Reviews & Photos
October 16 2011
1 family found this helpful
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort Restaurant
12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Road,
"Great Pacific Northwest cuisine at the hot springs"
There are not many eating options at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Actually, there is just one. Luckily the food is quite good!
The entrees for adults focused on Northwestern cuisine. My aunt chose the Ceasar salad with salmon which was excellent and had an amazing amount of salmon in it. I went for the cedar plank salmon which had a sweet caramelized exterior and perfectly cooked interior. It came with a side of veggies which made for a healthy dinner.
All the sit-down restaurants within Olympic National Park have the same menu for kids. For $7.00 kids get an entrée, drink, and scoop of ice cream. I ordered the pizza and it was large enough for my 4 year olds to share.
October 16 2011
1 family found this helpful
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd,
Port Angeles, Washington
"Nice, contemporary cabins in a spectacular setting."
Olympic National Park is a very large park with several different options for lodging. Sol Duc Hot Springs is a cabin resort in a lush temperate forest which gives people who may not want to brave the elements in a tent yet still want to stay in the park's interior a nice, four-walled, option.
The resort is located at the Sol Duc Hot Springs, a natural spring with several hot pools built to take advantage of these healing mineral waters. The pools are open to park visitors for a fee but cabin guests are given complimentary access. My kids thought the pools were such a treat and loved the wading around in the warm water. There is a shallow warm pool meant for all ages (kept around 95 degrees), a larger hot pool suitable for children over 4 (102 degrees), a hotter pool (106 degrees) best for older children and adults, and large pool which was heated to about 83 degrees. The water is said to have healing properties and both my son and I had cuts on our legs from earlier tumbles that did look considerably better after our soak. The water does have a sulfur smell (as most hot springs do) and tends to feeling more soft and slippery than the water that normally comes out of our tap.
The cabins look like rustic getaways from the outside but feel more like a hotel room on the inside with comfortable beds, and a full bathroom. There are 21 non-kitchen Sol Duc cabin rentals, which accommodate a maximum of 5 guests, and 6 duplex-style cabins with kitchens that have a shared door between two units which makes them perfect for large families or multi-generational travel. Each cabin has its own porch and shared picnic benches which my family found to be a nice spot to enjoy breakfast. Beyond there is a nice grassy field and trees lining the edge of the Sol Duc River. A two person swinging chair overlooks the river and provides hours of relaxation. While were lounging on the swing we watched a bunch of crows chase a bald eagle away from their roosts.
There is a dining room at Sol Duc as well as a general store at the resort which is nice because there are no towns around this part of the park. There are several hiking trails in the area, including the trail to Sol Duc Falls, the most photographed spot in the park. During the summer months the resort is often at 100% occupancy so be sure to book ahead.
Bottomline: The cabins at Sol Duc are nicer than most cabins I have previously stayed at within the National Park system but they are also more expensive. Expect to pay close to two hundred dollars per night during the summer months. While I do think the price is high, I do know that lodging in the parks tends to be a bit expensive and I believe that most of the reason for that additional cost is associated with location,location, location! If the price fits your budget, the location and convenience of being close to the hot springs and waterfall is certainly worth the expense.
Disclosure: I received a media rate in order to visit Sol Dc Hot Springs and complete this review. The park did not request that I express any particular opinion and my reviews, as always, reflect my honest opinion.
October 16 2011
2 families found this helpful
Marrowstone Beach Cottages
10 Beach Dr,
"Quiet, peaceful, natural beauty surrounding a cozy group of cottages."
If your family is thinking about visiting Port Townsend or the north Puget Sound area (aka San Juans, Bainbridge) consider instead visiting Marrowstone Island and the charming Marrowstone Beach Cottages. Our family loved the quiet stretch of beach, scenic views of Mt Baker, and the opportunity to be unplugged for a couple days.
Truth be told, I never would have found the Marrowstone Cottages if it weren’t for the help of the Olympic Visitor’s Bureau. Diane was a wealth of information about the entire region and recommended this very special but relatively unknown spot.
When I arrived to check in at Marrowstone, the owner handed me my keys and gave me wonderful suggestions about where to eat around town. We drove down a gravel road past a few cottages until we reached ours, cottage number 5 which the owner told us was the “least nice” of the cottage. Staying at Marrowstone felt much more like staying at a friend’s beachside cottage than a managed property. The furnishings were older and mismatched, but cozy. All the beds were Tempurpedic which made for a wonderful night’s sleep. Our cabin slept 5 -one king and three twins spread out amongst a bedroom and what could have originally been a living area- and had a full kitchen with supplies. There was no tv and no wifi and neither were missed. That is saying a lot from a person who spends much of her life online.
The large porch had a table and chairs and was my preferred spot to relax during our stay. We were maybe 20 yards from water’s edge and the views were calming in their beauty. If sitting on a porch with a good book and a glass of wine, gazing out at the Puget Sound and watching waterfowl catch their next meal as the sun slowly dips below the horizon, watching baby swallows take their nervous first flights, or walking on a beach filled rocks and shells just waiting to be discovered sounds like your idea of a vacation, this is the spot for you. This “resort” bills itself as an ecological property and after spending time on its private beach, it’s easy to understand why.
Low tide (evidently there is only one true low tide at this location per day) is not to be missed. The water recedes and blue herons come out to feast. It’s fun to watch the clams shoot water up to ten feet in the air and listen to sounds, such as the hissing of barnacles, that you will not otherwise hear in spots where there is surf, traffic, or the general sounds of civilization. If you love beach combing, there is drift wood, oyster shells, clam shells, and plenty of rocks to be found.
Pricing at the cottages is very reasonable and vary from $90 for a studio in the low season to $190 for a waterfront cottage during high season. There is a three night minimum during July and August and a two night minimum the rest of the year. You will want to stay longer.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay at Marrowstone Cottages in order to complete a review. . I received no other compensation, and was not required to express any particular point of view. All my reviews reflect my honest opinion.
October 16 2011
0 families found this helpful
Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles
221 N Lincoln St,
Port Angeles, Washington
"Nice home base for exploring the Port Angeles area"
My family stayed at the Red Lion for one night during our big Olympic Peninsula tour and found it to be clean and well located in Port Angeles.
The property itself seemed a bit dated and it certainly didn't have the ambiance of the National Park properties we had been staying at during days prior, but our ground floor room had a great view of the water and the ferries coming into dock. Our room had two queens beds and was the size of a standard hotel room. It featured a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and free wi-fi (yeah!).
There was a nice walking/biking trail which ran behind the hotel and along the water as well as a cute little beach and playground just steps from the hotel. My kids played on the playground and ran out the last bit of energy of the day while I watched a beautiful sunset.There was also a heated pool and spa which we did not partake in because I was just too cold, even in July, to think about putting on a bathing suit!
There is a restaurant, the Port Angeles CrabHouse which serves seafood and steaks as well as a Roaring Start Breakfast Buffet. I didn't try either but I was told that kids 10 and younger eat free with each adult.
Bottomline: This hotel is not fancy but it gets the job done and the location is ideal for exploring Port Angeles, taking the ferry to Vancouver Island, and exploring the northern portions of Olympic National Park.
Disclosure: I received a discounted rate. The hotel did not require that I express any particular point of view and all reviews will always reflect my honest opinion.
October 15 2011
1 family found this helpful
La Costa Resort and Spa-A KSL Luxury Resort
2100 Costa Del Mar Rd,
"Family friendly resort with an awesome pool area!"
When La Costa resort first opened, it attracted an adult crowd with its championship golf courses and world class spa (recently recognized as the best in Southern California by Spa Magazine) but as time went on, the resort noticed that families were attracted to property, especially after Legoland opened, and now the resort caters to families with multiple room options, a fun pool area, and plenty of activities for children of all ages.
We stayed in a standard room with two queen beds which had recently been remodeled as part of the resorts 50 million dollar renovation. As we walked to our room, my 5-year-old daughter remarked at how beautiful the resort was, and how it reminded her of Rancho Las Palmas, the resort’s sister property. Only the preschool-aged daughter of a travel blogger would have that sort of insight... The California mission-style architecture and clusters of low rise buildings scattered over expansive grounds did have a classic California feel. The furnishings in our room were contemporary and the tub in the bathroom was huge. As a matter of fact, the bathroom seemed like it was almost as large as the sleeping area, which I found to be an odd use of space.
There was a fridge in the room but it was stocked with mini bar goods which I am never a fan of (nor am I a fan of $5.00 bottles of water being placed in my room). We did move some things around to shove some leftovers in and were careful to put everything back as it was so we didn’t get charged $12.99 for a can of peanuts.
We did enjoy our patio area which made for a nice spot to enjoy lunch while the kids ran around on the grass as well as our complimentary wireless internet access. I loathe when resorts charge for internet!
I did take a tour of one of the gorgeous villas which are available for families to reserve though they are privately owned. It seems as though owners have a relationship with the resort where they get a certain number of days to use per year and the rest of the year is rented out to the general public. Villas can be booked as a studio, one, two, or three bedroom and feature large living areas and nice kitchens. They were incredibly nice and ideal for multi-generational travel or large families.
My kids are definitely at the age where the pool is their top priority, so I knew that was where we would be spending a large portion of our time poolside. I was so happy when I discovered that there was a large three foot wading pool with a sandy beach entry waiting for my kids! It was nice to be able to relax on a lounge chair while they splashed away. There was also a waterslide geared towards younger children which was a big hit with my kids. A water splash area can be found at the stairs near the bottom of the children’s slide but my kids were much more interested in enjoying the pool and water slide to be bothered with the fountains.
For bigger kids, there was an awesome pair of water slides which emptied into a pool. Riders must be 48” tall to ride these bad boys. There is also a typical pool and spa as well an adult-only pool. There are also pools in some of the villa courtyards as well as a pool in the spa. Pools, pools, everywhere!
One of the big features of the remodel is the revamping of the resort’s north golf course. I am not a golfer but I have been told that PGA tournaments have been held here in the past and after the remodeled course debuts this November, they are expected to return. If you have members of your family that love to golf, be sure to make a tee time at one of the courses. If you would rather play tennis, they have 17 courts!
Kids Club and the game room
All kids are VIPS at La Costa and are greeted with little goody bags at check-in. They are also treated like special people in the kid’s only zone- Kidtopia. If parents want to spend time in the spa, golfing, or at a nice quiet dinner, they can check their 3-12 year old kids into Kidtopia (for a fee) and have some adult time. My kids visited while my husband and I had dinner and enjoyed a meal, games, crafts, and movies. When it was time to leave, my little ones were sure to say goodbye to each and every fish in the Kidtopia aquarium and give the club counselors all hugs- I think it’s safe to say they liked it!
Parents of children ages 6 months to three years will be thrilled to know Kidtopia also has a nursery which will take care of your little ones for two hours at a time while Mommy and Daddy enjoy some adult time! Hooray! I can’t tell you how happy I would have been to enjoy this service when my kids were tiny tots. This feature alone is worth the stay to parents in desperate need of some baby-free time.
Older kids (and adults that still act like kids) will love the Vidz game lounge. There is a wide variety of arcade games, air hockey, foosball, pool, skee-ball, a PGA challenge machine, and an Xbox 360 room. Just try to drag ‘em out of there!
There are a few different dining options on property and I was able to experience two of them. The first is the poolside dining at Splash Café. I ordered my kids and I chicken strips and an order of fries to share. While I have come to expect pool food to be subpar and expensive, the fact that I had to order the fries separately from the chicken strips at the cost of $8.00 was a bit much. The portions were not very big either which confirmed my suspicion that poolside dining was probably not the best way to go.
We enjoyed our dinner at Legends Bistro, however. The setting is family friendly and outdoor seating near a cozy fireplace is available. I ate every last bit of my salmon with a rich mushroom risotto while my husband raved about his chicken. My kids ate in the Kids Club that night but the children’s menu was varied and featured healthy options such as rice bowl and gluten free pasta in addition to classics such as pizza and hot dogs. Entrees were typically $7-$8 for kids and $18- $35 for adults- not bad for a resort. We decided to partake in caramel crème brulee for dessert. It was an excellent decision!
Bottom line: This resort is top notch and is definitely a great place to make home base while you are exploring Carlsbad and the rest of San Diego County. It is also a great place for locals looking a weekend getaway like my family. While we were on resort property, we might as well have been a world away.
Disclosure: My family received a complimentary stay, kids club, and meal at Legends in order for me to complete this review. . I received no other compensation, and was not required to express any particular point of view. All opinions are honest and entirely my own.