Best Hyatt resorts for domestic US summer travel

26
Ventana Big Sur

COVID-19 has wiped out my spring and summer travel plans, but I’m more eager than ever to get out there to do… something.  As I write this, I don’t know when travel restrictions will be lifted, but I’m willing to bet that travel within the lower 48 states will be safe… at least by mid-summer… at least by car.  So, the question is… where should I go?

Where should any of us go?

Some regional resort owners are predicting that summer bookings will be higher than ever.  Their hope is that people will be eager to travel but will look to nearby locations rather than traveling abroad.  Maybe this is just wishful thinking on their part, but if it’s true it means that we’re better off booking our “lower 48” travel now rather than waiting until everything fills up.

The possibilities of where to go and where to stay are endless.  So I somewhat arbitrarily reduced the options by picking a single hotel chain to look into…

Among the hotel chains, Hyatt is the one that most often offers great point value for award stays.  And I know that many readers have plenty of Hyatt points since they can transfer 1 to 1 from Chase points if they have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Business Preferred card.

In this post I’ve looked exclusively at Hyatt and aimed to answer this question:

Which Hyatt resorts within the lower 48 states would be good candidates for a summer vacation?

I used Hyatt’s website to find their properties within the US and I filtered to resorts:

I then removed from consideration any resorts located in places that are likely to be too hot for summer travel, such as: Southeast, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California that can get very hot in the summer (like Palm Springs).

With each resort, I looked at room rates and award availability for August 1 to August 8 2020.  If rooms weren’t available August 1-8 then I looked August 8-15 instead.  I figured that August is far enough into the summer to be pretty sure that we can travel domestically by then.

Here’s what I found….

East Coast

Maryland

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina

This is one of the few resorts on the list that can be booked with Hyatt category 1-4 free night certificates.  These are the certificates that you get annually by holding the World of Hyatt credit card, and/or by spending $15,000 per year on that card, and/or by earning 30 elite nights in a calendar year.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $235
  • Award Category 4 (15,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $32/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.8 cents per point (good value)

Massachusetts

Miraval Berkshires Resort and Spa

Miraval properties are all-inclusive “wellness” resorts.  I had no idea that there was one in the Berkshires, but there you go.  This one is brand new and accepting reservations for stays from June 4, 2020 and beyond.

  • Aug 1 – 8 average room rate: $631
  • Miraval Resort award pricing: 65,000 points per night for 2 (includes $175 resort credit per person)
  • Aug 1 – 8 points rate available? No (may be worth calling to ask)
  • Resort fee: 23% or approx $145/night for $631 rate.  Resort fee is waived for award stays.
  • Award value: 1.7 cents per point (good value) [This assumes full value of two $175 resort credits and includes value of waived resort fee]

New York

Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa at Lake Placid (a SLH resort)

This isn’t technically a Hyatt, but Hyatt has partnered with SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) so that you can earn points or use points at many SLH properties like this one. When you book through Hyatt, you get complimentary wifi, daily complimentary continental breakfast, room upgrade (based upon availability), early check-in (based upon availability), and 2pm late check-out (based upon availability).

  • Aug 8-15 average room rate: $449
  • Award Category 6 (25,000 points per night)
  • Aug 8-15 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: None
  • Award value: 1.8 cents per point (good value)

Vermont

The Lodge at Spruce Peak (Stowe). A Destination Hotel.

Many of the resorts in this roundup are primarily ski resorts, but they’re usually great to visit in the summertime as well.  Unfortunately, this one offers poor point value.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $461 (Junior Suite)
  • Award Category 8 (40,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? No
  • Resort fee: $42.40/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value (if available): 1.3 cents per point (poor value)

Mountain States

Colorado

Most, if not all, of the Colorado resorts in this roundup are primarily ski resorts, but I expect that they’re great to visit in the summertime as well.  If you’re looking to use points in Colorado, only the Hyatt Residence Club Beaver Creek offers good value for a summertime stay.  For cash stays, though, the Vail Residences at Cascade Village and the Villas at Snowmass Club appear to be offering very low rates.

Grand Hyatt Vail

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $425
  • Award Category 7 (30,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available?
  • Resort fee: $35/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.5 cents per point (average value)

Hyatt Residence Club Beaver Creek

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $399
  • Award Category 6 (25,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $25/night  (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.7 cents per point (good value)

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $360
  • Award Category 7 (30,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $35/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.3 cents per point (poor value)

Vail Residences at Cascade Village. A Destination Residence

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $216
  • Award Category 8 (40,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes (but don’t do it!)
  • Resort fee: approx 8% or about $17.30 or this $216 rate (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 0.6 cents per point (very poor value)

Villas at Snowmass Club, A Destination Residence

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $219
  • Award Category 7 (30,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes (but don’t do it!)
  • Resort fee: 10% or approximately $22 per night at the $219 rate (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 0.8 cents per point (very poor value)

Utah

Hyatt Centric Park City

  • Aug 15-22 average room rate: $176
  • Award Category 7 (30,000 points per night)
  • Aug 15-22 points rate available? Yes (but don’t do it)
  • Resort fee: $35 (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 0.7 cents per point (very poor value)

Stein Eriksen Residences (a SLH resort)

This isn’t technically a Hyatt, but Hyatt has partnered with SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) so that you can earn points or use points at many SLH properties like this one. When you book through Hyatt, you get complimentary wifi, daily complimentary continental breakfast, room upgrade (based upon availability), early check-in (based upon availability), and 2pm late check-out (based upon availability).

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $462
  • Award Category 8 (40,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: No
  • Award value: 1.2 cents per point (poor value)

West Coast

California

Carmel Valley Ranch Unbound Collection

My wife an I stayed here in late February and really enjoyed it.  You can read my review here.  While we liked our stay at the adults-only Ventana Big Sur even more, Carmel Valley Ranch is better suited to families.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $653
  • Award Category 6 (25,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $49.73/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.8 cents per point (great value)

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa

I stayed here with my wife and son quite a few years ago and remember liking the resort a lot.  It is across the street from the beach, but a pedestrian bridge makes it safe and easy to access the beach from the resort.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $442
  • Award Category 5 (20,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $35/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.4 cents per point (very good value)

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

I’ve stayed at this one a few times in the past. It’s a stretch to put it on any “best of” list, but it’s not a terrible choice if you want to stay near, but not in downtown San Diego.  And at category 3, it’s cheap to book with points (12,000 points per night).

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $216
  • Award Category 3 (12,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $35 (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.1 cents per point (very good value)

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Carlsbad

The Park Hyatt Aviara’s website says that the resort will “undergo an exciting transformation” through June 1, 2020.  Renovations often take longer than expected and it’s probably safe to expect that COVID-19 has slowed things down even more.  If you book this one for summer travel, I recommend having a backup plan in case they’re not done with renovations before your stay.  Cancel 24 hours before check-in to avoid a fee.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $399
  • Award Category 5 (20,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $40 (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.2 cents per point (very good value)

Ventana Big Sur Alila Resort

My wife and I stayed at this resort in early March and we loved everything about it. You can read my review here.  Unfortunately, finding available award nights can be tough.  If you have enough points though, one trick is to book a suite or premium suite by contacting Hyatt directly.  Since suite awards aren’t available to book online they’re often available when regular awards are not.

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $1,020
  • Award Category 7 (30,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? No
  • Resort fee: $66.42/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.7 cents per point (great value)

Lake Tahoe

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $498
  • Award Category 6 (25,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? Yes
  • Resort fee: $40 (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 2.2 cents per point (very good value)

Resort at Squaw Creek Lake Tahoe. A Destination Hotel

  • Aug 1-8 average room rate: $282
  • Award Category 6 (25,000 points per night)
  • Aug 1-8 points rate available? No
  • Resort fee: $40/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.3 cents per point (poor value)

Washington

Suncadia Resort. A Destination Hotel.

  • Aug 8-15 average room rate: $239
  • Award Category 5  (20,000 points per night)
  • Aug 8-15 points rate available? No
  • Resort fee: $38/night (waived for award stays)
  • Award value: 1.4 cents per point (average value)

Conclusion

Unfortunately Hyatt resorts aren’t common everywhere in the US, but there are several very attractive options.  Interestingly, the value of using points seems to vary by geographic location.  In general, I found:

  • California: Plenty of opportunities to get great value from your points.
  • East Coast (mostly northeast): Several opportunities to to get good value from your points.
  • Mountain States: In Colorado and Utah you’re likely to get poor value for your points for summer stays at Hyatt resorts.  This is almost certainly due to the fact that these resorts are primarily ski destinations and so summer cash rates are much lower than usual while point rates are the same in winter and summer (until Hyatt introduces peak and off-peak pricing next year).

Another interesting find is that I did not see many great cash rates.  I believe that hotel owners are waiting to see demand once travel restrictions are lifted before even thinking about offering discounts.  An interesting exception is that two Destination Residence properties in Colorado were relatively cheap on a per night basis.  The Villas at Snowmass Club and Vail Residences at Cascade Village both listed for just under $220 per night.  Note that Destination Residence properties do not fully participate in the World of Hyatt program: they do not offer room upgrades, guaranteed availability, a breakfast benefit or standard room free night award redemptions.

For me, the only properties on the list that I could reasonably drive to from Michigan are on the East Coast.  Of those, I’d be most interested in the Miraval property, but it’s insanely expensive for either points or cash.  I’d also consider the Mirror Lake Inn (a SLH resort), but before I commit to driving that far I need to look into other options.

See also:

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