Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa is a full-service North San Diego County resort that caters to various travel styles. It’s across (busy) Carlsbad Boulevard from Carlsbad State Beach and my top pick for visitors who want to stay at a (pretty much) beachfront full-service resort in Carlsbad.

I like it also because room rates don’t usually break the bank, given the beach location and amenities. They run a shuttle to LEGOLAND California — giving families easy access to the best of both worlds (theme park and beach) — and the restaurants in Carlsbad Village.

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.

Find the Best Price on Hilton.com

When it comes to booking Cape Rey Carlsbad, usually direct with a Hilton Honors discount is the way to go.

The Cape Rey Carlsbad outdoor swimming pool at sunset.
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1 Ponto Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011

WHAT I LOVE

  • It’s popular with families.
  • The pool area has lots of comfortable seating areas, including oversized high-top tables and a picturesque fire pit.
  • Kids love the hot tub and pool at night when the lights switch colors.
  • Complimentary shuttle services are available within five miles of the resort, which includes LEGOLAND. (Plan ahead; shuttle times vary and fill up quickly.)
  • Seasonal beach butlers are provided exclusively for guests at Ponto Beach from May to September.
  • Resort amenities include complimentary chairs, towels, and umbrellas.
  • Complimentary coffee and tea are available in the lobby daily (mornings).
  • Complimentary beach cruisers for 90 minutes per day.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Cape Rey Carlsbad is across from Carlsbad State Beach, a popular surfing spot.
  • The beach park in front of the hotel is for overnight camping, so there are many RVs and tents.
  • Cross a four-lane road to get to the beach and walk about ten paces through the campsite to a staircase that descends onto the rocky beach.
  • The resort is surrounded by a residential neighborhood, but there is a small retail center about a mile away with a Ralph’s grocery store, Starbuck’s, and other shops.
  • Rooms on the third floor offer the best ocean views.

Choosing the Right Room at Cape Rey Carlsbad

This oceanfront property offers you the choice of three guestrooms, Traditional Guestroom, Ocean View Guestroom, and Cape Rey Pool/Partial Ocean View Guestroom.

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort king room

They all provide approximately 400 square feet of space and are equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a Hilton Resort. This includes a 50-inch flat-screen television, mini refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee/tea maker, high-speed internet access, and an in-room safe.

Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort bathroom

Each room also has an elegantly designed bathroom with marble countertops, wood finishes, and a large glass-enclosed shower. For those in need of more space, the hotel features one-bedroom Ocean View Suites.

A Closer Look

All of the craftsman guestrooms share the same modern, ocean-inspired design and décor with warm hues of gold accentuated by rich mahogany wood furnishings and plush, comfortable furniture. While there are several similarities between the three guestrooms, including a stylish work desk with ergonomic chairs and large decorative headboards, there are also slight differences between them.

  • The only rooms with a large attached balcony are the Ocean View Balcony rooms.
  • Rooms with a balcony offer impressive views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Traditional rooms do not have pool or ocean views.
  • Ocean View Balcony and Cape Rey Pool/Partial Ocean View rooms give you the choice of two queen beds, or one king bed and a sleeper sofa.
  • Traditional rooms do not offer a sleeper sofa when choosing a king bed. Instead, they feature an oversized chair with an ottoman.
  • If you’re staying in a Cape Rey Pool room, expect only a partial view of the ocean.
  • All rooms come with plush robes and slippers for you to relax in.
An ocean view double queen room

Room Tip: When booking an ocean view room, choose one on the second, or more preferably, the third floor. There is a campsite situated across the street in front of the resort. If your ocean view room is located on the first floor, you’ll have somewhat of an obstructed view overlooking the tops of campsites and the bushes that surround them.

When You Need More Room

The Ocean View Suite is a good option for guests who require more space.

Cape Rey Carlsbad Ocean View Suite

These spacious accommodations offer you 1,000 square feet of space and extraordinary views of the Pacific Ocean from the large attached balcony. Each suite features an expansive living room with a gorgeous dining table and a convenient wet bar. It also has a separate parlor, a 50-inch HDTV, and a queen-sized sofa bed, armchair, and ottoman.

The bedroom is equipped with a legendary Hilton Serenity Bed and an ergonomic work desk with a chair. Each of the televisions has cable with Premium HBO, CNN, and ESPN. These suites also have complimentary wireless high-speed internet, two phones with two lines, a data port, voicemail, a printer on remote printing, a refrigerator, and a microwave, as well as an in-room coffee maker and a safe.

As an added bonus, Ocean View Suites can be connected to a Partial Ocean View double queen for a second bedroom. Connecting rooms at Cape Rey Carlsbad can be requested but are not guaranteed, though they do their best to accommodate. These rooms include:

  • Traditional Guestrooms: double queen to double queen
  • Partial Ocean View: King with sofa bed to king with sofa bed or double queen to double queen

Hotel Amenities

Cape Rey Carlsbad Fitness Center

Cape Rey Carlsbad Fitness Center

Whether you’re simply maintaining your healthy physique or you’ve just begun your wellness journey, the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center has all the tools you need to keep you going. You can tread, spin, bounce, and lift your way into shape while enjoying picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean and resort pool through the gym’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The big-screen television can play your favorite workout DVD, or you can try out one of theirs.

Cape Rey Carlsbad Pool

Pool cabana at Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and nestled among Chandler’s Restaurant, the fitness center, and the hotel lobby, the expansive pool area is centrally located. A beautiful outdoor oasis, framed by towering palm trees, the pool is a favorite for kids and adults alike.

There are several lounge areas around the 4000-sq-ft resort-style pool and hot tub, including a fire-pit area with cozy outdoor couches, high-top table and chair seating ideal for enjoying a meal, and gorgeous private cabanas outfitted with one sofa lounger, two oversized chaise lounge chairs, and cute side tables.

You can order food and drinks from onsite restaurant Chandlers, to enjoy around at the pool or on the patios.

Cabanas can be upgraded to the Go VIP experience for up to four people, which will also include complimentary Wi-Fi, bottled water, coconut water, and a snack basket for four.

The pool at Cape Rey Carlsbad

Kid Highlight: The pool features LED lights that change colors, an enthralling sight for the littles during a night swim. This is also a zero-entry pool, so if you have toddlers, you can still get them in the pool for a little splashing fun without having to worry about the depth of the water.

Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge

Cape Rey Carlsbad Chandler's Restaurant

Embodying the West Coast mindset, Chandler’s Restaurant provides an understated yet innovative menu of California favorites in a simple and open setting by the sea. Whether you choose to dine indoors or outdoors, you’ll love the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

You’ll dine on tasty dishes made with only locally sourced, upgraded ingredients. Open seven days a week, the menu’s diversity ensures you’ll never have to eat the same thing twice – unless, of course, you want to.

Fish Tacos at Chandler's Restaurant inside Cape Rey Carlsbad

Chandler’s specializes in fresh market fish, and its dinner menu offers a wide variety of creative seafood choices, alongside Ribeye, Filet Mignon, lamb, chicken, and Thai Zoodle options. It also provides an extensive breakfast and brunch à la carte menu, a tempting dessert menu, and a wide variety of specialty cocktails, gourmet wines, and select beers.

Cape Rey Carlsbad outdoor dining

Ocean Crest Spa

When you need to unwind and rejuvenate, the Ocean Crest Spa is the place. They provide a collection of full-body experiences and personalized treatments, including a huge array of massage options.

Ocean Crest Spa at Cape Rey Carlsbad
A couple’s treatment room

They use a selection of eco-friendly signature products, utilizing pure, naturally sourced ingredients inspired by the sea. Their luxe brands include seaweed-infused Voya products and the Vital Body Therapeutics CBD skincare line.

Ocean Crest features a wide selection of massage treatments, including Deep Tissue, Swedish, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Stone, Thai, Shiatsu, and Aromatherapy. They also provide specialty massages like Maternity, which is a pregnancy and prenatal option.

Dual treatment rooms are also available for a variety of couples’ massages and experiences. Table for Two: Vanilla Bourbon Experience is a vanilla bourbon bath for two, followed by an aromatherapy massage and ending with a champagne toast. Couples can also indulge in the California Chardonnay Vino Experience, where couples will indulge in a Chardonnay bubble bath, followed by a foot scrub and massage, and a full body chardonnay massage.

A wide variety of bodywork services are also available at the Spa, like Ocean Pearls: Detoxifying and Re-mineralizing, during which you will be exfoliated with kaolin clay to stimulate circulation, followed by a head massage and then a full hydrating massage. Additionally, the Sea Melody Package is a 3.5-hour experience that includes three services of your choosing, followed by a spa lunch.

Surf Ride Adventure Lounge

Surf Ride Adventure Lounge Cape Rey Carlsbad

The one-stop surf shop and lounge at Cape Rey Carlsbad is open in partnership with Diego retailer, Surf Ride. Here, guests and residents can take the latest boards out for a test ride, book group or private lessons, and even book a helicopter tour to check the waves.

Outdoor Family Fun at Cape Rey Carlsbad

While the resort has a long and glorious list of amenities, almost nothing compares to the personalized outdoor experiences provided by the front desk and concierge services. One of the most popular services is the “Beach Pack,” made by their esteemed bell team.

Cape Rey Carlsbad beach

Beach Packs include an umbrella, towels, chairs, and bottled water for the whole family. This can be taken down to the beach directly in front of the resort or to Ponto Beach, not far away, which usually has more sand. The resort offers a Beach Butler Service from Memorial Day through Labor Day, where a beach butler will set everything up for you, and you just need to show up beach-ready.

Surf fans or newbies will love the hotel’s lessons and gear package to get in that quintessential SoCal must-do. In partnership with local family-owned Surfin’ Fire Surf School, Cape Rey gives guests the option of either private or group lessons all year round. All lesson fees include round-trip shuttle service to the beach, instruction, and surfboard and wetsuit rental.

For the ultimate beach cruise, the resort also provides bike rentals allowing your family to explore the beautiful coastal city of Carlsbad. Each guest gets a free 90-minute bike rental, and you can pay extra for longer.

Cape Rey Carlsbad bike ride

There is a limited supply of bikes, so it’s important that you plan and reserve your bikes ahead of time to ensure you’ll be able to ride. For an extra fee, extended hours are available when requested. Rentals also include a map of local biking trails, helmet, bike lock, and bottled water.

The hotel also offers guests 20% off E-Bike rentals at the nearby Griff E-Bikes so you can cruise in style and even head to other neighboring beaches like Encinitas or Oceanside.

Cape Rey is close to several excellent golf courses, and you can book lessons or a round of golf but you may need a babysitter.

The Carlsbad Neighborhood

Located roughly 40 minutes north of the city of San Diego, Carlsbad is a charming coastal town known for its upscale boutique shops, great restaurants, legendary surf, and famous attractions. There are several award-winning regional wineries and craft breweries to experience. You’ll definitely want to explore the quaint Carlsbad Village with its weekly farmers’ market and take a sunset stroll along Tamarack Beach, another popular Carlsbad beach.

Carlsbad is the ideal destination for outdoor adventure, too, with several deep-sea fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and sailboat excursions. The Flower Fields and Batiquitos Lagoon Ecological Reserve are both worth a visit. The Coaster is a train that loops from San Diego to Oceanside with stops in Carlsbad and other seaside towns for those looking for a fun and easy way to explore more.

See also: 30 Things to Do in Carlsbad with Kids

Cape Rey Carlsbad is just minutes from LEGOLAND California Resort, which includes the Waterpark and SEA LIFE Aquarium featuring more than 200 aquatic species. This is a great place to use a Go City San Diego pass or discounted LEGOLAND tickets.

Carlsbad is just a short drive (or train ride) south to many of San Diego’s prominent attractions, including SeaWorld San Diego, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Zoo, as well as Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and the Del Mar Racetrack next door in Del Mar, home of the San Diego Fair.

Hotel Policies and Other Amenities

Cape Rey Carlsbad business center

A complimentary business center is open 24 hours. Same-day laundry services are available.

Self-parking is $30 per night and valet parking is $40 per night. Pets up to 25lbs are allowed for an extra fee.

Chandler’s has live music every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evening from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and happy hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m. every day.

Check-in is at 4 p.m., and check-out is at noon. The $35 resort fee (subject to change) covers access to resort amenities and seasonal offerings, which can include 15% off select spa treatments, 10% off pool cabanas and gift shop retail, 20% off E-bike rentals, free Wi-Fi, a daily assortment of coffee and tea in the lobby, a local shuttle with a 5-mile radius, and a free 90-minute bike rental.

Cape Rey Carlsbad Reservations

Outdoor patio at Cape Rey Carlsbad

You can use and receive Hilton Honors Rewards if you’re a member (it’s free to join). In fact, the best way to book this hotel with the Hilton Honors discount.

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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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