We have 2 families in our party who stayed at this hotel. Both have pre-school kids. We felt welcome and comfortable.
1. Beautiful and well-maintained property, nice landscaping - close to Legoland, Carlsbad Outlet shopping, Carlsbad State beach, freeway access to go to SD and other attractions (fruit-picking if in-season, lake activities). Gas station conveniently on-site (though $$). 2 restaurants on-site (one casual, one fine dining). I saw an ATM machine inside hotel (but didn't use). Lots of parking spaces at the back (front is crowded while restaurants are open).
2. Good customer-service, staff always friendly and helpful - not stand-offish. House-keeping is also commendable.
3. We stayed in a King Suite - nice room, spacious and well-appointed with armoire and dressers, ref, coffee maker with pods, safe inside armoire. Clean and well-stocked with Aveda toiletries. Nice, thick towels and had 2 bath-robes. Room is also quiet enough - considering hotel is close to freeway and train tracks. Wasn't bothered by noise at all. Airconditioning is quiet and worked well. No complaints in room - bed, pillows, sheets were all good/comfy. I liked the 2 flat screens and 2 DVD players in our room, plus the alarm clock which plays MP3 (if u brought ur own selections).
4. Shuttle service within Carlsbad - very convenient for us. They even provide car seats and booster seats. Most of the drivers were pleasant and very helpful (at least one we met also worked at the front desk) .
5. Breakfast is average, we weren't impressed at all (more on the instant-kind). It was sufficient and convenient, though. They have cold cereal, instant oatmeal you prepare yourself, assorted breads/muffins, fresh fruit (we had good strawberries one day), yoghurt, scrambled egg, bacon/sausage, toast/waffle, assorted teas/coffee/milk. Contrary to another review, there were good plates and cutlery at breakfast (there were also styro plates and plastic forks for children presumably or to carry-out food) - which were spotless and clean. No complaint there - as it was comparable to other hotels I've stayed in (Hilton, Marriott, etc). Breakfast is in a nice dining area near a library/lounge - very comfortable.
6. Cookies and milk in the lobby were a hit with the kids - we ate some in the library/lounge area after a dip in the pool and hot tub (after changing to dry clothes since it's not allowed to walk at the lobby with wet suits on!).
7. Good restaurants on-site - we tried the Bistro on a Friday night and had a good dinner with the kids (they had mac&cheese, cheese pizza). It was full/crowded at 8PM and we were seated after 20 minutes walk-in. The adults ordered flat hanging steak, salmon, halibut, seared ahi - all were worth the price (a bit on the expensive side). They seemed to have a full bar as the table setting had wine glasses on them when we were seated - the men ordered scotch on the rocks, and the people at the other tables were drinking wine. We didn't try the fine-dining restaurant(West Steak) only the Bistro, but since we stayed in the hotel, we can see a steady stream of well-dressed diners in up-scale cars going. It looked like a popular place to eat on a Friday night.
8. Good restaurants close-by (short drive) - if you don't want to eat on-site. We ate at Chin's Szechuan Rest. and were impressed (ambiance, food, service - all top-notch but reasonably priced).
9. Good-sized pool, good-sized jacuzzi. Has ice-cold drinking water close-by (a big jug with fresh lemon slices) - I thought was a nice touch. Lots of pool-towels, a basket of magazines, free swim-diapers for infants. My kids were toilet-trained - but I thought the swim diapers would have been appreciated by other parents with smaller kids.
10. Has sun-dries shop where you can buy small items (sun-block, tylenol, etc).
11. Has a library where you can borrow books to read for the duration of your stay. Mom-in-law made use of it.
12. Has a small fitness center with good equipment.
1. Breakfast is not good enough (comparing to the Homewood Suites) - seemed like frozen stuff warmed over (e.g. waffle, toast, scrambled egg). One day, there was no soymilk although we had some the previous day.
2. Some of the staff don't speak English well, although they quickly found someone who does and our issue was resolved satisfactorily
3. Complimentary bottled water was not replenished on our second day. We didn't ask but then, we expected it to be done automatically.
4. One lady driver for the shuttle was not in the mood - she was polite enough but it was obvious she's not having a good day (and it was early morning on our way to Legoland). She's the only hotel staff like that - so far, everyone we came across with were super...