Northern California Dreaming
By Sophie Gayot
When it comes to casual sophistication, California has perfected the style. In the southern part of the state, the version is barefoot and sun-kissed, while in the northern regions, it's rustic and down-to-earth. Epitomizing the homey yet refined vibe of the Monterey Bay area is Hyatt Carmel Highlands, whose stone, glass and natural wood harmonize with the broody, rim-of-the-ocean Carmel setting.
by a main lodge that opened in 1917, Hyatt Carmel Highlands (formerly Highlands Inn) sits
on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Its clean, simple
lines seem like a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright, and its
picture windows take full advantage of the water views.
There is an almost ship-like feeling from the inside
as you hover over the surf. Further integrating the property
with its surroundings is the use of color and therapeutic
tones that reflect natural elements: earth, sky, sea and
the area's deep green Monterey pines.
Nearby Carmel and Monterey Bay are known for their wealth of fine dining establishments, but there's no need to leave the hotel to enjoy an excellent meal. The historic, aptly named Pacific's Edge restaurant lures guests, locals and loyal road trippers with California coastal cuisine and its selection of prix-fixe menus from executive chef Chad Minton. Expect fresh flavors and plenty of local produce. For variety there is also the California Market, specializing in local seafood. A drink at the Fireside, Sunset or Lobos Lounge completes a pleasant Hyatt Carmel Highlands night out.
Although the hotel is a top choice for romantics, it caters to business travelers as well. The lobby is furnished with private work stations with complimentary high-speed Internet access, and three of the six meeting rooms have ocean views. Overall, though, this place is more about recreation than networking, with plenty to keep you occupied both on the property (heated outdoor swimming pool, three whirlpools, fitness room, in-room spa treatments and yoga classes) and off. Pebble Beach golf, aerial flight-seeing at sunset and private racecar driving classes at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway are just a few of the activities that can be arranged.