Review of a weekend trip to Monterey/Carmel in February 2007.
by awc825 on April 1, 2007
The Park Hyatt Highlands Inn is located in Carmel, 5 miles south of Monterey on Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1). A car is pretty much required to get around, given the relative remoteness of the general Carmel and Monterey areas. Fortunately, self-parking at the hotel is free.The property is located right off the PCH and the Pacific Ocean, and offers splendid ocean views. It is definitely a retreat/resort type of hotel, perfect for romantic getaways.Front desk staff were professional and acknowledged my frequent guest status. The property is not a typical hotel in that guest rooms are independent cabins scattered around the property instead of centrally located in a high rise tower. We were given a room with balcony overlooking the ocean. The room was equipped with a real fireplace which provided a nice ambience when lit on a cold night. There is also a pair of binoculars for scenic viewing.There is a Jacuzzi and several swimming pools located around the property. The Jacuzzi is hot enough for even cold windy nights.The property doesn't have a Regency Club Lounge, but we were given breakfast coupons (due to my status) for dining in the restaurant. A wide selection was available for breakfast, and the prices were reasonable (most items are between $15 to $20).Overall, it is a perfect hotel for a weekend getaway in the Monterey area - there are plenty of things to do off site, including shopping at Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fishermen's Wharf, and golfing.TIPS:Self parking is free of charge.
I've heard a lot of great things about this aquarium, so as part of the trip to Carmel/Monterey, the aquarium was number 1 on my list of things-to-do.First impression was that we were in for something special given the length of the line waiting to buy tickets. It was a Saturday so I suppose the line was to be expected, and it lasted for maybe 15 minutes.The aquarium has a huge collection of jellyfish and some cute otters. The otters were really cute. They floated on the surface with eyes closed, occasionally scratching themselves until feeding time, at which time they're wide awake! They have been trained to perform simple tricks which was interesting to see as I didn't know otters could be trained. A section of the aquarium is directly connected to the Pacific Ocean, which makes it somewhat different from other aquariums I have been to, such as SeaWorld San Diego and Long Beach Aquarium.There is also a collection of starfish which is interactive in that you can touch and feel them. You can also see seaside birds in an enclosed environments - the birds are used to humans so they were not shy at all and simply carried on with the business.All in all, this is an interesting aquarium, and I'd recommend it if you like animals in general. You can easily spend at least 2 hours at a minimal.
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