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Centennial facelift for historic Hyatt Carmel Highlands Hotel and Restaurants

cq5dam-1.thumbnail.744.415December 8, 2015 – With its 100th anniversary rapidly approaching, the fabled Hyatt Carmel Highlands hotel is beginning an extensive renovation that includes merging its two popular restaurants, Pacific’s Edge and California Market, remodeling the lobby and overhauling all its guest rooms.

The new restaurant—to be called California Market at Pacific’s Edge—will be located on the upper level that currently houses Pacific’s Edge and will be expanded to include a new 1,200 sq ft heated deck with jaw-dropping views of the rugged coastline.

“It’s an incredible, unique view that no other hotel has. It’s like you’re hanging over the Pacific coast,” says managing director Melvin Bettcher, who is supervising the renovations.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served in the new restaurant, making the most of the amazing views during daylight hours. Addition of the sleek glass-railed deck will allow capacity at the restaurant to increase by about one-third, to 140 diners.

PE outdoor dining deck rendering
Architect’s drawing of the new dining deck

Work is set to start January 15, when Pacific’s Edge will close temporarily and California Market will begin offering the current menu of Pacific’s Edge in the evenings. The relaxed, bistro-style restaurant will also add a daily brunch to its tasty lunchtime fare.

It’s expected the new space will be completed by the end of March and be reopened as California Market at Pacific’s Edge the first weekend of April.

Executive chef Chad Minton and executive sous chef Alvaro Dalmau are working on new menu items to debut for the opening, but expect the most popular dishes to stay on the menu.

“The new place will reflect the fresh, seasonal approach that California Market and Pacific’s Edge are all about, but we’re going to tweak it to make it better and more accessible,” says food and beverage manager Bastiaan de Winter. “Our aim is to reestablish ourselves locally and make it more than just a place for special occasions.”

Minton has worked at a number of the world’s top hotels, including the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco under chef Gary Danko. He came to the Highlands in 2004 after a stint as executive chef at the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York City, Hyatt’s ultra-chic flagship boutique hotel. Dalmau, a native of Argentina, worked with Minton at Andaz and brings a creative blend of Latin and Italian flavors to his dishes.

The 50-page wine list at Pacific’s Edge will also get an update, with a renewed emphasis on the excellent wines of the Monterey Bay area.

Once the new restaurant opens, a timeshare sales office currently in the lobby will move into the space vacated by California Market, freeing up lots more room in the lobby.

12301475_1260194234007158_5155657326591026320_nThe front entrance, vaulted ceiling lobby, and bar area will also get a facelift, keeping in line with the current rustic chic style of the big stone fireplaces that serve as a focal point for the space. The new lobby—expected to be completed in the first half of 2016—will be able to accommodate private parties of more than 100 people fireside.

At the same time, Hyatt Carmel Highland’s 48 rooms and suites will be remodeled little by little over the course of the year so that when the grande dame’s 100th birthday does arrive in 2017, she will be in better shape than she’s ever been.

The iconic hotel, previously called the Highlands Inn, was opened in 1917 by J. Frank Devendorf, one of the founders of Carmel-by-the-Sea. His goal was to offer luxury in harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings, a goal that persists today. Over the decades Highlands Inn has hosted hundreds of world-famous artists, actors and musicians from Robinson Jeffers and Jack London to Robert Redford, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

The Highlands kitchen has also been an important stop in the careers of many of the area’s most notable chefs, such as Cal Stamenov (Bernardus Lodge), Jerry Register (The Santa Lucia Preserve), Matt Bolton (C Restaurant at the InterContinental) and Yann Lusseau (Parker-Lusseau Pastries).


About the author

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Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.