OK - Just back from a weeks vacation in the San Diego area taking the kiddos to the beach, Legoland and SeaWorld. Let me start by saying this hotel was awesome. We had a king suite and it was plenty big for our family of 4 (2 boys 6&8). This place was ultra clean and comfortable, kids loved the board games in the Family Room (as they called it) and the nightly cookies and milk in the lobby. They couldn't wait for 8pm to run down to the lobby in their jammies to get some cookies! We loved the complimentary beer/wine "Happy Hour" from 5-6pm weekdays. The complementary shuttle and full breakfast was a nice touch as well. We paid $179/night, which I thought was a little steep, but when you add in breakfast for 4 and shuttle, you're saving around $50/day in food and parking = $129/night very fair.
Let me chime in about some of the comments on the location. Yes, its wedged in between train tracks and the freeway and across from a power plant - not ideal. However, the pool area and hot tub were nice and even had a waterfall you could turn on (like hot tub jets) to drown out the freeway noise. Once inside the hotel you couldn't hear a thing. Walking to the beach is an option (.4 miles) on the odometer, but why would you lug your stuff down the street, past a power plant when you can just take the shuttle? Which we did.
Not only did they take us to the beach, they provided us with beach towels, beach chairs, boogie boards for the kids and even stopped by Albertsons so we could grab some bevies. Over. the. top. awesome service! BTW - the beach is nice but we had crappy weather.
In short - the location isn't great but you are 1.5 miles from Legoland and the staff goes all out to do whatever it takes to make your stay as worry free as possible. BTW, if you are looking at Carlsbad by the Sea because you saw a sweet deal online, its probably because that place looks like a hole. We went to TGIFridays there and the place looked pretty scary and smelled like a nursing home - sorry I'm giving it to you straight here.
Want more straight talk? I read reviews that said LegoLand is perfect for kids 9 and under. I absolutely disagree. Don't get me wrong - the place is worth seeing, its pretty cool, but I'd give it a 6 and under rating. 85% of rides are like being stuck in "a bugs life" at Disneyland. This park is definitely for little kids!! your 8-12 year old kids will be bored silly. Another note: We got the 3 day pass from Costco that included waterpark tix $99. Good deal, but too much. Going mid week/off season, we went through the whole park in 4 hours and rode almost every ride. On Saturday the park filled up quick and people were waiting 30-45 min for a one minute kiddie ride - not worth your time. The Waterpark was cool, but it was 60 degrees and misty/windy when we were there so it was tough to enjoy - the kids didn't care and had a blast! On Friday we went down to SeaWorld. I've been there several times and every time I leave thinking that place is awesome. Do yourself and family a favor and GO TO SEAWORLD!! Bring some ponchos or spend $8 on a SeaWorld one and sit in the front row middle for Shamu and the Dolphins. It will be something your kids will never forget!! On the way back to the West Inn and Suites we stopped in Old Town San Diego and had dinner at the Mexican Cafe. ONE OF THE BEST MEALS EVER!! Old mexican ladies making tortillas fresh in the front window.....AWESOME! Plus Old Town is just a cool town to walk around.
All in all The West Inn was a great "home" to come back to every night. I wouldn't mind staying in Carlsbad Village next time on the beach, but I think we'd be hard pressed to beat the comforts and service at the West.