A December 2004 trip
to Carlsbad by MaggieG
Quote: Tamarack Beach Resort is great, and Carlsbad is a neat little town near to some special places.
The lobby of the resort is very welcoming, and since we were there in a chilly December week, the fire in the fireplace was really nice, as were the holiday decorations. Check-in and check-out were very smooth and fast. The front desk staff were always glad to give us tips, maps, and driving directions to different points of interest (from Indian casinos and restaurants to the "Coaster" train station, shops, and museums).
There is a gated underground garage where there is no charge for parking. The resort has two elevators and loads of luggage carts—no need to wait until one was available! The resort has two different sun/viewing decks with lounges and tables and chairs on the third floor. I found that the one by the solarium seemed to have the better views. We frequently went there at sundown to sip champagne while enjoying the gorgeous sunsets and watching the surfers.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 7, 2005
Tamarack Beach Resort
3200 Carlsbad Blvd
Carlsbad, California 92008
Near the resort's swimming pool are two hot tubs—the one for adults seemed hotter than the one that allowed children. The patio near the pool and recreation room had several really nice gas barbecues built into a generously sized tile counter. The rec-room staff lit the grills for the guests, and the recreation room had pool, ping-pong and snooker tables, a video arcade, and a book/game-lending library, plus a fairly extensive VHS collection. Guests were allowed to check out two tapes overnight for free (DVDs cost $1 per night). The resort also organized a lot of different activities for all ages, including a wine-and-cheese party, Bingo, crafts for children and adults, and ping-pong and pool tournaments. The rec-room also kept a big urn of coffee going from early morning to closing (about 11pm) that my husband enjoyed—he’d go down early to pick up the free newspaper and enjoy that with a cup of their coffee before I ever woke up. All in-resort activities were free. They also had group sightseeing tours to Mexico and/or San Diego.
Monday morning was the manager’s informational talk, which really was very informative, on the different activities at the resort and in the little town of Carlsbad, as well as in nearby locations. There was no mention of sales; however, if you were interested, a desk in the lobby (occasionally manned) had a handout listing the timeshares that were for sale.
We barely scratched the surface of things to see and do in Carlsbad, much less in nearby San Diego. We really enjoyed the "Coaster"—a train that runs about every half-hour to 45 minutes from just above Carlsbad, into San Diego. The train station is just about four blocks from the resort. A lot of the route is along the coast, and the price and time beat driving and parking. We took it and got off in Old Town to spend one day. The San Diego trolley system is coordinated with the Coaster, so you could get off the Coaster, walk about 15 feet, and get on the trolley to go the Seaport Village or Mexico or to downtown shopping. The only disadvantage is that the last Coaster leaves San Diego at about 6pm, so you can’t use it if you’re planning on spending the evening in San Diego.
Carlsbad has neat little antiques shops and lots of nice restaurants. Of course, Legoland is also in Carlsbad. I couldn’t drag my husband there—maybe sometime when we have little ones with us. We really enjoyed our free tour (1 hour) of the Gemological Institute of America, located in Carlsbad. The G.I.A. offers instruction for jewelry designers, gem cutters, and graders—it’s the institute that set the world standards for rating precious and semi-precious gems, and it also has fantastic displays of them, as well as a great resource library on gems and a small gift store. There’s one tour each week—not always on the same day—and you have to call to make a reservation, as you can’t get by the security gate without being on the list.
I’m sorry we didn’t get to the Making Music Museum. Other resort visitors did and said that it was great and very interactive, with all sorts of musical instruments. Maybe another time, as this is definitely a town and a resort that call me back.