Review: LEGOLAND California Hotel With Kids
There’s no doubt that LEGOLAND Calfornia is one of San Diego’s best attractions. The new LEGOLAND California Hotel gives visiting families the opportunity to immerse in all things LEGO even after the park closes. We finally had the chance to check it out courtesy of LEGOLAND. But is the hotel right for your family? It depends.
LEGOLAND California Hotel Location
It’s literally right next to the park entrance which makes it easy to walk back to the room and collapse after a long day or take a mid-day rest. In fact, one of the benefits of staying at the LEGOLAND California Hotel is the ability to enter the park 30 minutes before it opens to hit the popular rides before the crowds come.
LEGOs Galore Inside The Rooms
Check in at the front desk, which has probably thousands of little LEGO men on the wall. A bicycle with magnifying glasses as wheels floats back and forth against the wall, making the LEGO men (and women?) large enough to be seen along the way. This is cool. Kids are handed a simple scavenger hunt map to familiarize themselves with what’s around the hotel. When done, they unlock a treasure chest in the room containing a small LEGO prize.
The in-floor whoopie cushion next to the disco-music-playing elevators is a big hit. People rave about the elevators but we went on a busy weekend in September so we were packed like sardines in them most of the time. Only two elevators service the hotel, but there are just three floors.
We chose an Adventure-themed room (choices are Pirate, Adventure or Kingdom) and my daughter went totally bug-eyed after walking inside. Between ornate LEGO sculptures and floor-to-ceiling LEGO wallpaper, the rooms are a kid’s dream. A separate enclave houses bunk beds and a TV (with tons of shows on demand), which is a brilliant design feature. Juice, water and coffee are complimentary and there’s an empty fridge to store your own food (though, frankly, I could have used a mini bar). The bathroom is on the small side, but has a shower/tub combo and even a potty training seat attached to the toilet.
Note that if you like to use your laptop, charge your phone, or use a device needing a bedside plug, there aren’t any plugs nearby. I checked and even tried to jimmy the one our lamp was plugged into. They are designed not to be tampered with so you’ll have to get up and sit at the desk to use a plug. My bed was quite comfortable, actually, so I just unplugged.
LEGOLAND California Hotel Dining
Bricks Family Restaurant serves buffet breakfast and dinner and I would highly encourage you to eat on the early side in order to avoid a line if the hotel is busy. Breakfast is standard fare with a decent range of hot and cold items with characters appeareing after 8am. Dinner was a more elaborate buffet serving Chinese, Italian, BBQ (in fact, the entire area was full of BBQ smoke), and more with plenty of kid favorites. Coloring pages line the tables at dinner (not breakfast) to calm feisty kids. Because it was busy, it took a while for a server to come around and take a wine order but other drinks are available at the buffet. The dinner price is reasonable at $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 3 and older.
A buffet where every single table has one or more kids, is hectic. For a little more peace and less of a hurried feel, choose the Skyline Cafe where a limited food menu and plenty of drinks are on offer.
In-room dining mentions that food is served in more of a to-go fashion and we didn’t have time to try it. However, next to the giant play structure near the lobby is a fabulous coffee bar that served up a great Chardonnay at happy hour along with Goldfish and other snacks. Park here and decompress while the kids play.
If you’re a foodie craving an upscale, farm-to-table experience, plenty of Carlsbad restaurants are nearby.
A pool with floating LEGO bricks cools down kids on a hot day. Life jackets are encouraged and free to use along with lounge chairs and a handful of cabanas. The lifeguard diligently monitors the kids, blowing the whistle constantly to keep them in check. Poolside drinks and snacks are available.
A LEGO pit in the lobby as well as a pirate-themed play structure nearby keep kids entertained. Characters make afternoon appearances near the pirate ship for plenty of photo opps. Both valet parking and self parking are complimentary as is internet.
LEGOLAND California did a phenomenal job of creating a dream hotel for kids. Parents need to realize that the hotel is more or less an extension of the park, meaning that if you’ll looking for a zen holiday, this isn’t the place. It’s a vacation or staycation that your kids will remember, however.
Have you been? Would you go?
*Thanks to LEGOLAND California for hosting us!