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.
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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.
- Resort amenities include complimentary chairs, towels, and umbrellas.
- Complimentary coffee and tea are available in the lobby daily (mornings).
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 it has a lot of RVs and tents.
- Cross a four-lane road to get to the beach and walk about 10 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.
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 42-inch flat-screen television, mini refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee/tea maker, high-speed internet access, and an in-room safe.
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 chair 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 have the option of a sleeper sofa when opting for a king bed room. Instead, those rooms feature an oversized chair with 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.
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.
Hotel Renovations: It’s also important to mention that there have been a few complaints of stained carpet and scratched headboards. So, if this is a deal breaker for you, you may want to stay elsewhere. However, the hotel has listened to the complaints and is undergoing a complete carpet renovation in November 2018. So if you visit any time after this, you shouldn’t see any issues.
When You Need More Room
The Ocean View Suite is a good option for guests who require more space.
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, 50-inch HDTV, and a queen-sized sofa bed with ottoman.
The bedroom is equipped with a legendary Hilton Serenity Bed, 42-inch HDTV, and an ergonomic work desk with chair. Each of the televisions has Time Warner Cable, Showtime, and HBO. These suites also have complimentary wireless high-speed internet, two phones with two lines, a data port, voicemail, a printer on remote printing, refrigerator, and 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 t0 king with sofa bed or double queen to double queen
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 be used to play your favorite workout DVD, or you can try out one of theirs.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the fitness center provides a variety of classes. Even more exceptional, nutrition educator and fitness specialist Minh Nguyen of Minh’s Living Tree offers a suite of wellness experiences on the property. This includes personal training either in the gym or outdoors, stretch and recovery sessions, group training sessions, and one-on-one personalized nutrition plans.
Cape Rey Carlsbad Pool
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, the pool is a favorite for kids and adults alike.
There are several lounge areas around the 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.
Cabanas can be upgraded to the Go VIP experience, which will also include a personal attendant to cater to all of your needs, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi, two beers, soft drinks, chilled bottled water, and an assortment of fruit.
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
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.
Chandler’s specializes in fresh market fish and sharable favorites such as lobster and shrimp nachos, and short rib flatbread made with smoked Gouda Alfredo and caramelized onion. They also provide an extensive breakfast buffet with an à la carte menu, a weekend brunch menu, a tempting dessert menu, and a wide variety of specialty cocktails, gourmet wines, and select beers.
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 such as manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages.
They use a selection of signature products that are eco-friendly, utilizing pure, naturally sourced ingredients inspired by the sea. A few of their brands include Osea Malibu – a line of 100% vegan products, California’s Tasha & Co Organics, and Phyto C – anti-oxidant skin care with a focus on topical vitamin C. They even have a complete skin care system designed specifically for men, Organic Male OM4.
Ocean Crest features a wide selection of massage treatments including Deep Tissue, Swedish, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Stone, Table Thai, Shiatsu, and Aroma. They also provide specialty massages like Maternity, a Hawaiian ritual style massage used to reduce stress, release tension, and induce a deep relaxation.
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 Coastal Merlot: Vino Therapy Experience and Sound Therapy Massage.
A variety of bodywork services are also available at the Spa, like Ocean Pearls: Detoxifying and Re-mineralizing. During this 80-minute experience you will be exfoliated with kaolin clay to stimulate circulation followed by a hydrating massage. Additionally, they have an extensive list of waxing services and the Sea Melody Package, a 3.5-hour experience that includes three services of your choosing followed by a spa lunch.
Kids will be especially delighted by their Petite Services, Sea Glass, a 25-minute kid manicure, Jelly Pedy, a 25-minute kids pedicure, and Splash of Color, a 15-minute kids polish change.
Surf Ride Adventure Lounge
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.
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 where a beach butler will set everything up for you.
The resort shuttle can take you to Ponto Beach which is recommended for all-day beachgoing and swimming. The beach in front of the hotel is not as ideal for children but can work when more sand is exposed at low tide. Ponto Beach, a quick shuttle ride, offers the quintessential San Diego beach day.
At the end of long beach day, reward your kids with the Ah… Night In experience. Room service delivers steaming cups of hot cocoa to your room. You can cuddle up on the balcony listening to the crashing waves or snuggle up in bed with a movie to end the night.
Even more exciting, the resort provides bike rentals from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., allowing your family to explore the beautiful coastal city of Carlsbad. Each guest gets a free 90-minute bike rental; after that, it’s $12 per two hours.
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, and you can enjoy two-for-one bike rental rates before noon when booked twelve hours in advance. Rentals also include a map of local biking trails, helmet, bike lock, and bottled water.
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, casual 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: 20 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 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
A complimentary business center is open 24 hours. Same-day laundry services are available. Same-day shoe shine services are provided.
Self-parking is $26 per night and valet parking is $31 per night.
There is live music from March to November and at Chandler’s weekend brunch on Sundays.
Check-in is at 4 p.m and check-out is at noon. The $25 resort fee covers access to resort amenities and seasonal offerings that can include 15% off select spa treatments, free Wi-Fi, complimentary “beach packs,” a daily assortment of coffee and tea in the lobby, newspapers, free 800 and local calls, shuttle to Ponto Beach, and a free 90-minute bike rental.
Cape Rey Carlsbad Reservations
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.