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Last month, I did something I never thought I’d do: I took my 2-year-old, Olivia, on a getaway without the help of another adult.
Granted, there was no airplane involved. It was a straightforward staycation in Carlsbad, Calif., and the largest obstacle was our rush-hour drive from Los Angeles. But the peacefulness of our visit and my daughter’s consistent good mood were testament to how well-suited Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is for families, even if that family is helmed by a slightly anxious solo mother.
There are myriad kid-friendly attractions in Carlsbad, but we were perfectly content on Park Hyatt’s nearly 200-acre property, much of which sits on a bluff overlooking Batiquitos Lagoon. Olivia spent most of her day hopping like a frog from the hot tub to the shallow kiddie pool to the family pool, and in between we’d take snack breaks in our shady cabana. Don’t leave without sampling Ocean Pool Bar & Grill’s berry smoothies, kids’ grilled cheese or spicy nachos with blackened chicken (suitable for heat lovers only).
Once our skin turned pruny, we changed and took the resort shuttle down the hill to the tennis and recreation center, where Olivia tried her hand at croquet — she clearly needs practice — and watched the ducks take off and land in the pond adjacent to the 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. Moms and dads might also take advantage of the resort’s play structure, small splash pad or Camp Hyatt kids’ club, designed for children ages 4 to 12 and open during the summer.
The spaciousness of the resort is paralleled by the size of its accommodations. Our king guestroom and its bathroom were so palatial that I did something else unprecedented: Once Olivia was asleep, I watched an episode of “Mad Men” on my laptop while sipping wine and unwinding in the giant soaking tub.
With its pristine grounds, variety of activity options and beautiful rooms, it is little wonder that Park Hyatt Aviara was recently awardeda five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide — an honor bestowed on just 115 properties worldwide this year.
Travel agents designing an active vacation should note the property’s proximity to Legoland California Resort, South Carlsbad State Beach and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.