At this Clearwater Beach resort you don’t have to stay there to play there.
CLEARWATER BEACH — When the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa opened to considerable fanfare four years ago, some of us local residents suspected that a luxury hotel brand like this would cater only to the thick-wallet crowd and non-millionaires would feel out of place.
Boy, were we wrong.
While no one can accuse the Hyatt chain of taking the Dollar Store route in its pricing venues, the opportunities for enjoying great food and special amenities at a reasonable cost extends to Clearwater-area residents as well as loyal tourists used to quality accommodations. With the resort only a few miles from our home in Clearwater, we decided it was high time to visit the Hyatt. We made a dinner reservation at the SHOR American Seafood Grill and upon arrival enjoyed an unhurried stroll about the premises to become acquainted with the property.
The location of this AAA Four Diamond resort is unquestionably in full sync with the throb of Clearwater Beach’s energy. Lying between the Intercoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico in the center of the city’s Beach Walk, the beautiful vistas from the upper-floor observation decks provoke a calming kaleidoscope of subtropical tranquility, particularly amid April sunshine and the lovely salt breezes.
My favorite Hyatt amenity for resort guests and visitors alike are the poolside private cabanas that can be rented for the day. A cabana serves as a rewarding respite, a comfy cave with a 42-inch TV, wet bar, Internet, a service call button, climate control and even a personal restroom. It’s time to relax or parrrrteee.
But we also came here with groceries on our minds. The SHOR American Seafood Grill on the second floor offers inside and balcony dining, and we opted for the latter at the idyllic sunset hour. Executive Sous Chef Hector Pabon sees to every detail, and proof of that came in a delicious Clearwater Chowder featuring chunks of mahi-mahi soaked in a coconut broth. With my wife enjoying Goat Cheese and Truffle Home Fries as an appetizer, her entrée of a Whole Roasted Snapper peeled ever so delicately off the bone.
A unique offering I sampled was the Lobster Mac & Cheese, which arrived with a full Maine lobster tail resting upon pasta in melted white cheddar cheese blended with savory bits of tomatoes and organic baby spinach. Service was superb, and we topped off the feast with taste bud treats of Passion Fruit Crème Brulee and a Pineapple Upside Down Cake with a scoop of coconut gelato. Needless to say, we didn’t leave hungry. While we munched away, the scene on the beachfront street below provided a pleasing panorama for people-watchers like us.
As one might expect from a major resort like the Hyatt, business meetings, conferences and family reunions are regularly hosted along with numerous special offerings like a Romance Package to full wedding planning for those ready to take the plunge. All holidays and Clearwater Beach events receive full attention at the Hyatt, such as lunch, dinner and happy hour specials for the ongoing Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival that runs until April 13. Discounted deals on treatments take place throughout April at the resort’s Sandava Spa and there’s a gift certificate promotion to pamper mom in May on Mother’s Day (try saying those last nine words over and over!).
What’s really appreciative is the welcome feeling you get on the part of employees at the Hyatt – they seem to have a radar for residents, probably because they’re locals too. Make a point of checking out the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, and if you’re there for the Easter Brunch on April 20, stop by the Kelly table and say hello.