Review – Hilton Cape Rey Carlsbad California

For the last part of our holiday to Southern California we stayed at the 5 star Hilton Cape Rey, 25 minutes north of downtown San Diego in the beautiful area of Carlsbad.

Being Hilton Gold members certainly helped influence us choose the Cape Rey for our 3 night stay over the likes of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar and Park Hyatt Aviara, but what really made our decision was because of its location.

Across the road from the Cape Rey was miles of sandy beach and the Pacific Ocean and Legoland California was just a 5-10 minute drive away.  This made it the perfect place to chill out after a hectic few days in Los Angeles and Disneyland.

As soon as we pulled into the sweeping drive, we were warmly welcomed to the hotel and our car (self parking $19 per night / valet $24 per night)  and luggage was whisked away.

The façade of the hotel isn’t much to look at, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because the hotel impresses from the moment you step inside.

With stylish seating, fruit infused water and modern contemporary décor complete with a full sized surfboard (we were at the beach in Southern California after all) the lobby area felt more like a Conrad than your typical Hilton hotel.

It was not just the décor, scent and ambience of the lobby that was impressive – the staff were so friendly and a credit to the Hilton brand, creating a great first impression.

The corridors that lead to the elevators had stunning photographs of the local coastline which whet our appetite of what was to come during our stay.


With just over 200 rooms the hotel maintained a small and exclusive feel.  As we arrived in our room we had a hand written note from the hotel’s management, welcoming us to the hotel along with some delicious welcome amenities for us and cookies and gifts for the girls.

It’s these little extra touches that really make the Hilton Cape Rey stand out as such a family friendly hotel.

Our family room had two queen beds with a view of the ocean and featured all the amenities you’d expect from a Hilton hotel such as a 42-inch flat screen tv, high speed wifi, robes and slippers, fridge and in-room safe.

The modern and trendy vibe of the hotel extended to the technology used in the hotel. Using our mobile phone we could use the Hilton digital key feature to open our door with no need for room keys.


As nice as was the rooms were it was the outdoor amenities that made this a great hotel to stay at.

The freeform pool was a big hit with the girls, al-fresco breakfast and dinner at Chandler’s restaurant overlooking the sea was excellent and we would typically end our day roasting s’mores at the firepits with the noise of the waves from the Pacific Ocean in the background.

Like most hotels in America these days there was a $25 daily resort fee to pay – it would be great if they just incorporated this into the rate, but this included bike hire, a beach butler service and complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby until 10.30 each morning.

There was also the Ocean Crest Spa at the hotel which looked amazing, but with a bus schedule exploring the local area we didn’t get a chance to use this facility.

The Beach

One of our favourite things to do and what made the Cape Rey such a memorable stay for us was visiting the gorgeous 5 mile long beach located across the road from the hotel.

We had great fun here, jumping over the waves in the Pacific Ocean, building sandcastles or looking for cool shells and pebbles and much such a lasting impression on us all.


Carlsbad is a hidden gem in Southern California and we are so glad we found it.  Many visitors from the UK might overlook this gorgeous part of Southern California but it offered everything you would want – stunning coastline an array of bars, cafes and restaurants, plus it’s also great for shopping.

Carlsbad Village has lots of independent stores and the large mega malls were just a short drive away.  We spent one of our days at Carlsbad Premium Outlets which had so many great discounts at some of our favourite stores such as Ralph Lauren.  We loved it here but our wallets certainly didn’t.

Best of all the Cape Rey was just a 5-10 minute drive to Legoland California.


Definitely, the Hilton Cape Rey Carlsbad is an excellent family friendly hotel and is highly recommended.   Its in a great location, which gives an glimpse into how to experience Southern California like the locals would.

We found that the best rates were found booking direct at

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