Review: Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

Review: Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

NAME: Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas
LOCATION: Encinitas, California
DATE: December 2021
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Alila Marea Encinitas is an odd yet charming resort. It has friendly service, great food, a pretty setting, and is an exceptional value for Hyatt loyalists. At the same time, the hotel has a small pool and rooms lack privacy.
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We just wrapped up a two night stay at the 130-room Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas, which opened in early 2021. I had a great time, though I’m not sure why, exactly, as this hotel left me pretty confused. This hotel is both nice and… random. As a World of Hyatt Globalist member the value here is exceptional, and I’d consider returning.

Redeeming points at Alila Marea Encinitas

Alila Marea Encinitas is a Category 6 World of Hyatt property. That means a free night redemption costs 25,000 points per night, though with the introduction of peak and off-peak award pricing, stays will soon cost 21,000 to 29,000 points per night, depending on the day.

Redeeming points here is a spectacular value, especially as a World of Hyatt Globalist member:

  • The hotel has a $50 daily resort fee, and that’s waived for all guests when redeeming points
  • The hotel charges $52 daily for valet parking, and that’s waived for Globalist members when redeeming points
  • Globalist members receive complimentary daily breakfast
  • I was able to use one of my suite upgrade awards to confirm an upgrade to a one bedroom suite with an ocean view at the time of booking

For context, for the dates we were staying, the paid rate for a standard room would have been around $550, while the suite we confirmed an upgrade to retailed for over $1,500.

Even if you’re not a Hyatt loyalist, earning World of Hyatt points can be pretty easy. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

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How to book a cash stay at Alila Marea Encinitas

Paid rates at Alila Marea Encinitas vary seasonally, as you’d expect. Promotional rates in the off-season are available for as low as $400, and in peak season the hotel charges $800+ per night for a standard room. If you are booking a cash stay at Alila Marea Encinitas, I’d recommend doing so through a Hyatt Privé travel advisor. These rates cost the same as standard flexible rates (not member rates, advance purchase rates, AAA rates, etc.), and include the following additional perks:

  • Daily full breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant
  • A $100 property credit per room per stay
  • A one category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) — based on availability at the time of booking
  • Early check-in (as early as 9AM) and late check-out (as late as 4PM), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter

Across the board, premium Hyatt properties are generally best booked through the Hyatt Privé program. Ford is happy to help with Alila requests, and can be reached at [email protected]

Alila Marea Encinitas location

Alila Marea Encinitas is located in Southern California, between San Diego and Orange County. As far as airports go, the hotel is about 30 miles from SAN, 60 miles from SNA, and 100 miles from LAX. We flew into San Diego, and from there it was an easy 30 minute drive to the hotel.

For those not familiar with the Encinitas area, think of it as a laid back surfer town. The hotel isn’t immediately in town, but rather at the intersection of La Costa Avenue and Highway 101, so it’s at a pretty busy intersection. Frankly the hotel doesn’t fit into the area at all — the area otherwise only has small developments and homes, and then you have a massive hotel that seems kind of out of place.

Alila Marea Encinitas exterior
Alila Marea Encinitas sign

Alila Marea Encinitas property map

For context, below is a map that gives you a sense of the layout of the property. As you can tell, the hotel has four floors, and a rather unusual layout, as it’s very long and narrow. The hotel is located on a 4.3 acre property, and the building itself takes up a vast majority of that space.

Alila Marea Encinitas property map

Alila Marea Encinitas lobby, layout, & check-in

As we pulled up to Alila we were helped by the friendly bellmen, who offered to park our car (there’s no self parking here, just valet) and pointed us towards reception. The lobby level is significantly smaller than the other floors of the hotel. The hotel is kind of built into a hill, so I guess there was no way to do more with the lobby level.

The lobby simply has a bit of seating, and then a reception desk where guests can sit down while being helped.

Alila Marea Encinitas lobby
Alila Marea Encinitas lobby

Across from reception is a staircase that leads up to VAGA (the hotel’s signature restaurant), and then down the hall is Spa Alila, as well as the elevators to guest rooms.

Alila Marea Encinitas lobby
Alila Marea Encinitas lobby
Alila Marea Encinitas elevators

Our check-in experience was efficient, and the associate checking us in was laid back yet very friendly and professional.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite with ocean view

We were assigned room 270, an ADA one bedroom suite with ocean on the second floor. Not only are keys required to access the elevators, but on top of that you have to once again scan your keys to even enter the hallway with guest rooms. Guest rooms were behind a door that simply indicated that was an exit route, so I think signage could be improved a bit.

Alila Marea Encinitas hallway to rooms

Once past the door, we were in the beautiful (but ridiculously long) hallway. Ford is big into getting his steps in, so he loved just how much stepping was required to get to & from the room. Others may feel differently. 😉

Alila Marea Encinitas hallway to rooms

The one bedroom suites here are generously sized, at around 830 square feet. These are true suites with two full, separate rooms. Once inside our room, the living room was straight ahead, while there was a closet to the left and an entrance to the bathroom from the right (the bathroom could also be accessed directly from the bedroom).

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite entryway

The living room featured a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and a wall-mounted TV.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite living room
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite living room
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite living room

Along the interior wall of the living room was the minibar area, which had an espresso machine and a tea kettle. There was also a mini-fridge with two hard seltzers (we were told at check-in these were complimentary), but the minibar wasn’t otherwise stocked.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite minibar
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite mini-fridge

The bedroom was in a separate room, and was generously sized. It featured an extremely comfortable king size bed, a table with two chairs, and a wall-mounted TV. While I thought the furniture as such was nice, the bedroom could definitely use a bit more art, or something on the walls.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bedroom
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bedroom
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bedroom

The bathroom was massive, and featured double sinks, a soaking tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet (I imagine the layout was a bit different than in the non-accessible suites).

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bathroom
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bathroom
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite bathtub
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite shower
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite toilet

Toiletries were from VOTARY, and were in toothpaste-style tubes, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite toiletries

The room also had a large balcony, featuring two lounging chairs (one with an ottoman), plus a table with two chairs.

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite balcony
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite balcony

The room looked out over the hotel’s pool deck, plus the Pacific Ocean in the distance (and someone’s home — I can’t imagine how that person must have felt when plans for the hotel were revealed).

Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite view
Alila Marea Encinitas one bedroom suite view

The views at sunset were beautiful.

Alila Marea Encinitas sunset view

I should mention that you really don’t have much privacy in these rooms. Our room wasn’t even a full level up from the pool, and you can easily look into the rooms from the pool. For that matter, if the pool were busy, I imagine you could hear just about everything. In general just about all the rooms at this hotel lack privacy, so I find the design choices to be odd. More on that a bit later…

Anyway, all things considered I thought the room was great. It was spacious and felt pretty luxurious. My only real complaint is that it lacked privacy from the pool, and perhaps the room could use a bit more art.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant

Alila’s signature restaurant is VAGA, and it’s open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant seems to be popular with both hotel guests and locals. It’s located on the second floor (the same as our room), and it’s a beautiful space with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant outdoor seating

In addition to the main restaurant area, there’s also a large bar area, which also has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating includes lawn chairs looking out over the Pacific Ocean (a great place to enjoy sunset), plus an area with a firepit.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant bar seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant outdoor seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant outdoor seating
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant outdoor seating

Breakfast is served daily at VAGA from 7AM until 11AM, and you can find the breakfast menu here. We were told that on account of my Globalist status breakfast would include one drink, one main course, and one side per person. However, on our second day we ordered a second thing to share, and that was taken off as well, so it seems like the limit isn’t quite as strict as stated.

I had a coffee the first morning and a cappuccino the second morning, and frankly I think the restaurant could up its coffee game, as the taste wasn’t great. The restaurant also doesn’t seem to have any fresh juices, or at least I didn’t see any on the menu.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast

Fortunately the food was excellent. One morning Ford and I both had the heirloom tomato shakshuka, along with a side of avocado.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast

The next morning I had the VAGA breakfast, which consisted of eggs, crispy herb potatoes, and avocado (I asked for that in place of the bacon nuggets that are usually served with this).

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast

Ford had the whipped ricotta toast with fruit and honey syrup.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast

We also split the Cali Bowl with fruit yogurt whip, banana cajeta, roasted pineapple, and lychee.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant breakfast

On our second afternoon we also went to the bar area for drinks. The cocktails were excellent.

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant drinks

We were there at a time in the afternoon when the menu was transitioning, so they only had three food options. We had the fried cauliflower and crispy potatoes (with the other option being “bird wings”). Of course they were delicious, as most fried things are…

Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant snacks
Alila Marea Encinitas VAGA Restaurant snacks

Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant

Alila’s other restaurant is The Pocket, and it’s located right next to the pool, and serves food daily from 12PM until 6PM. You can either dine indoors, or they can delivery food and drinks to the pool from here. I thought the vibe of the restaurant was unusual. It’s described as “a seductive surf-inspired hangout,” but felt to me a bit like a cross between a hotel lobby bar and a sports pub.

Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant seating
Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant seating
Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant bar
Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant bar

The Pocket largely serves Mexican food, and you can find the menu here. We decided to share the mushroom & chicken tostada and Oaxacan quesadilla, and both were tasty.

Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant lunch
Alila Marea Encinitas The Pocket Restaurant lunch

Alila Marea Encinitas Coffee Box

Alila has Coffee Box, which is essentially a coffee shop and gift store located at the front of the hotel, on the lobby level. It’s open daily from 6AM until 1PM, so it’s a good place to grab your first cup of coffee if you’re an early riser. This is a pretty casual setup with some outdoor seating, plus a selection of coffee drinks and light snacks.

Alila Marea Encinitas Coffee Box outdoor seating
Alila Marea Encinitas Coffee Box
Alila Marea Encinitas Coffee Box

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

Since we were arriving late and hadn’t eaten much that day, we decided to order room service our first evening. You can find the in-room dining menu here. The hotel offers proper room service, in the sense that they don’t bring you stuff in to-go containers (as so many hotels did during the pandemic). The in-room dining was catered from VAGA, and was very good.

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

We ordered the avocado & tomato salad…

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

Beef tartare…

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

Yellowtail crudo…

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

And… cookie plate. Don’t ask.

Alila Marea Encinitas room service

Alila Marea Encinitas pool

Alila has a pool and hot tub, though the area is oddly tiny. I get that space comes at a premium and they’d rather have rooms than pools, but the pool is small and kind of uninspiring design-wise.

Alila Marea Encinitas pool area
Alila Marea Encinitas pool

On the plus side, the hot tub was large.

Alila Marea Encinitas hot tub

The pool has around three dozen lounge chairs, plus cabanas you can rent for the day. Admittedly we were then when temperatures were colder, but I can’t imagine how busy this pool gets in the summer, especially if the hotel is full.

Alila Marea Encinitas pool seating
Alila Marea Encinitas pool cabanas

The below picture also maybe gives you a sense of how you can really look into rooms from the pool area. Our room was on the second floor and the pool was on the first floor, but in reality it’s not even a full floor difference, since the pool is a bit higher than the first floor rooms.

Alila Marea Encinitas pool

The pool area does have some pretty fire pits as well, with plenty of seating.

Alila Marea Encinitas pool firepit
Alila Marea Encinitas pool firepit

Alila Marea Encinitas beach access

Alila is essentially on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean. There are stairs leading down to the beach. It’s a public beach, so there’s no service from the hotel there. If you want food, drinks, or a lounge setup, you’re on your own. This is totally fair, since that’s the norm in the region.

Alila Marea Encinitas stairs to beach
Alila Marea Encinitas stairs to beach
Alila Marea Encinitas beach

The beach itself is reasonably nice. It’s certainly not the Maldives, but Southern California is blessed with a gorgeous coastline.

Alila Marea Encinitas beach

Alila Marea Encinitas gym

Alila has a 24/7 gym that’s located on the first floor. It doesn’t have any views, so it feels like a bit of a cave. The gym had a good amount of equipment, including both cardio and weights.

Alila Marea Encinitas gym
Alila Marea Encinitas gym
Alila Marea Encinitas gym
Alila Marea Encinitas gym

Alila Marea Encinitas Spa Alila

While we didn’t visit, Spa Alila is on the lobby level, and is a full service spa. It’s open daily from 10AM until 6PM, and you can find the spa menu here.

Alila Marea Encinitas electric bikes

Since the hotel isn’t really within walking distance of anywhere, you can either get to town by car or using electric bikes. The hotel offers guests complimentary electric bikes, so we had a fun adventure driving them along the coast and to town.

Alila Marea Encinitas electric bikes
Views while biking towards Encinitas

Alila Marea Encinitas service

Across the board, service at Alila was excellent. The staff were genuinely friendly and eager to please. We didn’t come across a single person who wasn’t polite, and all requests were handled promptly. Service here is definitely more laid back and informal than at some other luxury hotels, which I appreciate, as it didn’t feel like staff were reading off a script.

The only minor service issue I can even point out is that our first morning we had to wait five minutes to be seated for breakfast. The restaurant had maybe five tables taken, but we were told that they were understaffed.

This hotel is strange, but I like it

I truly find this to be an incredibly strange and random hotel, yet we enjoyed ourselves here, and agreed we’d return. The hotel itself has an odd design.

For one, you have a coastal resort with a tiny pool and a DIY beach setup (which is fair enough, since I get how this works in Southern California). On top of that, the rooms lack privacy — you saw what our view looked like, and in reality we lucked out. Other rooms have even less privacy, and face a parking lot, with the beach and Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Alila Marea Encinitas exterior
Alila Marea Encinitas view from many rooms

That being said, I really enjoyed this place. We had fun just having two leisurely days, the views are nice, the staff are genuinely friendly, the food is good, and it’s cool to be close to a place like Encinitas.

On top of that, the value here is exceptional as a Globalist member redeeming points, especially compared to the other options in the area. For example, I preferred this to many of the other properties on the coast, like the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel and Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, both of which have around 400 rooms. This hotel feels much more boutique and personalized, by comparison.

I’d absolutely consider returning here, and for those who live in Southern California, I think this is a great weekend trip if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of a city. Just come in with reasonable expectations, and realize this isn’t anything like Alila Ventana Big Sur, for example.

Bottom line

I was finally able to check out Alila Marea Encinitas, one of Hyatt’s newest luxury properties in the United States. Our stay was a great value, as we were able to redeem points, I was able to use a suite upgrade award, and on top of that I received Globalist perks.

Alila has friendly service, great food, and a laid back atmosphere. That being said, the hotel also has some odd traits, like a small pool, a strange layout, and a lack of privacy. I’d absolutely return if the value were there.

What do you make of Alila Marea Encinitas? To OMAAT readers that have stayed, what was your experience like?

Conversations (35)
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  1. Elias Guest

    Lucky I am staying here now (what I bummer I didnt get to meet you). This hotel feels more like an Unbound collection (gives me The Confidante vibes) like a $200 a night hotel. Not a Cat 6 $800 a night hotel. Super let down with service, food, everything. The only nice things are the room and view. But even then, the hotel is like in a public area that is so awkward. I like...

    Lucky I am staying here now (what I bummer I didnt get to meet you). This hotel feels more like an Unbound collection (gives me The Confidante vibes) like a $200 a night hotel. Not a Cat 6 $800 a night hotel. Super let down with service, food, everything. The only nice things are the room and view. But even then, the hotel is like in a public area that is so awkward. I like the Ritz much more than this one sorry. Also in SAN I got a VW Atlas in the Emerald Elite Isle.

  2. Jerry Diamond

    Looks like a nice resort, but I agree with your assessment of it being a little odd/random. Despite that, I look forward to checking it out.

    You didn't mention that the gym equipment is TechnoGym. That's pretty high end stuff that you don't see in the USA that often. They should definitely be commended for shelling out for that.

    1. Adam Wood New Member

      The gym equipment is fantastic, TechnoGym machines and two Peloton bikes. Agree with Ben about the lack of natural light, but I really liked the gym.

  3. jak Member

    The Peninsula has moved to those toothpaste-style shower toiletries as well.

    I'm more curious as to the weird branch hanging from the showerhead-which-looks-like-a-security-camera.

  4. James Guest

    I stayed here a few months back and honestly decided to check-out after 1 night after being there 30 minutes. I think this is a major disaster for ALiLA and Hyatt.

    The hotel has brutal architecture and doesn’t fit with the area at all (you’re placed on a freeway so really nowhere walkable either). The views from my room were of freeways and car parks, as you show. To call this a beach resort...

    I stayed here a few months back and honestly decided to check-out after 1 night after being there 30 minutes. I think this is a major disaster for ALiLA and Hyatt.

    The hotel has brutal architecture and doesn’t fit with the area at all (you’re placed on a freeway so really nowhere walkable either). The views from my room were of freeways and car parks, as you show. To call this a beach resort is a joke - postage stamp sized pool and a rocky beach with no service. I will say the restaurant was a highlight.

    Personally it’s a ‘avoid like the plague’ rating for me, and unfortunate they attached the ALiLA name to this property. :-)

  5. Robert D Guest

    Wow, this place doesn’t appeal to me. At all. Check out google maps and you’ll see that almost all rooms overlook the public beach parking lot next door. Relatively few overlook the pool like Ben’s did, and as he mentioned, not much privacy there. Otherwise, although on the coast, this is suburbia. And the exteriors look like a bland, beige, fancy Hampton Inn. I just don’t get it.

    1. Stuart Guest

      You are looking at Google Maps as a decisive factor? I am sitting here in a room at Alila and can tell you that despite its faults, and a bit over the top categorization as a beach resort, it is far from being some dismal suburban property. Let alone a Hampton Inn, lol. There is a place for constructive criticism of properties from experience. But there is no place for someone generalizing a business that...

      You are looking at Google Maps as a decisive factor? I am sitting here in a room at Alila and can tell you that despite its faults, and a bit over the top categorization as a beach resort, it is far from being some dismal suburban property. Let alone a Hampton Inn, lol. There is a place for constructive criticism of properties from experience. But there is no place for someone generalizing a business that has never even set foot on it and posts a review based on Google Maps.

    2. Robert D Guest

      Well, to be fair, the rooms look pretty gorgeous to me, but I just meant to state that the exterior has elements that remind me of a “fancy” Hampton Inn. And I admit, I’m a bit of a map junkie and constantly use google and other mapping apps to see where a hotel is situated in relation to other landmarks (such as the ocean), what’s in the surrounding area, etc. At any rate, Based on...

      Well, to be fair, the rooms look pretty gorgeous to me, but I just meant to state that the exterior has elements that remind me of a “fancy” Hampton Inn. And I admit, I’m a bit of a map junkie and constantly use google and other mapping apps to see where a hotel is situated in relation to other landmarks (such as the ocean), what’s in the surrounding area, etc. At any rate, Based on Ben’s and other reviews I’ve read, this is not a place I’m dying to spend $600+/night to stay at. But that’s just me. Shrug.

  6. Brodie Guest

    I stayed there a couple of weeks after opening and my stay was similar to yours. I thought the gym was great and my room was on the north side of the hotel with a service road below, and while it was the first floor nobody could see into the room. I also enjoyed chilling on the patio with the firepit to take the chill off at night.
    Our experience was also similar with...

    I stayed there a couple of weeks after opening and my stay was similar to yours. I thought the gym was great and my room was on the north side of the hotel with a service road below, and while it was the first floor nobody could see into the room. I also enjoyed chilling on the patio with the firepit to take the chill off at night.
    Our experience was also similar with the restaurant and bar service. Weather was warm enough for us to use the pool, and it was not crowded at all, though the bartender mentioned the previous weekend was a little busy. The hot tub is massive and a great place to chill and take in the view. Even if it was cold outside I would take advantage of the hot tub.
    Since I live two hours north I will be back, though I would likely not visit if it involved a longer day of travel.

  7. World Traveler Guest

    Having grown up in this area (in the early '90s), it's sad to see what it has become. I agree with your assessment that this "resort" is completely out of place. But I'm even more dumbfounded by the layout, and would never consider booking here, irrespective of price. Why would anyone want to stay next to (and look at) at a swimming pool when you're at the beach? Given the multitude of properties around the...

    Having grown up in this area (in the early '90s), it's sad to see what it has become. I agree with your assessment that this "resort" is completely out of place. But I'm even more dumbfounded by the layout, and would never consider booking here, irrespective of price. Why would anyone want to stay next to (and look at) at a swimming pool when you're at the beach? Given the multitude of properties around the world where you could spend $1,500 a night, I'm left with only one thought: there's a sucker born every minute.

  8. Anthony Diamond

    While requiring that all beaches are public is good, I wish more of these California resorts were more directly on the beach/water rather than a few hundred yards back. Seems decent but I wouldn’t fly cross country for it.

    1. Avi Guest

      Thanks for the review. Just booked two nights during Thanksgiving next year for 42k points and applied my suite night upgrade. Should be a good value at least!

  9. Michael Raineri Guest

    You got me thinking but I think I’ll keep our suite booked for mid February in Oceanside at the Mission Pacific. Closer to amenities and perhaps more entertaining

  10. Buzz Guest

    My wife and I will be spending one night next week for fun. We just live up La Costa Avenue so it’s a nice staycation and we have reservations at Vaga.

    The hotel is in an area actually referred to as Leaucadia by locals even though it is part of Encinitas. I watched this thing get built over the years. It had to be quite a project to stabilize that bluff and there was a massive retaining wall. We’ll enjoy our stay and check another box on brand explorer

  11. CSR 2.0 Guest

    Wow, thanks for the review! I'd been really curious about it since it opened. I'll keep it in mind, but doesn't seem like a must do hotel in Socal.

  12. beachfan Guest

    Tiny pool is a deal killer for us, we swim laps regularly.

  13. Kevin M Guest

    I live in Encinitas so a tip for anyone using the e-bikes: You’ll have a much more pleasant experience riding north from the resort along the Coast Highway, rather than south. Wide separated bike lanes all the way into Carlsbad Village, lots of open ocean views.

    In contrast, the ride south into Encinitas offers no views and forces you to ride with traffic, and much of the route is currently under construction (to make it...

    I live in Encinitas so a tip for anyone using the e-bikes: You’ll have a much more pleasant experience riding north from the resort along the Coast Highway, rather than south. Wide separated bike lanes all the way into Carlsbad Village, lots of open ocean views.

    In contrast, the ride south into Encinitas offers no views and forces you to ride with traffic, and much of the route is currently under construction (to make it safer for cyclists, yay).

    Ben and Ford, you deserve medals for braving that stretch south of the resort without it apparently feeling too stressful for you. I ride bikes like it’s my job and I actively avoid it.

  14. Clem Diamond

    Based on the pictures, it kind of almost looks like a glorified Hyatt Regency of sorts? The rooms seem a bit generic, and the pool area... bleh. Thanks for that review, because I adore Alila Ventana Big Sur and would have somewhat expected something similar based on the Alila branding.

  15. Adams9802 Guest

    All beaches in California are public not just in Southern California. All beaches must have access to them which is good. Nature is for everybody not just rich people.

  16. Greg Guest

    Sorry you got a couple of chilly days - Sunday was decent

    The decor is a missed opportunity. So grey, cold, not the boho Leucadia vibe they could have really keyed into

    Curious about Stuart's Culver City recommendation

    If you're back in the property, Valentina nearby is a great European style restaurant - good value wine and food - and chill enough to be in the East Village in NYC

    1. Stuart Guest

      Greg, thanks for the beta on Valentina. I was looking for something in the neighberhood this evening to try and this is perfect. Appreciate it!

    2. Greg Guest

      Jillians Blend cabernet for $15 / glass is a nice pour even if you don't eat

  17. OxyTrojan Guest

    Location wise, you described it well. But this is indisputably North Coastal San Diego county, not Orange County or LA. Electra bikes are headquartered here. Vaga's chef Claudette Zepeda is a San Diego native and makes the restaurant a tribute to her hometown. And Park Hyatt Aviara three miles to the east labels this location San Diego north.

  18. Ed Member

    We passed on this one earlier this year and stayed at the Park Hyatt Aviara instead. Sorry, but this is a hotel plopped down in a residential neighborhood - coastal, but still residential - and it's overpriced at every stage. Rooms, parking, dining, all of it. If you want to be at a resort / hotel-captive, the Park Hyatt Aviara is a better place to do that on all fronts except maybe being able to...

    We passed on this one earlier this year and stayed at the Park Hyatt Aviara instead. Sorry, but this is a hotel plopped down in a residential neighborhood - coastal, but still residential - and it's overpriced at every stage. Rooms, parking, dining, all of it. If you want to be at a resort / hotel-captive, the Park Hyatt Aviara is a better place to do that on all fronts except maybe being able to walk down to the beach. If you want to be at the beach, you really are better off staying at any of the non-resorts close to the coast where you don't have the friction of valet parking and can get out and explore the area. It makes no sense to be resort-captive at this property in the coastal Encinitas/Carlsbad area.

    1. Stuart Guest

      Honestly, for the price point I much prefer Alila overall. Park Hyatt Aviara is to me the weakest PH property in the world. Dated design and cookie cutter California McMansion feel to it. It trends for me more to a RC factory. As well, not sure how you compare them from a residential feel as the PH is in the midst of a huge development of large estates and homes. Yes, bigger grounds and pool...

      Honestly, for the price point I much prefer Alila overall. Park Hyatt Aviara is to me the weakest PH property in the world. Dated design and cookie cutter California McMansion feel to it. It trends for me more to a RC factory. As well, not sure how you compare them from a residential feel as the PH is in the midst of a huge development of large estates and homes. Yes, bigger grounds and pool etc. But I find it lacks any character at all. At least Alila does have that, if also flawed. (Mind you, I last stayed at that particular PH in June of 2019...so I can't say if there was a renovation or dining changes since then).

    2. Luis Guest

      Yes there's been a major renovation completed at the PH Aviara since your last stay. Overall, the feel of the hotel hasn't changed much, but everything is newer and the rooms look more modern. The pool area has had a major makeover as well.

    3. Lisfranc Guest

      PH Beaver Creek is the worst PH. Its maybe a mid tier regency at best.

  19. Stuart Guest

    I'm actually here now and on my third stay since it opened in the spring. I use it as a base for meetings and work in San Diego as I'm not a big fan of the city or La Jolla hotels here. For that it serves a purpose for me. For anyone though thinking of a true beach getaway this is not a property for that at all. Maybe a one night staycation, ok. Or...

    I'm actually here now and on my third stay since it opened in the spring. I use it as a base for meetings and work in San Diego as I'm not a big fan of the city or La Jolla hotels here. For that it serves a purpose for me. For anyone though thinking of a true beach getaway this is not a property for that at all. Maybe a one night staycation, ok. Or a get together spot for a few friends over a weekend. Santa Barbara though this is not.

    Yes, Vaga is fantastic. The chef is quite genius and I love that she is local. The bar is very nice as well albeit a bit quiet and lacking any buzz . Agree that the rooms are not at all private, which is why I tend to opt for the third floor as you are at least a bit up from the walkways etc (and there is no key access to the hallway on 3 as Ben's floor had due to the restaurant). While the rooms with fire pits on the ground floor have great outdoor space be warned that the trade off is you are right on the public walkway and there is ZERO privacy.

    While I like this property for work related stays in the area I have a hard time believing that this particular Alila will survive as a "beach resort" and continue with the pricing they get. I see it eventually rebranding as an Andaz or Destination and reducing prices to lure in more meetings and local business travel.

    The new Hyatt in SoCal though that should be on everyone's radar is The Shay in Culver City. I have had two stays there so far and it's my singular new favorite Hyatt property in North America.

    1. Super Gold

      It's stuff like this why I come to the comment section! Thank you, Stuart, for your local perspective.

    2. Robert Guest

      My wife and I stayed 3 nights in November. We hit great weather, mid 80s, so the pool was packed. We arrived after midnight and the lobby staff was surprised since i had checked in online and they didn't expect us. That late there was no parking valet nor bellman to take our bags. The hotel was full that weekend for an unadvertised event (more on that later) but we (globalist) were upgraded to something...

      My wife and I stayed 3 nights in November. We hit great weather, mid 80s, so the pool was packed. We arrived after midnight and the lobby staff was surprised since i had checked in online and they didn't expect us. That late there was no parking valet nor bellman to take our bags. The hotel was full that weekend for an unadvertised event (more on that later) but we (globalist) were upgraded to something they called a suite but that was smaller than a Hyatt Place room. Our 2nd floor coastal view room was pretty shielded from the pedestrian path but we had headlights from the 101 shining into our room. The local commuter train was right there as well. But the room was fine.

      The chairs at the pool were claimed very quickly though we were told the beach attendant would get chairs arranged for us if we'd like. We ended up not doing that. The hot tub was about half as big as the pool and was so hot it was really only enjoyable after dark. The flip side of the pool view rooms' lack of privacy was the creepiness of those guests sitting on their balconies and staring down at us...We didn't spend much time at the pool.

      Parking service was very prompt, a text to the valet and within a few minutes our car was ready.

      Breakfast was fine, at least it was free. The first morning was really good. The second morning i tried something unique and it just tasted like more of what I'd had the day before. The third morning i just got some a la carte eggs, a plate of fruit, and some pastries, definitely the best choice of the three days. But then I had to convince the hotel to remove those charges from my stay... They didn't want to since what i ate, though less expensive than the full meals, didn't fit into the free breakfast options. Again, the food was fine.

      I didn't try the spa, the only way to access it was to buy spa services. I really just wanted to sit in the sauna but that was not possible.

      The last night of our stay the pool area was very noisy and busy; a stage was being constructed with tons of lights that cut into the night. We passed a worker in the hallway and he told us it was a launch event for the new Toyota electric car later Sunday afternoon. Sure enough, they worked until after midnight. Then we were woken up Sunday morning by the beeping of the electric Toyota semi trucks as they moved around the beach parking lot, taking pictures with the cars. Nice way to wake up at 8 on Sunday... We asked the front desk about it, they did nothing since Toyota had bought up so much of the hotel space that weekend. Even when I complained to Hyatt about it they put me in touch with the hotel manager who told me tough luck, when refused to compensate with any points to offset the terrible experience.

      I have no idea how they call this place a resort. It's ocean front but that's about all. While the stay pales in comparison to other Hyatt properties I'd probably stay here again. But if i weren't globalist and staying on points I'd find somewhere else to stay

    3. ck Guest

      We stayed 7 days in June, we had in my opinion the best rooms at the hotel. It was a suite connected to a 2 queen room that overlooked the walkway between the beach and hotel. I liked the two fireplaces that we had and although not private by any means wasn't that big of a deal for our family most of the time. We were woken early one morning as they had an event...

      We stayed 7 days in June, we had in my opinion the best rooms at the hotel. It was a suite connected to a 2 queen room that overlooked the walkway between the beach and hotel. I liked the two fireplaces that we had and although not private by any means wasn't that big of a deal for our family most of the time. We were woken early one morning as they had an event there and you could hear every chair that was being moved, low whispers, etc. The hotel did comp us 50,000 points which was equivalent to 1 night (we had two rooms). Got plenty of value out of the breakfast ($100+ per day), use of the surf boards, reasonable priced surfing lessons, nice gym. Looking over the parking lot would have been a big bummer. I agree with many others this will become a corporate hotel for events.

    4. Lolo Guest

      Highly agree about the Shay - I live in the area and it’s a great location. Etta downstairs is delish as is the rooftop restaurant.

    5. Stuart Guest

      Yes! Etta is fantastic. Buzzy, great food, and a really nice diverse Culver City local crowd. I recently tried the original Chicago Etta in Wicker Park as well and it was also fantastic. Here's to hoping Hyatt partnering with Etta in the future for other properties as well.

  20. Ryan Guest

    I was down in this area in June for the US Open and was choosing between here and Park Hyatt Aviara. I ended up going with PH Aviara and had an incredible stay and the best dinner and breakfast ive ever had at a hotel restaurant.

    I'd also recommend giving them a try if you haven't already. It sounds a lot quieter.

  21. hp12c Member

    Why are the televisions mounted so high?

    Agree with the assessment that this is generally a sort of weird a hotel.

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Stuart Guest

I'm actually here now and on my third stay since it opened in the spring. I use it as a base for meetings and work in San Diego as I'm not a big fan of the city or La Jolla hotels here. For that it serves a purpose for me. For anyone though thinking of a true beach getaway this is not a property for that at all. Maybe a one night staycation, ok. Or a get together spot for a few friends over a weekend. Santa Barbara though this is not. Yes, Vaga is fantastic. The chef is quite genius and I love that she is local. The bar is very nice as well albeit a bit quiet and lacking any buzz . Agree that the rooms are not at all private, which is why I tend to opt for the third floor as you are at least a bit up from the walkways etc (and there is no key access to the hallway on 3 as Ben's floor had due to the restaurant). While the rooms with fire pits on the ground floor have great outdoor space be warned that the trade off is you are right on the public walkway and there is ZERO privacy. While I like this property for work related stays in the area I have a hard time believing that this particular Alila will survive as a "beach resort" and continue with the pricing they get. I see it eventually rebranding as an Andaz or Destination and reducing prices to lure in more meetings and local business travel. The new Hyatt in SoCal though that should be on everyone's radar is The Shay in Culver City. I have had two stays there so far and it's my singular new favorite Hyatt property in North America.

3
Adams9802 Guest

All beaches in California are public not just in Southern California. All beaches must have access to them which is good. Nature is for everybody not just rich people.

2
Kevin M Guest

I live in Encinitas so a tip for anyone using the e-bikes: You’ll have a much more pleasant experience riding north from the resort along the Coast Highway, rather than south. Wide separated bike lanes all the way into Carlsbad Village, lots of open ocean views. In contrast, the ride south into Encinitas offers no views and forces you to ride with traffic, and much of the route is currently under construction (to make it safer for cyclists, yay). Ben and Ford, you deserve medals for braving that stretch south of the resort without it apparently feeling too stressful for you. I ride bikes like it’s my job and I actively avoid it.

1
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