When planning a family holiday to California, many parents think that Los Angeles is the place to be. And why not? With Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm, it’s a pretty tough act to follow. But San Diego, just a couple of hours’ drive south of LA, does a pretty good job.
It’s got the theme parks covered with the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld (where you can check out Shamu the Killer Whale) and LEGOLAND, with its staggering thirty million LEGO bricks. It’s geared toward kids aged from two to twelve and has more than fifty family rides.
San Diego also has plenty of natural attractions. Feel like surfin’ USA? There are so many beautiful beaches to choose from, not to mention heaps around for the rugged outdoorsy types – there’s scuba diving, mountain biking, hiking, hang-gliding, tennis, hot-air ballooning, sailing, whale watching… and the list goes on.
It has all the positives of California Dreaming life but with less traffic and smog, and none of LA’s “oh-so-beautiful” showbiz crowd.
If you think it’s going to be less child-friendly than its sassier northern sister, think again. The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is working hard to ensure that the whole family is happy. It’s five-star all the way but with the comfortable vibe of a family resort.
Let’s start with the pristine Arnold Palmer Golf Course. Golf enthusiasts are going to think this place is tee-riffic! It was voted Conde Nast Traveler’s number one golf resort in Southern California. Considering the competition, that’s some compliment! Gaze out to the vast Pacific Ocean while covering the eighteen holes, and at the nineteenth hole enjoy the elegant two-story Spanish Colonial clubhouse with bar, lounge, steakhouse and balcony. The Aviara Golf Academy is also the longest running golf school in the western US, so if you need to work on your swing, this is the place to be.
For those who prefer their thrills on the waves, there’s the Beach Butler & Surf Concierge! This complimentary service means your beach trips are all taken care of. You can be transported to and from nearby Ponto Beach with everything you’ll want for the day: chairs, umbrella, towels and even drinks, coffee and light meals. And the Surf Concierge has all the info you need, including wave conditions and water temperature, for some time out amongst the sets. Surfing lessons are also available for an extra fee.
And, of course, if you’re not a beach lover, just remember that the Hyatt’s gorgeous pool awaits you back at the hotel.
There’s no doubt that Americans are the reigning champions of the Day Spa. It’s practically a national hobby for many well-heeled American women. A mind-boggling array of treatments originated here – and the Aviara Spa is no exception. There are more than twenty treatment rooms plus whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms to keep a day filled, as well as delicious-sounding treatments such as the Harmonizing Bamboo Massage and Gingseng Herbal Facial.
Now the kids may enjoy a round of golf or beach time as much as their parents but we reckon they’re going to be most interested in Camp Hyatt. Open from nine to five, it caters for children aged from four to twelve.
The Camp Hyatt playroom is a two-story wonderland for kids with books, games, computers, Lego, a big-screen TV, and art and crafts supplies. Kid-sized furniture (including kid-size bathroom facilities) keeps them comfortable while heaps of supervised activities keep them occupied. There’s a life-size teepee for story telling and games, kite flyer, soccer, Frisbee and scavenger hunts.
There’s also an outdoor recreation lawn with with a half-court basketball court, a sand volleyball court, six tennis courts, plus croquet, bocce and badminton facilities.
The children can order their own lunch from a special gourmet kids’ menu, followed by afternoon walks that take in the Batiquitos Lagoon on the Aviara property, where kids are taught about the endangered species that make this lagoon their home.
The Camp Hyatt staff are trained in CPR, first aid and water safety, so you can relax knowing your kids are in safe hands.
Travelling with babies? You’ll be relieved to hear that Hyatt has a new partnership with Babies Travel Lite. You pre-order from more than a thousand baby products, from nappies to formula to food to equipment, toys and books… and it’s all delivered to your hotel awaiting your arrival.
The more we think about it, forget Disneyland, this might really be the happiest place on earth!
We’ve got loads more fabulous resorts and destinations in store. Got somewhere you’d like us to explore? Just leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Surfer picture: courtesy San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau