SoCal Family Fun at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

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Over Mother’s Day weekend my family was invited by the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa to stay at their beautiful property and experience their eco-fun Metrolink Summer Memories Package running now through October 2012. Happy Mother’s Day to me!

This package includes a (minimum) two-night stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad, up to 4 roundtrip Metrolink passes good from destinations throughout LA, OC and Riverside, transportation to and from the Oceanside Metrolink station to the resort, kids 12 and under eat free with paid adult entree at Twenty/20 Grill and Wine bar on property and two adult LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper admission tickets for a super great deal!

Click HERE for details and to look at pricing online.  The value of the LEGOLAND tickets alone is $190!

The beauty of this package for SoCal families? You can pack up, get on the train, and can have a completely action-packed fun-filled getaway without ever needing a car!

The property is lovely; gorgeous Mediterranean style architecture and my favorite part…full of families!

We were treated to one of their spacious suites, the Pacific Studio Suite which, at 915 sq ft gave us room to spread out and BREATHE!  With a comfy king-sized bed and a sleeper sofa that was perfect for my girls, they loved being able to watch a video on the flat screen TV from their bed on the complimentary DVD player included in this package after a busy day.

The hotel featured beautiful golf course and coastline views, a mini fridge for kiddo snacks, and included with the resort fee, a 24 hour fitness center, WIFI and in-room Starbucks “One Shot” Coffee Maker with Tazo Tea and Starbucks Coffee.

But my very favorite had to be the KID SIZED ROBE in the bathroom!  How cute is THIS? I don’t know if it is offered in every room, but they do have them on property, so if you visit you can call and ask for it.  My girls thought it was hilarious for all of us to hang out in our Sheraton robes!

I love a resort that offers some “roaming space” for little ones, and there was a great grassy area adjacent to the lobby where the girls loved to run around after breakfast, while my husband and I could chill out with our morning Starbucks on the adirondack chairs.

The property also featured cute little seating areas to relax and the expansive pool area delighted the kids with a giant-sized Jacquzzi, air hockey table and ping pong. Complimentary water noodles were also available at the pool. Big hit.

Now let me tell you a little about the restaurant on property, Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar,which was soooooo amazing!

The outdoor patio had panoramic views of the coastline and there is nothing I love more than eating outside on a spring night with the ambiance of fire pits and space heaters. So cozy.

It was very upscale, yet because it is such a family-friendly resort, it was obvious they are accustomed to catering to little ones. Little things like kid-cups with lids and crayons with the menus go a long way when dining out with the whole family!

As luck would have it, my babysitter was in San Diego that weekend visiting her family, and was able to come to the resort for a couple hours to play with the kids, so after they were done eating, my husband and I actually got to enjoy the exquisite cuisine at a leisurely pace.

For starters, we split a delicious rock shrimp appetizer and Greek salad. Absolutely delish!

I am not usually a huge fan of Greek salads, but there was something about the flavor of the dressing that was so light and yummy, I could have added a protein in and called it dinner.  But that would have been silly when there were so many delectable entree items to choose from!

For me, halibut from heaven, for the hubby, perfectly cooked filet.

And their breakfast was equally as amazing. They even catered to my little one with food allergies and got her soy milk with her cereal. Plus, every table at the 8am hour was filled with children, particularly refreshing as my antsy two-year-old climbing around in our booth did not warrant any of “those looks!”

So with all of this alone, the property would be an amazing destination, but to put the cherry on top, the Sheraton Carlsbad has it’s own PRIVATE entrance into LEGOLAND, which was only about a five minute walk from the lobby!

For families, this is ultra-convenient and super spectacular. No lines, just show your key and tickets, and we could walk right smack into the middle of all the action!

Our girls (almost 3 and almost 6) had the time of their lives at LEGOLAND. As a bonus, we got there right when it opened and there were not that many people, which meant we got to do a lot of the rides with a very little wait.

If you have kids under 5 or 6, I would suggest bringing the jogger or stroller with you.  It can get to be a lot of walking for those little legs.

Overall, we had the best time, making so many family memories. I love time to get away from the same old weekend routine, and because it is so close, you can fit in a lot with even just a two-night stay.

Many thanks to the Sheraton Carlsbad for treating my family to this exquisite visit, and the best Mother’s Day I could have asked for!

For more information on this special Metrolink Summer Memories Package, click HERE.

[Disclosure: My family received complimentary accommodations, two meals and LEGOLAND tickets to facilitate this review. All my opinions are 100% my own. I would highly recommend this package to Southern California families looking for a fun eco-friendly getaway!]


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Paradise Point Review Part II plus a GIVEAWAY!

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Last month my family took a little three night SoCalCation to the beautiful Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego. This is Part II of our amazing experience at this incredibly family-friendly resort.

I am also VERY excited because because Paradise Point has so generously offered to give away a stay so one of you have the chance to win a SoCalCation too! Make sure to read all the way to the end of the post to see how to enter!

There was so much that we loved about staying at this resort it was hard to know where to start. To make it easier, I jotted down a list of our favorite things. When I did, it was obvious I needed to break the review into two posts. Here was the list…

* our beautiful room * the expansive lush grounds * the convenient location * the five pools *
* the tranquil bay * all the different activities available for kids and families

So welcome today to Part II and click here to read Part I about our amazing Bayside Bungalow Room, the expansive grounds and awesome location which were favorites # 1 – #3. Now I will continue with favorites #4 – #6…

[Photo credit: Paradise Point]

My five year old Emma learned to swim this summer and turned into a little fish. To go to a resort that had four different pools to explore was a dream for her!  Paradise Point actually has five pools, but one is reserved for adults only (smart for couples traveling without kids!)

The tropical Main Pool, located by the lobby, was the largest and had an expansive pool to swim and play. Best part about this pool was one area actually had a real sandy beach with a gradual wading entry. You could park right there on the “beach” in a chaise. My two-year-old LOVED the sandy beach at the pool!

The Main Pool also has a poolside Tropics Bar & Grill where my husband and I split the best steak tacos and Mommy enjoyed a little vacation margarita.

The other three pools were much smaller and tucked in between clusters of rooms. They were more quaint and quiet. One of the things my daughter loved was picking which pool she wanted to go to.

Paradise Point Tip:  If traveling with kids five and under, make sure to bring a stroller.  The pools are all walking distance, but some are sort of a trek after hours of swimming for little legs.

All the little pools also had the same wading entry, so my two year old could do this (see picture below.) I could sit in the wading area with her as she splashed around. She was in heaven!

Make sure to check out our room in my Part I post here because having a room right on the sand on the beautiful bay was one of the top highlights of the trip.

With two children under five, the tranquil bay with zero waves to play in was an absolute dream.  My husband and I could actually RELAX and just watch them, unlike when we take our littlest to the ocean and have to continually chase her to keep her from running into the waves.

We brought a bag of sand toys and they spent hours playing in the water. It was hard for me to get good picture of them on the sand because they were both so enthralled with their play!

Paradise Point Tip: Wait to bathe your kids until you are ready to place them SMACK into bed if staying in a room on the sand!

This is what happens when you attempt to take a bath after dinner but still allow them to cruise around.  It was impossible to keep them away from the water.  Here are my newly bathed girls in their pajamas.  But how can you say “no” on vacation?!

To make staying on the bay even better, Paradise Point has twelve fire pits scattered along the one mile stretch of sandy beach that surrounds the property.  You know what that means – s’mores! Yippee!

The Island Market on property sells s’mores kits and firewood, so they have all you need to make your own fire and roast away. It was the first time my girls had a s’more.  Think they liked them?

Paradise Point Tip #2:  Keep the marshmallows out of view from a two-year-old, otherwise, they will be the requested breakfast item the next morning. Marshmallow mommy!  Marshmallow mommy! Over and over again. And since it was vacation, guess what my girls had to accompany their cereal?  You guessed it, a marshmallow.

Our family loved that there was so much to do on this island that in four days we didn’t ever leave except once for breakfast.

We brought our girls scooters and bikes and they loved being able to ride around.   They also loved “playing golf” on the mini 18-hole putting green. Clubs and golf balls available at the Island Market.

Paradise Point also has tennis, basketball, horse shoes, croquet and  ping pong, which we didn’t personally experience, but we saw a lot of families enjoying through the course of our stay. These activities are included free of charge.

Near the Island Market there was a bike rental shop where you could rent surrey bikes, boogie boards, beach cruisers, etc. One morning we rented a surrey and cruised around the property.  It was fun to go around and see all the different beaches.  It also gave my oldest a chance to choose her pool of choice for the day after evaluating the choices.

And I haven’t even gotten to all the activities in the marina yet! Located off a pier adjacent to the Barefoot Bar & Grill, there is a rental shop for pretty much any water activity you could think of.

We saw a lot of families out on kayaks, paddle boards and jet skis.  There are also sailboat and speedboat rentals along with waterskiing and wakeboarding. Even year round surf lessons! You name it!

I love that this property had so much to offer our young children, but there is also a gazillion fun things to entertain older children as well. I think we are going to make Paradise Point a family tradition.  I love the thought of having a special vacation spot to return to each year.

I also learned that the property will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary next year on 10-11-12 and even more exciting renovations and anniversary plans are in store to celebrate. I can’t imagine this property actually getting better (but I am told it will!)

Thank you Paradise Point for your hospitality and for giving my family vacation memories we will never forget!

One lucky winner will receive a one-night stay in one of the Paradise Point Lanai Garden rooms! Prize will include taxes, complimentary Passport to Paradise (which includes free wifi, use of the fitness center, etc.) and a s’mores kit.

Fine print: Parking not included ($28 per car/night). And any food, beverage, spa treatments or any other fee-based activities are winner’s responsibility. Room is subject to availability and blackout dates may apply. Prize expiration date 10/11/12.


Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry option. Contest runs through Tuesday, 10/11/11 at 5pm PST. Winner will be selected at random and contacted via email so please leave your email address in the field (won’t be published.) Winner will have 48-hours to respond and claim prize before a new winner is selected.

1. Simply comment below and tell me what you think your family would love most about Paradise Point – 1 ENTRY

2. [Like] Paradise Point on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

3. Follow @ParadisePointSD on Twitter – 1 ENTRY

4. [Like] Tiny Oranges on Facebook – 1 ENTRY

5. Follow @TinyOrangesOC on Twitter – 1 ENTRY

6. Tweet: “Enter to win a stay at @ParadisePointSD now on @TinyOrangesOC!” and comment with a link to your tweet. – 1 ENTRY

7. Subscribe to Tiny Oranges email updates – 1 ENTRY


[Disclosure: We received a portion of our stay complimentary and a portion with a discounted media rate.  This is not a compensated post and all the opinions are my honest ones.  We LOVED staying here and I think you will too!]

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