The Hyatt Regency Monterey is laid out almost like a motor lodge—in fact it was a motor lodge when it was originally built as the Mark Thomas Inn. It’s off Highway 1, adjacent to the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi, The Del Monte. Hyatt took over some 50 years ago, But there are still several low buildings set among the oaks and you park right near your room, motel-style. But the rooms themselves are nothing like Travelodge. They’ve got all the modern amenities and feel safe and tucked away, like you’re sleeping in a cabin in a forest, alongside a golf course. Only with neighbors. It’s hard to imagine visiting this area—with it’s outdoorsy vibe and stunning coastal views—staying in a high rise hotel. It just wouldn’t fit the quality of life they’ve got going on in these parts. A sprawling, lazy-river, water slide super pool would be uncomfortable here. Northern California–The Monterey Coast in particular is grander and more mature than that.

At the Hyatt Monterey, the pool area is outside the main check-in building, where there are restaurants, the very popular Knuckles Sports Bar, a wine tasting room and a spacious lounge surrounding a big fireplace. Evenings, you can have a drink from one of the fireside sofas. Mornings, there’s a coffee stand with muffins and other breakfast items–much less expensive than the buffet, and a really nice spot to start your day.

The pools at the Hyatt continue the resort’s classic tradition. The main pool has a shallow end and deep end, a nice hot tub and is surrounded by the lodge, the trees. It reminds me of that lodge-in-the-redwoods-feeling the Grand California at Disneyland is trying so hard to replicate. The photo on the bottom is the Mickey Pool at the Grand California. The one on the top is from the Monterey Hyatt. Like twins, right? Or distant cousins at least.


Hyatt Regency Main Pool 2

Mickey Pool






Here’s another of the Hyatt’s main pool:

Hyatt Regency Monterey Main Pool 1


The hot tub is off to the side, flanked by walkways and greenery:

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hot Tub


The pool area is sunny enough for warmth (it’s heated year-round) but the buildings and trees keep it shady as well. There’s room for lounging and plenty of space for swimming. Having a deep end, by the way, makes doing cannonballs much more fun.

But the best feature if you ask me, is the giant chess board.

Hyatt Regency Monterey ChessBoard


Poolside checkmate? Very cool. There’s also a real working shuffle board court just outside the gated area (when was the last time you saw one of those?), along with some Ping Pong tables. Not far is a cozy outdoor fireplace, which I imagine gets quite crowded on warm nights.

The second pool, at the other end of the resort is just a slightly smaller, more intimate version of the first.

Hyatt Regency Monterey Smaller Pool


The hot tub:

Hyatt Regency Monterey Smaller Pool Hot Tub


I love how this hot tub is secluded, up a few steps and tucked away. It’s a great spot for soaking up that peaceful, outdoor relaxation Northern California does so well.

For more Northern California hotel pools, click here.

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