We exchanged a week through RCI. I wanted to be near San Diego but not be IN San Diego. Overall, this was a good choice. It's near the beach but not right on the beach. Depending on where you book your room, you could get a beach view but it's still a walk across a street and down some steps to actually feel the sand and the ocean mist. If it's important for you to actually smell the ocean and hear those waves lapping at your door, then this isn't the place for you.
We just got back from our week there. Overall, there were more positives than negatives.
The resort is U-shaped with condos running down the sides (namely, the Elm Condos and the Oak condos) and at the base of the "U" are the hotel rooms. The pool, jacuzzi and courtyard are inside the U so if you have rooms facing the inside, they can get pretty noisy. We were in the Elm Condos, 3rd floor facing the small street and we had no noise. The only complaint I have is people slamming their doors in the morning but that didn't happen often and it didn't keep us from sleeping in. We didn't hear screaming kids running up and down the hallways on the 3rd floor but they were all over the ground floor near the pool area. Lots of families come to Carlsbad Inn so if you find kids annoying, think twice before booking there.
On our first day, we were told that if your check-in is on a Saturday, you're in the Oak Condos. If your check-in is on a Sunday, you're in the Elm Condos. I guess if you check in on any other day, it's a coin toss.
We had a one-bedroom condo. It had plenty of towels, enough dishes, utensils and pots and pans for me to cook breakfast and a couple of dinners, and a big comfortable bed. I had to ask the front desk for a non-stick frying pan to cook eggs because the condo had only stainless steel pans and those are cr@p for making eggs. I don't know why they keep non-stick pans in a secret place at the front desk when the one we got from them was in worse shape than some of the really cheap pans I bought when I first lived on my own.
Wi-fi was pretty good and we didn't have any connection problems. There was always plenty of hot water and the A/C was really efficient. Coming from AZ where the humidity is non-existent, we ran the A/C continuously very cold to keep the humidity down.
On the down side, the condo was dated and needed to be upgraded. The fixtures looked old and the overall feel of the place was tired and used. The carpet was just plain ugly although it didn't look worn. But the furniture was in dark wood and looked modern and upgraded and we had two flat screen tvs so our unit had some upgraded furniture at least.
Our check-in was fast but as we later discovered, they forgot to give us some necessary information. We weren't given our welcome packet until we went down to ask for it (remember, you're supposed to get a welcome packet at check-in). We weren't told about the resort fee and had to ask about that after I discovered a $90+ charge on my credit card. Also, it took us asking the front desk twice to replace the light above our door before someone finally put a new bulb in.
On the plus side, we got our mid-week cleaning and housekeeping did ask us twice if we wanted new towels.
The elevators are slow so hubby and I used the stairs a lot to get up and down from the third floor. Frankly they need more elevators especially when you're trying to schlep all your bags and stuff for a week's stay up to your room and need one of those carts to haul everything but the elevator is just big enough for one cart and maybe two medium size people.
We used the laundromat once, which is located in the parking garage near the Oak Condo elevator. It's small but they have soap for purchase and the washers and dryers are cheap.
I know this is called a "resort" but I believe that a resort should have AT THE VERY LEAST a restaurant on site specifically for the guests, particularly the hotel guests. There's a restaurant on the grounds called Norte but it isn't specifically for the guests - it doesn't have room service or have breakfast available for guests or provide room service to the hotel guests or the units. Although we had a kitchen in our unit, if I'm staying at a "resort" I want the amenity of an onsite restaurant that caters to resort guests, whether you're in the hotel rooms or the timeshare units.
We spent much of our time outside the unit so we missed the calls for timeshare presentations. We did get messages about it (which we ignored). No one pushed us to attend anything although we did get some printed material about units for sale (which we tossed).
We didn't use the pool or jacuzzi - too many kids, too noisy, too crowded - and opted instead to hang out at the beach which was less crowded and the ocean sounds drowned out the screaming children. The unit had beach towels and beach chairs already so we just had to schlep those down to the beach.
The resort is in a good location and our stay had only a few glitches so for our first time in Carlsbad, this was a good choice. But we don't intend to come back and stay here again. Our unit was dated and needs to be upgraded and there are plenty of other nicer places to stay in the area.