The Hyatt Carmel Highlands, also known as the Highlands Inn, is my favorite Hyatt hotel in California.
This Category 7 Hyatt property (30,000 points per night or 15,000 points + $250/night) is located along Highway 1 on the California Coast, just south of Monterey. Last year I spent 10 nights at this hotel and will likely meet or exceed that again this year. The hotel has only 48 guest rooms, meaning it is often sold out.
What makes it so special? These views:
The property is not a single building but multiple buildings clustered on the mountainside. About half of the units are timeshares while the other half is reserved for hotel guests. The hotel has a craftsman/lodge style motif.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Guest Room
The first time we visited this hotel, we arrived late and were assigned a standard room two levels below the pool, along the hotel’s driveway. While the room was spacious enough, it misses one of my favorite elements about this hotel: a wood-burning fireplace.
Binoculars are available in each room for bird watching.
And DVD players. How quaint.
Bedside lamps have USB ports and plugs.
Coffee (Keurig machines) is horrible. Bring your own!
Bathrooms are quite small in standard rooms:
To ensure you have a fireplace, you need to reserve a Townhouse Suite, which I’ll review in my next installment on this property.
You can see the rooms are nothing special. You are paying far more for the location than a luxurious room. The suites are much larger, but in the same style.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Dining
As best I can tell, this hotel is both a Hyatt Residence Club and a Hyatt hotel. That “and” is extremely important, because Globalist members of the World of Hyatt program are technically not eligible for complimentary breakfast at Hyatt Residence Club properties. But breakfast has always been complimentary for me at this property. It’s also one of my favorite things about this property.
Look at the beautiful Pacific’s Edge dining room:
Every time I am here I try something new, as the pictures below demonstrate.
Ask for Makiko or Sharma to be your waitress. Both are amazing.
A large patio offers outdoor seating, but we prefer to sit indoors. The views are amazing and breakfast is always a treat.
Here’s a typical breakfast menu:
And yes, not everyday is so beautiful. Expect cloudy days as well:
On weekends, a brunch is offered. The ciopinno at this restaurant is my wife’s favorite.
Lunch and dinner are also available here, as well as a full bar.
Room service is available as well, though not 24/7.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Parking
Self-parking and valet parking are complimentary. I usually drive as close to my room as possible and park there. Last year, I did experience a “hit and run” incident where someone backed into my bumper and took off without leaving a note.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Pool + Fire Pit
Although the ocean is very close, the hotel has a heated pool. I’ve rarely see people in it and have never seen it crowded. Perhaps that is because the hotel does not keep it very clean.
The hotel also has a couple of fire pits, which are nice on cold autumn and winter evenings. Wood is available all over the property for guest rooms with fireplaces. You can just help yourself or call guest services to have it delivered to your room.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Fitness Center
While small, the fitness center offers a mix of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, mostly from Life Fitness.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Laundry
Complimentary laundry facilities and soap are available for guests. The laundry room is located adjacent to the fitness center. One-site laundry and dry cleaning services are also available.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Recreation Room
Between the laundry room and fitness center is a recreation room with a ping pong table:
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Nature Walks
Daily nature walks are available for $20. They start at 10am and children under five are free.
Hyatt Carmel Highlands Location
As I mentioned earlier, the location is what I love most about this property. You can hop on Highway 1 going north and you’ll hit Carmel by the Sea or Pacific Grove in mere moments. Monterey is also not far. If you head south, you can trace the highway along the coast toward Big Sur, with stunning scenery like this:
This property is pricey, perhaps unjustifiably so, but it has become a favorite getaway for my family and a new tradition that we look forward to each year.
People often complain that the hotel rooms are tired and dated. They are. But there’s a certain rustic charm to them and I don’t mind them at all. You don’t come to this property for the luxurious room.
I highly recommend this property as either a romantic getaway for couples or a family-friendly property.