On this episode of the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast, Bret Schanzenbach spoke with Geoff Gray, the general manager of the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa. They talked about how Geoff got into the hospitality industry, the beautiful remodel at the resort, the ways they are utilizing their facilities to serve the community, and the secret to the resort’s excellence.
Coast to Coast: Geoff Gray’s Path Across the United States
Hailing from Poway, CA, Geoff Gray is very familiar with Carlsbad, as he would often come to visit his grandparents. As he grew, he discovered his passion for serving people, which is what fueled his decision to go into the hospitality industry. One of his friends’ mothers worked for a hospitality company that was founded by a Cornell graduate and she encouraged him to explore Cornell University.
At first, Geoff admits he was hesitant, “As a San Diego boy wearing flip flops and shorts, I thought, ‘Do I really want to move to upstate New York? I don't know if I want to do that.’ But I went to visit and fell in love with the school and the community and the people that were around and the rest is history, I guess.”
Geoff’s decision to move to the East coast allowed him to live all over the nation, including Hawaii, Arizona, and Utah. “You know, people often ask me, ‘Where's the favorite place you've lived?’ And, you know, it's like picking your favorite child,” Geoff states. For him, every place offered a fresh perspective, incredible people, and priceless experiences.
However, there’s no place like home, and certainly no place like Carlsbad, which is why Geoff has come back to raise his family as he continues to serve others.
How Aviara Serves People Across the Country and in the Community
The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa recently underwent an eighteen-month, $52 million transformation. Although they did not intend to close during their remodel, due to the pandemic, they had to shut their doors. This allowed them to remodel their property while it was unoccupied. When everything reopened, the resort was able to reintroduce its 51 acres and 327 rooms as a brand-new property.
In fact, when they reopened, the resort was the location for Major League Baseball’s postseason bubble, where players had to quarantine at the hotel when they were not playing during the playoffs. They hosted three major league baseball teams while they played at Petco Park. During this time, the resort was able to offer relaxation, activities, and the beauty of Carlsbad to those in the MLB.
One of the most popular activities that hotel guests enjoy is playing golf on a course that Arnold Palmer designed. On July 13th, the Aviara Golf Club celebrated its 30th anniversary. Due to the stunning botanical gardens, dazzling lagoons, and uniquely integrated design with the resort, the Aviara Golf Club is the perfect location to host golf tournaments. It comes as no surprise that the resort has a partnership with LPGA and hosts the Kia Classic each year.
Although the resort hosts people from all over the country, they are intentional about investing in Carlsbad, as well. For example, every 4th of July, the resort closes the driving range and invites the community to play games and watch its fireworks display on the grounds.
In addition to this, the resort is also serious about providing excellent food and beverages to locals through amazing restaurants:
- Ember & Rye, a new steakhouse that partners with the acclaimed Richard Blais, who was the first to win Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars”
- Ponto Lago, a Baja-inspired restaurant that overlooks the cliffs and lagoon near Ponto beach
These restaurants only enhance the incredible experience that people have when they step onto the property. Indeed, the resort’s mission to go above and beyond serving guests has not gone unnoticed, as it has been listed in Conde Naste’s Hotlist, recognized as a Five-Star Resort by Forbes, and is one of the longest-standing AAA five-diamond hotels in the county.
However, according to Geoff, the secret to this excellence is simple: have a great team.
“We're blessed with an incredible destination [and] a beautiful resort, but what makes the difference are our colleagues that just bring life and soul to our property and [provide] that experience for our guests every single day,” Geoff says, “That recognition is really for them.”
If you want to learn more about golfing on the stunning golf course, staying at the beautiful resort, hosting an event, or eating at one of the fantastic restaurants, visit the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa’s website.
Click here to check out Aviara’s restaurants.
Book a stay at the Aviara.
Check out the Golf Club.
Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting.