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The Amazing Cape Rey

We stayed as a guest of the property


I love weekend getaways, especially ones that are local.  One of my favorite spots to relax and unwind in is only 35 minutes south of Orange County.

Now you’re probably thinking San Diego is more like 50 minutes south, but unbeknownst to most people there are amazing beach cities between Orange County and South San Diego County.  When people think San Diego they think downtown, La Jolla, Balboa Park, and Mission Bay, what they tend to forget about are the North San Diego County cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas and my favorite Carlsbad.

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I’d rather not share about the best kept secret, aka the gem of San Diego County (in my opinion), but since I already started I might as well let the cat out of the bag.  Why is Carlsbad such a gem of a city?  Well there are many reasons, but the main reason is the small town beach city feel that this community has.  It’s like coming home after being away for years. The community is filled with smiling faces and mini resorts with amazing ocean views.

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On top of that it also has Legoland and an amazing outlet shopping center. This weekend my family and I stayed at the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort, located across the street from the South Carlsbad State beach.  By across the street, I literally mean across the street, less than a 5 minute walk down a beautiful path.


The resort features 215 deluxe rooms, many with panoramic ocean views, and eight spacious and beautifully appointed one-and two-bedroom suites.  60% of the rooms have breathtaking ocean views, how is that possible it’s all in the beautiful Craftsman-style architecture.


On a side note so that you won’t be confused when you go to book a room, on April 30, Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort will officially welcome visitors with a new name, Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort, and a whole new vibe. Now why would a hotel which has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award within one year of opening change its name?

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This comes as part of a hotel-wide rebranding effort to focus on the authentic Southern California beach lifestyle, delivering the prime location, adventurous spirit and luxurious simplicity that today’s traveler seeks.  Cape Rey is about more than a resort; it’s a lifestyle.



The name “Cape Rey” was inspired by the resort’s physical location within the San Luis Rey River Valley.  Rebranding aside this resort has so much to offer for individuals as well as families.  The hotel amenities include a sea‐inspired Ocean Crest Spa, fitness center, ocean view swimming pool, kiddie pool and hot tub as well as Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge.


For the rest of my review I will address the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort as the Cape Rey.  From the minute you get out of your car you are treated with phenomenal service.  Our valet, as well as the other five that we experienced, was happy, helpful and so warm which kind of took me off guard.


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I have never been greeted so warmly by just pulling up to the curb!  The lobby is beautifully decorated filled with local artwork, and it leads you directly to the outdoor pool and seating area with fire pits. Before heading out to see the ocean view, the front guest staff welcomed us and checked us in.


The view is breathtaking and we couldn’t wait to enjoy it while we swam, so up to our room we went.  The hallway leading to the elevator was filled with gorgeous beach photography, causing me to relax a little.  I know it sounds weird that a picture could actually help me relax, but being a visual learner it really did!



 As we walked down the hallway I noticed how beautiful the design of the carpet was (I’m big on hotel carpets, in college I even did a photo series of the various carpets of Vegas hotels), something I wouldn’t mind having in my own home.


Unlike most hotels, to open our room door all we had to do was touch the keycard to the pad instead of insert the keycard into the lock.  Look when your hands are full of sand toys and bags you’ll appreciate it too!


Our brightly lit room was spacious enough that our family of 4 wasn’t on top of each other.  As we looked out the window, bam there it was the beautiful Pacific; I love being able to feel and smell the ocean breeze from where we were at.



As I unpacked and started putting away items into the drawer.  To my surprise the drawers were not only big but deep.  My biggest pet peeve with staying at hotels is their lack of drawers especially for a family, but the Cape Rey blew my mind by having the best hotel drawers in the world!  Seriously I could have put all of our clothes in one drawer!  Look it must have impacted me enough that I took a picture of it.


Now if you are like me you love to run to the bathroom and see what toiletries the hotel offers.  Again Cape Rey did not disappoint this mama. So they had the usual shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion but on top of it they also provided after sun calming gel and in their grooming box they had a dental floss!  Little things like this are huge!


The room had a standing-only shower with glass door (no bathtub) which I don’t know is true of all the rooms, so if you need a tub make sure you ask.  My son commented that the shower was so huge that we could all fit into it.


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After we changed we walked down to the pool.  One end of the pool is step less and you can walk directly in.  It was great for families with little kids who like to sit in the water and play with their toys.


While the kids swam my husband and I enjoyed a beverage from the bar and listened to the live band, a bonus of weekend stay.  The pool area has private cabanas and lounge sofas that you can reserve or you can just relax on the numerous deck chairs like we did.  Once the sun went down we decided on dining in-house at Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge.  Once again we were not disappointed by service or food; our weekend had kicked off on an amazing high note.

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Once in our room we prepared for a good night’s sleep but little did I know how good.  The Hilton Serenity Bed was like sleeping on a cloud our entire family slept so well that we didn’t wake up until 9 am the next day!  This came as such a shock because 1) my kids wake up at 6:30am always and 2) I was worried about how we would be able to sleep with the sun beaming in once it hit morning.  Those no light curtains really kept the sun out and kept the z’s coming!  I can honestly say that we loved our stay at the Cape Rey and will be coming back again soon!


Here are some noteworthy points about the Cape Rey:

  • Self-parking is $19/night, Valet service is $24/night, there is no street parking.
  • Complimentary 24-hour fitness center
  • Sparkling salt water pool and hot tub open 8:00 am — 11:00 pm
  • Complimentary 24-hour business center with internet
  • Complimentary USA Today & Wall Street Journal (weekdays & weekend editions)
  • Same-day laundry service
  • Same-day shoe shine service
  • Beach chairs, umbrellas and towels are available for rent
  • Picnic by the beach baskets are available from Chandler’s Restaurant & Lounge
  • Complimentary specialty coffee and tea services in the lobby every morning until 9:30
  • A resort charge of $20 USD will be added to the nightly room rate and includes a variety of seasonal offerings and guest amenities, such as Internet access, shuttle service within a 10-mile radius and dining and spa discounts. For full details, please visit our Hotel Policies page.
  • The hotel is pet-friendly. Small dogs of 25 lbs or less are welcome to stay at the Cape for a one-time non-refundable fee of $75 but make sure to inform them ahead of time so that they can accommodate your best friend.
  • The rooms have in-room safe, refrigerator, microwave, in-room coffee, iron and ironing board, robes and slippers.
  • Several of their suites can be connected to a second bedroom booked separately.

For more information or to book rooms at the Cape Rey please visit their website at

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on
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