Hyatt Regency Mission Bay San Diego

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[Photo credit: Hyatt]

Recently I was contacted by a PR representative for the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay San Diego to tell me about their brand new, one-of-a-kind SeaWorld Suites. Does that sound fun for kids or what?!

As luck would have it, my family was planning a trip to San Diego at the same time to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday, so the resort was kind enough to put us up at their lovely property while we were in town so I could check it out first hand.

Located near SeaWorld in San Diego’s beautiful Mission Bay, the property consists of one main tower with views of the marina, Mission Bay or gardens, and then an adjacent three story suite building facing the marina, which has Waterfront Suites.

It is also the only resort hotel in San Diego with multiple waterslides! 

First let me tell you about the SeaWorld Suites. We were not able to stay in one (boo hoo), there are only four total so far in the hotel, but I was able to get a tour of one that had been vacated on the morning we left. A-MAZING!!

These two-bedroom LARGE suites feature a twin over full sized bunk bed decked out in sealife decor.  This room also had a large conference table and chairs for coloring, dining, snacks, etc.

Two of the four suites feature kitchenettes, and the other two have a second bathroom. I got a tour of the kitchenette room. Gotta love a kitchenette for all the necessary snacks when traveling with small kids!

Located on the second floor, they are close to the pool and the suites each feature two separate balconies off each room.

I love the fact you can put the kids to bed in their fun bunk bed room, then enjoy a little quiet time with your husband in your king-sized sleeping room with private balcony.The room was off-the-charts awesome.

Plus, because Hyatt Mission Bay is a preferred partner with SeaWorld, if you buy your SeaWorld tickets through the concierge desk, you will receive 10% off the ticket price, plus, get this ->  your one day ticket will be good for 7 DAYS So during your stay you can go to SeaWorld for a few hours each day. I LOVE THIS. I understand this is an ongoing offer, but make sure to check prior to traveling to ensure this deal is still valid!

The concierge also offers 10% off tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park and LEGOLAND. However, these are just one day tickets.

Now a little about our tower room.  We got a marina view room on the 12th floor with two Queen beds and the view was beautiful! The girls also got a kick out of hearing the barking sea lions below.

The second morning I walked out onto the balcony and saw an OWL sitting two balconies down! So cool! And he hung out there for quite awhile just basking in the morning sun. At least we were pretty sure it was an owl.  If there are any bird watchers reading this who want to correct me if wrong, please do! Here he is just hanging out…

Our room was very comfortable.  Adequate size, comfy beds, and my husband and I were able to put the girls down to bed at night and sit out on the balcony and enjoy the view for awhile. We also found the room to be very quiet.

As we also came to find out, one of the benefits of a marina side room facing SeaWorld in summer time was the fact that we were able to watch the SeaWorld fireworks show from our balcony each night!

The girls went CRAZY! Click here for the fireworks schedule. Snuggling up with blankets and watching the fireworks on our balcony in jammies was one of my favorite memories from this summer.

Now let me tell you about the pools! With big corkscrew waterslides for older kids (and adults – I even went on them – FAST and fun!) along with a mini waterslide for littler ones, the family friendly pool was a kid’s paradise.

Here is a view from my parent’s room, who were also able to join us for this trip. They had a room in the tower facing Mission Bay and the pools. So beautiful!

My husband and Emma had a lot of waterslide races. I can’t remember who won this one!

The second day my dad rented us a poolside cabana so we could have a comfortable place to lounge with the family with some shade.

In addition to time by the pools, it was also fun to be able to take walks along the marina, which also offers a plethora of water sports, every kind you can imagine. Each morning we walked down to Einstein Bros. Bagels on the marina for a bagel and coffee and at night after dinner we made our own s’mores by the outdoor firepits.

I can’t say enough about this property. My family had the best time! We will definitely be back. This is the perfect spot for a summer SoCalCation, as they have lots of fun summer activities for kids at the pool, including Camp Hyatt, and water taxi service to SeaWorld. I understand many of the family attractions and activities are also available around Spring Break.  Check with the property ahead of time to see what might be offered during your desired dates.

We loved the Hyatt Mission Bay! Thank you for the wonderful memories!

www.missionbay.hyatt.com ~ Hyatt Mission Bay on Facebook ~ Hyatt Mission Bay on Twitter

[Disclosure: My family received a special media rate and one complimentary night stay to facilitate this review. Thank you Hyatt Mission Bay!]

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10 Family Friendly Things to do in Napa Valley

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In general, one does not think “Napa Valley + Kids”, but on our recent visit, our kids had the best time (and so did we!)  Here is a guide from our friends Mark & Kris Hoffmeister of the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena and their  favorite picks for 10 Family Friendly Things to do in Napa Valley…

Here’s what Kris wrote:

My husband and I love living, working and most importantly raising our three little girls (ages 5,4 & 1) in a truly beautiful and unique place, the Napa Valley. Our kids are exposed to nature, agriculture, fresh, wholesome food and have limited knowledge of fast food and strip malls (no chain restaurants are allowed up valley). While most visitors come to Napa for girls’ weekend, birthday celebrations and romantic getaways, there are many family friendly options as well. Here is a list of our favorite family activities (the list does not end here). . . . . Happy reading and cheers to planning your wine country weekend!

Wine tasting is not off limits with the kids. Stick to larger wineries with outdoor space to run. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Frog’s Leap: Opt for the Garden Tasting. This casual tasting allows you and the kids to explore the surrounding gardens and orchard. There are chickens, a resident cat & straw hats to borrow while roaming.

2. Velo Vino: This tasting room for Clif Family Wines (yes, Clif Bars) offers a unique experience blending, wine and cycling in an inviting setting. The patio out back offers more room to roam and frequent live music. They give the kids snacks & offer free wi-fi in case you need to re-load the iPad with movies & games for the wee-ones.

3. Rombauer: Explore the winding garden and sculpture park at this winery. You will end up with a breathtaking view of the valley.

4. Frank Family: There is room to run and roam at Frank Family. After your tasting, relax at the picnic tables, run in the grass or sit under the giant elm trees.

5. Gotts: The original St. Helena locale specializing in burgers and shakes has ample outdoor seating, more grass to run around and a view of the wine train. Save room for a milkshake!!

6. Oxbow Public Market: Wander and taste through this gourmet food hall. Sit indoors or out. Wander out back for a view of the Napa River. Our favorite stop for lunch is C Casa for tacos followed by coffee at Ritual. Kiddo faves include Kara’s Cupcakes and three twins ice cream.

7. Farmstead: Farm-to-table and family friendly. The menu changes seasonally- but don’t miss out on the meatballs. If the kids need a break during dinner stroll through the garden or take a seat at a picnic table outside.

8. Yountville Park: A favorite playground right off highway 29. Pack a lunch, stretch your legs and let the kids have some fun.

9. Cornerstone Sonoma: If you are driving from Napa to SF, take the scenic route through Sonoma and stop at Cornerstone. Take the kids and walk around the one-of-a-kind garden installations (free admission). Need a shopping fix – explore Zipper and Artefact. There is also a restaurant and tasting room on the grounds.

10. Market at Carneros Inn & Play Bocce: Located on Carneros Highway between Sonoma and Napa. Grab a quick sandwhich or salad at the Market and eat while playing a game of bocce.

Wydown Hotel, St. Helena
707.963.5100

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The Wydown Hotel in St. Helena

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A couple of weeks ago my husband, Mike, took part in the Vineman 70.3 race up in Sonoma County.  He spent so much time training & prepping for this race over the last 6 months we decided the girls and I had to be there to cheer him cross the finish line He finished strong and we were SO proud!  As a treat, after the race we extended our stay and ventured over to the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena for a few days of R&R.

When Mike signed up for this race he called our friend Mark from college to see if we could come stay at his newly remodeled boutique hotel called The Wydown.  The Wydown is located in historic downtown St. Helena in the breathtaking Napa Valley.

Since Mike had so much gear for the race, we packed the car (to the brim) and made the 8 hour drive north.  Our girls actually do pretty well on car trips with the DVD player and a few fun snacks + suckers.  We woke up SUPER early and hit the road so they sleep through some of it.

Or if you prefer to fly it’s easy to travel into Oakland, San Francisco or Sacramento, rent a car and make the 1.5-2 hour drive.

St. Helena is rich with scenic countryside and small town charm boasting some of the world’s best wineries, great shops, art galleries, theaters and an almost an overwhelming amount of amazing dining opportunities.

The Wydown Hotel is located in the heart of it all~on the north end of Main Street, a few steps to just about everything.

Mark and his wife Kris bought the 12 room Inn a few years ago, fully remodeled it and re-opened it in May 2011 and named it after their favorite street in Mark’s hometown of St. Louis.

It is gorgeous.  I was SO impressed.  I just loved all the choices they’ve made, the feel is cozy but with very clean lines.  The architecture is classic, yet has a current vibe.

The Wydown is just oozing with charm.  There is a puzzle on the table in the lobby just screaming at you:   s l o w   d o w n.  You’re on vacation!   

It totally feels more like you’re visiting a super stylish designer home rather than a big chain hotel.  

Our room was just perfect- everything is brand new and it feels it!  Clean and plush and elegant, with very high ceilings.  They’ve thought of everything down to the adorable smaller Keurig coffee makers and mini fridges in each room.

Our room even had this uber cozy tempur-pedic pull out chair bed.  Perfect for our Sadie to cozy up on each night.

As a guest at the Wydown you can enjoy a free coffee at the nearby Napa Valley Roasting Company, work out/swim at the Health Spa Napa Valley, wine taste at the Materra Tasting Room (adjacent to the lobby) or utilize the Conceirge to set up a wine tours, dinners or other activities in Napa Valley.

We had such a blast galavanting around the Valley we can’t wait for our next visit!  I would have never thought of visiting the Wine Country with my kids but it turns out there are a ton of fun family friendly things to do in this area.

Stay tuned for a Post of Mark & Kris’s “10 Favorite Family Friendly Things to do in Napa Valley”…

Wydown Hotel

1424 Main Street

St. Helena, CA 94574

707.963.5100

stay@wydownhotel.com

www.wydownhotel.com

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