If you follow my other reviews, you know I'm taking some time off from being in the Starwood Preferred Guest network, and gaining status in the Hilton and Hyatt networks for the first half of this year, before deciding which network to go with for my long-term travel needs. I'm currently halfway through my status plan with the Hyatt, and this was the second stay on the list. It was part of a convention.
Bear with me, as this may get a little long!
So, first off, this hotel is super-quaint! It has many of the original details of the hotel preserved (something I love in hotels), so loads of character in the reception area especially. The valet staff is exceptional, especially considering cabs don't actually come to this hotel automatically (be prepared to wait 20 minutes any time you want a cab! Traveller's tip - TAKE THE BUS which comes every 20 minutes until 6pm - it takes you wherever you need to go for 50c! - if you are packed lightly, you can even get all the way to the airport on it!) The front desk staff were nothing special during my visit. I came and went several times a day, and I think only once did they greet me when I arrived, even while I looked directly at them while I walked in the door (this became a bit of a game on my part, to see what would happen).
The restaurant: cute - the chairs/tables remind me of a less expensive restaurant, and the menu is just big enough that you could have everything during your stay. I had the salmon, which was a lovely flavour, but being from the northwest, I found it tough.. could it have been previously frozen? Guessing so.. But the flavour was wild - loved it! Great dessert too. If it was a little less expensive, I think I would have been thrilled. Even so it was enjoyable.
The pool: if you are going here for a family vacation, it's a cute, tiny pool - plan to spend your time on the beach mostly. It's nice enough, but small.
The business services: Don't get me started on this - there was a conference room (?!) you could use, but no desks other than one that looked like a concierge desk (I'm not sure it wasn't!), and if there was as separate business area to do work, I certainly didn't notice it! Two strikes for a business traveller now: the business service non-area, and no frequent taxis due to its location..
And now, let's talk about the room. Hm. It's almost like it went under half an upgrade - the bathtub was dated and didn't drain, and there were slightly dated additions made (new sink, etc) that were at odds with the decor. Honestly, they could have knocked this out of the park by breaking free of the 'standard' decor for the Hyatt, and instead gone with something that was more in the style of the hotel itself (Spanish Colonial). I would have flipped, had the rooms matched the quaint lobby...
My room overlooked the pool. No, let's be honest, it was as close as you could get, so close, that if I had opened my window, I potentially would have hit someone. Noisy as you can imagine, but there were earplugs in the drawer (just a thought - upgrade the windows so that noise isn't such a problem?). As it wasn't tourist season, the noise wasn't too bad at night, as the pool wasn't too busy - beware in the summer months though!
And finally, the big issue I have. I paid for my room 100%. It was through a convention where I could pick between the Fess Parker Doubletree, the Hyatt and then a big list of lots of other hotels. As I was deciding to try the Hyatt brand as a program, I CHOSE the Hyatt. Only, they did not credit my room to my card for the stay. Why? Because it was part of a convention. (!) Um, I'm part of several conventions at Hyatts across North America, and *every single other Hyatt credited my room stay* - *I* paid for it, no one else. I could have chosen other locations, and didn't. In the meantime, the convention itself was in the Fess Parker, and I can't tell you how each moment I entered, I was thoroughly impressed - I *wish* I had stayed there instead.
And now, my dear followers (if any are following the hotel chain saga), you see the moment where the pendulum swung in the favour of the Hilton brand. In a big way, and not only because I will now be one night short on the status for the Hyatt (so I will never experience their first-level program benefits), but because I have been online with them over the last week trying to sort out my stay credit (very nice, I will say, as I honestly thought it would be a mistake in the end), and they essentially 'hung up' on me in the end, and I haven't heard anything for over a week.
Wow, Hyatt, I'm now in a Hyatt 2 stays since this one, and as a brand, it hasn't gotten that much better. Thanks for making it an easy decision..
In a nutshell. It's a nice little place, and if you just want to have a homebase to play on the beach, you will likely enjoy yourself. If you need to do any work while you are here, stay elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover one of the finest hotels in Santa Barbara, California when you stay at Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara. Built in 1931, our historic hotel welcomes guests with its casual elegance and first-rate service. Detailed with a fusion of Spanish Colonial architecture blended with modern conveniences, Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara is a shining gateway to the City of Santa Barbara, also known as the American Riviera. Discover 176 comfortably-appointed guestrooms, a perfect home base for both leisure and business travelers. Enjoy the warm California sunshine in our heated outdoor pool and enjoy a local beverage at our ocean view pool bar, Mar Vista, work off stress in the spacious fitness center, or enjoy dinner at Marbella Restaurant, serving American cuisine with California flair. A 100% smoke-free hotel, Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara also offers amenities like in-room dining, valet and self-parking, valet laundry service, and a business center. With 10,000 square feet of flexible and unique meeting space, offering exquisite culinary selections and the latest in technology, Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara is ideal for your next corporate event. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hyatt Santa Barbara Hotel Santa Barbara
- Mar Monte Santa Barbara
- Mar Monte Hotel