Each year my family and I take a summer vacation. Having returned from a five year work contract in Hawaii, we decided to enjoy a local vacation near our home in Orange County, California. We considered Las Vegas but finally decided to return to Coachella Valley due to the peacefulness and short drive. Our top three picks were Rancho Las Palmas, the Esmeralda, the Westin, and the Hyatt Regency. I first booked at Rancho Las Palmas but was ultimately deterred by the pool height requirements, which would prevent one of my small kids from using the lazy river pool area. Thus, we wanted a resort that was kid-friendly (despite height requirements) but also had an elegant look and luxurious feel for the parents. After reviewing reports about service level and property amenities, we settled on the Hyatt.
I booked this stay on Hyatt's website, which was easy to navigate. I opted for a pool view room with breakfast for two, plus a 6 pm checkout using the AAA rate, which provided a slight discount versus doing this on an a la carte basis without the AAA rate. We had previously stayed at the Esmeralda Resort several years back, which is opposite the Hyatt but uses the same entry road, but wanted to try a nicer pool complex consisting of seven separate free form pools versus a few large rectangular pools at the Esmeralda.
When we arrived at around 5:30 pm on a Friday afternoon, the self-parking lot was full but we were told that we would get to use the valet parking with the valet rate for the same as the self-parking rate, which was very fair. This lower rate applied during our entire three night stay. The car attendant was very welcoming and a prelude to what I hoped would be a very memorable stay.
Check-in brought about the first service issue as the two double beds with pool view, as confirmed by my reservation, was unavailable. What was available at the time of our check-in was an accessible room or a king bed with a pullout sofa bed. With kids in tow, we opted for the king bed with sofa pullout, and was granted a slight discount on our room due to the inconvenience factor.
Upon entering the room, we found a nice room, relatively spacious room with small balcony facing the ponds to the left and the pool complex to the right with a direct view of a maintenance area connected to the pool restaurant. The bathroom was spacious with a tub and a shower, a single sink with plenty of counter space, and an exhaust fan that works almost too well. The bath and toiletry products were a high quality brand with a very pleasant, neutral aroma that works well for men and women. Towels were sufficient for two people but inadequate for three or four people.
The second snag was an air conditioning system that would not stay on cool, but rather, cycled on and off (mostly off), meaning the room never cooled down. The room was far from being comfortable enough to relax comfortably in the desert heat. A call to maintenance around 10 pm after we arrived at the room kept the technician busy until after 11:00 pm, who by the way, was very polite and cognizant of being in our room so late at night. The office management provided a free movie credit for our air conditioning problem.
The hotel complex is expansive but beautiful, and designed to provide a sense of intimacy through the availability of seven separate and distinct pools, two hot tubs, and winding paths lined with an extensive collection of various palm and shade trees. It's size was clearly more relaxing than some of the mega-resorts of Las Vegas. While we stayed on the family side of the resort with its six pools (including a small but fun water slide for the kids), the adult side was nicely appointed with padded lounge chairs, its own hot tub, towels that seemed to be of higher quality, water cups that were clear plastic (versus paper on the family side of the resort), and an outdoor bar. The adult pool complex was situated closer to the villa rooms and away from the family pool; a rather quiet retreat for those adults seeking a quiet, adult-themed retreat.
The food was very good. We ate by the pool during the day, and enjoyed the burgers, bowl of fries, and the spa fruit plate. Not cheap by any means, but I thought the value and convenience was fair compared to other resorts we have frequented. We ate breakfast in the Lantana Restaurant. I felt the best value was the breakfast buffet (it was included in our rate), but the a la carte items were slightly pricier than what I have paid elsewhere. The buffet was sufficient with an egg station. My wife raved about the Greek yogurt, and I liked the freshness of the croissants. For a la carte breakfast items, the quality of the food was above average but the portions were average in size. The kids menu was fairly priced, and the pancakes seemed to be enjoyed quite a bit by my children. The restaurant servers in this restaurant were outstanding and helpful. We did not eat dinner at the resort except the first night when we used room service for the convenience factor. Room service was priced accordingly for a resort hotel property.
The car attendants were very responsive, and our vehicle was brought to us within two to three minutes of handing in our car ticket. The attendants also offered us bottles of water each time we departed and directions if needed.
The pools were fantastic, and we liked the free form pools and the number available to guests over the nearby Esmeralda. The cold water pool was very welcomed in the heat of the daytime temperatures, and we went between this pool and the warmer pool quite frequently due to proximity. The water slide pool was a short one minute walk from the main complex of family pools, and can keep the younger ones occupied with excitement for hours. There is a pool attendant monitoring the slide at all times. The pool water is not crystal clear, but this is common in resorts where all kinds of sunblock and other unmentionables end up in the pool, making for a murky soup of sorts. I have encountered this at the pools in Las Vegas as well. Kids don't mind the quality of the water but adults might. The adult pool seemed to be rather sparkling clean compared to the family pools.
We did not utilize the spa service nor the Camp Hyatt for the kids; I don't know if this service was available as it was not offered to us at check-in nor did I see any kids in the camp "room" except the first night we arrived. There are children's activities available throughout the day, and on certain nights, a pool-side movie for the kids while they wade in the pool. This was wonderful.
The third mishap occurred on our final hours at the hotel. We had been confirmed for a 6:00 pm check out at an additional charge, and this availability was confirmed and accepted upon our check-in to the resort. Sometime after 4:00 pm on our final day, our keys went inoperative. When we returned to our room at around 4:30 pm to clean up and check out, the keys would not open the door. I had to walk back to the front desk (at quite a distance due to the resort size) and get new keys made. The fact that the hotel offers this extra-cost service, which I'm sure is in their hotel computer system, but disables the key before the agreed upon check-out time is inexcusable, especially when I have cold, wet family members waiting outside the room in an air conditioned hallway. It seems that there is some disconnect between the hotel reservation system and the timing of the key inoperability. The front desk attendant who issued new keys was very helpful and apologetic, but seemed confused by the fact that this was not readily noted in our reservation details. My guess is that the late check-out was set for 4:00 pm in their computer system.
Once we were able to get into the room, we cleared out our belongings and called for bell assistance. The bell attendant arrived about 20 minutes later, which was acceptable and expected. The only other observation I had was that there were some charges on the bill that should have been adjusted prior to check-out, like the discounted parking rate for valet, the free movie due to the air conditioning problem, and another small discount promised to us, which I did not find removed from the bill until I got home.
No reflection on this hotel, but such bills are hard to review when there are so many charges and adjustments from a several day's stay, that trying to recall everything with accuracy is challenging at best. It's one of the anxiety points at the very end of any vacation that sometimes ends up being one of the last unmemorable experiences to an otherwise memorable resort vacation.
The delivery of the luggage to our waiting vehicle and the fond goodbyes of staff were such that we do have wonderful memories of this Hyatt Regency Resort. Despite the problems we encountered on this stay, I would return here if a favorable summer rate were offered. I would hope that the Hyatt can work out some of the kinks that I cited in this report to make for a seamless and perfect stay at one of the most beautiful desert resorts that I have had the pleasure to have enjoyed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa is a renowned Indian Wells resort situated on a 45-acre desert oasis. We offer delightful Indian Wells, California resort activities to occupy your days of leisure in whatever way pleases you the most. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas Hotel Indian Wells
- Hyatt Indian Wells
- Indian Wells Hyatt