A waterfront, swimsuit-soaked weekend getaway without the long drive or the crowds is what the A Parent in Silver Spring crew found at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina last weekend. The resort is less than two hours from DC (only 1.5 hours for us Marylanders), located in Cambridge, Maryland on the Eastern Shore and directly on the Choptank River. On Friday night as we made the turn for Cambridge, we breathed sighs of beauty at the surroundings and relief as we left the rest of the masses of cars for their long slog to the Maryland and Delaware beaches.
The resort itself and the Eastern Shore setting are simply gorgeous. The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is nearby, a favorite among wildlife and birding enthusiasts with its legendary population of bald eagles. Boating and water recreational people love the opportunities for manning crafts wind, man and motor powered, and we saw every variety of boat on the river and Bay.
But I will confess, although the A Parent in Silver Spring crew is normally all about the excursions, we viewed all of our birds and boats from the waterfront pools on-site at the Hyatt Regency. Our family was so entertained and content by the family resort activities included with our stay. We had a blissful “beach” vacation right at the resort, looking out across the Bay and river, and remained in our swimsuits most of the time. The five of us were in paradise hanging our arms over the sides of the infinity pool while looking out over the water.
If you are an avid golfer or a boater, you probably already know about the River Marsh Golf Club championship course and the 150-slip River Marsh Marina. But if you are a parent looking for a sunny summer retreat, you may not know that this resort is all about families. As soon as you check in you and your kids are presented with a schedule of all of the options for family relaxation and excitement. Each day there are are at least 12 different activities for kids and families to enjoy, most of them at no additional cost.
In addition to searching for sand crabs along the riverbank and running along the pier looking for stingrays, my crew availed themselves of the kids’ activities organized by the lifeguards and camp counselor-style staff. They loved the water slide race, sandy candy making, water balloon toss competition, token dive challenge, grand fireplace lighting and s’mores eating, and the dive-in movie watching on rafts. Most of these activities our strong-swimmer 12, 10 and five-year-old kids were able to join independently, with Chris and I cheering them on or photographing them from the sidelines…or hearing about it later from our pool chairs.
Weekend Outdoor Yoga and Fitness
Eve and I started our day with an invigorating yoga session led by yoga instructor Mary Leonard. The weekend yoga classes are complimentary for overnight guests and take place on Manor Lawn from 9am-10am on Saturdays and holiday Sundays, weather permitting. Starting my day with yoga overlooking the water, with my daughter by my side, was heavenly. Runners will also love the waterfront trails for morning runs, and the fitness center had enough treadmills, ellipticals and bikes for all (all with their own built-in TV), as well as a stocked weight room.
Sago Salon and Spa
I never pass up the opportunity for a massage on these computer desk shoulder knots. The 60 minute custom massage I received from Sue was firm and released my tension and soreness. The modern, sea-themed Sago Salon and Spa facility was gorgeous and zen. It was not busy or bustling but had that “away from it all” vibe. I loved lounging in the women’s relaxation room with tea and healthy snacks, and taking advantage of the steam room and sauna.
In addition to various massage treatments, there are facials and body treatments offered in the spa. You can also book appointments in the full-service salon: manis and pedis, hair cuts and color, and waxing.
Pools, Glorious Pools
Families who love to swim and lounge on pools and beaches will love the three happening pools at the Hyatt Chesapeake Bay. We enjoyed them all, from the family outdoor pool with waterslide and fountains, to the infinity pool overlooking the Choptank River, to the open-air indoor pool with nightly “dive-in” movies. The kids pool hopped for the majority of their days on Saturday and Sunday.
Minigolf and Game Room
Second only to the pools in awesomeness for our kids was the free 9-hole mini golf course (Eve and Alice), and the complimentary ping-pong, shuffle board and air hockey in the Captain’s Parlor (Charlie). Preschoolers and young elementary schoolers will love the low-frustration course that is primed for holes in one.
Kids Activities By the Pools
My kids loved the organized activities organized by the life guards and young camp counselor-like staff. In addition to the ones they participated in, there were also coloring contest, family kickball games, tie dyeing of t-shirts, scavenger hunts, coin challenges, cannon ball contests, yard dart games, corn hole on the lawn, sand art crafts, mazes, relay races, and pool noodle races. Though we are big joiners, there were so many fun games and gatherings for the kids it was impossible for us to do them all.
Families can also purchase rafts and noodles at the towel shack, and our girls pooled their birthday money to buy a big sea turtle raft which the shack staff instantly inflated for them. Kids can also have their hair braided with beads Caribbean style, and a DJ was by the pool on Saturday playing family-friendly, beachy music by Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet and similar.
Basically, it’s a constant pool party.
We forewent the fancier restaurants on-site in favor of casual family dining, and all of the food and drinks we ordered were delish. Saturday and Sunday we began our mornings with espresso drinks, bagels, oatmeal and pastries in the well-stocked Bay Country Market. The rooms are stocked with Starbucks coffee and fridges, so families can also bring breakfast items for easy sustenance.
Our wrap sandwiches, salads and cocktails (parents) and burger and fruit lunches (kids) we ordered from the pool staff servers of Dock’s Poolside, which has a reasonable kids’ menu. You can order both lunch and dinner poolside on weekends; on Monday-Thursday Dock’s closes at 5pm. Our lazy booties enjoyed eating two lunches and one dinner from Dock’s in our wet suits.
Other on-site restaurants:
Blue Point Provision: fresh seafood, steaks
Waters Edge Grill: breakfast, lunch, dinner of regional specialties
Michener’s Library: cocktails and bites
Eagles Nest Bar and Grille: 19th hole
Need a break from the kids? They’ll have a blast without you in Pirate’s Cove at Camp Hyatt! Potty trained kids age 4-12 will make new friends and participate in kids’ activities with counselors. Choose from full day with lunch (9am-4pm), half day (9am-12pm or 1-4pm) and evening with dinner (5pm-9pm, option to extend to 10pm) camp options. They will explore the pools, play mini golf, seek treasure in scavenger hunts, make s’mores and more fun.
During our stay we saw the Camp Hyatt kids having a great time, but we did not use the service. (These days babysitters are a part of our daily lives, but during those times in which we are overwhelmed and flying solo, we love resort kids’ clubs, especially for enjoying a kid-free date night.) Camp Hyatt is also the perfect solution if you and your partner would like to play golf, go boating, play tennis or other activities in which your kids are not old enough to join.
More Family Activities
Blue Heron Rookery: This is Hyatt’s own Wildlife Refuge, a preserved area of lush vegetation and animals indigenous to the Eastern Shore, such as the Great Blue Heron and American Bald Eagle. It is closed December 15 – July 31st for nesting due to federal regulations so we were not able to check it out, but it opens in August for exploration!
Special Summer and Fall Savings
The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay’s Take the Credit package is available through December 30, 2016. For a two-night minimum stay, guests score seasonal rates starting at $379 per night and receive $200 in resort credit per night. Package rate is based upon double occupancy and must be booked in advance. Resort fee included in rate; taxes additional.
S’more Fun in August
In honor of the s’mores tradition at the resort and National S’mores Day on August 10th is celebrating these summer treats throughout August.
Water’s Edge Grill is serving decadent S’mores French Toast for breakfast and the pool bar and snack shack has S’mores Milkshakes on the menu. Sago Spa and Salon will offer a S’mores Body Wrap and S’mores Pedicure. S’mores kits are always available for purchase in the Bay Country Market, but on National S’mores Day, Wednesday August 10th, all overnight guests will receive free kits.
7th Annual Crab Week: August 6-13, 2016
Now in its seventh year, the popular summer attraction features crab-inspired activities, contests, and succulent seafood. Overnight guests can receive $200 in resort credit per night when they book the Take the Credit package, good for use towards dining, golf, spa treatments, Camp Hyatt and more.
Crab Week guests be treated to cooking demos, crab specials, DC’s famous Feelin’ Crabby Food Truck, and a crab feast at the Infinity Beach overlooking the Choptank River. On Friday, August 12, guests can also learn the delicate art of picking Maryland Blue Crabs. Children’s activities include Krusty Krab’s Kreative Korner, filled with crab-themed arts and crafts, as well as seaworthy ‘dive-in’ movies, crab walks, catch-a-crab, and marine animal pool races.
Saturday, August 6: The River Marsh Golf Club’s Crabby Cup, a nine-hole golf tournament.
Saturday, August 7 and 13: ‘Gone Crabby’ Family Iron Chef competitions, in which families create the best crab dish in mere minutes!
Disclosure: My family and I received a complimentary room for two nights at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, one spa service and s’mores kits to facilitate the review. All meals and other expenses covered by me. No additional compensation received. All opinions are my own.