Like most parents, my husband and I don't get as much time as we'd like for romantic pursuits. So, when I was invited by West Inn & Suites to check out their digs, I begged asked my visiting mom and dad to watch the kids one night so we could escape duck out for a 24-hour getaway at this boutique hotel in Carlsbad, California — just a short drive from our home in San Diego (33 miles from the San Diego International Airport). Here's why to book a stay at West Inn & Suites for a romantic getaway or family vacation.
West Inn Decor & Amenities
West Inn & Suites' lobby has the feel of a small inn or bed & breakfast with dark wood and cozy decor. Despite its homey feel, the hotel holds 86 guest rooms (including 36 suites). The rooms have a sleek, modern feel with fresh orchid blooms. West features the amenities of an upscale hotel, all with an affordable price-tag (rates starting at $159). The tree-lined heated outdoor pool and whirlpool spa provide a lovely retreat after a day touring the sites or shopping at the nearby outlet stores.
Gourmet Lunch at Bistro West
Although I've watched every episode of Barefoot Contessa and Top Chef on TV, I don't cook as much as I
should would like to. Both the hubs and I, however, are expert eaters. Was it crazy for us to accept invitations by West to experience not one but TWO multi-course meals to be consumed on the same day? Crazy, maybe. Delicious? Yes! Did I mention both meals included wine pairings? Of course, I HAD to indulge for the sake of gluttony research.
There are two tasty restaurants located adjacent to the hotel, Bistro West and West Steak and Seafood. Each is a destination restaurant in its own rite. Both serve fresh vegetables and herbs hand-plucked daily from West's own one-acre farm.
Our four-course lunch at Bistro West (the more casual option) started with a toast of pomegranite champagne cocktails with the forbidden fruit's seeds floating delightfully amongst the bubbles. Our meal ended with warm cinnamon-dusted mini donuts cozied up to a cup of dark chocolate mousse.
West's Romantic Options
We needed to burn off at least part of our meal to make room for the evening's food extravaganza yet to come. We walked a couple of short blocks to the Carlsbad Seawall path, which led us along the ocean into Carlsbad's small downtown to peruse a handful of boutiques and surf shops.
There is a pressure, when kid-free, to make the most of every minute of
sweet freedom alone-time. We toyed with the idea of renting jet skis at Carlsbad Lagoon, or getting a bicycle-built-for-two on which to tool around town from Raw Skin Surf Shack. If it had been spring, we could have headed to the Carlsbad Flower Fields to wander amongst rows of colorful blooms.
We opted for relaxation. Back at our room, we found a bottle of bubbly with two flutes, a plate of fortune cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries, plus a stack of romantic comedies (as part of a romance package offered by West Inn & Suites). We snuggled up in bed to watch Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (yummy!) in “The Proposal” while we munched our fruity treats. In the middle of the afternoon. Without interruption. What could be more romantic?
Chef's Tasting Dinner at West Steak and Seafood
We didn't go so far as to open the bottle of champagne, but my husband and I did opt for a cocktail at the bar before being seated for dinner in the West Steak and Seafood. Our bartender, Jeff Wangsgaard, was just as friendly as the other West staff we encountered. He recommended the Blueberry Heaven Martini, a sweet-tart concoction he proudly invented made with a housemade blueberry-infused simple syrup.
Our five-course meal commenced with a plate of fresh oysters. I am proud to say I tried my first oyster that night. This led to my discovery that oysters are not for me. Apparently, they are for my husband. He gobbled up the rest of the platter.
There was a macadamia nut-crusted brie with mango chutney and toasted brioche (my favorite part of the meal!), a risotto with mushroom and truffle pâté (a tad undercooked, but with delicious, earthy flavors), surf n' turf of filet mignon with cauliflower purée and port wine reduction plus lobster with tarragon beurre blanc (heaven), and a shared bananas foster with vanilla bean ice cream (I allowed my husband a bite or two).
Yes, it was as good as it sounds. No, you cannot order the same thing. Our meal was a tasting menu designed and created just for us that evening by the Chef de Cuisine David DiSalvo. Anyone (even those not staying at the hotel) can arrange for a special tasting menu (preferences and allergies can be specified), by contacting the West Inn & Suites concierge.
It's no wonder West Inn & Suites is such a popular spot for vacationing families who enjoy the hotel's proximity and free shuttle to LEGOLAND California (and anywhere else within five miles). Other kid-friendly touches? There's a complimentary full breakfast every morning, with a selection of board games to borrow in the breakfast area. You'll also find a microwave and refrigerator in every room. And there's complimentary WI-FI, great for web-surfing while little ones nap. Pet parents will be happy to know Fluffy and Fido are also welcomed at West Inn & Suites (at an additional charge).
Whether traveling with the kids (or the pets), or without, I whole-heartedly recommend West Inn & Suites.
What would you do with 24 hours free from the kiddos? Tell us in the comments!
A Note from The Travel Mama: West Inn & Suites hosted our stay and our meals. All opinions are my own. I would never recommend something I don't truly like, especially “whole-heartedly.”