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Unbound Collection Santa Barbara (MarMonte) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Unbound Collection Santa Barbara (MarMonte) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

Old Jun 14, 2010, 9:45 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: A Brit living in Los Angeles, California
Programs: SPG Platinum, VS Red, BA Blue
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Unbound Collection Santa Barbara (MarMonte) REVIEW - MASTER THREAD

I stayed here a few weeks ago, only because a client got me the room, I always stay at the Montecito Inn (1.8 miles down the 101) Checked in late and left early, I was glad that I didn't have to spend much time in the hotel or the room. The bathrooms were redone just enough to be fresh, but that's it. Bring on that renovation, it's desperate.

Last edited by tagv12; Jun 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm
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Old Jun 14, 2010, 10:57 pm
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I stayed last night on a Big Welcome stay (not BWB). The location is great. Santa Barbara's famed beach is just across the street. The rooms are indeed small, though not claustrophobic. But keep in mind that Santa Barbara is an old town, so it sort of goes with that. There is a spa, but do not stay if you expect a resort-level room. The food was par with other Hyatts. The lounge and restaurant pretty much flow together. The staff was friendly and competent, though they are still in transition to Hyatt. So long as you lower your room expectations a bit, it is a fine place to stay, particularly if you are traveling between Northern and Southern California.
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Old Jun 18, 2010, 1:31 am
Join Date: Jan 2009
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The room I was assigned was huge. It was also dark, musty smelling, and very dated. The amenities arn't Hyatt standard-- very rough brown-colored towels and combination shampoo/conditioner. Beware that furniture is old school, and not terribly laptop-friendly

All in all, the place reminded me more of a Ramada than a Hyatt.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 12:33 am
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I just stayed 3 days there this week. I'm happy to offer my 2 cents. First off the good:

**Breakfast for everyone in your room who is registered up to $16 per guest and valid for in room dining.** Being that I was on a BWB stay, this was a nice touch.
**Great wifi. I'm at a Westin tonight with only subpar wifi so this is a big deal for me.**
**Overall nice staff although I did have some problems which will be discussed in the cons.**

I personally thought the room I was in was fine, but I was disappointed that as a Diamond I was not at least put on the water side. That view of the Motel 6 behind it was not at all inviting.

Now for the bad:

**I had an appointment that ran late and I practically had to pull teeth to get the late checkout extended so I could pack up. It was not a pleasant experience. The late checkout is the one place SPG beats Hyatt black and blue. This hotel contemplated charging me 1/4 my room rate ($37.50) for the late issue. I managed to get them out of that, but they showed me they were very inflexible on such things even for a Diamond.
**On day 3 I extended and notified the front desk. Still, I was startled to find a bellman banging down my door at 1:15 p.m. letting me know checkout was over an hour ago. I did not get a call or anything -- just the angry bellman. Then the front desk did call, and the first time I picked it up and hung back up since I was on a business call. They kept calling even though most people should realize that is a signal that I will be with you shortly. That was annoying.
**In room dining was not on its game. Once they forgot my water. Only one time was there salt on the tray. My ice cream in my dessert was so melted that I had to eat dessert first and still got only 2 bites of ice cream. The breakfast was good, but the service was not.
**The bed was super hard.

All in all, I'd give the property a C at best. I can basically get the same level of service at the Holiday Inn Express on Haley (which is where I usually stay in Santa Barbara). I like the historic feel of the hotel so unlike some of you I don't have issue with the size for the rooms or the decor. I care more about service and my experience was mixed and skewed toward the negative. Sorry but any time a bellman beats down my door I'm not impressed. A polite call before sending the angry man would have done the trick. But they sent the angry man and then called and failed to get the message that I was unavailable but would call back (which I had every intention of doing).

If I go back to Santa Barbara (which after this trip I'm not sure of since the city seems to be going downhill a bit), I probably would go back to the Holiday Inn Express unless I had some BWB nights to use up.

BTW I also learned that this hotel was in the private portfolio of the family that owned Hyatt for years. They only made it a Hyatt after the IPO gave them enough money to bring it up to Hyatt standards. When the family bought it, it was a Sheraton. It later became a Radisson. They got out of Radisson when Radisson went to the sleep number beds. So basically it seemed there was always plans to make this a Hyatt at some point.

Last edited by chicaloca453; Jun 19, 2010 at 12:41 am
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 7:05 am
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Appreciate the comments on this property since it is quite new to the Hyatt roster. I have a booking to stay two nights in early December at $103 a night and called the Diamond line to use one of my suite upgrades. Agent said the hotel was still in transition and would not confirm or even comply with the request at the moment. Try back in a few months. Had considered the HIX but it is going for $189 advance booking rate for the same days! Figured for the price this would not be up to the normal Hyatt standards, but I certainly hope things improve over the next few months.
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Old Jul 22, 2010, 5:34 pm
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Been about a month. Any more recent stays? Thinking about there soon.
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Old Jul 22, 2010, 11:18 pm
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 40
Originally Posted by chanp
Been about a month. Any more recent stays? Thinking about there soon.
I stayed recently and meant to post something. The rooms are small, have older furniture and their is a general musty smell. It is right across the street from the beach. If you get a beach facing room, the views are nice with small balconies, however there is constant traffic so it's not like you can just sit in your room and enjoy the sounds of the ocean.

Diamond breakfast is in their restaurant. I had a party of two and they took off something like $15 or $16 per person, which was basically sufficient for an entree item and a drink but no tax/tip. There was no buffet option, at least on the day I was there. I did room service once and found it to be very quick-- in looking at the breakfast items on the room service menu I noticed they were the same items as available in the restaurant, and at the same prices. There is 18% gratuity added to room service but there wasn't an additional service charge, so if you normally leave a 15-20% tip when dining there is no cost difference between in room dining / restaurant dining assuming no additional tip is provided when the room service is delivered.

Overall, I think FD staff are still learning the Hyatt program and this is a period of transition. I noticed the FD agent had a booklet that spelled out what Diamonds are entitled to, and needed to refer to it as I was being checked in when I asked about things like breakfast for Diamond members.

They don't have the welcome amenity cards yet. At check-in I was asked if I would like wine or champagne, and later room service delivered the standard Hyatt Canvas wine (so just the beverage part of the food & beverage diamond amenity was actually provided). I was given a ocean-facing room which is an upgrade for this property. I requested and was granted a late checkout by the FD at no additional cost. However, like another person who posted earlier, I still got a knock on my door from both the maid and later from the valet parking guy, who apparently is also their security guy and was wondering why I was still in the room past check-out time! It seems there needs to be better communication between the front desk and this person.

Overall, this would be a nice place for people in the general area wanting an overnight trip to the beach, however it isn't a "destination" hotel IMO. I have Diamond status with Hilton and if I wanted an extended stay I would pick the Fess Parker Doubletree, which is down the street, in a heartbeat over this hotel--- at least for now until Hyatt gets around to updating/modernizing the hotel.

I didn't get a chance to check out their spa, but I noticed their prices were very reasonable for massages (not the typical hotel prices), with even better pricing on week days.

They have more cable channels than the typical Hyatt, it appears because they don't have the Hyatt TV services yet (e.g. no Hyatt Guest services / folio available through the TV).
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:03 am
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Posts: 95
Just completed a one night stay at the Mar Monte....AAA rate $186 per night. Was given an ocean view room on the third floor. The room was approximately 10% to 20% larger than a standard room. At check in was offerred the amenity or the 1000 points. I selected the 1000 points. Parking is $10/night self park and $15/night valet. As previously mentioned in this thread, the rooms and furniture need updating. The ventilation system in the room was an older wall mounted system located near the ceiling of the rooom There was a remote control on the night stand to turn the system on/off and to adjust the temperature. I ended up turning the ventilation system off at night to avoid the humming noise. You could hear street noise from the ocean view room. At 6 AM, I was awaken by the sound of a dump truck's back up "ding, ding, ding". The truck was picking up trash from the beach across the street, not at the hotel.

The fitness center is located in a building nearby the main building on the first floor. The fitness center closes at 10 PM. It has one weight lifting maching, a couple of tread mills, one bike, and 2 ellipitcal machines.

Since they do not have a Regency Club, at check-in they gave me an information sheet regarding the Diamond member breakfast. It stated:

"Full American Breakfast at Bistro 1111 Restaurant (full breakfast includes 2 eggs, choice of meat and bread, choice of coffee or juice and includes all associated taxes and 15% gratituity. The maximum value per registered guest is $16 plus tax per day. Additional items and charges will be responsibility of the guest). Your complimentary breakfast can be billed directly to your room from the restaurant or in-room dining. Please be aware that you must register the correct number of guests for the breakfast charges to account correctly"

The eggs/choice of meat item in the restaurant is $12. Coffee and juice is $3.00. They also had a buffet which includes the standard eggs/meats/fruits/ coffee/juice for $16.

I elected a menu item and coffee and my bill pre-tip ran a couple of dollars over the $16 limit...but at checkout the breakfast charge was zeroed out.

Overall...the front desk staff was very helpful and they seem to know all the GoldPassport T&Cs which apply to me. The room and the ventilation system needs updating.

Last edited by lswcih; Aug 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm Reason: Editorial corrections
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:21 am
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I stayed at the Mar Monte recently using free nights earned from the recent promotion. While the Hotel is a bit dated, it is 'Historic' (built 1930). I kinda liked the ambiance. I do have to add, since this was a free night they didn't have to upgrade my room but they did - gave me an ocean view room, extra large since the elavator extended into it partially. Breakfast was great (Crab Cakes Benedict). Would definately go back.
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Old Sep 30, 2010, 10:02 pm
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southern California
Programs: spg starwood -platinum, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 86
We Really Enjoyed Staying At This Hotel !!

First, a shout out to Luis (one of the front desk managers). He was wonderful to work with ... he made our stay virtually perfect at this hotel.

Let me tell you where I am coming from ... as a truly dedicated Starwood Platinum with only a choice of the Channel Islands (Cat 2) property about 45 minutes (or an hour at bad times of the day) from UCSB as the closest hotel to visit my freshman son at the college, I knew I needed to search for a back up plan for the next 4 or so years. I just couldn't get too excited about driving 1 1/2 -2 hours back and forth each day to visit the collge and return to my hotel. I tier matched Hyatt to gain Diamond status and booked this hotel for our first visit up to the college while he was attending college (Starwood if you are listening ... YOU NEED A HOTEL IN SANTA BARBARA!) This is what I encountered:

1. Literally, a 10 minute drive to the collge from the hotel !! We went back and forth 2 or 3 times a day with ease!! My biggest problem solved.

2. A hotel located in an absolutely magnificent beach setting with splendid ocean views from the balcony of the hotel rooms facing the beach (which we were upgraded to).

3. One of the nicest room service breakfasts we have had in some time ... of course fully comped for the diamond status.

4. A fabulous weekday rate ... if you can make it out to this hotel during the week ... check out the DEAL on this hotel!!

5. Very inexpensive parking ... $10 a day to park right outside where your hotel room is located or if you prefer walking a very short distance free parking on the street (but watch street cleaning signs). I am used to paying more like $15-$30+ to park at hotel these days, especially nice ones like this.

6. Friendly staff in all departments.

7. You are right across the street from a beautiful beach!! We walked over and spent a great time at the beach while waiting for our son to finish his classes one afternoon.

OK ... you want one "negative" ... (there always has to be one in these "fair" reviews - right) ... since the hotel does not have a regency club, it would have been nice to receive some courtesy points especially since it also did not participate in the G1, G2 or G3 bonuses most other Hyatt hotels do. As such, the points I earned for this 2 night stay were less than half the points I earned at another Hyatt a couple nights earlier where I had an $89/night room rate for a single night at that other hotel. There, I said it - as an "addict" for points my only hope for the near future at this hotel is to get involved with Hyatt's promotions.

I knew about the points going in and I could not have been happier with my stay at this hotel. I hope to be able to stay here many times in the years ahead. Hyatt has found a real JEWEL in this new addition to their family of hotels (by the way, I was told suites may be available at this hotel sometime in the next year ... they are under construction / plans right now).

I give my stay a solid A.

Last edited by theguyfromsocal; Sep 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 1:36 am
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Originally Posted by theguyfromsocal

3. One of the nicest room service breakfasts we have had in some time ... of course fully comped for the diamond status.

OK ... you want one "negative" ... (there always has to be one in these "fair" reviews - right) ... since the hotel does not have a regency club, it would have been nice to receive some courtesy points especially since it also did not participate in the G1, G2 or G3 bonuses most other Hyatt hotels do.
To clarify - you got the breakfast comped because this property does not have a RC. Points are given if a club exists but not open which is not applicable here.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 4:15 pm
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Azepine00 - Thank you for that clarification. And, being a Diamond for all of 2weeks now, let me be the first to confess I do not have a clear picture yet as to how everything is supposed to work at Hyatt. But, this was the 3rd Hyatt property I had stayed at over that week and the other two CA properties both had their Regency Club closed during my stays. As such, both of those other Hyatt properties gave me breakfast for two and 2,500 points. So, all I had to go on was the fact that at this hotel you get breakfast, but no points. You mention the breakfast is in lieu of points, but the other 2 properties in CA gave breakfast AND points. So, while I am confused as ever as to this issue (but should have it all figured out soon enough), as I mentioned before, I knew going in that this hotel did not have the "G" promotion or the 2,500 points for a closed Club. I have no complaints whatsover and literally could kiss the executive at Hyatt that made this great hotel part of the chain! As I mentioned, one of my personal key reasons to give Hyatt a bunch of business in the years ahead ... having this hotel as part of their chain!!
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 6:04 pm
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To clarify: Diamonds are entitled to free breakfast where there is no Club or upgrade to Regency/Grand Club where there is a Club (with comp breakfast in the Club). If the property has a Club but it is either closed or fully booked, Diamonds will get their breakfast AND a 2500 point "apology" bonus. Also note that at North American properties you get a choice between a food/beverage amenity or 1000 points (500 at Hyatt Place and Somerset Suites).

Glad to read your positive report as I have two nights booked at a very attractive rate there in early December. Your explanation about renovations explain why I have been unable to confirm a suite upgrade.

Last edited by Shareholder; Oct 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 2:27 am
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Shareholder - Thanks for that clarification. Very impressive post count as well!
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 4:23 pm
Join Date: Jun 2006
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Gold,IHG Plat Amb, CC Gold, Kimpton IC, United, AA, BA, Amtrak G.R.
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I just tried to book a Fri/Sat (2 night) stay for a weekend in August with points. Would not let me book online but instead I was "forced" to book a Fri/Sat/Sun (3 night) stay and that worked. I only wanted the 2 nights and they seem to be available via a paid stay on the dates I wanted. What gives?
Can they make me have a 3 night minimum stay on a points stay?
Can't I just now call GP and take off the one night I do not want from my reservation??
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