Last summer, about three months after our third child was born, we packed up the minivan and did the 8-hour drive from Rocklin to Carlsbad. We love staying at the Carlsbad Inn during the summer, since it's right on the beach. It was a little cloudy and cool when we got there, but our older kids, Jeremiah (5) and Penelope (4) were so excited when we got to the beach, that they went right into the water - with their jackets still on! The weather got warmer during the week, and we had some great beach days. We also went to Legoland for the first time, visited with some friends and family in San Diego, and ate at some great restaurants. The resort was doing major construction on the ground floor of the Elm building, so it was pretty noisy during the day, but I can't wait to see the renovated rooms next time we go! The resort shows movies on the lawn at night during the week, and we watched some of it from our balcony. Here's some photos from our trip below. Please call or email me if I can help you buy or sell your timeshare at the Carlsbad Inn.
Earlier this month, we spent our summer vacation in Oahu. We used credit card miles for the flights and rental car, and were lucky to have friends that hosted us in their beautiful home in Kailua. We also used the remaining 2018 points on our Disney timeshare to book a 1BR suite for one night at Disney's Aulani resort in Ko Olina. Well, after visiting the resort earlier in the week to use the public beach and grab lunch at one of the resort's restaurants, we knew we wanted to spend more time at the resort. Unfortunately there was no last-minute availability through DVC (or I would have borrowed some 2019 points), so instead I booked a 1BR room through the hotel portion of the resort.
First, let me get the obvious out of the way, and tell you that the resort is incredible. It was so nice, and so fun. The beach, the pools, the on-site snorkeling, the Disney character experiences - everything. It was, without a doubt, our favorite resort. There's no shortage of information about the Aulani online, so I'll just share a couple pictures of our family, and then move on to the timeshare analysis.
We arrived early the first day of our stay (about 11am), with the intent of storing our luggage and using the pools until our room was ready. However, we were pleasantly surprised when the staff informed us our room was already ready! We dropped our luggage, changed, and hit the pools! Our first night, we stayed in the hotel portion of the resort, in a 1BR (island view). We were very comfortable, and the room was really nicely furnished and updated. However, there was no kitchen to speak of, no in-room laundry, and the bathroom was about average sized. Here's a couple photos of the hotel room...
The next morning, we packed up, and told the bell desk that we were doing a room change. The staff handled it perfectly, and even put our cold food and drinks in cold storage all day until our room was ready at 4pm. We spent another great day at the pool, doing the lazy river, volcano slide, snorkeling in the on-site lagoon, meeting Moana, and generally having an overall wonderful day! When our 1BR suite (island view) was finally ready at 4pm, we were blown away by how much nicer it was from the 1BR hotel room the previous night. Here's a couple photos that (hopefully) shows how much bigger it is. There was also an in-room washer/dryer, and full kitchen!
Now for the dollars and cents. Booking the hotel room last-minute, and paying full "rack rate" cost us $556.42 after all taxes and charges. On the other hand, booking the suite through DVC cost us 44 points. As Grand Californian is our "home resort," and 2018 maintenance fees were $5.88/point, the value of these points is $258.72. Adding in the $16.99 state tax, total cost for this one night was $275.71. Obviously this does not factor in the initial purchase price of these points. So, for 1 night, the cost of staying in the much nicer villa was $297.70 less expensive. If you stay for a full 7 nights, you end up with a savings of about $2,100. Hopefully this analysis can help you determine whether purchasing a Disney timeshare is a good way to finance your family vacations. Currently, we're seeing resale prices of about $160/point for Grand Californian, and $88/point for the Aulani. Call or email us if we can help you with your purchase!
For us, we LOVE using our Disney timeshare, and with little kids (3 & 4!), we know we have a lot of Disney trips in our future. I calculate our break-even is about 8 years (4 trips), and I have no doubt we will take at least 4 Disney trips over the next 8-10 years. Sometime in the future, we also plan on renting our points, and using the proceeds to off-set the cost of a Disney cruise. It was a great Mother's Day at the Disney Aulani resort, and we cannot wait to get back there soon!
One of the most beneficial, but also most overlooked, aspect of being a timeshare owner is the ability to have day use at your resort. (Another overlooked, but very beneficial aspect is bonus time, but that will be the subject of a future post!) We’ve already discussed Day Use at the Welk Resort in this blog, so now we’ll examine day use at the Carlsbad Inn and Coronado Beach Resort.
So what is “day use” and why is it so valuable? Put simply, day use is the ability to use some or all of the resort’s facilities, parking, and equipment during times when you are not a guest at the resort. I love the beach, but hate trying to find parking at the beach. If you own at the Carlsbad Inn, you can call ahead and reserve a parking pass, then simply show up and park in the resort’s garage. No need to go up and down streets, pay $20 to park in a private lot, or sit and wait for someone to leave. Once you get to the resort, you can use the pool and spa, check out a beach cruiser or boogie board, and use the resort’s bathrooms. And it doesn’t matter whether you own a week 3 that you bought for $500, or a week 27 that you bought for $10,000 - either way you get the same level of day use benefits.
During Thanksgiving week at the Carlsbad Inn, we met several owners that were enjoying day use privileges at the resort, including a group of local owners and their guests that would sit around one of the fire pits at night and share their favorite craft beers with each other (and us!) We also met a really nice family with young kids that were enjoying the pool and spa, and they told us the Carlsbad Inn was like a second home to them during the summers.
For someone that lives in the southern part of San Diego county, the Coronado Beach resort also has amazing day use privileges, including parking, beach cruisers, and the BBQ on the rooftop deck with views of the Hotel del Coronado, Ballast Point, and of course the Pacific Ocean.
For San Diego locals, day use at the Carlsbad Inn and Coronado Beach resort is an unbeatable value, especially when you can pick up a cheap week for $500 or less, and then exchange through GPX (next blog post).
Our week at the Carlsbad Inn in Oak 322 is almost over. Our family has had such a great time, even with all the construction going on in the Oak units. It looks like the units are being completely upgraded. According to the staff on property, construction is scheduled to be completed sometime in January. There has been lots of construction noise during the day, and the water was off for most of yesterday. But with the beach on one side of the resort, and the Carlsbad Village on the other side, no wants to spend the day indoors anyways! Here's some construction photos:
Yesterday we did some beach time, and then hit the farmer's market on State Street, an easy walk down Carlsbad Village Drive from the resort. My husband has also made several trips to Texas Wine & Spirits down the road to pick up some hard-to-find craft beer that he can't find up our way in Rocklin.
This has been a great trip to get a feel for the resort and meet some great people here. We have three weeks listed (6, 7, 8) in Elm 201, an oceanfront unit. I was able to get into this unit and get some pictures of the view from the balcony (below). As you can see, these are some of the best views in the resort! These weeks are priced to sell quickly ($3,500), and I have the feeling someone is going to pick these up soon.
We are at the Carlsbad Inn, enjoying sunny, mid-80s weather with the kids during this Thanksgiving week. We're staying in unit 322, almost an oceanfront unit, with a beautiful ocean view. Here's the pictures of when we arrived:
This resort is amazing!! It's about as close to the beach as you can get, and there are so many nice restaurants, ice cream shops, and bars at the Carlsbad Village right next door. Once you get here, you can park your car and pretty much forget about it. One thing we probably should have done was have groceries delivered to the resort when we got here, so we didn't have to do grocery shopping first thing the next day. But it worked out fine, because we had a fun dinner at Norte's our first night.
We're having so much fun here! Going to the beach during the day, cooking a nice dinner in the room while the kids nap, and then walking to the Village for ice cream or chocolate at night. Easy to see why the Carlsbad Inn has the highest trading power of any Southern California resort through RCI. We've learned a lot about day use (future blog post) and yesterday we did a trip to the Coronado Beach Resort, maybe 2nd best Grand Pacific resort in San Diego County (also future blog post).
Happy Thanksgiving 2017 to everyone!
Every year our family takes a “stay-cation” in our beautiful city of San Diego. This year we decided to stay at a Carlsbad timeshare, which is an affluent seaside resort city located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego. It is known for its beautiful and uncrowded beaches, local street fairs and art walks in the Village and the famous LEGOLAND® California and SEA LIFE Aquarium just off the coast. We stayed at Carlsbad Seapointe Resort, which is a nice family friendly resort just off the Pacific Coast Highway, making it easy to get to and from other locations. See our review of our stay at the Carlsbad Seapointe timeshare.
Since we are timeshare owners and usually take a stay-cation every year, we wanted to check out some of the other Carlsbad resorts for future vacations. The first one that we visited was Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort. This resort is located right at the end of Carlsbad Village Dr and is steps away from the beach. Its location is very ideal for the vacationer wanting to walk everywhere and not have to drive at all. In fact, there is a local Mexican restaurant and bar called “El Norte”, as well as a Café called “Daily News Café” and other shops located right on-site! If you cross the street, you are in the center of the “Village” where many events occur year round and there are lots of cute boutique shops, local pubs and pizzerias, ice cream shops, sidewalk cafés, and several local beach/surf shops to explore. Besides the location of Carlsbad Inn being so wonderful, the resort itself is full of charm and many activities and amenities. There is a beautiful Oceanview Courtyard with Lush Gardens in the center of the property, which includes many chaise lounge chairs and comfy sofa seats for a relaxing atmosphere. There is a heated pool with spa, fitness center with sauna and an adult only hot tub. The views from the resort are amazing, but it’s the easy beach access that makes it so desirable by simply exiting the resort through the courtyard, crossing a small street and you’re steps away from the sand. As a resort guest you are able to check out complimentary beach items such as beach toys, chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and even bicycles and jogging strollers! If you are not a beach goer, then the resort offers weekly activities such as: Yoga, chair massages, nutrition classes, Art display, wine tasting and a succulent box class! And for the more adventurous ones, the resort offers day trips to Catalina Island and Hollywood, as well as sailing trips. The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort is perfect for resort travelers that prefer walking everywhere and easy beach access.
Just down about a block south from Carlsbad Inn is another nice resort called Tamarack Beach Resort Hotel. This resort sits right on Carlsbad Blvd and has incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and is a fantastic location to observe the many events held on highway 101, including the annual Carlsbad marathon and half marathon. The Mediterranean-style building offers very spacious rooms, most with panoramic ocean views and private balconies. This resort seemed very family friendly with several kids playing in the heated pool, and adults in the 2 hot tubs. There is also an on-site restaurant called “Dini’s Bistro”, which offers lunch and dinner. This resort is also great for the vacationer wanting to walk to the Village or to the beach, but is also nice for easy access to nearby attractions such as Legoland and Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which are about a 5 mile drive away. Tamarack Beach Resort has some of the most beautiful ocean views from the room balconies out of all the resorts that we visited in Carlsbad, because it sits right on the bluff and highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The last Carlsbad resort that we visited was Grand Pacific Palisades Resort. This resort sits above the magnificent Flower Fields, which is in bloom from mid-March through mid-May, and is located less than a mile from beautiful beaches. The location is fantastic because it is close enough to the beach for the occasional beach goer, but right next to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets and LEGOLAND®! The resort itself is very upscale compared to the other Carlsbad resorts we visited. The main entrance has a grand feel and overlooks the adults only pool and spa, which has gorgeous views of the city of Carlsbad and the ocean. The nice thing about the Adults only pool and spa is that is really does feel like “adults only”, with the pool-side bar and lounge music, relaxing chaise lounge chairs and sofa couches sitting next to a fire pit, along with private cabanas. There is even a phone booth with a menu for the Karl Strauss Brewery, which is located on-site, to deliver right to the pool! Although it may seem like this resort is not kid friendly, it is quite the opposite actually. There is a Family Water Park, pool and spa located on the opposite side of the resort (far enough away from the adults only pool and spa), which has an incredible splash pad for kids with a fun playground and a good size pool. As a guest, the resort offers discount tickets to LEGOLAND®, which is only about a 6-minute walk from the resort. However, the resort also offers a shuttle that will drop off and pick up anywhere within a 5 mile radius from the resort, making it very convenient to get around without a car. Overall, Grand Pacific Palisades is a great resort for families and/or adults wanting a luxurious getaway with new amenities and close to shopping, restaurants, beaches and fun local attractions.
Our family stayed at the Carlsbad Seapointe resort the second week of this October, 2015. This resort is just one of many great Carlsbad timeshares in San Diego county. The weather was beautiful, and we were fortunate enough to miss the summer crowds. The Carlsbad Seapointe resort is located on a secluded bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It sits along the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, which takes just a few minutes’ drive to Carlsbad Village; a cute beach town filled with shopping, restaurants, cafés and local pubs.
This resort is family friendly and ideal for resort travelers that enjoy vacationing close to the beach, but also want easy access to local attractions, such as Legoland (which is less than 1 mile away), San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Seaworld and downtown San Diego, all of which are less than half hour drive away. The beach is accessed by crossing the PCH, then walking 5 minutes down the PCH to the beach.
The property has a very lush and tropical feel to it and offers several amenities such as 2 heated swimming pools (one of which has a fun kids splash pad), a tennis court, a fitness center, 2 jacuzzis and BBQ grills through-out. Being steps away from the beach, the resort also offers day use of beach equipment such as beach chairs, umbrella’s, beach towels, wagons, boogie boards, beach balls and sand toys.
The resort features spacious one and two bedroom condominium-style rooms with either a patio or a balcony facing the ocean, which have spectacular sunset views! One possible concern was that the units on the east side of the resort are fairly close to the rail line. However, we didn't hear any trains after about 9pm, and our 2 year-old son loved watching the trains go by! All in all, Carlsbad Seapointe is a really nice beach-friendly resort with a relaxing atmosphere.