Nearby Attractions Make Quaint Inn the Perfect Escape for Angelenos
When I told a friend that I was going to the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort, she knew of the place right away.
“It’s been there a while,” she told me, “Nice, but a little worn-down.”
That was the old Carlsbad Inn. After 25 years, the resort recently got a facelift. The third floor is now the Premiere Level, featuring spacious rooms with a king or two queen beds, designer bed linens, a sitting area, plantation window shutters, an impressive marble bathroom with a walk-in shower and plush robes in each room. Another nice touch for my three-year-old son traveling with me was the origami-style puppy sculpted out of hand towels and posed on the bath vanity. Each room also includes a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee brewer, iHome docking station, flat screen TV, DVD player and Wi-Fi service.
The inn also passed a hallmark I use to measure a tidy hotel – neat hallways with clean, updated carpeting. The lobby, with signs of renovation still underway, was a bit on the vintage side, but despite its aged décor, it had an inviting charm, complete with an indoor water garden where my son amused himself each time we passed through by throwing in a penny and making a wish.
From the moment we arrived, I was not disappointed in the amenities. Parking was easy and free. Each time I took the car out, I came back to find ample parking right in front of the hotel. Besides the primo location of the hotel, which overlooks the ocean and is walking distance from the adorable town of Carlsbad, a big attraction for me, as mom of a preschooler, is the proximity to Legoland.
After a leisurely breakfast of eggs, bacon and biscuits on the patio of the resort’s Daily News Café, my son and I drove less than 10 minutes to the amusement park. We got a park hopper pass which included the new Sea Life Aquarium, and we upgraded our ticket for admission to the new Legoland Water Park, which made for a full day of fun with a variety of rides and attractions — many designed just for young children.
My son quickly learned the ropes, standing beside the bar at the entrance of each ride to see if he met the minimum height requirements. At 38 inches he qualified for most attractions, including his favorite, the Coastersaurus, his first roller coaster, which was a thrill for both of us.
Like many amusement parks, Legoland has a variety of themed villages, such as Dino Island, filled with prehistoric creatures and an excavation area where budding paleontologists can dig for fossils, and Pirate Shores, featuring water attractions for little buccaneers, and Miniland USA, the heart of Legoland, famed for its reproductions of seven regions of the country constructed with 20 million LEGO bricks.
One brilliant feature of Legoland are the areas outside of the lines for rides where kids can play with LEGOs while parents stand in line. These play areas were a lifesaver, because as every parent knows, little ones can be very impatient waiting in lines unless occupied.
Overall, Legoland was a terrific experience, though in comparison with one un-named premier national amusement park in nearby Anaheim, Legoland could have used some sprucing up, as the grounds were not as spic and span as they could have been, some of the Lego sculptures were worse for wear from the outdoor elements, and some of the rides needed a tweak, like the popular Fun Town Sky Crusier, which we waited more than an hour and a half to ride, only to get a car with busted pedals, much to my son’s disappointment. Still, we had a wonderful time and will definitely go back again.
Back at the hotel, the entertainment didn’t stop. My son loved the media center and huge flat screen TV in the room as I had brought along some of his favorite DVDs that kept him occupied when I needed some quiet time to relax in the room.
Check-out day, we strolled the gorgeous grounds of the resort, with a lush grassy lawn behind the hotel laid out with lounges awaiting guests to relax and take in the ocean air and sunshine. From the courtyard, guests can access the beach from steps that lead down to the street and to the ocean.
Though the resort has a total of 61 rooms and features many world-class amenities, the aura of the property is one of a casual and intimate boutique hotel, an ambience that reminds visitors of a contemporary European inn. The service is accordingly friendly and professional. Upon arriving, the concierge not only greeted us with a warm “hello” but offered my son a souvenir foam dolphin toy. When my hard-playing son promptly broke the toy in half, the front desk clerk averted a mini-meltdown by immediately replacing the broken toy with a Seaworld plush whale, much to my son’s delight, and mine too.
As every kid asks when you mention the word “hotel,” yes, there was a pool, but we hardly had time for that, with all the resort activities for families, including free bikes and joggers, a fitness center, family movie matinees in the library with complementary popcorn, lawn games for kids, ping pong tables and face painting by Pocket the Clown. Besides the on-grounds activities, there was plenty to do in town, with many quaint shops and restaurants to keep us busy within walking distance of our hotel.
Indeed, the location of The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort is perhaps their main draw. With this in mind, the hotel has opened up its lobby and library for visitors to enjoy the expansive, breathtaking views of the blue water which the hotel overlooks.
While the resort lends itself easily to a great family vacation, it would also make a wonderful romantic getaway for couples or a quickie vacation for hard-working, fun-loving Angelenos who are just a 90-minute drive away to an escape from the city where they can eat, drink and be merry and enjoy a vibrant night life just steps away from the hotel.
My only regret about my stay at the inn was that it was too short, but I did not fret too much, as I am sure we will go back soon.