Friday, June 28, 2013

Catamaran Resort and Spa: Our Perfect San Diego Beach Family Vacation

Everyday I recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to live in Boulder, Colorado. Just blocks away from our home are the Rocky Mountains. The sunrises and sunsets are so often breathtaking and caught during the simplest moments, such as walking out of the grocery store or weeding my garden, they often stop me in my tracks! I truly love living in Colorado, but have to be honest, I am drawn to the beach and ocean for family vacations. Trips to the beach feeds our soul as a family, it gives us so much opportunity to bond, relax, and feel carefree.

By spring's arrival, my online research into a destination for our family vacation in June was in full swing. Our thoughts were literally all over the map, we weighed out the pros and cons of foreign country beach escapes to the hurricane season of the Gulf Coast, which spanned from vacation rentals by owner to all inclusive resorts. I started to feel overwhelmed by our research, travel websites were distracting me from what we really wanted in a vacation, so of course we came up with a list of vacation priorities!

Beach Vacation Top Priorities:
* Hotel/house/condo walking distance to the beach
* Close to $1,000 airfare for our family of 4 or potential road trip destination
* Thriving local community with cultural and educational activities for the family
* Great restaurants and Farmers markets (to balance cooking and eating out)
* Kitchen option for cooking 
* View of the ocean would be a major plus
* Pool for the girls
* Great weather
* Budget friendly

Quite the tall order for a vacation, isn't it? 

Mission Bay looking North to the Pacific Ocean
(click to enlarge)
Enter the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in San Diego, California. It may have been their live webcam that sealed the deal for me (link at the top right of their home page). Before we even booked our stay, I checked in a few times a day to see how the weather was looking. Then, I started to long for a glimpse of the webcam perspective in real life. The Catamaran has a really comprehensive website with many videos that features highlights of the property, which made it stand out to me during our research. 

We arrived at the Catamaran on a Sunday afternoon, to our delight our room was ready for checkin an hour earlier than we anticipated. Our room was a North View Studio on the top floor of the tower, which had beautiful views of the ocean all the way to LaJolla (even from both full sized beds). Our studio included a small kitchen with a full range and an apartment sized refrigerator, not the typical mini refrigerators most hotels offer, and fully stocked kitchenware for our family of four. We also had a pull out sofa, which was perfect for the girls; they sleep so much sounder when they have their own beds. I don't think we were in the room for 10 minutes before we were hopping in our swimsuits to hit the pool! 


While on paper the Catamaran seemed like a perfect location, we were delighted to find out it was more conveniently located than we anticipated. There were some days we didn't even get into our car because the Catamaran is so perfectly located. We literally crossed one street to get to the beach, a grocery store was a couple of blocks north, shops and restaurants conveniently surround the Catamaran. Once we were at the beach, if we turned north we landed on Pacific Beach and if we headed south it was Mission Beach. The ocean was warmer than we expected and we truly lucked out shell hunting, finding many intact sand dollars on carefree strolls. Sometimes we didn't feel up for lugging our stuff across the street, so we would hang out poolside or at the beach on Mission Bay. Just steps from the hotel is Mission Bay where there are lovely lounge chairs, water sport equipment, and dining right along the beach. Mission Bay is clearly a local's destination as through out the day we always saw people running, walking, and cycling the paved path that follows bay beach. The Catamaran provides Bay Beach, Ocean Beach, and poolside experiences. I'm not even sure where to go with that, other than it's amazing! The Catamaran has beautiful grounds, lush landscaping, and all sorts of unexpected wildlife hanging on the property. We have a parakeet for our family pet, so the girls were immediately drawn to the rare birds that are lucky enough to call Catamaran home. One night stands out in my mind, we had just visited Sea World for the afternoon, it was late and we were all tired and hungry. We walked into the Atoll right off the lobby, were taken care of immediately, and our dinner arrived so quickly we avoided the typical meltdowns that we would encounter after a long day with two hungry girls. If you are traveling with children to the Catamaran, they will adore the kid's menu, I promise! 


A glimpse into our experience!
The driving force behind choosing San Diego and ultimately the Catamaran was that I was looking for a destination that we would want to return to in the future. While we love to travel to new places and a variety of experiences, there's something that speaks to my heart when finding a place to return to year after year. It fills me with delight to think about becoming so familiar with a vacation destination that you feel like a local. With just a short flight and a very manageable road trip from Denver, the beaches of San Diego are where we are drawn. To top it off there are so many things to do and see in San Diego, I have created a new list of Must-Do's for our next trip. My words can't quite capture the joy I experienced while staying at the Catamaran, it exceeded my expectations trifold, and I am already longing to return.

My thoughts are currently focused on, what is December like in San Diego...

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Related Links:
 Catamaran reservations, they offer many deals directly with local ticket packages!
Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa on Facebook
San Diego Tourism website, very comprehensive resource
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Disclosure, Our trip to the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa was paid for by our family. I was given a discounted rate on our room. Our experience is one I would reflect upon regardless. All words are my own. I was not compensated for this post. 


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