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Dreaming of a quick SoCal beach vacation? The Hyatt Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas is just what you are looking for. Located steps from the water with beautiful ocean views, this hotel is perfect for a quick getaway or a long relaxing stay.
Pete and I have been trying to celebrate our 22nd anniversary for over 7 months now.
Every time we decide to take a quick getaway, Covid surges or someone has a medical emergency. I’m not even joking, we have been through a stretch of medical issues lately so when this short window opened up where everyone was doing well, I jumped at the opportunity.
I am so thankful we did because not even 2 days later, Maddie and Ashley had planned medical procedures (complicated wisdom teeth removals) and then Emmy was thrown off a horse the next day. She is now looking at months of healing and most likely surgery. She didn’t just break her arm, she broke it in one of the most painful and difficult ways to fix. Go big or go home, right? I really hope that this is finally the end of our medical adventures, but I know better than to think it is.
At least we had 24 hours of peace and relaxation before the week from hell!
In my recent normal fashion, I had no intention of sharing this review of Hyatt Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas. I didn’t even bring my camera and I never even opened my laptop the whole time we were there (this has NEVER happened before).
But then when we walked in and this was our view, I had to take a picture of it. Things deteriorated quickly after that and my willpower NOT to take pictures was completely abandoned. I still didn’t plan to write this review but then I felt like I had to because we had that great of a time and I need you all to experience the same thing.
A little escape from reality to relax did wonders for me and I know it can for you too!
Also, this is not a sponsored post in any way. They did not know we were coming or writing this. We actually used a free certificate that we earned from spending on our Hyatt credit card (email me if you want more info on this). We booked a “One King Bed Lagoon View” room and were upgraded to a “One King Bed Ocean View with Balcony” (because we have Hyatt Globalist status). We also received free parking with our status since we were using a free night award. Additionally, we were offered free breakfast with that status. We didn’t end up using that benefit because we were limiting exposure to others and because there didn’t look to be many vegan options.
We already want to go back (spoiler- we have already been back, see more at the end), so hopefully, we’ll be able to share with you more about the dining options, the spa, and hopefully a suite review! Our room was just what we were hoping it would be, and I know a suite would be even better.
If you have been to Cabo in Mexico, Pete and I both agreed that this resort reminded us of the hotels down there. Down to the layout to maximize ocean views and even the material it was built with and the minimalistic design were all very similar to what we love about vacationing there.
First impressions, there were multiple valets waiting when we drove up. The check-in experience was fast and very friendly. I love the room keys too. They are made from wood and just feel comfortable. Yes, a room key made me feel comfortable.
And this is what we saw when we opened the door. Not bad at all!
So, the bed looked really lumpy and I’m not exactly sure why. I remember being a bit perplexed, but that thought quickly dissipated and I was soon mesmerized by the sound of the ocean. The bed was very comfortable.
Side note- I was reading reviews not too long ago (not for this hotel) of an oceanfront hotel and someone complained about the ocean being too loud. Ha! That is my favorite part of hotel rooms close to the water and this one delivered. The ocean waves crashing on the rocks below was so relaxing to listen to.
The room had a Nespresso coffee maker, water, and an ice bucket. I believe you have to call for actual ice though.
The mini-fridge was stocked with these 2 drinks each time. On the pre-arrival questionnaire, I specified no alcohol in our room (so it wasn’t wasted) but these were left each time. We don’t drink alcohol for health reasons so for us it is no big deal to have it in our room, but I can imagine if you have a real need to not have alcohol in your room this could be an issue. If this is the case, please ask them at check-in to have it removed before you enter.
The closet had super soft robes too.
We always seem to have our shopping inspired by the places where we stay and this was no exception. As soon as we got home I ordered a Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle seen below. Pete loves to drink Americanos so this is great to make those along with tea or pour-over coffee too! Update- we have had it for 5 days now and have used it multiple times a day and we still love it and can’t imagine going back to not having it!
There is also a decent-sized safe in the room:
The bathroom was very minimalistic and again super comfortable and relaxing in design.
My favorite part was the fresh eucalyptus that they had hanging above the shower. This was a big Trader Joe’s trend a year or so ago and I never got around to trying it then. When the shower heats up, the eucalyptus is activated and releases its scent. It was pretty cool!
This was my favorite part of the room though, the balcony.
Pete sat out there the entire time we were there aside from when he was sleeping. If he was awake, he was outside there. We even saw dolphins at one point playing in the waves.
There is an onsite restaurant, a coffee shop with the local brand Lofty Coffee, and a poolside restaurant. Plus, they also have room service. Here is the room service menu:
Here are some pictures from inside the hotel common areas:
The pool is not large by any measure but is adequate for sure.
This is really not a family-friendly hotel per se, although I would totally bring my family here. I’ll explain more. My kids are now adults + a 12-year-old who is very well-traveled and enjoys the finer things in life (ha) but is also thrilled to play in a water park. She is like a teen/child. (double ha) She would have no problem morphing into the atmosphere of this hotel, but others her age might not enjoy it as much.
I don’t think that we saw a single child the whole time we were there and when Emmy was younger this would not have been my first choice to bring her to. She loved to splash in the pool and kids clubs were her thing. This hotel would not be a good choice with that in mind, but she still would have liked the pool, and with the beach steps from the hotel, she would have loved that part.
If your kids are looking for a lively hotel that caters to kids- this is not it. If your kid(s) enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and access to the beach- it could work.
The ideal guest for this hotel is someone looking for an adult, relaxing vacation which is probably why Pete and I liked it so much.
The pool at Hyatt Alila Marea area has cabanas for rent, lounge chairs, and a fire pit area with amazing views of the ocean.
The fire pit area might be one of my favorite places other than our balcony. Since we are still playing it as safe as possible, we didn’t spend time here. Having said that, we never saw any area of the hotel feel crowded. The first time we were there the hotel was full-ish and even had a cozy wedding happening, and the second time it was a lot less full. Both times the resort felt like we were some of the only people there.
Our balcony room was one of these with the higher roofs.
Pete made fun of me for taking pictures after saying I was 100% not going to take any pictures and just relax. And… look who I caught taking his own pictures! I am surprised he didn’t start filling a video too! Maybe next time!
This is the view looking north from the hotel.
This is the spot where I took the above photo from.
And here is a larger look at that area.
And an even broader look at the North side of the hotel.
These are the steps you can take to get down to the beach.
On the beach, there is a protected area for nesting birds.
View from the street of the North side of the hotel.
This is the beach area right in front of the hotel. Not the place for swimming or sunbathing or any of that. The rocks here are what amplifies the ocean wave sound and make it so relaxing to listen to.
And this is a view looking up north to the actual area where you will be enjoying the beach from the rock-filled area below the hotel.
If you are local, you are used to these beaches. There are rocky areas that we locals might walk along but we don’t necessarily treat them as beach day locations. The hotel has this type of beach directly below it, but right next to it is an actual beach with public access. It also has public restroom facilities so you don’t have to go back up to your room. There also should be lifeguards on duty during the summer months. We always look to make sure we are as close to the lifeguards as possible since there can be riptides and other strong currents on most SoCal beaches.
Update! Pete and I went back for a second visit.
We had another certificate that would be expiring for a free night and looking at our calendar, we knew that we needed to go sooner rather than later. We had planned to use it for my birthday so we just moved up the celebration!
This time, we had the same room type but it was on the bottom floor. We thought it was going to have a fire pit on the patio, but I think there was a miscommunication at check-in. It wasn’t a big enough issue for us to question it as we were still right on the ocean- which is where we wanted to be. We love the sound of the water crashing on the rocks so we were thrilled with the location.
Having stayed on the ground floor with a patio and also one level higher with a balcony, we both agreed that the balcony room would be preferred. This is mainly because it is more private and has a better view of the ocean, but we would be totally happy to have the ground level again too.
Here are some pictures from our recent stay:
I don’t remember seeing this stand in the image below before so it must be new or seasonal but it appears you can rent boards now too and maybe get beach towels? Be sure to ask about this when you check-in if it is of interest to you.
Final thoughts on the Hyatt Alila Marea Beach Resort:
We really enjoyed ourselves both times. I’d love to see how the suite options would elevate our stay. The prices for the rooms we stayed in were right around the $1,000-$1,300 price mark but I’ve seen them in the $800 range too and possibly lower when not in such high demand. The location makes this price worth it too.
Speaking of the location, we walked to everything we wanted (or got DoorDash delivery) so once our car was with the valet, it stayed there. But I would still recommend getting a rental car so you can really see the area if you are coming by plane, train, etc.
For food options, I’ve heard the food is great at the hotel. If you want to explore other options, there is a fast-food Mexican restaurant on the same road just south of the hotel. Maybe a 3-minute walk. It is more authentic to the local quick Mexican food San Diego is known for and is your best budget-friendly option. I grew up eating this type of food and love it. Out-of-towners tend to like it too- but it is different than nationwide Mexican restaurants or real authentic Mexican cuisine.
Further south is more coffee, hot dog, pizza, sit-down, and Mexican food options. This stretch is called Leucadia and Pete and I love walking this area. Even farther down is the downtown coastal Encinitas area. There is yet another big stretch of food and shopping options and Moonlight Beach is right there. This is a popular beach spot and has wheelchair access and even wheelchairs with off-road wheels (is that what they are even called?) that you can use. There is a playground and public restrooms there too.
With all of these options, you can shop, walk, dine and then go back and relax at the hotel without much wasted travel time.
As for Covid precautions, we are still taking great care not to catch it. We wore masks (KN95 or N95 depending on crowd levels) when inside the hotel and loved that there were entrances close to the rooms that did not require walking through the lobby. We normally bring an air purifier with us too, but since the rooms have balconies, it was easier and better to just open up the balcony doors and air out the rooms. We also still use disinfecting wipes on all high-touch areas in the rooms when we first arrive. I’ve shared before that it takes us maybe 3 minutes and doesn’t take away from our vacation enjoyment. I’d say that it even increases it! We don’t do this necessarily for Covid, but because we don’t even want to get a cold or the flu. We rather like not being sick! We saw maybe one other family also wearing masks so I’d for sure pull out the good quality ones when visiting. The resort felt very clean and we can’t wait to go back!