Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

When we decided to take a short family beach trip for my birthday, we had several choices. I’ve been to several nice beachy locations over the past few years on blogging trips and press junkets, and I’d happily return to any of them, but we also had enough Hyatt points for two nights so I suggested returning to Cambridge, Maryland, where we took a short anniversary trip last year at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina.

In the end, free trumped all, and we went back to the Hyatt. We had the best time just being together as a family in a place where we could relax and enjoy being catered to.

While there isn’t much of a beach…

there are two large outdoor pools and another one inside.

We spent most of our time at the pools, although my son and husband snuck off occasionally to play tennis. There’s plenty to do on the property without venturing out, which I like. It was so relaxing not to have to go anywhere to occupy ourselves or schlep coolers and gear down to the beach. They allow you to purchase these huge blow-up toys to use in the kids’ pool. Meet my daughter’s new best friend, Whalie — the best $20 I’ve ever spent.

She played with that thing for hours and hours. Everyone got in on the fun — even me!

I pretty much sat by the pool all day, every day. It doesn’t hurt that they bring food and drinks right to your chair — although the cost of that adds up fast. It’s awfully temping to just throw everything on your room tab, but prepared for a heart attack when you check out.

When (or if) you tire of the water, there are tennis courts, frisbee golf, putt-putt, as well as games and contests put on by hotel staff throughout the day. And at night they have s’mores by the big outdoor fireplace and “dive in movies” by the indoor pool.

There are lots of families with kids so you don’t feel like you have to keep your children acting prim and proper at all times. (They also offer a kid camp if you want to go off on your own for a while. We didn’t use that, but it’s a great option to have if you’re staying for a while.)

They do keep children out of the cozy but spacious bar called Michener’s Library so if you want to be an adult without kids running around, you can. I gazed longingly into the Library at the adults dressed nicely, sipping wine and chatting, as we were walking back to our rooms in the evenings. That was not for us this trip, but I have fond memories of sitting there with my husband last year when we were there alone.

If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the condition of the property. I have been to quite a few Hyatts over the past several years as I’ve been working with them, and this one is not quite up to par. On the surface, everything is lovely, but it should be cleaner. I couldn’t help but notice the trash cans overflowing in the bathrooms and the scraps of TP on the floor, and one day there was a hair of questionable origin attached to the poolside food menu. When I pointed it out, the server was unfazed, which really annoyed me. She just pulled it off and asked me if I wanted to place an order. Um, is the hair included, or do you charge extra for that? No, I didn’t say that, but I wish I had!

They also could have been more conscientious about picking up after their late night guests. When I arrived outside one morning at 6:30, there were still drink glasses and leftover food and napkins from the night before on the poolside tables. I’ve come to expect more from the Hyatt over the years, and for the prices at the Chesapeake Bay Resort, the management could stand to do some spit shining.

As for food, it is verrrrry pricey to eat here, and the quality of the food leaves something to be desired. So while our rooms were “free,” we spent a lot of money on meals and snacks. We finally got smart on our second night and left the resort for a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant that a friend recommended. The food was great, the atmosphere was laid back and casual, and the bill was half what it was the previous night — even with the kids all ordering off the adult menu! (I’m not a fan of the crappy food generally presented on kids’ menus. I prefer they develop a broader palate than processed chicken nuggets and frozen pizza, so we try to order for them off the adult menu when it’s not cost prohibitive.)

All that aside, we had a great time, and if we ever go back I’ll know to bring some snacks and breakfast foods for the room and to go off property for dinner.

The pools really made the vacation for us. While I love the beach, it’s a lot of work to schlep everything down there for the day. This was much more relaxed, and the ease of it all allowed us to focus on enjoying one another.

Our family vacations are usually spent with extended family, and while that is fun and it’s certainly helpful to have a few extra sets of hands, particularly when the kids are younger, I have to say that I really enjoyed spending this concentrated time with my immediate family. In fact, I wish we’d had one more night.

While I had some nit-picky complaints, it’s a lovely setting and the nautical theming is classy but fun.

And I love the relaxing atmosphere. There’s enough to do, but there’s also ample opportunity to hang back and take in the beauty of the surroundings.

There are adirondack chairs strategically placed around the property so you can stop and enjoy the view.

I got up really early both mornings, as is my habit at home, and snuck out of our room with my laptop. I grabbed coffee and went outside and sat by the water and enjoyed some alone time before the rest of the family woke up.

Being a platinum member of the Hyatt Gold Passport program certainly has its perks. We had free WiFi during our stay, and we were able to take advantage of late checkout at 2pm so we enjoyed one more morning by the pool before we left. Plus, when we arrived, they offered us a free upgrade to a waterview room and complimentary mimosas (although the mimosas were a fail because they had run out of glasses and we never bothered to go back and claim them.) Despite my litany of grievances, we had a great time and we’ll probably go back someday if I have the points in my account. It’s just too convenient not to.

Disclosure: While this trip was not part of a specific campaign with Hyatt, I did use points that had been placed in my Gold Passport account from a previous campaign. All opinions expressed are my own.

Comments

  1. says

    It looks an amazing place, with fantastic weather. Hope they improve on those little things – asin it can be those few negative things you remember.

    I want some adirondack chairs! Need to work out how to get some in my suitcase!!!

    Do you know anyone in Atlanta? I am heading there in October with my jewellery on a trade programme from Northern Ireland !!!

    • Jo-Lynne says

      Do you follow OhAmanda.com? She’s down there, and she has a group of girlfriends who are awesome too!

  2. Susan says

    Love the pics! It looks like a very relaxing place. You bring up an interesting point of vacationing with your immediate family. Besides the obvious stressors of adult life (i.e. work, bills, house, etc.) I think rationing your vacation time is one of the hardest parts of being married with kids! We do not happen to have parents who spring for a huge beach or mountain house every year and invite all of the kids and grandkids (we have friends whose parents who do this and WOW!). Also, my husbands vacation time is somewhat limited to the usual 1-3 weeks a year depending on how it is all rationed out. So what to do with the few weeks free? Spend it going to see family? Spend it on a vacation just for your family ? Both have their perks and it is so easy to feel obligated to see the family, but often your own immediate family gets neglected in the deal.

    • Jo-Lynne says

      We always spend a week or two in Maine with my family. And we used to always spend a week at the Shore with my husband’s family. Both trips are pretty much paid for by the parents, which is reeeeeally nice. But as a result, we realized that we never go anywhere else, and we never go away just by ourselves. So this was nice. :-)

  3. Real Life Sarah says

    Looks so fun, Jo-Lynne! I love that you rode a whale! haha. We love going away with just the immediate family. We do spend time at the beach with my in-laws (we’re here now), but it is a different kind of awesome. We hadn’t done any vacationing by ourselves until I started blogging, and it’s the one part of the job my kids really love. ;-)

  4. O Mom says

    While your complaints may seem nit picky to some, I totally agree. Small things like that always stand out to me too at restaurants, or hotels, and they’re such easy things for management to be able to fix. :)

  5. says

    Looks like a fabulous place for a family getaway. We live far from any ocean so whenever I see pictures I just sort of wistfully sigh. I’m thinking that your kids are at about the perfect ages for a really fun family vacation. Not so young that they need help for everything and not too old to be outwardly bored with family. (Meaning that inwardly they like it but are at the age where you just can’t show it. Hum, I hope my kids don’t reach that stage.)

  6. says

    Is that limeade in your glass? When made properly, it’s one of my favorite summer drinks!

    I love hotels that go out of their way to accommodate families. When we book a hotel, we always look for:
    * suite-style rooms
    * a free continental breakfast (or “Kids Eat Free)
    * on-site activities (a pool, a playground, a kids area, movies, etc.)
    * a convenient location to area attractions, parks, libraries, friends, etc.

    • Jo-Lynne says

      Nope, that was a mojito! :-)

      Suite style rooms would have been nice. We were a bit cramped. I really like Hyatt Place – they have suite style rooms with a pull out bed. That was perfect for our family of 5 when we visited Chesapeake, VA last fall.

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