Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is a family-friendly hotel along the oceanfront in Surf City USA that features multiple pools, restaurants, amenities and activities aimed at kids, and more. This review includes room photos, distance to Disneyland info, and pros & cons of booking this versus alternative accommodations in Southern California.
Let’s start with the location. Unlike virtually every other Disneyland-area hotel we review, this one is most certainly not within walking distance of the parks. This hotel is not in Anaheim at all, so proximity to the parks is not one of its selling points. It is, as the name suggests, located in Huntington Beach. For those unfamiliar with Southern California, this is the closest destination beach city to Disneyland Resort.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is within driving distance of Disneyland, like every single other oceanfront hotel or beach in Southern California. The upside of this particular property is that it’s under 20 miles from Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Knott’s Berry Farm. Not only that, but there are multiple routes (freeway or surface streets), making it relatively easy and efficient to access these theme parks by rental car, bus, or Uber and Lyft.
Its centralized location makes the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach a great option for families wanting the quintessential Pacific Coast Highway and Southern California vacation that includes Disneyland, but doesn’t revolve around it. If you want to split time between the ocean, theme parks and other tourist attractions but do not want to change hotels, this is a great pick.
You can also check out our overall comparison of the benefits of staying in Disney-owned hotels versus third party accommodations in Off-Site v. On-Site Disneyland Hotels: Where to Stay. Suffice to say, the calculus for the California resorts is nothing like at Walt Disney World.
As for better options in the beach cities, that’s probably beyond the scope of this blog. We’re only reviewing the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach because we’ve received a lot of questions about oceanfront accommodations. This single review seems like an easy way to indirectly answer those, as this is our top pick for a well-rounded beach-and-Disney all-in-one resort option.
Of course, we determine what’s within and outside the scope of this blog. So, if there’s enough reader interest or inquiries, I can put together a rundown of best beach hotels near Disneyland. We’ve stayed at a ton of hotels up and down the coast, so we have plenty of experience and opinions on the topic. (What’s that? What you actually want to know is the best spots for ice cream in Southern California? Okay, I’ll get to “work.”)
So what are the other pros and cons of staying at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa? Let’s take a look…
The biggest selling point of any oceanfront resort in California is proximity to the Pacific Ocean. That’s probably obvious. You’re not paying premium pricing for a hotel’s proximity to Trader Joe’s or In-N-Out Burger. (If you are, good news, as both are relatively nearby!)
This Hyatt is located on the opposite side of PCH, but no matter, as there’s a private pedestrian bridge that leads from the hotel to the beach. This makes for incredibly convenience and safe access to Huntington City Beach. Very few hotels in the area have this feature, and its value cannot be understated.
In addition to being right across from the beach, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is less than a 5 minute walk to Pacific City and it’s less than a mile to Huntington Beach Pier…with all of that walk being along the beach once you cross the pedestrian bridge.
Obviously, this is not a review of Huntington City Beach, but the quality and characteristics of that are worth touching upon as the beach is a main selling point of this Hyatt. To each their own, but we think Huntington City Beach is just okay by SoCal beach standards.
In our view, this is very much a utilitarian beach that’s overly industrial and impersonal. It’s absolutely massive, spanning several miles of wide and flat coastline. The plus side of that is there’s ample space for sunbathing, which isn’t the case with some beaches in Orange County. If your perspective is that “beach is beach” and “ocean is ocean,” then Huntington Beach will be your best option and you can totally disregard our opinion. In fact, you might want to disregard it, either way. A lot of people love Huntington Beach. There’s a reason it’s Surf City USA and among the most popular tourist spots in Southern California.
To be fair, it’s not like we dislike Huntington Beach. Our first experience with a Southern California beach city was here, and we fell in love with California during that trip. On subsequent visits, we ventured farther south and were truly blown away by the charm and character of the craggy California coastline.
In short, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Huntington Beach. It’s a very good place and you won’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t experienced its counterparts to the south. But those also have their pros & cons, and are much less convenient to Disneyland! (Huntington Beach is reasonable by rideshare, whereas we’d caution against taking an Uber or Lyft to/from Newport, Laguna, or Dana Point.)
Another selling point of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is that it also has a sprawling resort layout with several pools, courtyards, restaurants, and common areas. This is a relative rarity in Huntington; if you head a couple of blocks north towards the city, all of the properties are much more compact.
If you prefer a tower-style hotel, you should definitely opt for one of those. We like the Kimpton Shorebreak Huntington Beach Resort. The location offered by the Kimpton Shorebreak and other hotels around it is slightly better for accessing downtown restaurants, the pier, points of interest, and other things.
For those who are undecided and looking for advice, our recommendation would be a sprawling resort like this Hyatt. Much of the year, the Pacific Ocean is for looking at–not swimming in. When it is suitable for swimming, the beaches are generally overcrowded. Staying at a resort rather than a hotel gives you the best of both worlds, and also a bit of seclusion and serenity.
There are a handful of hotels like this down in Newport and Laguna Beach, but they come at a tremendously higher price. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is the sweet spot between spaciousness and price. Again, we view this as an asset; if you don’t, use it as another reason to rule out the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort’s grounds are lush and beautiful, and the space is nicely broken up by the the resort buildings, various courtyards, fire pits, art installations, fountains, and landscaping. It’s a thoughtful design that lends itself to exploring, all within a footprint that utilizes the resort’s acreage admirably.
The Spanish-inspired architecture of the hotel is stunning, and that plus the beach views and its indoor-outdoor design given it a distinctly California vibe. The Hyatt reflects its surroundings and leans into its climate, and is the perfect resort for a Southern California beach vacation. (All of our favorite accommodations up and down PCH are varying takes on this style of this resort.)
We think this will really appeal to fans of Imagineering’s attention to detail and typical Disney resort layouts. Frankly, this is to the degree that if Disney bought this Hyatt, they could spend a few million dollars to refresh the lobby and rebrand it as “Disney’s Grand Californian Coastal Resort.” It would feel like it was always a Disney property–even now, it’s more “Disney” than Pixar Place Hotel in Anaheim!
The Hyatt has a gigantic lagoon-style swimming pool in its central courtyard, plus three spa pools, and Slyders Water Playground for children. While I’m unqualified to review a kid’s water play area, this one looked underwhelming and undersized to me.
By contrast, the main lagoon pool is top-notch. It’s large and expansive, but curves around in such a way that it doesn’t feel like it’s too open and crowded. The seating area here is also great, with the space broken up nicely. It feels both alive and peaceful at once–it’s a good vibe.
With that said, our favorite feature is the adults-only spa/hot tub areas. These are smaller, but they’re lush and the landscaping around them is nice, providing a sense of seclusion.
They were also absolutely empty during our evenings here. Granted, we stayed at the Hyatt during shoulder season when nights were chilly…but it’s a hot tub. Those crisp California evenings are practically tailor-made for hot tub time!
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is home to a half-dozen restaurants, with the most notable being Watertable. This is the property’s main table service restaurant, and it’s a well-regarded fine-dining establishment for dinner. It’s also where breakfast is served for Hyatt Globalist members. Those breakfasts are fantastic–great California coastal cuisine–but we can’t speak to any of the other meal services or restaurants. (C’mon, it’s the heart of Southern California…why eat at a Hyatt?!)
Other amenities include ATMs, gift shops and retail space, an arcade and play room, courtyard coffee shop (Starbucks), grocery store, bike rentals, and included beach amenities right before the bridge over to Huntington City Beach.
These sprawling grounds come with a potential downside: there are over 500 rooms at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, many of which are oversized or suites. It’s a huge resort.
That means it can be a bit of a hike to your room, or from one end of the hotel to the other. Again, we view this as an asset; there’s a lot of space for strolls, plenty of pool areas, quiet corners, fountains, etc. If you favor a compact layout with everything under one roof, this hotel isn’t for you.
Turning to guest rooms, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is fine.
The style purports to be contemporary coastal, but in actuality, it’s fairly generic. Still, the furniture is nice enough, is in good condition, and has been updated relatively recently. There’s a sense of quality thanks to the variety of textures and material choices…it’s just bland. Not the least bit memorable, in a good or bad way.
We found the beds to be comfortable, with pillowtop mattresses, plush pillows and quality sheets.
The rooms are also equipped with a 65″ smart television, coffeemaker, mini-fridge, iron and ironing board, laptop-sized room safe, and bottled water.
Guest rooms also, unsurprisingly, come equipped with bathrooms at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.
Aside from the mirror, this felt like it hadn’t been updated in a decade or more. Very dated and basic and, while large, pretty poor use of space. You’ll notice that nothing here is (fully) separated, making it difficult for families to get ready in the mornings–or even in the afternoon after returning from the beach or pool. Perhaps one of the biggest ‘misses’ of the hotel–consider booking a suite for better bathroom configurations.
In addition to a table with two chairs that’s suitable for in-room dining or use as a desk, there’s also a bedside sitting chair with generic beach photos above it. I ended up using this as my workstation, sitting back with my laptop and having a view out into the courtyard.
Standard room size is ~450 square feet (+/- about 15 feet depending upon the room location). We found this to be sufficiently spacious; there was plenty of room to move around, work, and get ready. You’re probably not going to spend a ton of time in the room, anyway, and if you do, a lot of that will likely be on the balcony or patio.
The balcony ended up being the “feature” of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort rooms that we used most.
Ours was framed with an archway, which either offers a nice sense of seclusion and shade or obstructs the view, depending upon your perspective. We preferred this to the standard balconies with a wall separating the rooms.
There was still plenty of sunshine coming in, depending upon the time of day, and we had a peekaboo ocean view.
With the beautifully manicured grounds, I’d hazard a guess that just about every guest room has some sort of nice view from the balcony. Personal preferences vary, but I’ll take this plus a spacious but bland guest room over the Kimpton Shorebreak and other trendy Huntington Beach hotels.
Pricing for the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is all over the place, depending upon whether you’re visiting for peak summer season, winter off-season, or somewhere in between. It’s consistently more expensive than almost all third party hotels near Disneyland in Anaheim, but consistently cheaper than comparable beach resorts. So really, all a matter of perspective there.
Additionally, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach charges the dreaded resort fee and for parking. These fees are waived for those with Hyatt Globalist status, but they’re not inexpensive for regular guests. Even though valet parking would’ve been included for us, we opted for self-parking across the street. (We had heard horror stories about valet being understaffed, and long waits as a result; YMMV on that. We aren’t fans of valet parking in the first place.) Self-parking is easy, efficient, and much cheaper.
Ultimately, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa would not be our first choice for an oceanfront hotel during a dedicated Southern California vacation in one of the beach cities. We’ve stayed in a lot of places between Santa Barbara and San Diego, and this is not our favorite hotel and Huntington Beach is not our favorite city.
For a standalone beach vacation, we’d recommend looking elsewhere. Ideally, between Newport Beach and Dana Point. For a Disneyland-centric trip, staying in Huntington Beach (or anywhere along the coast) also makes no sense. The commute will cost you too much time and money. You’ll want a hotel in Anaheim, instead.
However, if you’re looking for a single home base that’s convenient to the beach, Disneyland, DCA, Knott’s Berry Farm, John Wayne Airport, Balboa Island, Angel Stadium, Universal Studios Hollywood, and other attractions in Southern California, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is pretty much unbeatable. Its centralized location is excellent for accessing all of those places and beyond–you could easily do day trips from here up and down the coast, from Malibu to San Diego, or even inland to Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Palm Springs, etc.
Few hotels offer that plus a self-contained resort layout plus convenient beach access plus charming Southern California atmosphere all at a relatively reasonable price point (by oceanfront hotel standards). While the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is not our favorite standalone option, it does rank really highly when you’re searching for a hotel that checks a lot of important boxes without compromising too much on anything. Basically, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is arguably the best-balanced for those who want a single stay for the beach, Disneyland and beyond without breaking the bank. That is why we love and highly recommend it!
Have you stayed at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach as part of a Southern California vacation? Did you use this as a home base while doing Disneyland, or split stay between the theme parks and the coast? What did you think of the room layout? Do you like the sprawling resort-style layout with multiple pools, firepits, fountains, etc? Thoughts on the restaurants? What about the “water park” or other amenities at the Hyatt? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!