Our family of three loves to travel and go on road trip adventures. We are very fortunate to call Southern California our home, a few hours away from a lot of great destinations that I know a lot of people aspire to visit.
Since discovering the points and miles game, a whole new world has opened up to me. My zest for travel has increased more and has made it possible for me to take my family on trips previously out of our budget.
We recently renewed our California Legoland annual passes, which meant we have many road trips to Carlsbad in our future. Our plan for this particular trip was to spend a day at Legoland, activate our passes, then spend the rest of the time at the beaches in surrounding Oceanside, California.
I looked for hotels that had availability for discounted hotel rates for a Friday night AND also had rewards nights available for Saturday night. During peak summer season, a lot of discounted rates are blocked on weekend dates, so I had to be flexible, paying cash and points.
Booking the SpringHill Suites San Diego Oceanside Using Points
San Diego — and many of the desirable parts of Southern California — can be difficult to book using points. Properties that would be middling elsewhere tend to loft into the upper categories for points rewards. Finding a space that can comfortably accomodate two kids adds another layer of difficulty.
We chose to stay at the Springhill Suites San Diego Oceanside/Downtown for this trip. It met our requirements of being able to pay cash for the first night and used 35,000 Marriott points to cover the second night, netting a return of roughly 0.8¢ per Marriott Point, roughly on par with most valuations. We paid cash for Friday night stay using a discounted rate. However, peak summer weekend rates (Saturday night stay) are beyond our travel budget. The hotel’s cash rate averages from $280-$300+ nightly.
I used 12,000 points earned from my personal Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express, converted SPG points to Marriott points at a rate of 1 to 3, and redeemed 35,000 Marriott points for this Category 7 hotel.
This hotel is in a perfect location for beach lovers. It’s only steps away from the beach, it has large rooms perfect for families, and a hot breakfast buffet is included. Their breakfast had a condiment station with individual Nutella packs; the kids went wild.
It has a large beach-themed lobby and a separate room for kids that had games and photo booth area. We invited our local friends to meet us in the lobby before walking to the beach together.
In front of the hotel is the Oceanside pier, the main lifeguard station and the kids playground right next to the sandy beaches.
After playing at the beach, we headed back and had pizza delivered to our hotel room. Late in the afternoon, We hung out at the rooftop pool. The pool was heated and had a large jacuzzi that both kids and adults could dip in. I’m an avid reader so I was happily reading and lounging while enjoying the view pier.
We chose this hotel for this trip because we wanted to be as close to the beach as possible. We also knew we planned on lounging at the pool after the beach. We didn’t want to use our car and just wanted to explore the shops and restaurants in the area. We spent the full day on Saturday and left late afternoon on Sunday before heading home. To me, the cash and points redemption was worth it for the activities we had planned.
If you are planning to go to Legoland the whole day and just need a bed for the night, then I suggest hotels that are located more inland and have lower cash rate/points. We did this on our other trips.
Our room was on the 7th floor facing the city view and was on the same side as the railroad tracks. I read the reviews ahead and knew that the hotel was next to a train station. The room amenity includes ear plugs and white noise machine to help guests deal with noise. Since we were only in our hotel room late in the afternoon and in the evenings, the noise did not bother us since we were not trying to sleep during the day. Everyone was tired after being out in the sun during the day, that the train noise did not disrupt our sleep. If you are a light sleeper, I suggest you request (or upgrade) to the ocean view rooms.
The kids had fun waiving at the trains passing by.
The only option for hotel parking is a $30 valet/overnight option. This is expensive, but it’s also comparable to hotels in the area by the beach so it wasn’t too surprising. There is metered parking along the streets but there’s no parking between 11pm-3am so it’s not an option for overnight hotel guests. I might explore an alternative parking location for our stay next time. I’ve been tipped by a local friend that cars can be parked at the train station parking lot a few blocks away.
The hotel shares a large 2nd floor balcony with the restaurant next door called Hello Betty Fish House. We took advantage of the restaurant’s happy hour and were treated to a beautiful sunset view. It was a perfect way to end our Legoland and beach trip.
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