The best hotels in Carlsbad, CA, run the gamut from luxurious to playful, and my list of personal favorites includes both. You’ll benefit from my insights on Carlsbad hotels gathered through personal experience, reader feedback, and VIP contacts at hotels I work with.

To give you an idea, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa is popular for its casual nature and kids’ club in San Diego. Four Seasons loyalists like me gravitate toward Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara when it comes to Carlsbad luxury hotels.

I’ve also included hotels in Carlsbad by the beach and near LEGOLAND California in this post because that’s what many families are looking for. 

I’ve indicated the Carlsbad luxury hotels that I have relationships with where I can help you enjoy extras like complimentary breakfasts, room upgrades, spa credits, and more. These are perks you would otherwise not have access to on your own.

Note from Katie: We independently choose all featured hotels. Booking methods mentioned are popular with our readers or ones we think offer the best value. If you book through select links, we may earn a commission and appreciate you supporting our business. Prices and amenities are subject to change. Our editorial guidelines.

Top Hotels by the Beach in Carlsbad

Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa

Interior of a double queen room at Cape Rey
Photo courtesy of Hilton

This hotel is the perfect choice for families who may spend some time at LEGOLAND® but want to enjoy the majority of their time in San Diego at the beach.

While Cape Rey Carlsbad is an official LEGOLAND California partner hotel with an on-site LEGO concierge, it’s also a quick walk away from the shore and the best rooms have beautiful views of the surf.

You can grab a beach pack at the front desk with an umbrella, two chairs, two towels, and bottled water, or book a surf excursion through the hotel’s Director of Adventure. 

Reservations: Join Hilton Honors (free) and book the discounted member rate.

Carlsbad inn beach resort

If you’re looking for a beach front hotel that is also located in the middle of bustling Carlsbad Village, this is it. Carlsbad Inn has a boutique style vibe but feels like a resort thanks to the pool being overlooked by attractive rooms with balconies, with the beach only a short stroll away through the hotel’s pretty grassy garden.

You walk straight into the Village from the front of the hotel, where you’re in the middle of the action and surrounded by restaurants, boutiques, and cafes. Guests can use the hotel’s beach chairs and umbrellas, boogie boards, and there are plenty of games to keep the kids busy while you take a break in the adult’s only hot tub. Located at the front of the resort and overlooking the beach, it’s a great spot to watch sunset.

The rooms are stylishly decorated and you can book a condo that includes a full kitchen. There is also underground parking and one permit per reservation is given.

Beach Terrace Inn

A view of the pool deck overlooking the beach.
Photo courtesy of Beach Terrace Inn

This is one of the most laid back hotels in Carlsbad and it’s the only one located directly on the beach in all of North County.

It’s a small hotel with big rooms, and the decor is definitely beach-inspired. When you stay here, you’ll enjoy a private beach entrance; complimentary beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas; complimentary use of boogie boards and sand toys; a signature beach walk fitness pack; and Sunday morning beach yoga.

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West Inn and Suites

The pool deck lit up at night with the three-story hotel building behind it.
Photo courtesy of West Inn and Suites

Suites run on the larger side at this boutique hotel where the atmosphere is charming and relaxed, making it a great choice for families.

It’s just three blocks (a 10-minute walk) to the beach (and the Museum of Making Music). Guests enjoy day use of beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, beach toys, and bedtime cookies and milk, which are a big hit with small travelers. West Inn & Suites is dog-friendly, too (we’ve taken ours for a staycation there).

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Carlsbad Luxury Hotels

Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, North San Diego

Spacious villas make Four Seasons Aviara one of the best San Diego family hotels.
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

I have a soft spot for the elegant Four Seasons service, residence-style accommodations with living rooms and kitchens, and the brand’s quieter luxury. This Carlsbad luxury hotel is located close to attractions, but guests feel like they are worlds away from the tourist hotspots’ hustle and bustle.

The villas at the Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara, in particular, feel like a home away from home with their living rooms and full kitchens (king rooms have kitchenettes).

The Four Seasons may be luxurious, but it’s also family-friendly. They offer child-sized bathrobes and slippers and special children’s bath amenities. There are babysitters on staff, and the Kids Club 760 has great activities for younger guests (children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult as the club is unstaffed).

Reservations: I can book you in as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner guest (which is how I book my own Four Seasons reservations because of the outstanding benefits).

  • $75 Daily breakfast credit
  • One-time resort credit: $100 for Superior King Guest Rooms, $200 for One Bedroom Villas, $300 for Two Bedroom Villas
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites, villas, and private residences)
  • Complimentary basic Internet in all guest rooms; complimentary premium Internet in all suites
  • Welcome note at check-in acknowledging you and your travel agency and the amenities that are being extended
Four Seasons Preferred Partner logo

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

A child plays in the family swimming pool at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in San Diego

This Carlsbad luxury hotel is a great choice for World of Hyatt members, families traveling to LEGOLAND who prefer to stay at a luxury resort, large groups, and guests who need suites as they tend to price reasonably.

There’s excellent service, excellent golf, an award-winning 15,000-square-foot spa, and lots to do. You can take golf lessons at Aviara Golf Academy, there are tennis clinics, bird-watching outings, and a surf concierge who can get you up and riding waves in a two-hour lesson.

The dining at the Park Hyatt Aviara, which includes the Argyle Steakhouse, is exquisite. Plus, the resort is fresh off of a fantastic renovation of the rooms and common areas. It’s gorgeous. 

Reservations: You can book into Park Hyatt Aviara with Virtuoso amenities at no additional cost that include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily full breakfast, for two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary daily Aviara Spa access for two guests including sauna, whirlpool, steam room and indoor solarium lounge.
  • Locally-inspired culinary welcome amenity
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

When booking on use only the number of adults traveling to get the correct rates. Kids may otherwise be priced as adults. We will add them after we follow up to collect your arrival details.

*You may need to be on the desktop version of to search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version of a hotel page from a mobile device, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation.

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Splash Landing pool with water slides

This Carlsbad hotel is less luxe and more casual than the two above but widely regarded as one of San Diego’s most family-friendly resorts. The gorgeous villas with designer kitchens are perfect for large families or multigenerational vacationers, and guests of all ages can have a wonderful time without ever stepping foot off the resort.

There are two world-renowned golf courses; lifestyle boutiques for golf, yoga and beach gear; wellness treatments at The Spa; and an impressive daily activity schedule for kids that can include anything from reptile shows to crafts. The Omni La Costa kids’ club is staffed year-round.

Reservations: I used to book Omni La Costa with my extra benefits but I find that people who stay here either book directly using Omni sale rates or through

Hotels Near LEGOLAND California Resort

Some of the best hotels in Carlsbad also happen to be hotels near LEGOLAND. It’s nice because it means you don’t have to sacrifice comfort just because this theme park will be a big part of your California vacation. 

And, don’t forget that you can buy discounted tickets to LEGOLAND California.

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

The hotel pool with waterslide looking out to the ocean.
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

This comfortable Carlsbad hotel is actually located right next door to LEGOLAND (adjacent to the Crossings Carlsbad golf course) and has its own private entrance to LEGOLAND California Resort.

It also has beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the world-class Ocean Pearl Spa, and the 7 Mile Kitchen restaurant, which serves some of the best seasonal California coastal cuisines. It’s a great option for families visiting LEGOLAND who’d prefer not to stay in one of the park’s two themed resorts. The pool even has a water slide.

Reservations: Join Marriott Bonvoy (free) and book the discounted member rate.

Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Aerial view to the ocean of Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa palm tree lined pool.
Photo courtesy of Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa is adjacent to the Sheraton Carlsbad. Of the two, it caters more toward couples and business travelers as there are less family amenities. It’s a new hotel though with freshly decorated contemporary rooms so if you prefer to stay here with the kids then go for it.

With its sweeping views of the north Pacific Ocean, this refined hotel isn’t on the beach but there are pristine beaches not far away and the drive up the coast to reach them is a gorgeous one. When you’re not at the beach, you can still splash around in the hotel’s four pools and five Jacuzzis.

Reservations: Join Marriott Bonvoy (free) and book the discounted member rate.

the cassara carlsbad

This stylish hotel is part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton and is a great choice for families. It’s located atop the Carlsbad Flower Fields, and LEGOLAND is a quick walk across the street, similar to the two hotels above. Choose from two pools – both with jacuzzis – that will keep the whole family busy when not sightseeing. One is Olympic size with swim lanes while the other is a family pool with slides and a kids splash pad. For those who don’t have their own car, a free shuttle will take you to the Carlsbad Outlets (you can totally walk there though) or the local beaches.

The hotel’s Cassara Kitchen & Bar serves up Mediterranean-style bites and cocktails overlooking the pool and there are plenty of firepits dotted around the property to snuggle up around in the evenings. The hotel also offers pet-friendly rooms.


The LEGOLAND Resort Hotels

LEGO pits and more in the LEGOLAND Hotel lobby

Visitors planning to spend multiple days at the park may want to stay at the ultra kid-friendly LEGOLAND Hotel or LEGOLAND Castle Hotel for the convenience and the fun.

LEGO fans will love how immersive these hotels are (there’s LEGO decor in every room) and the fact that guests can enter the park and go on certain rides 30 minutes before the park opens to the public. Kids who stay at both hotels get a Welcome Treasure Hunt map and a prize for finding the treasure.

Reservations: Check prices on top sites for both (powered by TripAdvisor).

Grand Pacific Palisades

Family pool with cabanas and water play area at Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad

This is one of the best hotels in Carlsbad for families because it has a pedestrian entrance to LEGOLAND (across the street) and vacation rental condos with full kitchens.

When we stayed here, many guests were stocking up at the nearby Costco to prepare meals in their suites to enjoy the facilities (many left their doors open to let kids run around as it’s very casual).

In addition to a family-friendly pool with a splash pad, there’s a separate adults-only, Olympic-sized pool with a sunset view and cabanas, plus a free trolley to Carlsbad’s pristine Tamarack Beach.

You can order in-room massage treatments, and the hotel is also a free shuttle away from the luxurious Ocean Pearl Spa at the Sheraton Carlsbad.

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If you’re a fan of this San Diego County beach city, what are your best tips for visiting Carlsbad, CA?

*Top photo is courtesy of Hilton

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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