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Family resorts & hotels from Hearst Castle to Napa

Family resorts & hotels from Hearst Castle to Napa

Old Dec 19, 03, 11:31 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Raleigh,NC,USA
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Family resorts & hotels from Hearst Castle to Napa

I visit the East Bay often and stay in the Hilton Garden Inn in San Leandro that well suits my needs as a solo business traveller (as long as I'm not in a room facing the freeway).

In early April I'm taking my wife and two sons, aged 9 and 13, to see Hearst Castle, Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Alcatraz & more in the City, Scharffen Berger in Berkeley, and redwoods & wineries north of the City. I don't think we'll go inland enough to see Yosemite.

Do you have any tips on
-hotels or resorts for families, especially Hilton, Marriott or Starwood where I can use points, but independents have their own charm
-other spots kids like along our coastal path

Thanks much & Merry Christmas!

suthurn
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Old Dec 24, 03, 2:16 pm
  #2  
 
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Can't help you too much on the initial thrust of your post, Suthurn, but I do have one piece of advice: When you decide to buy your tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, buy them at the concierge desk of any major hotel in Monterey (we bought ours at the Hyatt Regency), where they will give you two consecutive days for the price of one. Also, with tickets in hand, you can walk right to the front entrance and bypass the lengthy lines.

Turns out, one day was enough for our two-year-old, so we gave the tickets to another couple with a young child that we met who were planning on visiting the next day.

Have a wonderful time.
Don in LA is offline  
Old Dec 25, 03, 2:58 pm
  #3  
 
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I'll limit my suggestions and comments to the first part of your itinerary, as that is where I have the most experience.

Hearst Castle - we took the basic, simple, relatively short tour. That was fine, especially with kids.

We stayed just north of the main part of Cambria along Moonstone Beach. There are lots of small, quite nice motels and B&Bs. I think it is a lot nicer there than right in town.

Fortunately, most of this area seemed to survive the quake OK.

If you reach Big Sur in daylight, try to have lunch, or at least a snack or drink, at Ventana Inn. The setting is spectacular, but probably too fancy/expensive for a family dinner.

Monterey Bay Hotels -
1) No Starwood anywhere in the area.
2) Marriott - a high rise downtown Monterey 1/2 block from the ocean. Standard good quality Marriott whose best feature is its rooftop restaurant.
3) Hyatt - a low rise, sprawling property out by Highway 1 adjacent to the Del Monte golf course. Golf course rooms have a nice view, otherwise you'll see the parking lot or the freeway. Not the usual Hyatt Regency. They sometimes have jazz on the weekends.
4) HHilton Honors - The Doubletree in downtown Monterey is quite nice, similar to and across the street from the Marriott, but it does not participate in HHonors. The Hilton is about a 5 minute drive near the Hyatt and is a former Holiday Inn. Nice pool, but not too much else. The Embassy Suites is quite a distance away in Seaside - not very convenient.

Personally, I think the nicest hotel in Monterey is the Monterey Plaza, but youwon't be able to use points here. It is on Cannery Row, an easy walk to the Aquarium. Just up the street from the Aquarium is a small outlet mall. Normally I wouldn't recommend a mall, but it has a great discount bookstore on the 2nd floor with some excellent travel and kids books.

The Tinnery in Pacific Grove is a good restaurant with food suitable for both kids and adults and a very nice view.

Be sure to take the 17-mile drive. It's touristy but worth it - lots of places to stop along the beach and the dunes.

Santa Cruz - Be sure to check whether the Boardwalk is open, as sometimes it's only open on the weekends. Only a Hilton near here - actually in Scotts Valley and not too convenient. Nicest place to stay is Chaminade, up on a hill with a great view.

I'd be happy to answer any more of your questions. Sometimes it's hard to offer specific suggestions without the questions.

Skip Mystery Spot! Big rip-off.
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Old Dec 28, 03, 3:21 am
  #4  
 
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A few years ago we stayed in San Simeon at the Best Western Cavalier Lodge. It was nothing to write home about, but it was pleasant for one night. It's only about 3 miles to the entrance to the visitor center of Hearst Castle. We did the basic tour one afternoon and then another one the next morning. The only bad thing about this place is that the restaurant/coffee shop was very busy in the morning and you may have to wait for a table. There are a couple of places for dinner in San Simeon. If you want a nicer dinner, you may have to drive to Cambria, but it's not far.

There seem to be some good prices now on Expedia.
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Old Dec 28, 03, 7:23 am
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"When is the Boardwalk open?

The Boardwalk is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and then weekends and holidays during fall and part of spring. (Were usually closed the first three weeks of December for winter maintenance). Some rides are open everyday during April and May. The Boardwalks Grand Arcades, the Casino Arcade and Neptunes Kingdom Miniature Golf, plus the new Boardwalk Bowl, are open year-round with the exception of December 25.

http://www.beachboardwalk.com/

I guess for early April you will need to call.

Sylvia, in Santa Cruz
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Old Dec 30, 03, 3:42 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JerryFF:

Skip Mystery Spot! Big rip-off.
</font>
That's for sure!

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Old Jan 1, 04, 1:36 pm
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Thanks to everyone for the tips. I wish you all safe and fun travels in 2004.

suthurn
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Old Jan 3, 04, 2:37 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JerryFF:
...The Tinnery in Pacific Grove is a good restaurant with food suitable for both kids and adults and a very nice view.... </font>
Agree about the view, but the last few times I've been there the food was medicre for the price and the service inconsistent. My favorite moderate-priced seafood restaurant, particularly for lunch, in Pacific Grove is
The Fishwife


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Old Jan 13, 04, 9:48 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by JerryFF:
We stayed just north of the main part of Cambria along Moonstone Beach. There are lots of small, quite nice motels and B&Bs. I think it is a lot nicer there than right in town.
</font>
JerryFF: Any specific recommendations for B&B's between San Simeon and San Luis Obispo? I'm taking my girlfriend down there this spring (driving from SF), but don't know where to stay.
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Old Jan 18, 04, 12:17 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by dordal:
JerryFF: Any specific recommendations for B&B's between San Simeon and San Luis Obispo? I'm taking my girlfriend down there this spring (driving from SF), but don't know where to stay.</font>
I'm afraid I can't help you on this one. We've only been to this area once and stayed at the Sea Otter Inn.
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Old Aug 4, 07, 10:59 pm
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Bump ... anyone know of good places (ie B&B, etc) to stay in San Simeon for 2 nights? I'm helping my folks find a place while they're up there for the weekend. TIA!
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