Built on 280 acres of land, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad makes the most of its natural surroundings. You’ll find two pools, six tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course on the huge property. Both adults and children will have plenty to entertain themselves with, between the family-friendly ocean and beach activities and the Aviara Kids Academy, run by Camp Hyatt.
While there’s more than enough to keep you occupied around the resort, you’ll want to save time for luxuriating in your accommodations. All rooms feature 55-inch TVs and a marble bathroom with double sinks, a soaking tub, and a glass-enclosed shower. Conference attendees will also be impressed by the 78,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space equipped with the latest technology. Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, don’t miss out on playing a few holes at the Aviara Golf Club. The Arnold Palmer–designed course is beautiful just to walk through, with native wildflowers, waterfalls and streams, and more than 130 bird species. If you’re serious about your game, you can even take a lesson at the Aviara Golf Academy, ranked one of the country’s top golf schools.
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No visit to Carlsbad is complete without getting into nature. Admire the bright blooms and themed gardens at the Flower Fields. If you’re with kids, take a wagon ride around the grounds. Less than two miles away is another popular family destination, Legoland, where rides and enormous Lego structures will impress children and their chaperones. For a crash course in music history, check out the interactive Museum of Music Making, which showcases historic instruments—some of which you can even play. Once your activities have tired you out, you can recharge at the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa, where therapists uses alkaline mineral water to perform healing massages and facials.
Need to Know
Rooms: 284 rooms, 43 suites. From $379. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: You’ll find contemporary Italian dinner fare at Vivace. Try the foie gras with olive oil cake or the butter-poached lobster risotto. Carnivorous options abound at Argyle Steakhouse, which offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. In addition to classic steakhouse cuts, you can order unique dishes such as the French toast BLT and the steak bomb (prime beef, salami, peppers, and Provolone on a roll). California Bistro serves SoCal farm-to-table cuisine at breakfast and lunch, while American classics fill the menu at Ocean Pool Bar & Grill. And for afternoon tea or an evening cocktail, the Lobby Lounge is your destination. Spa and gym details:Aviara Spa customizes treatments to each client. Treat yourself to a four-hands massage, a coconut-sugar scrub, or a signature facial, and then relax in the solarium. Saunas, whirlpools, and steam rooms are also available. Guests have access to a 24-hour gym with cardio machines and weights.
Who's it for: Couples who desire a serene escape, and families with young children who want abundant on-site activities and proximity to Legoland. Our favorite rooms: Request a room on the fifth floor for views of the foothills, ocean, and Batiquitos Lagoon—a wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve. Make the most of the views with one of the Park Suites, which have either two large balconies or a terrace that overlooks the pool or courtyard. The extra-spacious Park Luxury Suites look onto the golf course and the lagoon. Get outside: Pack good walking shoes and explore the paths around the property. Take the trailhead that starts at the resort and winds two miles around nearby Batiquitos Lagoon. You might spot swallows, stingrays, and prickly pear cacti as you wander.