Waggin’ at the Waterfront: A Review of The Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California
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To The Point
This family-friendly, pooch-loving resort was perfect for my canine needs. Pros: private balcony in every room, doggie amenities upon arrival, great beach bonfire scene. Cons: construction marred the view, and what’s with the SoCal traffic?
Hey TPG readers, Swish Denenberg — one of The Points Pups — here! This fall, I took a trip to Huntington Beach, California, to check out the Surf City Surf Dog competition with the Points Pups intern, Danielle. We spent the weekend at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Resort, and I found it to be a real treat!
It was a busy weekend in Huntington Beach and we booked this trip on the last minute, so unfortunately a search on Hilton.com didn’t yield any award availability. We turned to Hotels.com to book my three-night stay, and paid a total of $948 with a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns 10x miles per dollar spent on hotel reservations when booked through the special link at hotels.com/venture. You can also stack this with Hotels.com Rewards, which awards one free night per every 10 paid nights. Since the free night is based on the average price of the 10 nights, when stacked with the 10x miles from the Venture Rewards, it effectively gives us a 20% return on this reservation. That’s one of the very best credit card returns you can get when spending cash on hotels.
The Waterfront Beach Resort was on the Pacific Coast Highway, just a bone’s throw away from the shore. The resort was surrounded by many other hotels along the beach. A 10-minute walk along the strip brought us to Pacific City, an outdoor shopping mall filled with retail stores and restaurants. A walk five minutes farther down the road took us to the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, one of the longest piers on the West Coast.
The hotel was about a half hour from Long Beach Airport (LGB) by car, or about $27 by Uber on a weekday afternoon. Danielle us drove down from Los Angeles, though, and on a Friday during rush hour, so it took us over two hours to get there! On the way back, straight to LAX on a Sunday afternoon, on the other hand, we made it in about 30 minutes.
The Waterfront Beach Resort was quite large, consisting of the main building on the left and two tall towers, the Huntington Tower and the Twin Dolphins Tower, on the right. The resort was doing work on the lawn and had some construction going on between the main building and the Huntington Tower when we visited.
Danielle had rented a car and drove down to Huntington Beach from Los Angeles. The valet attendants greeted us as we pulled up and informed us about the $38 daily parking fee.
We walked into the lobby, and I was instantly bombarded with people telling me how cute I was. I let them pet me as Danielle checked in. She had to sign a waiver acknowledging the rules and the one-time pet fee of $50. Basically, the rules said that I would be allowed anywhere within the resort, with the exception of the rooftop lounge and inside the pool. Luckily, I would still be allowed in the pool area, I just couldn’t go for a dip.
I was given a little gift basket at check-in with a bottle of water, treats, clean-up bags and a plastic water bowl that I got to keep as a souvenir. They also included a list of local pet services and nearby pet-friendly dining options.
We headed up to our room on the eighth floor of the Huntington Tower. There were hints of sea and surf at every turn. After all, Huntington Beach is known as the official Surf City, USA. (Cue the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA.“)
Danielle and I were assigned to Room 814, a Huntington Tower ocean-view king room, which spoiled us with amazing sunsets from a private balcony.
It also included an unattractive view of the new pool construction site below us, but, fortunately, they didn’t do any work over the weekend. According to the hotel website, the renovations on this pool are supposed to end January 31, 2019, though when we went, it was still just a dirt patch.
Our room was spacious and had a comfy king bed.
And it had an equally cozy little couch, which was perfect for an afternoon nap.
The ocean theme was prevalent throughout the room, with many aquatic accents, like these cool coral lamps.
There was a bar area with a coffeemaker and a mini fridge to keep my water cold.
The bathroom was well-lit, which Danielle appreciated when she needed to put on her makeup.
I did my best to measure out the shower-head height, but I don’t think this shower would have passed the TPG shower test.
For all of the traveling pups out there, I decided to create a test of my own: the TPP bath test. I definitely had a good amount of space between the faucet and my head. The TPG shower test may have been a fail, but the TPP bath test was a pass!
Food and Beverage
The resort offered a few different dining options. The Boardwalk Restaurant had indoor and outdoor seating for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, but we didn’t have a chance to eat there. Adjacent to the restaurant was an indoor bar called the Dock Bar.
There was another bar in the pool area that offered tropical cocktails and basic bites like chicken fingers and fries. Danielle ordered a frozen strawberry lemonade off the mocktails menu but added vodka because, well, why not?
The staff at the pool side bar was kind enough to give me a dog bowl so I could stay hydrated out in the sun.
After a day at the pool, Danielle went up to the Offshore 9 Rooftop Lounge located in the Twin Dolphins Tower. The bar’s menu consisted of small plates and fancy cocktails. It also boasted that it had “complimentary sunsets,” which it definitely delivered.
Danielle ordered the seared ahi tuna ($14) and a Therapy cocktail ($16) that had tequila, mezcal, lime, blackberry, basil and a spicy rim. Both were delicious!
Danielle and I headed down to the concierge desk to find out what activities the hotel offered. She thought the concierge area was cute and enjoyed being greeted with a friendly, lit-up sign.
The resort allowed guests to rent bikes and also offered a “Beach Blast Wagon” with all of the s’mores-making essentials.
Guests could reserve a fire pit on the beach. The resort offered supplies for groups of up to four people for $125 and up to groups of 20 for $350. The beach opposite the hotel was lined with dozens of fire pits, which attracted many families and groups.
There were also a few fire pits on the property near the pool. At night, the air smelled of smoky campfires and roasted marshmallows.
The pool overlooked the beach and had two long waterslides. At one point, there was a DJ who played tunes for the sunbathers. Later in the day, there was a man who jammed on the steel drums.
There were more than a dozen private, poolside cabanas available to rent.
There was a quiet business area, with computers and plenty of outlets available, next to a small meeting room.
I took full advantage of all of the picture-perfect spots spread throughout the resort. I sent this photo to the other Points Pups, and they were definitely jealous. Sorry, Miles and Hootie.
There was a fitness center that was open from 5:30am until midnight. The gym wasn’t a place for pups, so I didn’t get to check it out.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Waterfront Beach Resort. From the moment I arrived and was greeted with my pet amenity, I knew that this was going to be a great place for a dog like me. I loved that every room offered a private balcony so that all doggies could get a breath of fresh air while watching the waves crash against the shore. I think the resort would be a great spot for a family vacation or a big family reunion, considering the bonfire packages for groups up to 20 people. Plus, it was just a 35-minute drive to Disneyland.
If I find myself back in Huntington Beach in the future, I would definitely stay at the Waterfront Beach Resort again!
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