More about Chaminade
We had a reservation for a King room, they gave us two queens. They bill themselves as a mission style resort. The rooms are in no way mission-style. The rooms are basic 1980's modern. They have obviously not been updated since the property opened in 1985 and look it. Very outdated 80's color scheme and very worn furnishings. Lots of chips, dents, and scratches on the walls and furniture. The bathrooms are tiny and the showerheads are so low in height that even I, at 5'6", had to duck to wash my hair. There was toothpaste smeared on the vanity in the bathroom when we arrived, there was still toothpaste smeared on the vanity the next evening after the maid visited! They messed up our room service order for breakfast and it was delivered late. The next day they didn't give us a wake up call as requested, with no explanation or appology when my husband later complained. There is very little parking near the rooms. This is a LARGE property with the reservation desk and valet parking at one far end of the property. There is NO bell service and no luggage carts. With the few spaces by the rooms virtually always taken and no designated unloading areas, you basically are forced to leave your car with the valet and then hike (remember LARGE property) with your luggage to your room. The staff are unhelpful, and when I suggested to the registration desk staff at checkout that they might want to pass these complaints on to their managers, they just shrugged and said there was nothing that could be done. The only complaint cards they have must be handed to the desk staff. I have no idea how they got a four diamond award from AAA.
Picture is deceptive
Well we saw the picture and thought it looked like a nice hotel. Sadly the accomodation was not in this building but in some motel type buildings a short walk away. We had a room facing a broken fence and no view at all. The rooms were large and clean but one door didn't shut properly that made security a bit dodgy. The walls were also quite thin and we heard a lot of noise at night.
The restaurant was closed the night we stayed but we had a nice meal on the terrace and the view almost made it all worthwhile. I am just glad we were only staying one night. Overall it looks like a nice country hotel but is in fact a motel with a good restaurant.
Chaminade is set on a hillside in a series of two-storey buildings a short walk from the main building which houses reception and the restaurants. Clean, large, well-kept rooms, each with private outside space. Great hiking trails through the eucalyptus and redwood trees right on the property (the semi-tame deer and "beware of mountain lions" signs were an extra treat for the kids). Clean heated pool, well-equipped gym and spa, tennis courts, friendly staff. Near enough to all in Santa Cruz - which in itself is a great central location for doing coastal Cailfornia from San Fran down to Big Sur. We all loved it. Would return in a heartbeat.
Peaceful, Beautiful Santa Cruz Hotel
Chaminade of Santa Cruz was wonderful!!! We had a great time at the Spa/Executive Fitness Center where they couldn't do enough for you. The rooms were very
comfortable and the scene breathtaking.Would stay again anytime. Thanks
I was here for a corporate conference. I'd heard this was a 4-star resort, or at least a comfortable business hotel. It is neither. It's really more like an average non-chain motel. For business, I would much prefer a Courtyard -- they're generic and sterile, but well-designed and maintained.
There was no heat in my room the first night. (Yes, you do need heat in chilly, foggy Santa Cruz in January.) It took three phone calls to the front desk to get a maintenance guy, who fixed the problem in 5 minutes. Many members of my group had similar problems with the facility -- lack of heat, fluctuating water temperatures in the shower, doors that wouldn't open or close, keys that didn't work.
The decor and amenities are schizophrenic. The bar sink was an ultra-modern vessel with a spiffy light fixture, and the bathroom counter shiny new granite. But the tub was old, scratched, and dirty. The bathroom itself was tiny. I'd sacrifice one sink for enough room to open the door. The bed was reasonably comfortable, but even with all the lamps in the room on, there wasn't enough light to read. The Aveda soaps are deluxe, but the small thin towels barely adequate. The management appears to be remodeling. My advice would be to demand a fully-remodeled room, if there are any.
On the plus side, the location is lovely -- high on a hillside above Santa Cruz, with a pleasing landscape of trees and native plants. The view is superb, especially as the sun sets over the distant ocean. The food was amazingly good for this kind of event, with thoughtful touches such as cinnamon sticks for coffee, soy milk for those who prefer it, and many healthy choices. The staff are young but pleasant. Everyone greets you in a friendly way.
I wouldn't stay here again until I had confirmed that the remodel was complete. If they do that well, this could be a very special place.
Not quite as nice as I expected
My husband and I just returned from a night away at the Chaminade. We got the babymoon package with great expectations for the whole experience. I have heard nice things about the resort and it's very close to our home.
First of all the place is a former Catholic boys school so the hotel rooms are converted dorms. I think there are 9 or 10 former dorm buildings with 6-10 rooms in each one. They are two stories and none have an ocean view. The main buidling with the conference rooms and resturants has the view. They are doing a MAJOR upgrade and the new rooms are lovely, large and modern. A little like the W in Manhattan. We did have a small issue with the feathers in the feather bed scratching us. We also were listening to construction going on outside our window all day Saturday and Sunday. The construction started around 9am on Sunday, not exactly enough time to sleep in.
The baby moon package inculded a massage for both my husband and me and was quite nice. The spa is set in the back of the Athletic Center perched on the side of a ridge looking into a peaceful valley. The gardens surrounding the hot tub and lounge chairs has a Japanese feel and is very relaxing. The babymoon package was to also include a "cravings" basket. This basket was supposed to include a onesie and some other things but instead had a stuffed animal meant for a girl (we are having our second boy), no onesie, a jar of garlic infused pickles, a green baking apple and a few cookies. Needless to say that was very disappointing.
The food at the restaurant was excellent, but again the babymoon package forced us into a four course meal. Being so pregnant I can't eat large amounts of food so we had to take breaks between each course. The courses came very fast so we had very little time to digest each one. The service was excellent beyond that.
Over all I'd say it was a so-so experience and definately NOT worth the money.
Strange highs and lows
A recent one night stay at the Chaminade was a strange mixture of the wonderful and the awful. The site is fabulous and dinner on the patio overlooking the sea but well insulated from the bustle of Santa Cruz was perfect. Yet the well situated pool was downright miniscule. The staff on site was exceptionally pleasant and helpful yet the front desk could never find our reservation that had been made by phone a few hours before our arrival and we were unexpectedly awoken the next morning by an unasked-for automatic wake up call at 7:30 AM. The newly decorated rooms are large and extremely handsome yet due to lack of screens our room filled with about 20 may flies and the bathroom already seemed to have intractable mold. Bedding was luxurious with down on top and bottom yet we both awoke with backaches from too soft mattresses. Although the breakfast buffet was excellent, in the end we were glad to be on our way again.
Not as special as I had hoped
For a place that bills itself as a luxury resort hotel, Chaminade is a bit of a disappointment. The good parts: large room, quite nicely furnished, with a nice view out over a wooded valley. The less good: maintenance, overall, seems a bit neglected. Hooks fell off of doors in our room; knob fell off shower at pool; guest phone at pool was MIA (box there but no phone in it). Exterior of the guest room wings looks like a 1970s suburban apartment (though nice inside the rooms). The large grounds are quite neglected; no apparent effort has been made towards pleasant landscaping, or even maintenance of the minimal landscaping that's already there. The outdoor pool is really low-end ... it was dirty and run down. Finally, I found a surprise $5 charge from Chaminade on my credit card statement (I had reserved and pre-paid through Expedia) ... I don't know what this charge was for, as it wasn't mentioned either at check-in or at check-out.
Better than the Reviews
I just stayed at the Chaminade, and the place was better than the reviews. The rooms are kind of apartment style, but the inside is clean and pretty nice. The grounds are very well kept, and the staff is absolutely wonderful. Very helpful and polite. Sure the rooms could be fancier, but they could also be a lot more expensive. The food was above average. It's true you pass a cemetery, hospital, and school grounds to get to the place, but the hotel area itself is secluded and beautiful. It's got nice tennis courts, sand volleyball court, and pool. For those people disappointed because this is not some 5 star paradise, get real - you're still in Santa Cruz and you're not paying 500+ dollars a night.
A little night magic
The road leading to Chaminade is lined with huge eculapyptus trees, hinting at the magic that lies at its terminus. This is a wonderful place to call home base while you explore the Santa Cruz area or simply experience a peaceful retreat (sitting on your own private veranda (lanai) next to the eucalyptus and redwoods, listening to an amazing assortment of bird song). A recent makeover has led to some splendid updates in the rooms (unfortunately, you will still need earplugs as sound seems to travel too well from floor to floor—much of this could be alleviated if other guests were aware of this problem and practiced a little restraint: it can be quite noisey above you). Flat panel televisions, modern bathroom fixtures and surfaces, and vivid paintings and bed coverings give the rooms a really excellent aesthetic. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. The pool is large and sunny. The spa is a bargain for the quality of massage amd wraps you can get. The exercise studio is large and one of the best I've ever seen (better than the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay gym!). The only pitfall is the dining...expensive and just so-so. Head into town for some terrific options at Santa Cruz's groovy town square or for Mexican cuisine at the beach (don't bother with boardwalk restaurants, they too are spendy and so-so). I have heard you don't want to be in the main building when there's a wedding, unless you're part of the wedding, so ask for one of the outbuildings by the pool. But don't hestitate to visit the main building, the views are breathtaking.