by Andrea Guthmann
Surely, if kids were in charge of creating their own resort, it would resemble LEGOLAND California Hotel. Located mere steps from the entrance to LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego, the 250-room property is a must-visit for any family with young children.
What kid wouldn’t be impressed with the fire-breathing dragon guarding the hotel’s entrance, or the blocks of vibrant colors (meant to look like LEGO bricks) decorating the exterior? Depending on your age and temperament, you’ll be awestruck, or at the very least, amused, by the ingenuity and whimsy displayed throughout LEGOLAND California Hotel.
Adults will get a particular kick out of the disco elevator — as soon as the elevator doors close, a groovy, automated disco ball and music begin to play!
Opened in 2013, the first LEGOLAND hotel in the United States is as colorful and creative as the iconic toys that inspired it. It’s stacked with over 3,500 LEGO models, made from three million LEGO bricks. No, the hotel isn’t made of LEGOs (darn those building codes!), but everywhere you turn, master model LEGO builders have worked their magic — from the LEGO flower bouquets in the lobby, to the whimsical LEGO-linked sausages decorating the cafeteria-style restaurant. While you’re waiting at the check-in area, you’ll be mesmerized by a wall display made of six thousand mini-figures!
LEGO lover or not, you’ll enjoy the chance to unleash your inner child while overnighting at LEGOLAND California.
Our Editor Loves
- Fantastic LEGO-themed decor
- Early entry to LEGOLAND Theme Park
- LEGO-themed play areas in the hotel
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
LEGOLAND California Resort's 250 rooms are as colorful as the toys. Due to Carlsbad's restrictions on high-rise properties, LEGOLAND California Hotel has only three floors, each with its own theme. First-floor guests are treated royally in kingdom-themed rooms. Got a kid with a passion for pirates? Book a room on the second floor and bring along your eye patch for a barrel of fun! Maybe you have an Indiana Jones lover in the house? Do yourself a favor and head straight for the adventure-themed third floor.
Juice boxes and water bottles are provided in your room each day. Each room also includes a safe, mini-fridge and coffeemaker. Bathrooms are thoughtfully designed for young children, as well, with shower-in-tub combinations and potty-training toilet seats.
Premium Themed Rooms
Every one of the 250 rooms in the hotel is themed, but each floor also has premium-themed rooms, costing an additional fee per night above the lowest standard room rate. Looking for serious wow-factor on your vacation? A knight's stay in a premium themed Kingdom Room, decked out in over-the-top castle decor, will likely make everyone in the family feel like royalty. You'll experience a "knight" to remember.
These are the room categories:
Standard rooms sleep five guests, and are the hotel's least expensive rooms. They have a queen bed, plus a separate children's sleeping area with two bunk beds, a trundle bed and two flat-screen TVs -- one in the children's area, the other in the adult sleeping area. There are no DVD players in the room, but On Demand movies are available for purchase. Guests can bring their own game players along to plug into the TVs. Note that none of the rooms or suites have a separate bedroom with a door.
Most rooms do not have any outdoor area, but some standard rooms on the pirate floor come with with balconies for an additional charge. If outdoor space is important to your family, ask for it when booking -- there are 42 rooms or suites with an outdoor patio, terrace or balcony.
Premium-themed standard rooms have the same layout as the standard rooms, but are stacked with additional themed decor, including wall murals, special bedding, additional LEGO models and themed furnishings.
Junior Suites sleep seven. They're 469 square feet in size, and have a king bed, separate children's sleeping area and a sofa that pulls out to a queen bed.
Family Suites have the same layout as the Junior Suite, but are a bit larger -- 537 square feet.
Note that none of the suites are premium themed.
If you want to fully immerse yourself in Lego on your family trip to Legoland, you can’t do better than the Legoland Hotel!
They really have thought of everything a family with young children needs for a great vacation. The theme which is carried throughout, public areas that cater to little ones, surprises at each turn (treasure chest in the room, elevators), and food that kids (and adults) like.
From the moment we arrived at the valet until departure every “Model Citizen” we encountered was friendly, smiling, and genuine to us and our kids.
I have to give a special shout out to Sarah P. behind the desk who really went above and beyond at every encounter. Aside from a very helpful and detailed introduction to the hotel and the amenities at check in, every time we had a question she added one more thing like recommendations and strategies to get just a little more fun out of the hotel, Legloland and Carlsbad. Staff like her make any hotel stay special—regardless of the amenities, number of stars, etc. Thanks Sarah! You’re the reason for the 5-star review!!
We also enjoyed using the text for service feature…both for room requests as well as the app to get your car. We visited friends and left the property a few times and the process was seamless. Jimmy in the valet was especially helpful on checkout. We texted for bell service and then he had our bags loaded in the car without us even being there. Made it so easy to get on our way.
The breakfast buffet was great. Just as good as any Vegas Strip breakfast buffet with lots of choices and the crowd was manageable. Strangely, beer and wine is cheaper inside Legoland (microbrew -$7) vs in the Hotel (domestic-$9-10). That was a surprise. It was fun to enjoy a beer and glass of wine while the kids played in the lobby Lego area and think how much better this is than having them run around a stuffy hotel lobby or making a mess of our room in a normal hotel.
As far as the room itself it was perfect for families. The separate bunk room afforded privacy for us and the room was very clean. The water, juice boxes and Keurig machine were thoughtful as well. A/C worked well and the sheets were soft and fresh. Obviously the treasure chest was a highlight for the kids and we had to explain to them that it would not be refilled every single time we left the room (i.e. for breakfast, etc.)!
One tip we received: get to breakfast on the early side if you’re up. Lots of kids still in jammies. Was good to roll out of bed around 7 or so and beat the crowd. One our departure day (we were not visiting the park) we got to the buffet around 8:15 and there was a good sized line on a Saturday morning. It wasn’t terrible but there was about a 20 minute wait for a table and the buffet area was very busy with people.
Awesome hotel, very family oriented. Son loved the room. Staff friendly and helpful. Was a little disappointed when asked about using the laundry room. Both staff at the 2 hotels said only the guests at the Castle could use it. Only when I commented on another site, Legoland was quick to respond and gave me access to the Laundry room. Only critique is, lots of Families, need more than 2 sets of washer/dryers. Definitely worth the traveling with a 3 year old on a 5 hr flight for an awesome experience.
There's no kids' club at LEGOLAND California Hotel, but there are plenty of activities for kids. Nightly entertainment includes live music and shows at the pirate ship by the lobby, along with movies by the pool. Master LEGO builders also make appearances throughout the year, offering special LEGO workshops with guests. Check with the hotel to find out the schedule for upcoming workshops and special appearances.
Upon arrival, kids are given directions for a scavenger hunt around the hotel, which ends up revealing a secret code that unlocks the safe in their room!
Since LEGOLAND already has a massive water park (closed during the colder months), which includes two sandy beach wading areas, a Splash Zoo for 2- to 3-year-olds, a tubing slide and raft river, the hotel's pool is pretty simple, yet perfect when it's time for a break from the park. You won't find any fountains or slides, and it only reaches 5 feet deep. There is no Jacuzzi. Check with the hotel before making reservations to make sure the pool and water park will be open during your visit.
As LEGOLAND appeals mainly to children under age 12, the hotel does not have a special gaming lounge for teens and tweens. Instead, LEGO play areas are strategically set up, allowing kids free play at opportune times for their parents -- like when they're checking in or when they're trying to have a bite to eat. The large pirate ship play area in the lobby is adjacent to Mini's Lounge -- allowing mom and dad to relax with a beer or glass of wine while the kids play nearby.
Of course, the main attraction is LEGOLAND California theme park, only steps away. One big perk for hotel guests is that they get to enter LEGOLAND California an hour before the general public. That means shorter waits at the rides or being the first to set aside lounge chairs for your family at the LEGOLAND Water Park. Hotel guests also get their own designated turnstile at the theme park gates -- no need to wait in line with the crowds. Guests can choose to book a room only or a package that includes park hopper tickets (good for LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND's adjacent SEA LIFE Aquarium and the LEGOLAND Water Park).
A massive talking dragon, made of LEGOs, of course, provides great entertainment during the short walk from the hotel to the amusement park gates. A hidden person voices the dragon, talking to guests individually as they pass by. Alert the front desk if you're celebrating a special occasion and the dragon will wish your little one a happy birthday, or your parents a happy anniversary.
For more information, visit our complete guide to LEGOLAND California Family Vacations.
Located in the lobby, Mini's Lounge is the best place for a grab-and-go coffee, breakfast bagel or muffin, or pre-made sandwich and snack throughout the day. Mini's Lounge also serves alcohol in the evenings. It conveniently overlooks a massive castle/pirate ship play area, making it easy for mom and dad to relax and have a bite to eat or a drink while the kids play.
Bricks is the main dining area, serving breakfast and dinner. It offers cafeteria-style buffet dining, with special kid-sized lowered buffet counters. The breakfast buffet includes pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, a made-to-order fruit smoothie bar, assorted pastries, fresh fruit, lox and bagels. Children under 3 eat free.
There's something for everyone at the dinner buffet, as well, including barbecue, Mexican, Asian, pasta and a locally grown salad bar. Gluten-free options are available. There's also a dessert table and a soft-serve ice cream machine. Lego characters make appearances in this dining area. While eating, you might run into a costumed knight, pirate, or even Buddy, the iconic LEGO figure.
Skyline overlooks the pool, and also has a poolside cafe with shaded umbrellas. It's the place to go for lunch or dinner, and is particularly handy if your kids are playing out by the pool. You can also order food from Skyline and have it brought out to the pool for you. Skyline has a nice bar overlooking the pool, serving alcohol in the afternoons and evenings.
Skyline's menu features a soup of the day and classic BLT sandwiches and steaks, as well as more foodie-friendly items including seared scallops and California ahi tuna salad. Kids' menu meals feature the standard hot dog, burger, macaroni and cheese or chicken tenders.
Room service offers a scaled down version of the Skyline Cafe menu. The food comes in easily transportable disposable packaging and is delivered in LEGO-themed bags.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A $20 nightly hotel fee covers complimentary overnight parking, Wi-Fi and a small 24-hour fitness center.
The Art of Smart Timing
LEGOLAND California's value season is post-Labor Day through mid-October, November through mid-December and January through mid-February. This is when you'll find lower rates and shorter lines. The summer months are the busiest.
Temperatures are mild throughout the year, with mid to high 80's on summer days and low to mid 60's during the day in the winter.
Special events are held throughout the year at LEGOLAND California. Halloween brings the popular Brick-or-Treat, where kids can walk specially created trails in their costumes. At Christmas, guests are presented with the world's largest LEGO tree at LEGOLAND California. The park also hosts the largest kid-friendly New Year's Eve party in Southern California. Special park events like Star Wars Days are also popular.
LEGOLAND California Resort is 1.5 hours south of Los Angeles International Airport. You take 105 East to the 405 South, and then CA-73 south. It's also 40 minutes north of the smaller San Diego International Airport; just take I-5 north.
Once you're at the hotel, you won't need a car unless you plan to visit other Carlsbad attractions.
For Mom and Dad
Bistro West is a perfect date night restaurant and it's only a five-minute drive away. It blends high-style decor with exceptional farm-to-table fare, bringing a fresh perspective to California cuisine, including an extensive menu of seafood dishes. Bistro West's chef not only oversees the kitchen, but the farm where they get most of their ingredients.
If you want to drink in a classic California sunset view of the Pacific -- and maybe a glass of wine or two -- with dinner, head over to Chandler's Restaurant and Lounge, located inside the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. Floor-to-ceiling windows, along with a heated outdoor patio and fire pit overlooking the pool, mean there's hardly a bad seat in the house.