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“Promising stay turns ugly at checkout.........” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa

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Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Ponto Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011   |  
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Ranked #5 of 34 hotels in Carlsbad
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Promising stay turns ugly at checkout.........”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013 via mobile

Lets start with the good: property is nice and new, pool and spa properly heated, food at Chandler's good and outside patio heated. Rooms tastefully decorated and clean.... All this ruined at checkout. I have been a Hilton "Honors" member for years, during the holidays my employee gave me two Honors gift cards that should be good at properties that accept the American Express card (this in the tiny fine print paper that came with the gift cards). Ryan checked me in at the front desk, I showed him the gift cards and asked him if I could apply them to my account, so that any remaining balance would be charged to my AMEX card --- quick review and check out, he said it be better to use those at the end of the stay. I thought that was kind of weird but what happened at checkout made it make more sense. Had a pretty good stay- see my good comments at the beginning of my review. Next morning I told my wife I was going to the front desk to check out and apply the "honors" gift cards. Michael at the front desk said, no problem then tried to run the gift cards........ Sorry they are declined... My first thought this is embarrassing / was my gift a joke? -- however no reason or suggestions from Michael. I took back one of the cards and called the number on the back to check the balance- card active and full balance on the card, I took the second card miss typed the number and ended up talking to an AMEX service person, Morris, he told me that this Hilton property does not accept the gift card, he LOL and asked if he could help me with anything else, won't get into what was said on the phone after that with him and his supervisor which I had to wait 10 min to talk to. Why at any point did either of the front desk people inform me that the Hilton Honors gift card not accepted at this Hilton with me staring at the Honors sign right in front of me. Either bad training at the front desk or not saying anything --- just get the customer to use another form of payment... Either way indicator of weak management. Finally another person, Alaa showed up and offered to run the cards at the other Hilton property down the street, when he called the other property I heard him say "need to run another card" this made me think that they have done this before---and knew that the honors gift cards would no work at their location, when I asked him he did not deny it. Even though Alaa, ended up solve the problem, which I thank him -- this experience ruined my stay. Again indicator of weak management. As said in another review, other than Alaa, the people here act arrogant. I guess I will have to pay more and stay at La Costa Resort where they at least bend over backwards to please the customer.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 18, 2013
Dear A M,

Thank you for your candid feedback on your recent stay at the new Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. My most sincere apologies for the confusion with your Amex Gift Card. To clarify: Yes, we do accept pre-paid gift cards as a method of payment. After researching this particular situation, it is clear that the problem with this transaction was a technical error with our computer system. Again, my apologies for any embarrassment and inconvenience this caused you. I am happy to hear that Alaa was able to work around our technical error so that you could use the gift card given to you.

I do hope that the next time you are in North County San Diego you give us another chance to show you a seamless experience. Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss the matter further or set up your next reservation.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
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476 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (142)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

This is our second stay at this hotel after a great experience back in August. The service has not missed a step. Everyone we encountered was very courteous and helpful and went the extra mile to make our stay enjoyable. We were greated by the manager Scott on our arrival and we were very happy to see Rigoberto in Chandlers again who is great with children. The waiter even arranged to have spaghetti made for our son which is not on the menu because he is 2 yrs old and in a phase where he will only eat certain things. Our one regret is that we did not bring our swimwear thinking that it would be too cold to swim. The people we saw in the pool including children, all said the water was warm and very comfortable. This is a great resort, far away enough from LA to feel you've gotten away from the city but still very easy to get to and surrounded by natural beauty. I used to go to the OC beach resorts for short getaways but this hotel is a much better value, has more picturesque surroundings with better service and less than an hour further. I hope to come back again very soon.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
Dear vangogh88,

It was my pleasure welcoming you back again to the new Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. I am glad to hear that you not only found the service to be top notch, but also consistent with your previous stay with us this summer. You are right! Rigoberto in Chandlers is wonderful. I too brought my family into Chandlers one evening and Rigoberto was so good with making sure my young son was happy. I will be sure to pass the good word along to him. Thank you again and please don't be a stranger.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lititz, Pennsylvania
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

I'll start by saying that I am a Hilton Gold member, so I am very loyal to this chain and enjoyperks such as free breakfast and room upgrades. We went to San Diego, then Carlsbad while on Christmas vacation with the kids. We stayed at four hotels (all within the Hilton chain) and this was by far the best. We had planned to stay at this hotel for two nights, but loved it so much, we changed our reservations and stayed another night here. This is a new hotel, opened in 2012.

Check in
We were greeted by very friendly staff, starting with the valet, then the concierge, then the desk staff. All were smiling, welcoming, very genuine, and friendly. We were upgraded to a King sofa suite room, given our breakfast coupons and keys. We had our three children with us, so the clerk offered four room keys. This was great, because the kids are always arguing over who gets to open the door with the key and we end up misplacing the cards.

Room
The room was beautifully decorated and smelled great. There were two plush robes and new slippers waiting for us in the closet. There were ample toiletries, which came in handy since there were five of us. The sofa bed was even comfortable, and the extra blankets were nice and cozy soft. The shower is massive and has a beautiful glass door. We did not have a balcony; however, this was not an issue, since we have little kids and balconies are a safety concern for us. Some of the rooms do have balconies. There was also a fridge and microwave in the room.

Restaurant (Chandler's)
We ate at the restaurant five times. The food was wonderful, especially the breakfast pastries. They offer a breakfast buffet or a la carte. The service was good, but not 5 star. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive, but you can tell they are still learning and inexperienced. One of our waiters spilled a little orange juice on the table while pouring it into my glass and didn't even come back to clean up the spill. He was young and apologized for spilling, but it was obvious he was very inexperienced. All of the food was delicious. My husband had the beef short ribs for dinner one night and said they were great. I also had the lobster and shrimp tacos and they were great.

Amenities
The pool was heated and really warm, which was welcome in December. The hot tub was very clean and big. We used both every day. The pool towels were plentiful, plush and large. The lounge chairs were also really nice and plentiful. There are three fire pits, but we never saw any of them lit during our stay. We didn't use the spa, but it looked nice. There are lots of couches, gathering spaces, a big screen TV area, and even a computer center with five PC's and a color laser printer, which the kids loved and used to print Dora Christmas pictures they created on nickjr.com.

Oceanfront
We are from the east coast, so oceanfront to us means a hotel that is directly on the beach with beach chairs, umbrellas, and service. This hotel is not on the beach, so if you are looking for true oceanfront, don't come here. However, there is a nice crosswalk and beach access path directly in front of the hotel, but no chairs or hotel services. This didn't bother us, because we enjoyed the pool and hotel more than the beach anyway.

Overall, I can't say enough great things about this hotel. This is a truly upscale Hilton property. I highly recommend it, and will go back again if in the area.

Room Tip: If you want a balcony, be sure to request it up front as not all rooms have them.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear Denise O,

Thank you for the detailed review of your recent stay with us here at the new Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. I am glad to see the entire family enjoyed their vacation and happy to hear that we were your favorite hotel you stayed at. Though we don't have chairs set on the beach, we do have chairs, blankets and umbrellas available for our guests when they want to do a beach day. Thank you again and we hope to welcome you back again soon.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CSquaredC2
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

As you pull up to the property, it doesn't appear to be a Hilton. Once inside, it doesn't feel like a HIlton either. And in this case, that was a great plus! I was in town for a business meeting so I didn't get to enjoy some of the amenities like the pool or the spa. But everything else was top-notch. From the service, the food, to the nicely appointed rooms, I would definitely consider this spot if I wanted to get away from it all.

My room, overlooking the pool, and the ocean off in the distance, was definitely my favorite part of my stay. Wishing I could have relaxed a little more. And oddly, I don't watch much TV, but the TV was my favorite part of the room. None of that annoying "press menu to watch a movie or choose a channel" or the hotel channels that always come on when you turn the TV on. It was a regular TV - working just like the one you have at home. And no movie channels - just On Demand. I remember much of it being free.

Internet access was also a huge plus. My internet code/access worked throughout the whole property. The fitness center was also nice and open 24/7.

If I had to pick out a con at all, it's this: not knowing the area too well, it appeared the hotel was in a residential area, so it wasn't in the middle of a commercial zone with a variety of restaurants and things to do. So expect that if you want to go out to eat, you will most likely have to drive. The property also doesn't sit right on the beach, but rather across the street. But there is nothing in between to obstruct views.

Regardless, great location. The staff was amazingly attentive and friendly.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean facing room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Dear CSquaredC2,

Thank you for your recent stay and great review of the new Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. Like you mentioned, our in-room entertainment is a popular and unique amenity to the resort. To make you feel more at home, we offer digital cable and complimentary OnDemand. In the next couple months, we will also be adding DVR to our rooms, so you can record the shows you are interested in and watch them at your convenience. After you check out, they erase for the next guest. We will be the first hotel in Southern California to offer this amenity to you.

Thank you again and we hope to welcome you back soon.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012 via mobile

This has to be one of my favorite Hilton hotels anywhere. Great design. Awesome staff. Perfect location. Beautiful views. Much better than any hotel I've stayed at in Carlsbad. Thanks, Hilton Carlsbad, for making our stay perfect.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
Dear texasex95,

You are welcome! And thank you for the great review. We aim to be your resort of choice in Southern California and hope to see you again soon. Until then...

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

Relaxing atmosphere, great food, super view and very well run. View of ocean is stunning. Great place to stay for a relaxing break.

Fire pits make for a great place to unwind at the end of the day. The bar atmosphere is just perfect for that perfect drink or even a meal. The wine selection is outstanding. The planning that went into this property shows from the minute you are welcomed by the valet and continues until the time that you have to leave. I am already making plans for my third and hopefully longer stay.

The staff was top notch and attentive to every detail. This is a fun place to stay

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Dear T K,

Thank you for the great review of your recent stay! It sounds like you had a wonderful time from start to finish. We look forward to welcoming you back the next time you are in Carlsbad.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Domino, Italy
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

The Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa was wonderful. The view is beautiful. The service was outstanding. The rooms are clean, and extremely comfortable. The location is great; close to San Diego and LA or wine country. The bar tenders and servers at the restaurant "Chandlers" were great... and the food was very good! I would highly recommend this resort and can't wait to come back!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott W, Manager at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 2, 2013
Dear Cynthia b,

Wow. Thank you for such a great review of our resort. I am glad to see that your stay was a flawless one. The entire team takes a lot of pride in the service they provide and I look forward to sharing your comments with them. We hope to welcome you back again soon.

Best,

Scott Wall
Director of Guest Experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa

Address: 1 Ponto Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Carlsbad
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 34 hotels in Carlsbad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With sweeping views of crystal beaches and the Pacific Ocean atop a series of gently rolling berms in sunny Southern California, Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront is the destination for luxury. The Resort features 215 expansive guest rooms and suites, the full-service Ocean Crest Spa and world-class dining at Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge. Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities including an ocean view swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and over 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor banquet facilities. With easy access to miles of beach, recreational activities like surfing, fishing and water sports are readily available. For families, Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront is a short drive to LEGOLAND California, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Disneyland California. As well, the resort is minutes from Palomar Airport and less than a 45-minute drive from San Diego International Airport. ... more   less 
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