Reviews & Photos
November 05 2014
1 family found this helpful
Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar
710 Camino Del Mar,
Del Mar, California
"Getaway at the Village By the Sea"
Turning down into Hotel Indigo’s drive, the sea and its stunning blueness made me audibly gasp. It’s the perfect backdrop to this hotel by the sea, but the ocean demands to be center stage wherever one goes throughout the hotel’s property.
Checking in to Hotel Indigo, mosaics of sea hues behind the front desk emulate the waters outside the windows. A large rock tic tac toe game entertained my kids while I snuck a peak into the adjoining restaurant with a cool modern, coastal vibe, and then proceeded to step out on the lanai that overlooks pool #1.
Hotel Indigo is located in the gorgeous, non pretentious town of Del Mar in Northern San Diego, nestled between quaint beach towns that for no reason I can tell, often get overlooked in comparison to big brother La Jolla. Although often known for the horse races or county fair, Del Mar is so much more than that, and Hotel Indigo is the ideal place to begin your exploration into this hidden gem of a “village by the sea.”
-Hotel Indigo is under a 10-minute walk into downtown Del Mar, with amazing restaurants, and kid-friendly beaches that line the town.
-Hotel Indigo is about 3 minutes by car to the Torrey Pine State Beach and Reserve: a must for everyone’s hiking bucket list. So basically stated, this hotel is ideally located.
-Our room had a lovely view overlooking the sea where I watched my share of sunrises and sunsets.
-The Ocean View Restaurant is located in the lobby which was great if we didn’t want to go out, but even more convenient, our room included a full kitchenette, complete with Keurig coffee maker, microwave, mini frig, sink, 2 burners, and enough pots and silverware to produce a simple meal.
-Blackout curtains. Our stay fell on day light savings time, and having those curtains were a lifesaver for this mom to eek out one more hour of sleep out of my kids.
-The décor is beachy but not kitchy. It’s sophisticated coastal decor with a little quirk. I loved the photo wallpaper of horses legs running through the ocean waves.
-The staff was incredibly helpful. I thought I would stump the front desk with my requests of kid-friendly activities without going into downtown San Diego, but she happily pulled out every clipping she had and sent me on my way with at least 5 maps. When one of the cleaning staff saw us sitting idly by the hot tub without the jets on, he stopped what he was doing to show us how to work it. We saw this friendliness with the staff throughout our stay.
-Although I wasn’t able to experience the services, there is a spa (Spa Na’mara) on-site that offers a variety of pedis, massages, and other lovely relaxations. We chose the hot tub instead and each evening I watched the sun kiss the sky goodnight by my bubbly perch. There are TWO pools on the vicinities, and that made for some happy kids and one tranquil mama.
-When we arrived, the elevator was out and we were staying on the 4th floor. It did not get fixed the three days we were staying there, but really, that is a small price to pay in the overall traveler's schema.
-There was no bathtub in our room and that may prove difficult with smaller kids sandy from a day at the beach. But the showers do have a fun pebble floor that could entertain a toddler more than a tub would.
-The shower/toilet room was quite cramped. I found myself contorting around doors trying to help my daughter wash her hair while in the shower.
-I was told not all rooms have an ocean room. If you stay at Hotel Indigo, and you SHOULD, be sure to ask for an ocean view; that makes all the difference!
-There was road noise outside our room as the hotel is located off the main drag going into Del Mar. But looking at all the other hotels in town, I assume they have road noise as well, as most hotels line the coast highway to take advantage of the sea view.
Hotel Indigo is a boutique hotel that is not “so cool” that a mom like me can’t feel comfortable hanging out or worry about my kids exploring around the property. While being conveniently located to the main strip of Del Mar, it’s tucked away enough to feel like a true getaway. It’s hip without being pretentious and it knows its crown jewel is the sea and does everything to show her off. When I returned home, I was inundated with remarks of how relaxed I looked, and I know Hotel Indigo provided that restful feeling and a haven my kids and I needed to escape to the ocean.
Disclosure: I was an invited guest of Hotel Indigo. All opinions are my own.
September 01 2014
0 families found this helpful
100 Park Boulevard,
This is one of my favorite parks to go to baseball games at. When the kids get bouncy in their seats, we take them down to the kid's baseball field where they get pitched to while we can watch the game. Don't want to return to the seats? Watch the game from the grassy hill, or pre-order tickets to sit in the sand pit and have the kids build sand castles while you dip your toes in the white blanket of sand.
If staying in Coronado, I recommend taking the ferry over to avoid the stress of parking nearby. Don't worry, the last water ferry leaves one hour after the game to return back to Coronado.
August 31 2014
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Aliso Creek Beach and Playground
31131 S. Pacific Coast Hwy.,
"Read the Tide Charts First!"
After having read the reviews of this kid-friendly beach, I was excited to try it out. I LOVE Laguna and its beaches, so the Saturday before we were to begin school again, we journeyed to Aliso Creek. What a disaster! We didn't check the tides before we went, and when we arrived, we found seven foot waves slamming the shore at 10:30 am. Now this beach is a shore break, with a steeper incline than most sandy beaches, but this was unheard of. We tried to go further down the beach, past the creek, but we got caught in some incoming waves and my sons flip flops and towel was washed away. The lifeguards made their rounds letting everyone know not to go further in than their ankles and even then, parents should be right next to them. Not very relaxing!
Now the positives…The water here is a turquoise blue like Ive never seen. Gorgeous! Im also told there is a ton of sea glass to pick her in the sand but we were too busy trying not to be swept away to notice. The playground is great complete with a pirate ship, where a parent can see the ocean, while still watching their kids. There is a cafe here and the food looked pretty good and relatively healthy. There are plenty of bathrooms and places to wash off the sand. There is a parking lot, so you don't have to park on Hwy 1, and automated parking tickets that takes credit cards.
I so wish our experience was better than what we had. We will try again and hope for a lower tide, when we can actually try out the water.
August 31 2014
Peter B's BrewPub
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2 Portola Plaza,
"Good Pick to Avoid Tourists"
When we arrived in Monterey, we asked our hotel clerk if there was a kid-friendly brewery in town that did not make us go into the heart of the tourists on Cannery Row. She directed us to Peter B's and she did not lead us astray. It was a great choice, nestled in Portola Plaza, next to a Monterey State Park historic building, a sensory garden where a wedding was taking place, and walking distance to Fisherman's wharf.
After a 5 hour drive up the coast, we were ready to relax and begin with a tasting of the in-house brews. We especially enjoyed the passion fruit and raspberry flavored beers on tap, but unfortunately no one came back to check to see if we would like more. Service was very slow and there must have been a server change at some point, but we were not notified nor introduced to our new server so for those reasons I couldn't give this place more stars.
This is a kid-friendly place (a lot of kids on their devices while their parents talked), but since we don't allow screens at the table, I was appreciative that my kids were given a kids menu with activities and crayons. The kids menu items were $7 a plate and that included a drink and ice-cream dessert as well. My sons pizza was really good and my daughter's pasta was a sizable amount. My Chinese Chicken Salad was nothing to write home about, but my husband enjoyed the seafood linguine, where the shrimp was cooked really well.
The location really made this place for us, but unfortunately the service did not round out the experience. We would try it again if we were town and hope it was just an off night.
August 31 2014
1 family found this helpful
Auto Club Speedway
9300 Cherry Avenue,
Racing is not my thing. I like to drive fast, mind you, but watching it has never been an interest of mine. Until now… Last night I attended the IndyCar Championships at the Auto Club Speedway, and the pre-race excitement, the amazing fans, and the roar of the engines got me! My son and I had the chance to experience these incredibly fast (averaging 223 mph) cars in person, as well as have access to the pits and garages. It was a night neither of us will forget.
We arrived at 4pm when the gates opened because I had read about all the pre-race activities, and we were excited to check out the Metal Mulisha Moto-X and the Lucha Libre Wrestling. We found Lefty's Kid Club, where a driver was having story time with the kids, and then attained some serious swag from the Tonka Truck table. It was 102 degrees, so I would recommend bringing LOTS of sunscreen (aerosol cans not allowed), hats, refillable water containers, and even sunglasses for your kids as the glare is blinding.
We had attained pit/garage passes, which made the whole experience stellar. Not having been fans beforehand, we were able to check out the cars and choose who we were going to cheer for. (We chose #15 since he was sponsored by the National Guard and my son liked the camo painted on his car.) But for those who already know their driver, this is a chance to maybe catch a glance of him, see his crew in action, and for some lucky few, get autographs.
We had a little dinner near the pits (at the Pit Stop Cafe) of hotdogs and Ceasar Salad. The food was not great, we wished we had eaten in the fan area previously where there was some good smelling Mexican food, but the walk to the pits was a little long, and there was no way we were walking back once we got to the pits.
Things to know about the pits…We were at IndyCar so there was NO age restriction for kid's access. However Nascar does NOT allow kids in the pits under 18 on Fridays and Saturdays. The pits also close an hour before the race, so be sure to check them out sooner rather than later.
At 6:30, the drivers of the race were introduced. Since we had the pit passes, we were able to watch on the track. This was the hi-lite of the entire night! My son was able to be in the front row as the drivers stepped into the corvettes that drove them around the track in way of introduction. When that was done, we crossed the track and found our seats in the grand stand. Unlike baseball games, it's actually better to have higher seats here, to take in the whole track.
A beautiful prayer was prayed, the National Anthem sung, and unfortunately there was mic difficulties when the infamous phrase "Gentleman start your engines" was directed, but it didn't stop those engines from roaring! With help from our seat mates around us, we figured out how the lap tower worked, where to spot their mph, and what each flag meant. It was amazing to see the pit crew service the car in seconds!
We brought binoculars and that helped my son watch his #15 car. We forgot ear plugs and a kind man gave us some of his extras. A lot of the fans had noise canceling headphones on. This really is a MUST to have something in your ears because it's LOUD. The race is 250 laps (about 3 hours), so we didn't make it until the end. My 6-year-old was done about lap 100. All the pre-race excitement had tuckered him out.
Everyone at the speedway was so NICE, I was impressed. From the parking attendants, to the medics, to the fans, we felt so welcomed and even my questions of the sport were met with warm answers not kurt eye rolls. I may not be able to say that I've sat through an entire race, but I can say the experience of the race is something I would definitely do again.