La Costa’s Kidtopia
On the Travel Channel Web site, La Costa Resort and Spa in
Carlsbad, Calif., is listed as the top Fun Family Resort. While
many properties claim to be “kid friendly” with kids’ clubs, pools
and babysitting services, La Costa is not just for children alone,
with all guests young and old catered to throughout the resort.
To begin with, there are several choices regarding room
configurations connecting rooms, one-, two- and three-bedroom
suites and options in a number of budget categories as well. On a
recent hosted visit with my family of four, we stayed in a
one-bedroom suite. It was spacious and comfortable, with a large
bedroom and connecting bath as well as a small living area with a
pull-out couch. My 3- and 7-year-olds loved the fact that they
could open the shutters around the over-sized bathtub and actually
see one of the flat-screen televisions while taking a bath. (Does
it get any better than that?) They also liked the floor-to-ceiling
Spanish-style doors opening to balconies overlooking the golf
course. And, we were close to the pool.
La Costa recently revamped their main pool area Splash Landing
keeping families very much in mind. There’s a sandy-bottomed kid’s
pool and several waterslides (one for the little ones and two for
kids over 48 inches tall) along with a larger adult area with
cabanas, a bar and cafe and plenty of lounging space. What really
stood out for my kids, however, was the water playground spouting
fountains they could manipulate, aim at each other and run through
over and over again.
And then there’s the kids’ club. La Costa’s Kidtopia, with over
6,000 square feet of play space, serves kids 6 months to 12 years.
There’s a large indoor playground (think slides and plenty of
climbing space) plus a light-up disco floor and movie lounge. My
3-year-old peeked in and literally begged to be signed up for the
weekend evening program. Clients can also book full and half days,
starting at $45 (or $15 per hour). For teenagers, there’s Vibz, an
unsupervised lounge and arcade for ages 10 and up. It features
video games both arcade-style and X-box 360 as well as a
large-screen TV, air hockey, basketball and ping-pong.
Splash Landing kids’ pool
What really puts La Costa at the top of the list for families,
however, is the variety of free family activities scheduled
throughout the day in addition to the kids clubs. We visited around
Thanksgiving and made feather headbands on Saturday afternoon, and
my 7-year-old is still disappointed we missed the holiday
cookie-decorating activity. Sunday morning we watched a live
reptile demonstration in the spacious outdoor Plaza.
At La Costa, this kids’ stuff is really only part of the
picture, and perhaps a small part. There are two PGA Championship
golf courses, plus 17 tennis courts and a full-service pro shop
with lessons for all ages. During summer months there is free
shuttle service to nearby Carlsbad beach (and kids can try out
full- and half-day surf camps).
The resort is also the home of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing,
co-founded by well-known doctor, author and alterative-medicine
pioneer Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon. The center offers
programs in mind-body medicine, yoga, self-discovery, emotional
wellness, meditation and personal empowerment.
There’s a recently renovated full-service spa with all the
expected luxury services and a fitness center to rival stand-alone
gyms. There are plenty of cardio and weight machines overlooking
the golf course, plus classes like yoga and spinning and personal
trainers available. The weekend we visited there was even a
boot-camp class for kids 6 to 12.
The main courtyard where various
events for kids take place
There are four eateries at La Costa, including the upscale BlueFire
Bar and Grill, the new, more casual Legends Bistro (with a great
breakfast buffet), along with a poolside bar and grill and spa
cafe. The fare at BlueFire is definitely more upscale, and while
there isn’t a kid’s menu (there is one at Legends), the chef
happily made my son a grilled-cheese sandwich upon request. Later
he said it was the best grilled-cheese he ever tasted.
We stayed for the weekend and didn’t even feel the need to
venture out. Had there been more time, Legoland is only four miles
away and the San Diego Wild Animal Park is 20 miles away. And a
short drive further south is the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Sea
One of the advantages of a stay at La Costa, however, is that,
while it’s very family friendly, it has a lot more going for it
than just its options for kids. So whether your clients are
parents, golfers, into spas or just looking for a romantic weekend
getaway, La Costa satisfies.
California Playground package
Includes accommodations, daily breakfast for two adults, plus a
choice of two activities per day from the following: 50-minute spa
treatment; round of golf; all-day kids’ club registration for two
children; dinner for two at BlueFire Grill (alcohol excluded); a
fitness evaluation and a 50-minute personal training session. Rates
begin at $564 per room, per night (plus tax and $22 daily resort
charge), for a plaza room.
Includes accommodations, breakfast for two adults and two children
and four tickets to Legoland. Rates start at around $575 per night
(plus tax and $22 daily resort charge), but could be more or less
depending upon occupancy and season.