By Charly SHELTON
With college graduation behind us and high school graduation fast approaching, it’s time to make summer getaway plans. Temperatures in L.A. have been moderate of late but when summer rages on then things will get hot. So why not go somewhere with a great climate, beautiful beaches and some of the best wining and dining in California? The Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is the perfect getaway from L.A. – close enough to reach by car in less than half a day but secluded enough to transport you to a world away.
I was invited up to the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel in March to experience all it has to offer. Set on a little mountaintop overlooking a valley on one side and big, beautiful grassy Del Monte Golf Course on the other, the Hyatt boasts 550 rooms across 22 acres. To take a broader view, the hotel is just off Route 1, about three minutes by car from the heart of Monterey and only about 15 minutes from Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey is a classic California coast town, popularized by author John Steinbeck and poet Robinson Jeffers and is home to some of the best dining and wine tasting in the state, as well as boasting historical sites, marine institutions like the Aquarium and tourist attractions to fill the day. Just 20 minutes across highway 68 is Carmel-by-the-Sea, which has even more wine tasting rooms, shopping and dining, as well as a California mission. There is plenty to see and do surrounding the Hyatt Regency Monterey, but with everything they have to offer on property, guests may not want to leave the hotel.
Room service is always a treat, especially after a long day exploring Monterey or lounging by the pool. The on-site restaurant, TusCA, specializes in local farm-to-table fair with an elegant flourish. The menu changes from month-to-month as foods go in and out of season, so no one dish mentioned here is guaranteed to be available at all times, but everything this kitchen puts out is incredible. The seared Verlasso salmon with celery root purée, roasted cauliflower and carrots, and sorrel salad was impressive, as was the mushroom and kale raviolis, topped with fried kale, hazelnuts and enoki mushrooms in a mushroom broth. But what really blew me away was the seared diver scallops with Far West Fungi mushrooms, winter squash purée and porcini cream. Being in Monterey and so close to a fishing district, the seafood is always fresh and these seared scallops, harvested locally, were the best I’ve ever had. I would have never thought that winter squash purée would go well with mushrooms, scallops and cream sauce but it really brought the whole dish together. And that’s just for dinner!
The breakfast buffet at TusCA is the perfect way to start off a day in Monterey. I recommend the asparagus and lump crab omelet with a side of chicken sausage with feta, spinach and cranberries. However, the roasted apple pancakes with almond streusel and maple syrup at the next table looked incredible too.
Outside of gorging one’s self and laying around the pool and Jacuzzi, there are other activities offered by the Hyatt Regency Monterey. The Marilyn Monroe Spa, located at the east end of the property, offers various massages and spa packages for men and women, facials, hair salon services, make-up application, manicures and pedicures, waxing and steam room treatments, among others. Marilyn’s Signature Fassage is their specialty face massage, combining “lymphatic drainage and muscle manipulation which achieves a smoother, brighter, more youthful appearance,” according to the spa menu. While I did not have a chance to visit the spa for any treatments, I wish I had.
At the end of the night, grab a beer and watch the game in Knuckles Sports Bar, which is also great for lunch and snacks, or head out to the fireside lounge. Overlooking the golf course and pool area, the fireside lounge is a beautiful gazebo covering a huge firepit, surrounded by chairs and benches. S’mores kits can be purchased at the restaurants or the lobby lounge bar and that’s an evening done right there. Relaxing by the fire after a day of opulent dining, spa treatments and taking it easy around the hotel property will ensure that you come home feeling like a new person.
Just five hours north on the 5 or 101 freeways, the Hyatt Regency Monterey is the perfect place to plan a summer getaway, Father’s Day surprise or graduation celebration vacation. For more info, visit monterey.regency.hyatt.com.