We recently had the opportunity to enjoy a date night at a local hotel. Instead of escaping for alone time ourselves, though, Nate and I decided to give Oma and Opa the gift of a little one-on-one time.

Gifting a date night without being cheesy or giving gift cards

I don't think there is a couple on the entire planet more deserving of a date night. These two have bent over backwards to help our growing family, even going so far as using up their vacation time for our hospital stays! They watch the boys once a week to help preserve our sanity, Oma brings over homecooked meals and Opa patiently supports our learn-as-we-go adventures. The two of them have really served as an example to us of what two people in love should look like.

Date night

I'd asked them ahead of time to set aside the night for a surprise. Oma's a planner like me, so I sent her a brief itinerary the night before. I didn't want to make her wait to the point of stressing over what to pack!

“Check in at the Hilton Carlsbad at 4pm. Dinner at 7. Walk on the beach. Sit by the fire pit. Jump in the hot tub. Enjoy some blissful sleep. In the morning, get room service for breakfast. Movie tickets are waiting for you at the local theater for a noon showing.”

Gifting a date night without being cheesy or giving gift cards

We worked with Hilton Carlsbad to setup the reservations at their hotel, a local getaway I absolutely adore with cozy corners for lounging, on-site comforts including a spa, premier restaurant and stunning ocean views.

How to give a couple the gift of date night (without being all cheesy or giving gift cards)

The chef presented them with a hand-picked tasting menu at Chandler's. They have a pretty awesome happy hour but I prefer to nab a patio seat during off-hours to take advantage of the ocean breeze. If you get a chance to check this place out, order the Crab Crusted Sea Bass. I repeat: SEA BASS CRUSTED WITH CRAB. All drizzled with a creamy white buttery peppercorn sauce and a bed of bloomsdale spinach. Try it, people. You can even get it as part of their prix fixe menu including soup or salad, entree and dessert for $45. That's pretty hard to beat in these parts.

Gifting a date night without being cheesy or giving gift cards

We left the rest of the date night open for them to explore the jaw-droppingly gorgeous property. Poolside cabanas, fire pits, hand-picked details. People tend to get wrapped up in going out and seeing a destination when they travel, but I like to immerse myself in the intimate details of an upscale hotel. That's one of the things that makes a local getaway special, I think. You're freed up to kick back and enjoy unscheduled time guilt-free. It's a rare opportunity in this consumer-oriented world.

Gifting a date night without being cheesy or giving gift cards

And in the morning? A walk along the coast. A visit to Carlsbad isn't complete until you dip your toes in the ocean.

There are quite a few activities in the area for families, including Legoland and SEA LIFE aquarium, strawberry-picking and the flower fields. These are some of our favorite day-trips to make with the boys. For couples, there are sunset balloon trips and community plays and upscale movie theater experiences. We reserved seats at a matinee (yay for Fandango making it super-easy to gift a date night!) and simply sent the confirmation number over to Oma and Opa to enjoy the experience.

Gifting a date night without being cheesy or giving gift cards

If you're looking to gift a date night, I highly recommend doing it this way. It's easy to leave your credit card information with the hotel ahead-of-time to make sure that any charges and incidentals are taken care of for the couple. The concierge service at the resort can help arrange special experiences such as dining and surprise deliveries to the room, as well as pointing you in the right direction when it comes to local attractions and entertainment.

Have you ever gifted a date night to loved ones?