Diamonds abound at Hyatt Regency Irvine, Irvine, California

July 9, 2012
By: Ray Pearson

At first glance, it seems descriptions of Four Diamond hotels are all about numbers - number of suites, meeting rooms, restaurants, amenities, etc. Of course, these numbers are important, but I give more attention to qualitative attributes of such properties. A recent case in point was a stay at the Hyatt Regency Irvine in Southern California, the city's only Four Diamond hotel. Here, I evaluated items on my personal rating list, which include the selection of whiskies and wine, along with the knowledge of the bar staff, preparation and presentation of food, the bed, and overall ambiance of the property, relative to its general location.

Being partial to single malt Scotch whisky, I'm always on the lookout for diversity of aromas and flavors (meaning whiskies come from different distilling regions within Scotland) and someone behind the bar that knows more than the basics of Scotch. Raoul, the lead bartender at 6ix Park Grill Bar, knew his stuff and had a very nice range of single malts to work with, from the smoky Lagavulin 16 through to a spicy, creamy Glenmorangie 18. I counted eight brands from several regions behind the bar. My companion chose the recommended wine, a sprightly and full 2010 Dunnigan Hills Chardonnay called Match Box...