I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Carmel, which has now become a family tradition. Even with the rain, we had a wonderful time together.
A Great Weekend In Carmel
California highways and interstates can get very crowded around the holidays, but the five-hour journey between Los Angeles and Carmel does not have to be miserable when timed right. My wife, son, and I left around 5:00PM on Thursday, with full stomachs from a Thanksgiving feast.
It was a cold, wet Thanksgiving and we hit heavy snow driving up I-5 in the Grapevine area, though the roads thankfully remained opened. Without any drama, we made it around 10:00PM to the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, our favorite Hyatt property in California.
> Review: Hyatt Carmel Highlands (Highlands Inn)
> Review: Hyatt Carmel Highlands Townhouse Spa Suite
Augustine is now three year old, but it is still much easier to eat at home than have lunch and dinner in restaurants. What I love about the Highlands Inn is that Hyatt Globalists can use confirmed suite upgrades to book a townhouse spa suite, which includes a living room, full kitchen, and two bathrooms. That just makes life easier for traveling with children. My favorite part of the room, though, is the fireplace. We had a fire roaring all weekend.
The rain cleared (briefly) on Friday and we enjoyed a beautiful day. I’ve been sick for weeks with a lingering cold and the fresh air really helped to clear things up.
A highlight of this hotel is the breakfast/brunch. The food is really tasty and the menu changes slightly each season. The huevos rancheros were very good and the fish tacos also tasty. Great coffee as well, which is the most important thing to me.
On Friday, we had a nice hike at Point Lobos, a small but beautiful state park along the coast just a few minutes from the Hyatt.
Note Augustine’s rain boots:
It was a beautiful evening, despite the unexpected flurry of hail.
It rained Saturday and Sunday, but we still had a nice time driving down Highway 1 to Big Sur and doing some hiking along the ocean.
We took US-101 home and stopped at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo for dinner. One of the highlights for Augustine was the old car outside the lobby:
Family traditions are a wonderful thing and I look forward to my return to Carmel every November and February. Even rain could not spoil a wonderful weekend.
Tomorrow I will compare the Hyatt Carmel Highlands to the Alila Ventana Big Sur.
Interesting that so many people decided to spend the long weekend up in NorCal. I was up in Monterey and Ben at OMAAT was in Big Sur.
I heard that Grape Vine was closed Thursday AM for 9 hours that connects Northern and Southern CA. You were lucky dodging the nightmare.
Here is a very little known trick to get into Hyatt Carmel inexpensively with points. Not Hyatt hotel points.
This property is in the Hyatt Residence Club, meaning you can use Hyatt timeshare points here (and at others like Hyatt Kaanapali in Maui etc).
I am booked for Christmas with my family, two nights in a top of the line two bedroom townhouse (sleeps 6), December 24-26, using 540 Hyatt timeshare points. The cost to obtain those points is $1 each or less, so about $270 per night at most, for a two bedroom. Compare this to over $700 paid rate per night for the cheapest smaller one bedroom.
Similar savings for other Hyatt Residence Club properties. You don’t need to buy a timeshare from the developer for tens of thousands to get access to this, you can buy resale for $1.
I don’t see many miles and points travel bloggers write about timeshare points. These are great, especially for families who need larger accommodations. Let me know if you want me to write about it.
That is indeed a great deal. One I hate to even write about… 😉
In this case do you need to actually purchase the timeshare as a resale? Or can you purchase the points without having to own the timeshare? I’d be interested in more details.
You need to own a timeshare to get Hyatt Residence Club points. Owning a timeshare includes an obligation to pay annual maintenance fees.
The best deal would be 2,200 annual points for about $1,200 maintenance fees, so a little over $0.50 per point. But those ownerships cost a few thousand dollars to buy, even resale. For $1 you can buy an ownership with maintenance fees of about $1 per point.
At this property, Carmel, a One Bedroom during high season such as Christmas, would cost 200 points per night during the weekdays, a Two Bedroom would cost 270 points.
where can you buy this 1point for $1 ?
Properties and stays like this illustrate just how valuable Globalist Status is. Just think of how much extra value you derived from it on this stay.
Looks like we all had similar ideas for the big sur/carmel areas. I stayed at the same properties as you two weeks ago! Really enjoyed the fireplaces. I’m a fan of the scattered outdoor fireplaces at the Hyatt Carmel. The property has the firewood smell.
Had he experienced hail before? What was his reaction?
Also, I’m pleasantly surprised at the wood-burning fireplace in highly-regulated California. I would have thought the liability issues for the hotel would be unsurmountable.
First time. He wanted to go out in the jacuzzi!
Speaking of the fireplace, please, please please watch your son around the fireplace. Friends with a son of similar age got severe burns on the palms of his hands from touching the glass doors/metal frame of the same type of fireplace on vacation.
That part of California, including Big Sur through Carmel and onwards, is magical.
Stayed there years ago and sounds even better now..but it is still raining all over Calif and now the mudslides and rockslides are coming along with the flooding!!
Thank you for the beautiful photos of Point Lobos, a place that has very special significance for me.
My father grew-up in the area, and in 1944 he and my mother were walking along the edge of Cypress Cove when a sea otter popped to the surface. Although my dad had grown-up on the Pacific coast, this was the first of the endearing little creatures he had ever seen. Sea otters were virtually extinct at the time.
During 50 years of marriage my parents regularly walked on Point Lobos, and as a family we frequently enjoyed (often foggy!) picnics there. It was my parents favorite place in the world. When my dad died, we took his ashes to Cypress Cove, to scatter them at a spot where he used to sit and watch the waves. Just as we were doing so a sea otter popped to the surface and looked directly at us. It was an amazingly beautiful moment. Fifteen years later I scattered my mother’s ashes at the same spot. So next time you walk along Cypress Cove, please take a moment to say a silent hello to Max and Ruth.
Hi Kenneth, what a beautiful story. I will do so.
Lovely review of the Highlands Inn, but that’s not in Carmel. I kept expecting you to talk about the town itself, which has become our families second home for many, many years. There is so much to see in Carmel The lovely shops and streets, the great restaurants and wonderful walks thru the town and down to the beach. The view north, to Pebble Beach and beyond to Pacific Grove and Monterey.
Carmel Highlands, you are correct. My favorite little town in the State. Love those old homes with ocean views.