Shandelle Battersby checks into the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Southern California.

Getting there:

I arrived by plane from Auckland via Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines' new flight into Long Beach Airport, a 40-minute Uber ride to the north. This Spanish-style waterfront hotel sprawls across manicured grounds across from Huntington Beach.

Check-in experience: Friendly and easy. I was given a business card with a number on it that I could text at any time if I needed anything.


Room: All the rooms have been recently refurbished to impart a Mediterranean aesthetic with a sand-and-sky colour scheme. Mine was a spacious king bedroom with a balcony overlooking the Village Courtyard and out to the Pacific Ocean.

Price: From $545 per night. You have to pay resort fees on top of this, and if you have a car you'll need to pay for parking, either at the hotel or nearby.

What's so good about this place? You don't need to leave the premises if you don't want to thanks to the facilities on site including a huge gym; Spa Grotto (adults only) with three whirlpools; a big lagoon pool with cabanas and poolside service; children's pool area with its own waterslides, cabanas and more poolside service; a day spa and salon, two excellent restaurants and a pizzeria which will deliver to you on the beach or your room if you desire; arcade; activity programme (ages 3-12); a deli selling wine, snacks, pastries and Starbucks coffee; a gift shop and clothing store in case you've forgotten your kaftan; and Toes on the Nose Waterfront Adventures which offers surf lessons and bike rentals.

What's in the neighbourhood? Rent a beach cruiser bike from Toes on the Nose and go for a spin along the 16km of paved boardwalk running alongside the beach. The excellent Pacific City shopping centre is 15 minutes' walk while the famous pier and charming town centre is 20. The Hyatt is the closest beach resort to Disneyland.

Toiletries: KenetMD.

Food and drink: The award-winning Watertable features So-Cal cuisine including an unbelievable cocktail, Holy Smoke — peppercorn-infused Grey Goose vodka, grapefruit and lemon juice, sugar, bitters and a smoked truffle salt rim. The more low-key Pete's Sunset Grill is renowned for its fish tacos.

Bathroom: Pristine, with a shower over the bath.

You really should: Book in a Beach Butler for the evening to experience the uniquely Southern California experience of a bonfire on the sand as the sun sets. The butler will sort out your fire pit, keep it stoked, clean up and set up chairs, blankets, hot chocolate and the makings of s'mores.


Coming soon: Six new rooms will have their own fire pits.

Perfect for: Anyone wanting an authentic taste of that Southern California lifestyle.