Live like a local. That's the credo embraced by Cape Rey, a new resort in the North San Diego County's Carlsbad. But what exactly does that mean?
Carlsbad is a town where hoodies and flip-flops are common breakfast attire at Swami's or Cafe Topes, and you can feel yourself unwind a little more with each deep breath of ocean air. But there's a quiet intensity that ripples beneath the town's otherwise mellow vibe.
Just look at the cyclists pumping their carbon fiber triathlon bikes along Pacific Coast Highway. And remember this is the town where the Morey Boogie Board came to life in a garage, where that megabrand Quiksilver sold its first order of board shorts to a local surf shop and where GoPro just tripled the size of its nearby offices.
"The AAA Four Diamond resort excels there, too.
Laid out in a u-shape, the main building wraps around a pool and patio EQUIPPED FOR LOUNGING - the hot tub, fire pits, cabanas and couches all beckon you to sit, sip and savor
To experience Carlsbad like a local then is to plan on being active and being at the beach. And Cape Rey is ideally suited to help you try it all on for size. The 215-room hotel, a Hilton property recently rebranded as a boutique resort, sits on 8 acres adjacent to South Carlsbad State Beach. The sand and surf are just a few steps away across Pacific Coast Highway. Bikes can be rented from the front desk. And nearby Carlsbad Lagoon offers kayaking, jet skiing and stand up paddle boarding.
But mellow is also a feature of coastal living. The AAA Four Diamond resort excels there too. Laid out in a u-shape, the main building wraps around a pool and patio equipped for lounging - the hot tub, fire pits, cabanas and couches all beckon you to sit, sip and savor your surroundings. Assuming of course you want to leave your room. We were content to lounge in our ocean view suite and enjoy a bottle of wine.
Eventually our curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to explore Carlsbad. We grabbed a couple of beach cruisers from the valet and headed south on Pacific Coast Highway.
The bluffs at South Ponto Beach offered a view of the extended shoreline and the sun glistening on the waves rolling in below. A little further along, we turned off PCH to ditch the traffic and found ourselves on Neptune Avenue, a one-way residential street that parallels the shoreline. Cyclists, dog-walkers and strollers outnumbered cars. Somewhere past Moonlight State Beach in nearby Encinitas, we turned around and headed back to Cape Rey, stopping at a neighborhood lemonade stand for an ice-cold cup of
It was time for dinner at Chandler's when we returned. Located adjacent to the pool, the resort's signature restaurant offers the option of fine dining, or relaxing outside with drinks and appetizers to watch the sun slide into the Pacific.
With ingredients from the ocean or nearby fields, Chandler's also emphasizes local. We started with the melt-in-your-mouth porcini-dusted diver scallops. The broccoli soup was so smooth and creamy I had a hard time believing it was vegan. Next was a beet salad with goat cheese, pumpkin seed, candied walnuts and mustard vinaigrette. For the main course, we shared the crab-crusted sea bass and beef tenderloin. Like each prior course, the entrees and their sides were an illustration of perfection - impeccably cooked, with a wonderful blend of flavors.
Sunday morning found us at two other popular local destinations. We started with a walk at the beach where surfers and paddle boarders were in the line-up and runners bounced up and down the shore. And then it was on to Cafe Topes. With inventive breakfasts - think Tri-tip Benedict - and Stumptown coffee, it's easy to see why this spot is always packed.
Lingering over our French press, it was hard to admit our weekend experiment of living locally was nearing its end. Though short-lived, our visit to Cape Rey proved Carlsbad was a good fit for us and left us wanting to return.
Live Like a Local
Cape Rey Carlsbad