A Grownup Resort for Families

Revisiting and recharging at the renovated, four-star Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

Revisiting and recharging at the renovated, four-star Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

By Meg Walburn Viviano

Does a resort getaway still count as a getaway if it is less than two hours’ drive from home? Is it still a getaway if you bring your two-year-old child and five-month-old baby along?

The answer to both questions is yes—if you’re getting away to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf, Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge. The waterfront resort is upscale and kid-friendly, stimulating and peaceful. 

My husband and I spent a long weekend at the Hyatt to celebrate our fifth anniversary, with our two little guys in tow. The weather was just as beautiful as the September weekend we got married—clear, blue skies, and just cool enough for comfort.

Pulling up to the resort, we unloaded an embarrassing amount of luggage for a two-night stay, but the valet greeted us warmly and found us a bellhop.

We stepped into the breezy lobby upon arrival and were greeted by a two-story wall of windows overlooking the Choptank River, its bridge stretching into the distance. The lobby lounge, Michener’s Library, is flanked by stone fireplaces and cozy nooks, and its doors lead to a serene outdoor lawn with rocking chairs, fountains, and a fireplace for roasting marshmallows. (If you didn’t bring your own, the resort’s “general store” offers s’more kits, with all the fixings and even a skewer).

Hyatt recently spent $7 million on renovating parts of the resort, and the updates were evident inside our top-floor water-view guest suite. The décor is nautical—but subtle. Dark marine blues and brass knobs evoke maritime tradition, and if you look closely at the ceiling fan, you will see that its blades resemble wooden oars.

We’d requested a mini-crib for our baby, and it was waiting in our room upon check-in, with a
neatly folded baby blanket and a hotel-sized baby shampoo and lotion set. Those small touches meant
more to this exhausted mother than turn-down service with chocolates and rose petals.

Staying onsite for dinner, we found the best of both worlds: grownup food and drink, with kid-friendly extras. The resort describes the Water’s Edge Grill as a “casually relaxed” American grill for families. It is a rare restaurant, indeed, where I can order an artfully arranged charcuterie plate and a glass of rosé while my toddler scribbles on a coloring-page place mat and drinks happily from a dinosaur-themed plastic straw cup. Reservations are recommended.

That evening, we were surprised by a knock at our suite door—My father had arranged the delivery of flowers from a local florist and a bottle of champagne in honor of our anniversary. It was a classy move, and we fully enjoyed our bubbly on the balcony as our little ones slept inside. 

Looking out over the nighttime Choptank, I watched cars’ headlights glide across the Route 50 bridge, marveling that I could see the entire bridge, but could hear no traffic noise at all. In fact, the only sound I heard was the sputter of the fountains on the lawn below us. The next day, I would overhear a staff member mention that the resort had hosted a 400-person wedding that night. I didn’t hear a peep.

We spent the next day exploring the Hyatt’s many outdoor spots. We picked up coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Bay Country Market, the resort’s lobby-level general store. From there, we walked along the crushed-shell waterfront path to the 150-slip River Marsh Marina. On the walk we encountered a buzzard, several butterflies, and a cartoonish, grumpy green heron, who hopped around trying to intimidate us on
the path.

The small-boat launch offers fun ways to get on the water, like jetskis and kayaks. A small beach just down the hill from the Hyatt’s two outdoor pools (where you’ll find a pool bar and water slide) was just the right size for our toddler to play in the sand and splash around. 

The outdoor activities don’t stop there. Beach volleyball and tennis courts sit next to the mini-golf course; it’s all free for hotel and marina guests. The indoor pool, complete with giant swan-shaped floats, was just as popular as the outdoor pools were during our stay. There’s a locker room just inside the pool facility, an up-to-date fitness center, and the Captain’s Parlor game room outfitted with foosball, shuffleboard, and arcade games for older kids and teens.

On the west end of the resort, Camp Hyatt offers children’s programs that allow parents to get away for a few hours. Our kids were still too young to attend, but they did enjoy the playground.

With everybody happily occupied, I saw my chance to steal away for some me-time and inquired at the front desk about the resort’s jogging path. The concierge was able to give me a helpful route map detailing the path, which circles around the resort and past the River Marsh golf course, out to the entrance and back.

After a couple of loops and a charming encounter with a doe and her fawn, I ended my run back at the playground. Our family of four meandered around the riverfront onto the lush lawn. My two-year-old pulled off his shoes and socks, leaping around on the grass. The baby had just nodded off in his stroller. My husband and I sat in side-by-side lounge chairs as the sun set on our anniversary getaway.

Meg Walburn Viviano is CBM’s Bay Bulletin news director. Subscribe for free at chesapeakebaymagazine.com/baybulletin.