My trip was timed at an opportune moment, when Ubers were once again allowed to collect customers from LAX. I also lucked out when it came to the Saturday evening traffic and pulled up at the Hyatt Regency within 25 minutes of leaving the airport. 25 minutes which were spent listening to a monologue from my driver about all the girls he meets at parties, all the parties I should go to whilst in Long Beach and how many threesomes he’d had recently…
Unfortunately, my luck did not extend to the weather.
The outside of the hotel is clean but very basic looking, there were no staff on the door to greet me or help with bags.
In contrast to the spartan exterior, the lobby was bright, light and decorated in a very cool and modern style. Whilst Hyatt Regency is ostensibly a mid-scale brand, in the same tier as a regular Hilton, the decor was more along the lines of what I’d expect at a W or a boutique hotel.
Check-in was handled quickly and efficiently. I was thanked for my loyalty and handed the keys to my suite. I was also proactively asked if I would require a late check out.
The lobby also featured a bar which contained a Starbucks franchise.
There was also a restaurant downstairs with enormous floor to ceiling windows that flooded the lobby with natural light.
Unlike the lobby, the hallways were rather drab, dreary and unexciting.
It looked like the harbor suite should span both of these doors but my keycard only worked on the one on the left…
The door of the suite opened into an entrance hall containing a number of wardrobes and a guest bathroom.
Tea and coffee making facilities. No nespresso machine unfortunately, very disappointing for a suite. This horrific contraption made a vapid, watery liquid barely fit for human consumption. A homoeopathic nod to coffee…
Plenty of light and counter space, a large and powerful shower and a selection of branded toiletries.
I liked the little touches of modern design, like this little illuminated sculpture leading to the living room…
The living room was very spacious, although it felt a little bare given the amount of empty floor space and the largely blank walls. The lack of overhead lighting seemed a little strange too…
When the clouds cleared, the living room got a decent amount of sunlight and the furnishings were all kept clean and free of any obvious signs of wear and tear – not easy given the light colour.
The work area tucked away in the corner seemed like a bit of an afterthought, featuring some rather ‘cheap and cheerful’ furniture. Given the amount of empty floor space, a larger TV on a stand would have made a lot more sense.
At this stage I was a bit confused, the fact that I’d had a few drinks and it was now 3am according to my body clock probably didn’t help. The white door by the entrance was locked and I had yet to find the bedroom…
Another white door opened to reveal some soundproofing, with another locked door behind it.
I’ve made a lot of calls to the front desks of hotels over the years but this has to rank as the weirdest, without a shadow of a doubt.
“I’ve just gotten to my room and I can’t find the bedroom.”
“Excuse me sir, you can’t find your room?”
“No, I’m in my room but I can’t find the bedroom. There’s a door here but it’s locked, it doesn’t lead anywhere.”
“Ohhhhhhhhkaaaay. What’s your room number? I’ll send somebody to help you.”
I can only imagine the conversation that ensued at the front desk after that.
The poor guy that drew the short straw knocked on my door a few minutes later – an older, white-haired gentleman in blue overalls.
It seemed like he had never set foot in this room before and quite frankly, he appeared to be as confused as I was.
After making a call to somebody else he was able to verify that my suite should normally connect to the door right by the TV. However that room had been accidentally allocated to somebody else, so instead I should have access to the bedroom behind the soundproofing. He disappeared and returned a few minutes later with the key to the connecting door.
He took the soundproofing away and told me that my key would only work to access the living room. If I wanted to use the bedroom door I’d need to get another keycard created at reception.
The bedroom was decorated in the same neutral tones as the living room and was a decent size, given that it would usually be an entire hotel room in its own right. I’m happy to report that the blinds were able to black out all light effectively. A must, given that I was basically going to be hitting the hay at 8pm local time.
Hyatt always has very comfortable beds with a ton of feather pillows. Long beach was no exception.
The bathroom was actually a little smaller in this room and featured a tub and shower combo, as opposed to the glass walled walk-in shower next door.
It might sound strange but I preferred hanging out on this chaise longue than in the expansive living room. The fact that I was by myself made the living room seem kind of bare and lonely.
Also, the soundproofing in the living room wasn’t quite good enough to drown out the sound of screaming kids, playing in the pool directly below. This is definitely a family friendly hotel, so any lap swimmers will want to get here at 6am or face a flurry of floaties, pool noodles and dive bombs.
The cornerstone of my trip – A visit to In ‘N’ Out Burger
If you’ve ever been to In ‘N’ Out before you know why I had to pick this as my one meal in California, not served in an airport or hotel lounge.
Proximity to In ‘N’ Out was actually one of my main criteria for picking a hotel on this trip.
I chatted to the driver the whole way, he seemed like a really nice guy and despite being a little bewildered by the fact that I’d come all the way from London for a one night stay, agreed emphatically with my decision to eat at California’s finest burger establishment. I had originally planned on getting dropped off and just grabbing another Uber later but my driver was more than happy to take me through the drive thru and head straight back to the Hyatt.
Two double doubles animal style. This my friends, is the good shit.
Upon my driver’s suggestion I dove straight into one of my burgers, demolishing it with a swift and machine-like precision. Here’s a picture of the one that survived as far as the hotel.
After my enormously satisfying meal I got some much needed sleep, only to wake up at 3am. Totally wide eyed and ready to rock. Fortunately the gym was open 24 hours and I had the very comprehensive facility to myself.
Definitely in the top tier of hotel gyms that I’ve encountered, very little need to compromise on my usual training routine.
I had been hoping to go to the lounge after the gym but it turns out that they lock it down at night. I much prefer when hotels leave the lounge open 24 hours, especially in the US when the in-room coffee is usually lacking.
Desperate for a coffee I went to ask at reception if there were any 24h coffee shops nearby. The staff told me they thought the nearby Starbucks opened at 5am and also kindly gave me a voucher for a coffee at the coffee bar in the lobby, which would be open from 6am.
I wandered across the road and into the open air mall next door. I ended up chatting for a while with a mall cop outside Starbucks, he was also waiting for his early morning caffeine fix!
With just under an hour to kill until the opening of the coffee bar in the hotel, I went for a slightly depressing walk on the beach. This is not what I pictured when I grew up listening to Sublime…
After my walk on the beach I returned to the hotel, grabbed my complimentary coffee and made use of the iMacs in the lobby to print my boarding passes…
By now the Regency Club had opened and not a minute too soon. I was absolutely starving, with my stomach convinced that it was now 3pm.
The lounge was very small and had quite an exclusive feel to it. There was an air of calm and serenity here, which is rare in club lounges.
I took a seat by the window, with a fantastic view of the Queen Mary (and the carbs).
The food was surprisingly high quality: perfectly crispy bacon, thickly cut smoked salmon with all the garnishes and even a bowl of fresh pico de gallo. The service was excellent too, very attentive without being overbearing.
Unfortunately there was one small problem. The coffee machine was out of order. The lounge attendant was more than happy to offer another coffee voucher, so back I went to Coffee Cove for my third of the day… unfortunately the line at 7:30am was 20 deep (this seems to be an American thing, I’ve never been to a Starbucks in the USA that isn’t overwhelmed by customers). So, I opted instead to pack my bags, with a view to spending as much of the day as possible at the Star Alliance Lounge in LAX!
For $152, this hotel was an absolute steal. The gym was fantastic, the decor throughout was very fresh and modern and the staff were all extremely friendly and accommodating. I really liked the club lounge breakfast and am sure that it would be a great place to grab a drink in the evening too.
If you’re staying in Long Beach, this hotel is very hard to argue with!