Travel & Day Trips

Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa – Detailed Review of My Stay With Kids

If you’re planning a trip to Legoland California, but don’t necessarily want to be in Legoland mode 100% of the time, the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa is a perfect place to stay. 

This classy hotel has a private entrance to Legoland, but beyond that, it’s simply a fancy, pleasant home base for a Legoland or San Diego trip with your family.

The hotel has great amenities and dining, but without the pervasive presence of zillions of Legos, as you’ll find at Legoland’s official hotels. That makes it a great oasis if you want to visit the park during the day, but come back to a more relaxing, restful experience at night.

The Westin Carlsbad makes a pleasant place to stay

The hotel also tends to be a lot less expensive than Legoland’s official hotels, and often has better availability. 

All those factors combine to make it the best resort hotel to stay in near Legoland. I visited the hotel in December 2022 for four nights with my wife and three kids. Here’s my full review.

Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa Basics

The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa is an upscale hotel from Marriott. The Westin brand tends to be a bit fancier, and more luxurious than a standard Marriott, although nowhere near Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton brand in terms of luxury. 

The Westin Carlsbad is a sprawling property with two-level buildings spanning out from the central lobby. The hotel has a lot of amenities, including pools, on-site dining, and the private Legoland entrance that we’ll get to in a minute. 

Palm trees and pools!

The service during my stay was decent, although the hotel seemed a bit understaffed, especially at night and in the mornings. That said, the facilities are great, making it a very pleasant and upscale place to stay.

The hotel gets an 8/10 from Booking.com as I write this.

Booking.com

The Rooms

I stayed in a two-king bedroom at the hotel. My room was located at the far end of one of the hotel buildings, which made for about a five-minute walk from the lobby. 

The rooms here are huge! Although my room wasn’t a suite, it was big enough to accommodate a larger family, with two bigs beds and plenty of room for a cot, crib or Pack n Play.

My room upon arrival. That’s the least messy it ever was, with three kids along for the trip!

Especially if you’re heading to Legoland, California with young kids, this makes the hotel a great place to stay. The room accommodated my family of five–with three young kids–very well.

Bathroom at the Westin Carlsbad

Our room was nicely appointed with two large beds, a flat-screen TV, a mini fridge, an in-room safe, a bathroom with a tub and rain shower, and a small ground-level balcony. Most of the rooms look out onto a central courtyard in the middle of the hotel. 

The view from our balcony was very SoCal!

Westin focuses on wellness, and you can see that in things like their “Heavenly Bath” experience and little canisters of aromatherapy oil by the bed. The rainfall shower in the bathroom was nicer than you get in most basic hotels–again bringing in the wellness angle.

Our room had daily maid service, and was always kept clean. Westin struggled to provide enough towels and other basics, but a quick call to housekeeping always fixed that.

The Westin Carlsbad opened in 2018, so it’s brand new! Everything in the room worked well. Overall, the rooms here are great and feel a bit more luxurious and spacious than what you find at a standard Marriott.

Other Amenities

A large entryway and lobby anchor the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The hotel appears to cater to a lot of business travelers, in addition to families coming for Legoland, and the classy lobby reflects this. I saw several pilots arriving to stay at the hotel.

Lobby and Parking

In the lobby, you’ll find comfy seating, tall ceilings, a living wall, a small business center, and not a single Lego brick in sight!

No Legos here!

The hotel offers either a self-parking option for $28 a night or valet parking for $35 a night. I recommend valet parking, since it will save you a lot of walking around the large property, and it’s only marginally more expensive than self-parking. The valets always got our car within about 5 minutes of calling.

Fitness Center and Pool

Again, in keeping with Westin’s emphasis on wellness, Carlsbad Resort & Spa has a large fitness center with weight equipment, Pelotons, and other top-of-the-line exercise equipment. 

Pools at the Westin Carlsbad

The hotel also has a large pool area. The pool is surrounded by palm trees and features several large, oval-shaped pools combined together, as well as a large hot tub. It was a little chilly to try out the pool during my December visit, but I saw several families using the hot tub.

Pool area and the canyon beyond

The pool area also has an outdoor game area with an outdoor billiard table, ping-pong, and a length. The view from the pool over cliffs in a nearby canyon is beautiful!

Fire Pits

In front of the lobby area, the hotel has several gas fire pits. These make a great place to hang out at night and have a glass of wine or enjoy some food. 

In addition to the hotel’s amenities, the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa shares a property with the nearby Sheraton Carlsbad. All the Sheraton facilities are also open to Westin guests, greatly expanding your options if you stay there. 

As the name implies, the hotel has a spa, but it was under renovation during my visit, so I couldn’t test it out.

Dining Options

In keeping with the resort concept, the hotel has several dining options.

20Twenty Restaurant

Entrance to Twenty20

The Westin’s main on-site restaurant is 20Twenty. It’s relatively fancy for a hotel restaurant and probably isn’t somewhere that I would take the kids for dinner. Dishes on the menu include upscale fish and steak dishes in a New American farm-to-table style, and entrées are generally $20-$30. 

I did visit 20Twenty for breakfast. It makes a nice spot to sit, and I got eggs benedict, which were decent, although not the best I’ve had. 

Twenty20 has a fancy ambiance

I also tried the restaurant’s pancakes, which were tasty and probably the better choice!

Eggs and pancakes at Twenty20

The service was friendly, and I felt like it was no problem to have kids there for breakfast. The restaurant has extensive indoor seating, a large bar area, and a heated outdoor patio.

Room Service

In addition to the 20Twenty restaurant, the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa also has a room service menu. It features basic items that are available 24-seven, as well as dinner entrées and breakfast items that are available at specific times of day.

I ordered some noodles for my son from room service to test it out. He said they were some of the best noodles he’s had! 

The Marketplace

Just behind the reception area, the Westin has a small marketplace that sells souvenirs, sundries, and breakfast food. There is a contracted Starbucks location, so you can get Starbucks coffee and selected Starbucks drinks

The Marketplace is a nice addition for basic items and snacks

The rooms do include a small coffee maker that also has Starbucks coffee, but the coffee from the marketplace is much better. The marketplace also has limited breakfast food items, such as croissants and blueberry muffins. 

Though it’s not a full Starbucks, the marketplace made a great place to stop for breakfast on the way out the door.

Grab a coffee on the way out!

The Private Legoland Entrance

And now we come to the main reason why many people probably stay at the Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa: the hotel has its own private entrance to Legoland!

The private Legoland entrance

Although it’s not quite as close to Legoland as the official Legoland hotels, getting into the park requires a short five-minute walk from the Westin lobby.

To get there, you head straight out of the lobby, through a path that leads into the parking lot, and down a small hill to the private entrance. The entrance opens when the park opens, and there’s a dedicated park employee there to scan your tickets and let you in.

The entrance leads into the back of the park, so if you get there first thing in the morning, you can get first dibs on many of the rides.

Booking.com

The private entrance is the key feature that makes this the perfect place to stay if you’re heading to Legoland. You can still get exclusive access to the park without having to drive, but without having to stay in a place that’s so aggressively Lego-themed as the official Legoland hotels. 

I liked that we could enjoy Legoland during the day and then come home to a restful, classy experience that wasn’t full of Lego dragons and knights.

The private entrance means you’ll be first into the park

If you want full Legoland immersion and the absolute closest entrance, the Legoland hotels are probably a better bet. For a more restful (and often less expensive) stay, though, the Westin is perfect.

Nearby Attractions

Of course, visiting Legoland is not the only reason to stay at the Westin Carlsbad resort and spa. There’s a ton to do in Carlsbad itself, as well as in San Diego, which is about 20 minutes away by car.

The hotel is only about 10 minutes from downtown Carlsbad, and it operates a shuttle that will take you to nearby destinations. The hotel also makes a perfect home base if you want to head into San Diego for the day. 

The Westin is a great home base for day trips into San Diego

We visited the new children’s Museum, the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and more local attractions while using the hotel as a great place to spend the night.

Conclusion

Overall, staying at the Westin Carlsbad resort and spa was a great experience. The private Legoland entrance provides easy access to the park, while the hotel’s well-appointed rooms, luxurious pool, and solid amenities provide a classier experience than staying right on the Legoland property.

The Westin made for a great stay

Suppose you’re not planning to head to Legoland, or you’re only going to go there for one day of your stay. In that case, the Westin is also perfect because it’s a relatively inexpensive, upscale home base for other trips around the Carlsbad or San Diego area.

Unless you opt for a suite, you won’t have the seclusion of multiple rooms, but even their two king bedrooms are large enough to accommodate a family with young kids.

Overall, I found the Westin Carlsbad Resort and Spa to be a great place to stay, and I’ll definitely be back!

How to Book

You can get great deals on the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa on Booking.com, and book your stay easily.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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