Taking Highway 5 north of downtown San Diego, and exiting about 6 miles up on 8 West I soon came across Mission Bay East and in the distance I could see this landmark hotel. Easily accessable from San Diego, the Hyatt Regency Islandia is impressive as you approach. On a virtual island the hotel stands watch over this magnificent marina, and adjoining is a national park. The hotel is also close to SeaWorld. I parked at the front and went inside to the reception area which was bright and breezy. There were no bell staff around. I went up to the registration desk and had a good chat with the attendant whilst I was checked in without any problems. I was then handed a key to Room 254 and given a map which showed the location of the room. Parking was to the right of the hotel in an open-air area. There was plenty of available parking. From the map I could see there were basically three accommodation sectors. What appeared to be some small, two level older buildings, a tower and a block of executive suites directly facing over the marina. My room was in the older sector which meant trudging up stairs and then a walk along a very wide open-air slatted roof corridor. The feel of being in a 4 star resort hotel had suddenly been reduced to being in a 2 to 3 star motel. Rather than a Hyatt I had the impression I was in an EconoLodge. Nonetheless I pressed on. The room was average size with two queen beds and opened on to a verandah, a wide sweeping hallway that swept past all the upper floor rooms. There were no windows, the upper half of the outer section was completely open. There were no divisions to provide separate balconies for each room. The verendah went unused during my stay. The wall facing the verandah was almost completely made of glass, but for timber frames. It looked out over a wall belonging to the tower with glimspes of greenery. The drapes were very impressive in a rich red, blue and gold pattern and were in dress style with a canopy at the top. The walls were nicely wallpapered with a beige pattern and a nice modern print of a marina adorned one of them. The closet had sufficient hanging space, an iron and ironing board and was enclosed by a white louvered door. There was a small dining table and two cane chairs , a lamp stand and a cabinet of four very large drawers with a TV on top, another lamp and a print at the back. There was only one bedside table in the middle of the two beds which comprised of a drawer and a shelf. There was one phone in the room on the bedside table, and only one line. If you were using the Internet you could not make or receive phone calls. There were two swivel lights fixed to the wall.
The bathroom was an excellent size with two large basins and a bench that slid right along the length of the room. Ample bench space, a hair dryer, replica marbel finish on the bench, nicely done tan wallpapering, and three sets of lighting.
The accommodation was comfortable and met all needs, other than perhaps an additional phone line. It perhaps needed tarting up a little, and the actual building structure needs addressing. I later discovered some prints outside one of the meeting rooms which indicated these buildings were the original hotel back around 1961,, and the tower and execeutive suites (and the Hyatt branding) came later. These original buildings are not exactly heritage however a feature could be made of them with some prints perhaps in the hallways indicating that they have some historicial signficance.
My stay at the hotel was over two days and I looked through the Baja Cafe, which is an informal eatery in the tower building. The fare mainly consisted of a Southwestern flavor including fajitas and Baja salad wraps, and of course American favorities like burgers and so on. The cafe opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Adjoining the cafe, but separate, is the Baja Cantina, a relaxed open bar where you can also order food.
The signature restaurant of the hotel however and lounge are located in a separate building directly overlooking the bay called the Islandier Restaurant and Challenger Club. The rooms have panoramic views and are really exceptional. I tried out the lounge section with a drink, and then enjoyed a meal at the restaurant which comprised a giant shrimp cocktail and a prime rib.
Another time I bounded down to the Fitness Center. It's quite small but the view! It is absolute waterfront and the views you can enjoy whilst working out are magnificent. There is a Lifestep machine (stepping machine) two Lifecycles and two Lifestride machines (cycling and running). There is a lso a complete range of dumb bell weights and outside the room (which is accessed by your room key) is a rowing ergometer (machine). In the Fitness Center there are hand towels provided, a water dispenser and cups. There are mens and womens rooms each side of the center, however you required a combination to access them, which I didn't have.
During the stay the local San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper was delivered to the room each morning. USA Today and Wall Street Journals were available on a complimentary basis from reception.
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