Being that we live in the Carlsbad area, we get a lot of calls from friends planning to visit LEGOLAND, asking where they should stay. I had a short list of hotels that I'd recommend. This place just got added to the top slot:
The new LEGOLAND Hotel, the only one of it's kind, is now open in Carlsbad, California!
You know you're at the right place as soon as you enter the LEGOLAND Hotel parking lot. LEGO statues and brightly colored hotel walls make it clear that you've arrived at Destination FUN!
The entrance of the hotel is guarded by a daunting dragon, but don't worry... he doesn't bite.
Entering the hotel feels a bit like an invitation to play. The bright primary colors could have been overwhelming, but the designers knew what they were doing. With all the eye catching details throughout the hotel, the decor is more delightful than distracting. For instance, while checking in, I was eyeing a wall of LEGO Miniatures behind the Front Desk. I was looking at the various characters as they were magnified by a passing LEGO bike rider's wheels.
At the same time, my kids were in the Lego "pit" just behind us playing and building.
Getting to your room is half the fun. The hallways are decorated to each theme (Kingdom, Adventure, or Pirates), plus there's an awesome Disco Elevator that you'll want to ride over and over again, even if you're on the first floor. And no matter how old you are, it'll be hard to resist stepping on the Whoopee Cushion in the corner by the elevator.
Once you finally get to your room, you'll have fun checking out all the little LEGO statues. Hanging out in your room is nearly as fun as actually going into the park!
Kids have their own sleeping area with fair warning for adults to stay out. My kids were happy to see that they would not have to be sharing a pull out sofa or the other double bed in the room as usual, but instead were treated to bunk beds and their own TV. Naturally, there's a box of Legos to play with in-room, as well.
For our stay, we chose the Kingdom theme.
There are plenty of dining options. The main restaurant, Bricks offers buffet style dining with various choices, and includes a smoothie bar and omelette station for breakfast.
Mini's Cafe is right next to the Castle Play area (picture a castle, a pirate ship, and thousands of LEGOs to play with). The Castle Play area offers nightly entertainment for the whole family. Kids are invited to sit up close to the stage while parents can chill at Mini's just behind them.
Skyline Lounge has a bit of a swankier vibe where you can order your standard bar food (think nachos and calamari) and adult beverages. You can eat in the lounge or out on the patio by the pool.
Speaking of the pool... although there is no jacuzzi or water slide, this colorful area probably won't be lacking in the way of splashes and giggles. The cabana areas are ideal for poolside snacking and staying out of the sun. And during peak season, there will be swim-up movie nights.
LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA RESORT
LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Hotel are only part of the entire LEGOLAND California Resort. Also included are SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park. You're probably going to want a couple of days to enjoy it all. LEGOLAND Hotel offers various packages that include passes to all resort areas.
One benefit to staying at LEGOLAND Hotel when visiting the resort is that guests have exclusive early access into the park. If you're like me, you'll take advantage of this opportunity and head straight for the rides before the lines start to form! And being able to walk out of the hotel and straight into the park without worrying about parking = PRICELESS! Not to mention having the option of going back to the room for a family nap.
My kids (Boy 9, Girl 11) loved their stay at Legoland Hotel. They've been lucky enough to travel a fair amount with us, so they've seen a variety of hotels, some more family friendly than others. Their take was that of all the places they've ever stayed, this was the best hotel for kids. They loved the separate sleeping area, the food options, and the general fun vibe of the entire hotel.
Disclosure: Our family was happy to be invited to enjoy the inaugural night at the LEGOLand Hotel, along with passes to the theme park as Media for the Grand Opening.