A luxe pool and fab breakfast: Why we’ll go back to the beachy new Seabird Hotel in Oceanside
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The Seabird Resort is one of two new Hyatt properties in Oceanside, California. The resort has been open for just a few months and is located in an unassuming beach town about 40 miles north of San Diego. The area has seen a lot of growth in recent years and in addition to a sister property, the Mission Pacific; there’s also a Wyndham hotel and a Marriott within a block of this property.
But the Seabird is special: Not only does it inhabit a prime spot across from Oceanside Pier, but it’s a notch above the other hotels in the area, offering great service, a full-service spa and even an on-site library. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for a family-friendly resort or even a couple’s getaway.
Here’s my experience at the Seabird Resort:
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The Seabird Resort is a Category 5 Hyatt property, part of the Destination by Hyatt brand. Standard rooms go for 20,000 points per night, though rates will fluctuate once Hyatt implements peak and off-peak pricing this fall.
About three weeks after the hotel opened, I booked two nights and was pleasantly surprised at how well the place was running so soon after opening.
When I booked the hotel, the rate was $465 per night with taxes. Since TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, it made more sense to redeem points than to pay the cash rate per night. Since I redeemed points, the daily $42 destination fee was waived. I also got complimentary breakfast as a Globalist member.
The Seabird Resort is located on Mission Avenue in Oceanside overlooking the beach. The resort opened in late May, one week after the Mission Pacific Hotel, a sister property located across the street. Both hotels are part of Hyatt’s boutique portfolio; the Mission Pacific is a Joie de Vivre hotel and the Seabird is a Destination by Hyatt property.
It’s a quaint hotel in a nice beach town accessible from both San Diego and Orange County. There’s an Amtrak station one block away, behind the Marriott, and a ticket from downtown San Diego to Oceanside costs just $18 in economy class.
The location is fantastic, walking distance to popular eateries like Parlor Donuts and Ty’s Burger House.
I spent two nights at the adjacent Mission Pacific Hotel before moving over to the Seabird. While I could have asked for late check-out, I decided to try my luck by moving over to the Seabird at 11:30 a.m. The day before, I had lunch at the Seabird’s Shelter Club restaurant and a staff member told me the hotel was at 20% capacity. I figured that increased my odds of getting early check-in.
The agent checking me in was polished, professional and welcoming. He told me I’d be upgraded to an oceanview room and explained my Globalist benefits: Free breakfast, waived destination fee and free chair rental at the beach. All great perks!
He saw that my parents were standing nearby and asked if they were staying with me. I told him they were headed home that day and would just store their bags in the room. When I went to pick up my keys about 30 minutes later, he again reiterated that if I had additional guests in my room it would be no problem and he could send up an extra bed. I appreciated the gesture and told him it wasn’t necessary since they weren’t staying the night.
Can I just take a moment to describe how stunning the lobby is? If Studio McGee decorated a hotel lobby, it would look just like this: Light, cozy and effortlessly chic. I loved that this hotel made a break from the usual granite-heavy design, opting for a more homey feel.
The lobby’s focal point is the fireplace, surrounded by a comfortable couch and a large coffee table with tons of books to entertain waiting guests.
To accentuate the casual beach house vibe, the doors were left wide open, letting in the sound of the ocean (and some street noise).
The main seating with the couch and fireplace also has several upholstered benches with power outlets located underneath. It makes for a great spot to get some work done while they got the room ready.
In between, there are wicker chairs and the expansive coffee table covered with books and magazines. A large vase of daisies behind the couch makes for a pleasant greeting as you walk in the door.
I was assigned room 440, which was quite a walk from the elevator. Walking in to the room, there was a closet to the right that contained two bathrobes and slippers, along with a steamer.
Let me tell you: Those bathrobes are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. I have a fluffy Pottery Barn robe at home that I’m obsessed with, but I would burn it in exchange for one of these robes. The hotel sells them for $125 and they’re the same ones available in the spa.
The room was much larger than the one at Mission Pacific, but the view and positioning of the furniture wasn’t great. I felt like it was missing the warmth and charm of the Mission Pacific’s room. The decor was bland, and the wall across from the balcony door could use some artwork to spruce things up.
It would have been nice if the bed faced the balcony, but instead, it was placed on the left side of the room, across from a closet that had a strong chemical smell when I opened it (new closet smell?).
I noticed a similar, though much more faint, smell in the room itself. I’m sure it had to do with the room being practically new and hopefully, it’s something that will subside over time.
The decor was sort of a nautical theme, with blues and greys throughout. The bed in this room was not comfortable at all –way too soft and springy. The sheets, however, were nice and cool.
The balcony door was nearly impossible to open. It had a handle resembling a clock but I could not figure out which way to turn it to open the door. No matter what direction I turned it, it barely loosened the door. I managed to get on the balcony, but it was a struggle.
The room was right above the Shelter Club restaurant, which meant the view was obstructed by an awning below and a row of balconies on the left. The balcony featured two wicker chairs, each with a pillow. This wasn’t a huge issue since the sky was mostly forecast during my stay and I didn’t spend much time sitting outside to watch the waves.
I will say, I preferred the cushioned chairs at the Mission Pacific Hotel much more. They were much more comfortable to sit on for any period of time.
There was still some construction going on during my stay. The hotel was still building out the first-floor retail space, so there was sometimes quite a bit of noise during the day. The worst of it was on the sidewalk on the pool side. Luckily it didn’t last long and wasn’t a significant disturbance while I was in the room.
Next to the closet was the entry to the bathroom. The bathroom had sensors that turned on the lights underneath the sink. It was a nice way to eliminate yet another touchpoint, though I imagine its purpose is to make midnight bathroom trips more convenient for those who like to sleep in pitch black rooms (the room had blackout curtains).
The bathroom featured a large shower to the left, stocked with Pharmacopia products. In the middle was a vanity with two sinks, plenty of towels and a Drybar hairdryer. This was such a nice change from the usual cheap dyers you find in hotel rooms that barely have any gust.
To the right was a sliding door leading to the toilet area. It’s always nice when these areas are separated so multiple people can use the bathroom at once.
Food and beverage
The Seabird Resort has three restaurants and bars, though only two were open during my stay. There’s Piper, which is open for breakfast (and an amazing one at that) and the Shelter Club (a poolside restaurant with casual food). The Shore Room Bar and Lounge will be opening in the lobby by the end of the month.
Breakfast at Piper
Since Seabird and Mission Pacific are sister hotels (and Mission Pacific’s breakfast was less than stellar), you can charge your breakfast at Piper to your room at Mission Pacific. This applies to the Globalist breakfast benefit as well.
We ate at Piper while staying at the Mission Pacific, so when we returned the next day, the doorman recognized us and said “welcome back!” The hostess at Piper also remembered us and that we were moving hotels that day and asked us how our stay was so far.
I loved the decor at Piper, which was vibrant with a touch of glamour. The servers were attentive without being intrusive and the food was absolutely delicious.
The staff was dressed in uniforms that were casual but polished. Some of the women wore white Ralph Lauren dresses with blue cardigans, while the men wore blue or white khaki pants with blue or white shirts.
The breakfast at Seabird’s Piper restaurant was one of my favorite hotel breakfasts to date. I tried various things so I could share them with you all, but my favorite was by far the french toast. It was perfectly cooked and covered in berries and candied dates, which were more delicious than candied dates have a right to be.
I had the veggie omelet on my first morning because I was trying to be healthy, but the server recommended the french toast. So I had that the next morning, and the one after that. If for no other reason, I will return to this resort for the french toast alone.
I also liked that the restaurant served drinks with bamboo straws, an eco-friendly option.
During my second visit, I was concerned because the chicken sausage served looked different from the day before. I don’t eat pork, so I always ask about the meat in the breakfast sausages. I brought this up with the server and she went back to the kitchen, double-checked and reassured me that it was, in fact, all chicken but that they had purchased a different brand. I really appreciated the attentive customer service.
The Shelter Club
The Shelter Club is Seabird’s poolside restaurant. It has indoor and outdoor seating and features comfortable seating, with vintage bathing suits framed along its walls.
Since Piper wasn’t open for lunch or dinner, this became my go-to (when I booked my stay at the Mission Pacific, I received a $100 food and beverage credit, and since breakfast was included as part of my Globalist perks, I was able to splurge on great Shelter Club dining). The food was always fresh and the staff was super friendly and upbeat. The menu was kind of limited, but I tried a variety of things and loved all of it: The nachos were great (though the guacamole tasted more like chutney for some reason) and the chicken sandwich exceeded my expectations
Even my dad, who doesn’t like anything except Afghan food, commented on how delicious the sandwich was.
Placing an order required waving down a staff member, but meals were delivered quickly and the servers were friendly. I just got the sense they were a bit distracted.
The gym is located adjacent to the corridor leading to the Shelter Club. The gym was very well equipped with everything you’d need for a good workout. There was a Peloton bike, yoga mats, and weights.
The Technogym treadmill was pretty fun, as it offered a “walking tour” of cities like Istanbul, Rome and Madrid and you could choose between nature or cityscapes.
To the right of the Peloton bike was an entrance leading to the hotel pool. The gym was a nice space that was mostly empty any time I was there.
The hotel outdoor pool can be accessed either via the gym or the Shelter Club restaurant. Despite the hotel having 20% occupancy, the pool was pretty packed in the afternoons, but this may be because Mission Pacific guests also have access.
There was the main pool, a jacuzzi overlooking the beach and lots of lounge chairs and cabanas surrounding both.
What really made me fall in love with the Seabird resort was the library located on the second floor. It was a beautiful space decorated in a rustic nautical theme and lots of cozy seating throughout.
There were upholstered benches by the windows, leather couches, a glass table with a chess set and a large table in the middle with enough seating for 10. There was also a balcony overlooking the street and a desk if you really want to get things done.
The walls of the library were lined with blue bookcases containing beautifully bound books. Overall, the room was vibrant yet relaxing. It was the ideal remote workspace or just a place to read in peace. If for no other reason, I’ll return to this resort for the library (well, that and the french toast).
Sunny’s Spa and Beauty Lounge
Just past the library, you’ll find Seabird’s Sunny’s spa. The spa has a salon that’s currently under construction but otherwise offers all kinds of treatments, along with a sauna and steam room accessible to all guests.
The resort’s beachy/chill aesthetic played into the decor of both the spa’s reception and waiting area. I booked a facial during my stay and while it was a great experience overall, it was insanely pricey at almost $200. That’s about what you’d pay for a facial at a remote island resort like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, so it’s definitely a bit on the unreasonable side.
When I checked in for my appointment, the attendee walked me to my locker, which contained a bathrobe, the plastic slippers from the Mission Pacific’s guestroom that I loved and a small amenity kit with a razor, makeup removing wipes and hairbrush. There was a bathroom nearby with a shower and fully stocked bath products.
She also showed me the steam room and sauna before walking me to the waiting area at the far end. It was a beautifully appointed room with a soothing color palette. There were magazines on the table, a selection of tea and water with oranges.
The room also led to a small balcony facing the ocean. There was no one else there during my visit and I found it a peaceful place to relax after my facial.
The treatment itself was really great and I appreciated that the esthetician didn’t take an aggressive approach in selling me skincare products at the end. I did mention that sunscreen tends to aggravate my skin and she recommended an SPF 37 lotion by Circadia that I ended up buying and being very happy with.
Overall, the spa treatment was great and the space itself was very relaxing. That being said, it’s definitely on the pricier side, so budget accordingly.
The Seabird resort advertises a “surf valet” on its website. This caught my attention and when I brought it up to TPG’s editorial director Scott Mayerowitz, he suggested I test out this service by booking a surf lesson.
I’ve never gone surfing before, but I figured I’d do it for the sake of research. The problem was getting in touch with this surf valet. I asked the front desk agent at check-in how to get a hold of the surf valet and he took down my information and said somebody would be in touch shortly.
About three hours later, I still hadn’t received a call, so I checked in with the front desk staff again. Another agent said her colleague would reach out to me within the hour. It wasn’t until almost 6 p.m. that evening that I got a text message from someone at North County Surf Academy.
I was quoted a rate of $120 for a 90-minute session scheduled for 11 a.m. the next day. I was bummed they wouldn’t let me charge the surfing lesson to the room so I could earn extra points. Instead, they accept Venmo, Zelle and cash only. So, in the end, the “Surf Valet” was really just a front desk agent passing my contact information to a local vendor who scheduled a session for me.
The surf lesson took place at Harbor Beach, about a mile from the Seabird. I ended up taking a Lyft there since I was running late, but walked back after the lesson. It’s definitely manageable, but getting a Lyft in this area often requires a long wait.
My instructor, Egan, was an aspiring pilot who had moved to Oceanside from Hawaii to get his pilot’s license. He met me in the parking lot and had a surfboard and wetsuit ready to go. He gave me a brief lesson before leading me into the water and telling me when to hop on the board, paddle and jump up.
Egan was very helpful and encouraging, telling me I was doing “great” when all I was doing was falling on my side and downing buckets of saltwater. I did manage to ride one wave all the way through, though it was not exactly graceful.
But it was fun and my fears about drowning or losing a limb were unfounded because we practiced in waist-deep water. I had spent the night before googling “Oceanside shark attacks” to get myself nice and anxious for a day at the beach.
Egan told me sharks weren’t a problem out there. Stingrays apparently are – which is why he emphasized the need to drag our feet through the sand to “send out vibrations” to scare off any stingrays nearby. Or maybe he told me that to ease my fears of actual sharks lurking around. Either way, it put me at ease.
Despite being a fairly new hotel, the service at the Seabird resort was top-notch for the most part. While the sister property had its service issues, I got the sense that the staff at Seabird were seasoned pros.
From the valet guys always welcoming me back when I returned from my afternoon walks, to the server at Piper who had memorized my breakfast order and asked me how my stay was going every morning, the staff were hospitable and welcoming across the board.
At one point, I called the front desk to ask if they had a business center and the agent said they did not but asked what I needed it for. I was trying to print my Amtrak ticket and she told me I could email it to her and she’d print it for me. When I went to the front desk to check out (I was granted 4 p.m. late check-out), I completely forgot about the ticket and was pleasantly surprised when the rep handed me the envelope with my printed ticket.
While the service was great overall, there was definitely room for improvement. The surf valet interaction was a bit of a headscratcher and at times, I would call the front desk and no one would answer. Even now, a month later, I’ve tried several times to reach the front desk to confirm a few things about the resort and have not gotten through.
Another time I called the spa and couldn’t get through after several tries. Someone at the front desk picked up but didn’t introduce himself. When I asked to be transferred to the spa, he said, “the line is closed…if anything, they’ll call you.” It seemed such a strange thing to say since I couldn’t leave a message to get a call-back
It’s also worth mentioning that I’ve been conducting a security check at hotels after my Hotel Indigo experience. I went to the front desk on my second day to request a new key, claiming I’d lost my old one. I’ve been testing the front desk staff to see if they would give me a new room key without checking my ID.
In this case, the front desk agent recognized me from check-in and asked me how my surf lesson went. She confirmed my room number and gave me a new key. This stay coincided with California dropping its mask mandate and since I was fully vaccinated, I wasn’t wearing one during check-in or after. So it’s understandable that they felt confident handing me a room key without confirming my ID.
That being said, I discovered that the old room key still worked. I had told the front desk agent I had lost my key, so the old one should have been deactivated for security reasons. It was disappointing that this was not the case.
Note on accessibility
The Seabird’s website states the resort’s commitment to accessibility. There are two types of accessible rooms: a Partial Ocean View room with two queen beds and an ADA shower or one with an ADA tub.
The hotel has many wheelchair-accessible spaces, including restaurants, parking, fitness center and spa. It also offers a pool lift, which in the photos was covered by a canvas bag. The same goes for its sister property, the Mission Pacific.
It was nice to see both the Seabird and Mission Pacific offering a pool lift and ramps, so that wheelchair users could make full use of the hotel’s amenities.
I had a great time at the Seabird Resort and would gladly come back for a relaxing weekend by the beach. There aren’t many beachfront resorts in California that are new/renovated and don’t cost $1,000+ per night. The Seabird definitely stands out in this regard.
I love how self-contained the resort is, even though it doesn’t have sprawling grounds with endless amenities like other beach resorts. I love fell in love with Oceanside – it’s not your typical uber-fancy beach town. It seems pretty working class and I think that adds to its charm. I loved being within walking distance of an amazing donut shop, convenience stores and pretty much everything else I needed.
Hyatt has built something special with its neighboring properties offering something for everyone. Whether you’re traveling with a family or looking for a quiet retreat, the Seabird has the right atmosphere for almost every kind of traveler.
Featured image of the Seabird Resort by Ariana Arghandewal/The Points Guy
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