. So, if you depend upon the HVAC for your air needs, you'll not have noise problems. However, we found the HVAC to be quite slow to respond, and the room never felt like it had fresh air unless we opened the sliding door. The room was tastefully furnished, very clean, nicely laid out. Bathroom was spotless and well appointed. No complaints there. Ah,now for the "but."
1. A 42 inch flat screen TV was provided, but there was no digital high-def picture, only an analogue feed, with the attendant "everyone looks wide" appearance of the picture. I've stayed in MUCH more modest accommodations that provided HiDef TV, why not an alleged 4-star resort?
2. The room safe is pathetically small. It's effective storage was approximately 3" deep, 5" high, and 10" wide. Forget about securing that laptop, or even your iPad. Again, lesser facilities provide laptop-sized safes. Oh, and it seems that some rooms, ours included, lack the button marked "lock," which the instructions for use refer to. Save yourself the call to maintenance; it's the "star" button, although nowhere do they tell you this.
3. At the prices they charge per night, they still want to charge extra for simple WiFi. To the tune of $13 a day! Why is it the fancy hotels nickel and dime you to death?
4. OK, here's the biggie. There is NO self-parking option.* You want your car to stay here? Then, in addition to your room charge, you will pony up THIRTY-FOUR BUCKS per night (as of April, 2013) for mandatory valet parking. The * above was for this "option." You can go to the desk and get an overnight permit that will allow you to park in the beach lot across PCH. Not for free, mind you. You still pay the City their $15 (I think that's the rate; we didn't use it.). Isn't that a deal. You can leave your car overnight to be pelted by salt/sand spray in a remote, unsecured lot. We asked one of the staff (whom we will not identify) about this and this person said they had just raised the valet fee to $34 and that it was a "fantastic" money-maker for the hotel. Duh. It's also the source of the greatest ill-will amongst those who review the resort. Oh, yes, despite this outrageous charge, the valets definitely lurk for tips.
5. Although it was waived for our conference attendees, I believe there also is a "resort fee" of $25 per day.
So, when you book your room, just be aware that the "room rate" isn't all you're going to pay.
On the plus side, the restaurants (the "Californian" and "Pete's Surf City Grill") were excellent and, surprisingly, reasonably priced! Go figure. There's also a shuttle to take you the mile into town for other dining options, or you can, as we did, walk it quite easily.
Overall, a nice facility with excellent staff and some stupid decisions by the executive suite that degrade the experience.