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Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
Offers Affordable Travel Packages

Story and photos (unless stated otherwise) by Mary McGrath

've traveled to many Southern California beach cities over the past few years. It's always a pleasure to discover another gem adjacent to the Pacific. I found another one in Carlsbad this past weekend.

Carlsbad sign

Whether you're looking for an easy family vacation, a quick business trip, or just a kickback beachside experience, The Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach affordably fits the bill. Overlooking the Pacific, respite from the day-to-day drudgery is easily accomplished at this cute beachside property.

I was pleasantly surprised with this cute place. We were lucky to arrive on the day that they were replacing all the mattresses and boy did it make a difference.

interior of ocean-view room at Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
Photo courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach

It was hard to abandon the fluffy bed as Caribbean tunes wafted through the window in the late afternoon. Total relaxation ensued while we watched the tropical foliage dance in rhythm to the music.

view of the hotel grounds and ocean from author's hotel room window
Photo courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach

Chef Ricardo Vargas

The hotel has recently undergone a modest facelift, and the homey modern vibe added to its charm. The service at the hotel is impeccable. From detailed directions to the local pharmacy, to the personal touch extended by General Manager Regie Brown, all pistons were firing at this cute place. They clearly aim to please.

Even the menu in the restaurant has been revamped, thanks to the expertise of Ricardo Vargas who adds a progressive flair to his menu items. With twenty years of experience at such positions as the Executive Chef at Feast On This Catering in San Diego, the Stoneridge Country Club in Poway and the Doubletree Golf Resort Hotel in San Diego, his lineage in the culinary industry will be well received. The menu is a well-rounded one with popular favorites like pork sliders, rib-eye steak, pasta, salads, and a variety of appetizers. Of those we sampled, The Shrimp Cocktail is a must, along with the Crab Cakes.

Chef Ricardo Vargas' Shrimp Cocktail at the Hilton Garden Inn's restaurant

Carlsbad is an old village dating back to the 1880s. Carlsbad started as a whistle stop on the new California Southern Railroad. In the 1880s, John Frazier, a former ship's captain, dug a fresh-water well that was utilized used for thirsty locomotives. The stop became known as Frazier's Station. Frazier dug another well that produced mineral water. The water was analyzed and found equal in mineral content to one of Europe's most popular health spas, Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic). Later, Carlsbad was renamed Carl for a time because of confusion with Carlsbad, New Mexico. Popular demand restored the former name.

There's a lot to do in Carlsbad, and the Hilton offers many packages to enhance your travel experience. If beer is your thing, take advantage of the craft brew scene and the cute Carlsbad coastline adjacent to the hotel with the Board and Brew Package. Starting at $169, the package includes overnight accommodations, two bottles of premium San Diego craft beer and a 20 percent discount for surf and paddleboard rentals and lessons at Raw Skin Surf Shack.

Situated so close to Legoland, Hilton's Family Discount Package is jam-packed with many offerings made for fun in the sun. How about a 15 percent off regular admission to LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park?

Also included is a 15 percent discount for those who want to jet ski, rent kayaks or or try paddle boarding at the lagoon. Also available are bicycle rentals and golf at the renowned Crossings course.

For those who want to park the car, the Hilton offers a complimentary shuttle service that is available within five miles from the property. Head to downtown Carlsbad for a myriad of tasty restaurants, or for those who are into sightseeing, check out the historical Magee House, Carlsbad Flower Fields or other points of interest.

Twin Inns, now the Ocean House Restaurant

Summer is almost here. Why not book your getaway, before the swell of the crowds beats you too the incredible offerings of the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach.

Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
6450 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92011
(760) 476-0800

Other points of interest:

  • Frazier's Mineral Well (2802 Carlsbad Boulevard), site of the original well dug in the 1880s. The discovery of mineral water led to a small bottling works and the 100-room Mineral Springs Hotel. The well is in front of Alt Karlsbad Hanse House, a three-story, half-timbered turreted home. A memorabilia museum and art gallery are in the basement.

  • Old Santa Fe Depot (400 Carlsbad Village Dr. on the National Register of Historic Places). The depot was built in 1907 (replacing the first built in 1887) by the Arizona Eastern Railway, and also served as a telegraph office, a Post Office, a Wells Fargo Express Office and a general store. It served in later years as a shipping point for local fruit, vegetables and flowers. Closed in 1960, it is now the home of the Visitor's Information Center.

  • Twin Inns (2978 Carlsbad Blvd.), built in 1887. This is the former mansion of Gerhard Schutte, a co-founder of Carlsbad. Built in the Queen Anne architectural style, this distinctive building is now Ocean House Restaurant.

  • Magee House, built in 1887. Home of Samuel Church Smith. On Carlsbad Boulevard (old Highway 101) and Beech Avenue, it is operated by the Carlsbad Historical Society.
the Magee House on Carlsbad Boulevard
  • Carrillo Ranch (Rancho de Los Quiotes) (Operated by the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc. On the National Register of Historic Places), in La Costa, is an historic ranch that has become an extraordinary, passive community park.

  • St. Michael's Episcopal Church, built in 1896, is a small red chapel on the northwest corner of Christianson Way and Carlsbad Boulevard.

  • Heritage Hall (St. Patrick's Church), built in 1926, served as Carlsbad's first City Hall when Carlsbad was incorporated in 1952. It is located on the corner of Cypress and Garfield Streets next to Magee Park, off of Carlsbad Boulevard.

Related Articles:
Far from the Maddening Crowds: Boutique Hotels in San Diego; Passport to San Diego; Bahia Resort Hotel Summer Fun, San Diego; Fall Fun at Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa; Search of the Ghost at the Del Coronado; Grand Colonial Hotel, La Jolla

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I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK


The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.


* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!



For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!


--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,


* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,


For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy


I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA


Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA

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