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British singer Ed Sheeran has a song about building a Lego house, but Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., has done one better: It has debuted the first U.S. Legoland Castle Hotel.
The 250-room Legoland Castle Hotel is located some 30 miles north of San Diego and just steps from the entrance to the Legoland California Resort theme park. Like the park, the hotel targets children ages 2 to 12 — though of course, parents and grandparents are welcome, too. As an added perk, hotel guests get early entrance into the park with valid park admission.
“As the resort grows, we’ve become a multinight destination,” said Shawna Fitzgerald, hotel operations manager for Legoland California Resort. “And since we know guest feedback is important, we changed some things from Legoland Hotel to this hotel in response to what guests want.”
At the entrance to Legoland Castle Hotel’s Grand Hall is a giant Merlin statue that took Master Model Builders more than 1,200 hours to construct from over 250,000 Lego pieces (make sure clients don’t miss the button that causes Merlin’s tornado of magic to come to life). As families explore the property, they will discover 2,100 Lego models made from more than 3 million colorful bricks. There are also hidden surprises such as talking portraits, musical seats and the jester’s joke door. Even the elevators are entertaining, as Merlin “magically” lifts and lowers hotel guests.
The property is divided into three themed floors — Royal Princess, Knights & Dragons and Magic Wizard — and each guestroom contains at least six themed Lego models. Some of the hotel’s most intricate models are the 2-foot-tall dragons in the Knights & Dragons rooms. Deluxe rooms can sleep up to five guests with a king-size bed and a trundle bunk bed. Deluxe suites have an additional pullout sofa to accommodate up to seven people. All rooms feature illuminating headboards and an interactive quest integrated into the decor. Plus, a special star-shaped button in the kids’ area reveals a starry sky. Children can also take part in a scavenger hunt to unlock their room’s treasure chest, which contains a Lego prize.
“The cool thing about these rooms is that it extends the theme, so as soon as you arrive, you have a full immersive experience of being in a castle,” said Matthew Slagle, a master model builder for Legoland California Resort. “Plus, the kids’ room has a cool Lego play area, so children can take the inspiration from their day in the park and come in and build.”
Like the guestrooms, Dragon’s Den Restaurant and Bar — the hotel’s table service restaurant — is also fully themed. Here, guests can enjoy a complimentary daily breakfast buffet that offers a wide variety of kid- and adult-friendly items, as well as made-to-order omelets. Dragon’s Den also serves a dinner menu that will please everyone in the family, offering everything from chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese for kids to grilled rib-eye steak and crab-filled ravioli for adults.
“Dragon’s Den has a little bit of everything for everyone,” said Bryan Novak, a graphic designer for Legoland California Resort. “It’s a place for parents to have a nice meal while their kids are also getting the things they like to eat.”
Dragon’s Den is also the location of Jester’s Joke Corner, where family members can build with Lego bricks, sing along with the self-playing piano and participate in improv shows where audience suggestions are turned into hilarious fairy tales.
The central entertainment courtyard is practically a theme park on its own. It features an interactive play structure, a Duplo tot spot, an outdoor cinema that shows Lego movies and a zero-entry pool with floating Lego bricks and interactive water features (and life guards, of course). The courtyard’s stage is the setting for three nightly shows; while each show is geared toward a particular age, everyone is welcome to join in the fun.
“Every night, we do shows for the kids with live entertainers,” said Brandi Lacy, leisure manager for Legoland California Resort. “Bubble Circus’ is bubbles, dancing and circus tricks. During ‘Knight School,’ kids learn how to be knights. ‘Dragon Training,’ is a puppet show, and ‘The Kingless Kingdom’ is a scripted show with audience feedback and a sword fight.”
As any parent knows, children can be the toughest critics of a hotel, but this one got high marks from guests Asher and Elijah Smith, both age 9.
“I liked that we got our own space in the room with bunk beds and a television,” Asher said.
“It was fun that we got to play with Legos in the room,” he said.
A Lego knight welcomes guests to Legoland Castle Hotel.Credit: 2018 Legoland Castle Hotel
A Knights & Dragon-themed roomCredit: 2018 Legoland Castle Hotel
The kids’ area features bunk beds and a Lego play space.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
An outdoor cinema shows Lego movies.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
Dragon’s Den Restaurant and Bar is the hotel’s table-service eatery.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
Jester’s Joke Corner in Dragon's Den features silly Lego portraits.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
The colorful pool area has floating Lego bricks and water features.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
Asher and Elijah Smith pose with a Lego statue of Princess Brickney.Credit: 2018 Samantha Davis-Friedman
The DetailsLegoland Castle Hotelwww.legoland.com