Anaheim is first and foremost a family destination, with many resorts catering to the young and young at heart.
This chameleon-like California city is home to attractions such as Disneyland Resort, also known as “the Happiest Place on Earth,” and the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park. However, rides and slides aren’t the only game here. Downtown Anaheim’s Packing District has undergone a revitalization, where historic buildings now house breweries, wineries and mom-and-pop businesses. The centerpiece, the 1919 Anaheim Packing House, has transformed into a foodie heaven, with dozens of local vendors selling everything from chicken tikka masala to gelato. Add in Angel Stadium, live-music venues and 42mi (68km) of nearby beaches, and there’s something for everyone, including families, in this Orange County outpost. Here are the best resorts for taking it all in.
The posh Sheraton Park Hotel has all the amenities of a luxury resort but a central city location. The Disneyland Resort, Anaheim GardenWalk and Angel Stadium are all within walking distance. Each room has a furnished balcony, perfectly positioned for seeing the fireworks at Disneyland each evening. You can drink cocktails by the palm-fringed pool, break a sweat in the light-filled fitness room or dine on mature steaks and California cabernet at the hotel’s swanky Morton’s Steakhouse. Rooms and suites also feature the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience: layers of pillows and blankets that allow you to create your ideal sleep environment.
With three towers – Adventure, Fantasy and Frontier – the Disneyland Hotel pays tribute to the park’s original lands. The decor is modern and whimsical. Disney nods include light-up Sleeping Beauty Castle headboards and Mickey Mouse-shaped shower handles. It’s a short stroll from the Downtown Disney District, and if you have valid theme park tickets, you get early admission to Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park. Dining and drinking options include a low-lit steakhouse and a tiki bar.
The Fairfield by Marriott Anaheim Resort is a seven-minute walk to the park, and you can buy Disneyland tickets at the resort’s front desk. Disney characters often make appearances in the lobby, and guest rooms have murals featuring famous Disneyland landmarks. For a respite from the Disney theme, you can head to the hotel’s tropical heated outdoor pool and whirlpool. Panera Bread room delivery and a family room with arcade games are a few other perks.
The Hyatt Regency Orange County, with its buzzy 17-story atrium, goes out of its way to please guests of all ages. Kids are endlessly entertained at the recreation deck with basketball, ping-pong, bocce and shuffleboard. The two outdoor pools include the child-friendly South Tower Pool and a quieter North Tower Pool with palm trees and a hot tub. The Kid’s Suites have bunk beds and adjoining rooms with king beds for adults. Seek out the firepit at twilight to roast s’mores under the stars, or enjoy a frosty microbrew at the hotel’s brewpub. A Disneyland park shuttle conveniently stops by the lobby.
Courtesy of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa / Expedia
The sprawling Disney’s Grand Californian is an escape from reality for kids and parents. The luxury hotel with Craftsman-style architecture has a full-service spa specializing in good-for-the soul experiences, including facials, massages and salon services. The three swimming grottos include a pool with a waterslide that curves around a giant redwood tree, a tranquil Fountain Pool surrounded by brick walls and boulders, and the Mariposa Pool with a hot tub and six cabanas. For award-winning wines and braised wagyu beef, visit the fine-dining Napa Rose restaurant. The hotel also has a private entrance to Disney California Adventure Park.
The 178 rooms at Hyatt Place are bright and contemporary with light wood and neutral colors. Prime bunk-bed suites have two sleeping areas – one with a king bed and the other with a twin-bed bunk bed – separated by French doors and a large-screen TV when you want to tune everything out. Some rooms even have sofa sleepers and separate workspaces. The hotel’s coffee-to-cocktails bar is great for a pick-me-up, but an outpost of LA’s legendary Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is right next door.
Surrounded by swaying palm trees, this sandy-colored retreat near the Anaheim GardenWalk gives off a dose of old Hollywood glamour, with the lobby featuring sepia photos of famous movie couples. The rooftop sundeck provides you with a front-row seat to the golden hour and Disney fireworks display each night. The wide variety of rooms include two-bedroom presidential suites and studios with small kitchens. WorldMark Anaheim also has four outdoor hot tubs.
An all-suite property, the one- and two-bedroom rooms at the Peacock sleep four to eight guests. Suites feature either one king, one queen or two queen beds, along with a kitchenette and separate living and dining areas, while the stuccoed rooftop sun deck has tables with umbrellas and views of Anaheim. The hotel’s also home to a covered and heated outdoor pool, two hot tubs and a fitness center, ticking all the California must-haves.
A spectacular dolphin fountain welcomes families to Club Wyndham Dolphin’s Cove, a verdant property with exotic gardens and ponds. It’s less than a mile from the Anaheim resort area that includes Disneyland Resort, Disney’s California Adventure and the Anaheim Convention Center. Besides being close to the magic, this hotel has kid-friendly activities and recreation spaces galore, including a swimming pool, games room, miniature golf and a putting green. One-, two- and three-bedroom condos have balconies, fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities.
Great Wolf opened its first property in Wisconsin in 1997. It was such a hit that the company opened hotels in popular vacation markets throughout North America, including a 603-room hotel in Garden Grove, near Anaheim, back in 2016. Themed suites are a hit with the whole family, such as the Wolf Den, with its cave sleeping area for kids, and a suite that looks like a log cabin. Its famed indoor waterpark has more than 105,000sqft (9,755sqm) of pools, rides, water slides and lazy rivers.