Hyatt Carmel Highlands Undergoing Major Renovation

The Highlands Inn was built in 1916 by Frank Work and sold to J. Frank Devendorf, one of the co-founders of the city of Camel-by-the-Sea, who opened it in 1917. Devendorf envisioned an inn “that combined the rustic qualities of its setting, yet offered travelers all the luxury that the progress of the new century could offer,” according to a story in The Monterey Peninsula Herald archives. Devendorf developed the Carmel Highlands as a residential community with a keen appreciation of its unique setting. Devendorf and his longtime foreman, Frank DeAmaral, planted pine trees and laid out the roads and building sites to be in harmony with the natural surroundings.

As early as 1906, the San Francisco Call newspaper devoted a full page to the “artists, poets and writers” of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Highlands.

Over the years, the Highlands Inn and the Carmel Highlands area became a haven for many artists and writers, including authors Robinson Jeffers, George Sterling, Jack London, Harry Leon Wilson and Mary Austin; journalist Jimmy Hopper; photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, marine painter William Ritschel and Pulitzer Prize-winner playwright and novelist Martin Flavin.

Building on that tradition, the Carmel Highlands has continued to host notable celebrities, including Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Michael J. Fox, John Denver, Tony Bennett and John Travolta. The Highlands Inn has also played host to nobility, including the Crown Prince of Japan and the Crown Prince of Jordan.

About Pacific’s Edge:
Set on the edge of the earth overlooking the unforgettable ocean vistas, Pacific’s Edge Restaurant at Hyatt Carmel Highlands offers award-winning cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere with glass walls and impeccable service standards. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Big Sur coastline as you savor innovative California coastal cuisine, made with the freshest seafood, meats and locally sourced produce and ingredients with a seasonal focus. An excellent choice for both everyday dining and special occasions, Pacific’s Edge Restaurant offers a convivial ambience along with jaw-dropping views that cannot be topped. Known as one of the best dining options in the area, our Carmel restaurant has received AAA’s 4 Diamond awards year after year, and been named as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America by Zagat and one of the Top Ten Restaurants with a View by USA Today. You’ll also find an incredible wine menu, which has also been honored with Grand and Excellence awards by Wine Spectator.

About California Market:
With dramatic views of the breathtaking Big Sur California coastline and Yankee Point, California Market Restaurant provides an ideal setting for a delightful breakfast or lunch with friends in a casual bistro atmosphere. Dine in the sun on our expansive redwood deck, or eat indoors next to a warm pot-bellied stove as you experience the friendly and attentive service that Hyatt is known for around the world. California Market Restaurant at Hyatt Carmel Highlands offers something for every palate, with a rotating menu of fresh-caught seafood, seasonal local produce, gourmet sandwiches and daily specials. Start your day with a delicious breakfast array, savor a light lunch or sip a glass of fine California wine as you soak in the magnificent view. Reservations recommended. Please call 831-622-5450 or visit Open Table.

Renovation Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the renovations?

The renowned Hyatt Carmel Highlands is completing one of the most exciting renovations in its 99-year history. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Pacific’s Edge, along with the guestrooms, bar, hotel entrance and lobby area are undergoing a series of upscale enhancements inspired by the property’s refined charm and classic seaside setting.

Renovations will include the merger of Pacific’s Edge with the hotel’s excellent casual bistro, California Market, into a new restaurant — California Market at Pacific’s Edge.

When will the renovations be completed?

The renovations are currently being completed in phases to accommodate guests. We will continue to keep guests informed as the phases are completed.

What is the design inspiration?

The design concept for the renovation is based on the rich history of the property.

Drawing from the artist colonies that were the heart of the artistic and literary landscape that Carmel is known for, the new restaurant and bar area will reflect a celebration of those elements and casts a nod to the rugged local coastline. As guests arrive, sculptural elements of flying coastal birds will greet them, framing a breathtaking view of the Big Sur coast. Seating styles are a comfortable collection of chairs featuring tweed fabric and leather “elbow” patches reminiscent of a country sports jacket.

What was the idea behind the renovations?

We are thrilled to offer our patrons these improvements. This luxurious refresh will offer some new design elements, while maintaining the unique and authentic feel that has made visiting this property such a memorable experience for so many during the last century.

What will the transformation of Pacific’s Edge entail?

The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Pacific’s Edge, will be merged with the hotel’s casual bistro, California Market, into one venue, California Market at Pacific’s Edge. The new three-meal restaurant will be on the upper level, where Pacific’s Edge was located and feature an expanded 40-seat, 1,200-square-foot heated outdoor dining deck with awe-inspiring views of the rugged coastline. The addition of the glass-railed deck will allow capacity at the restaurant to increase by about one-third, to 140 diners and allow for unobstructed views.

New seating arrangements will include a large communal table made of a fallen Monterey cypress trunk and high-top tables in select areas to allow everyone a great view of the Pacific Ocean. The space feels tailored yet comfortable for that casual breakfast or lunch, as well as a relaxing celebratory dinner overlooking a spectacular sunset.

What other renovations are taking place?

In addition to the restaurant upgrades, renovations will be completed in the front entrance, guestrooms, bar and lobby area.

How are guest rooms being renovated?

Guests will enjoy new furnishings, décor, color schemes, new heating and the addition of air conditioning across the hotel’s 48 rooms inclusive of its 10 suites. The guestrooms’ refreshed look will draw upon the hotel’s upscale coastal ambience.

How will the bar area be upgraded?

The existing bar, Sunset Lounge, will be reconfigured to take greater advantage of the spectacular views of the Pacific coastline. The design theme for the lounge is derived from elements consistent with the area’s historic artist colonies.

Timber frames and metal strappings that were once used to hold back the coastal cliff sides are being represented in the design elements. Artisanal glass blown pendant lights are above the bar. Sleek marble countertops create a perfect nook to share crafted artisanal cocktails, award-winning wines and great conversation.

What renovations are taking place in the lobby?

New furnishings and living room style components will be added to the hotel’s lobby area, which will be outfitted to accommodate private parties of more than 100 guests.

What is the name of the design firm?

Clear on Black is an interior architectural design firm for upscale and luxury hotels and resorts. The firm has designed several of the exclusive properties that form part of the Hyatt Vacation Ownership portfolio.

Will there be any changes to the cuisine?

In addition to the renovations, a series of exciting new dining options by Executive Chef Chad Minton will be unveiled. Chef Minton and his executive sous chef Alvaro Dalmau have devised a new menu that features the most popular selections from both restaurants along with several new selections

Will California Market close?

California Market will continue to operate either in its current location or someone else onsite once the new restaurant is completed.

Will the new venue be considered fine dining?

There will be some fine dining components; however, the new venue will also feature other elements to appeal to a broader audience.

Is there a philosophy behind the new menu?

The menu embraces the philosophy of conscious cuisine, which we are committed to providing our guests every day. This commitment includes:

      • Utilizing meats and poultry that are only naturally farmed and certified organic
      • Utilizing only the finest, locally sourced meats, fish and produce.
      • Forming partnerships with local foragers and purchasing organic produce primarily within a 100-mile radius of the property\
      • Purchasing sustainable seafood in compliance with the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch

What are some of the new menu items?

Sample menu items at California Market at Pacific’s Edge include a cast iron skillet egg scramble featuring chorizo, tomato, potato, cilantro and grilled bread and organic fried eggs, all natural, hickory-smoked maple bacon, Monterey jack cheese on toasted brioche bun, for breakfast.

Lunch includes such delectable choices as Baja fish tacos featuring fresh locally caught fish topped with shaved cabbage and chipotle aioli; chicken sofrito empanadas with Santa Barbara green olives, capers and smoked paprika aioli; and a Petaluma fried chicken sandwich with spicy pickles and black pepper honey on a toasted brioche bun.

For dinner, start with an appetizer of heirloom tomatoes, buratta mozzarella, opal basil blossoms and sherry vinegar, followed by signature entrees such as merlot-glazed short ribs with roasted baby heirloom carrots, kale and buttermilk potato puree and hook and line-caught sea bass with almond gazpacho, grapes, basil oil, and sun choke chips.

Even the bar menu will be reinvigorated with such items as short rib tacos, buttermilk-dipped and fried calamari, Gilroy garlic fries and a classic double-patty with American cheese PCH Burger.

The 50-page wine list at Pacific’s Edge has also been updated, with more emphasis on the many excellent wines from Monterey County.