The Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach has undergone a $10 million renovation that included redoing all of the 161 guest rooms and giving the hotel a fresh look.
“The hotel is coming up on 20 years that it’s been there and it’s been kind of an icon for Carlsbad,” said Thomas Lee, area manager for the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach and its sister hotel, Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach.
“It’s gone through a few soft renovations here and there, but this one takes the cake,” Lee said. “It definitely needed the style update, especially with I would say the competition in Carlsbad getting a lot deeper now with a lot of full-service properties coming online, a lot of limited service properties coming online, a lot more product coming online.”
The renovation took three years to finish, due in part to the 2020 COVID lockdown.
“We began in late 2019. We started doing the public spaces in the restaurant. Right when COVID hit in March 2020, we stopped,” Lee said. “We took a little bit of a break as hotels got hit pretty hard.”
The renovation resumed in earnest in late 2021 with work on the guest rooms and was completed in November.
The renovations were designed by PDA Design in San Clemente.
“They came up with a fresh, modern ocean culture design,” Lee said. “It’s not your typical Hilton Garden Inn. “This one has a lot of lifestyle elements, that North County lifestyle.”
That started with changing the color scheme from earth tones of brown and tan to blues, whites and grays.
The lobby was reconfigured to replace the check-in counter with a pair of interactive pods that flank the entrance.
“It’s not your traditional, someone standing behind the desk,” Lee said. “You actually have someone out there who’s greeting you. It’s not the same look. It’s a lot more airy.”
The idea is to make the hotel feel more approachable from the outset.
“Not only are we getting a new physical product, but the expectations on the level of service are going to go up,” Lee said.
The lighting was changed to softer LED fixtures.
In keeping with the hotel’s location at the beach, a chandelier with a beachy design was added to the lobby.
“It sets the tone of the whole operation,” Lee said. “We’ve taken this traditional chandelier and made it almost like a beach piece. It looks almost like shells hanging from it, a string of shells.”
The hotel restaurant, named Coast 6450 for the address of the hotel, got new flooring and new furnishings.
With restaurant designs by Hatch Design of Costa Mesa, “Everything there has been redone,” Lee said.
A service that makes the Garden Inn stand out is food delivery. It’s not exactly room service, because no one enters the room with carts and formal meal set-ups, but food prepared in the restaurant kitchen is delivered to the rooms as a take-out order, Lee said.
To give the hotel a closer tie-in to the community, photographs of Carlsbad coastal scenes by Roy Kerckhoff are displayed in hotel meeting spaces.
The guest rooms themselves were given a complete makeover, including walk-in showers and new natural gray wood flooring with a blue carpet inset around the beds.
“The location definitely held its own this entire time but now, with this renovation, there’s no stopping it. It definitely separates this hotel from some of the competing hotels,” Lee said.
Managed by Davidson Hotels, the hotel draws a mix of business and leisure travelers, and Lee said occupancy rates have recovered from COVID.
“It’s definitely come back during the summertime,” Lee said. “We’re beating 2019.”
Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach
Wave Crest Resorts III, LLC
Opened: June 2000
President: William Canepa
Notable: Wave Crest’s properties include Hilton Garden Inn and Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach.