Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fairfield Inn & Suites Los Angeles West Covina



TheFairfield Inn & Suites in West Covina is conveniently located next to many shopping, dining and entertainment options.  It is located right off of the freeway but noise is not a problem as the hotel is slightly back from the freeway.

Upon entering the hotel, the lobby is on the smaller side.

Welcome Amenity
The front desk is located to the left.  Check-in was quick and efficient.  I was thanked for being a Platinum member and was given two bottles of water and two packages of trail mix.

I was informed that I had been upgraded to a suite which was a welcome surprise.

Microwave, Fridge

Upon entering the room, there is a coffee maker, microwave and mini fridge to the right.

Bathroom
Bathroom
Just past that is the bathroom, which is fairly large and contains a shower/tub combo, single sink with limited counter space and toilet.  It was at this time that I realized I was given an accessible room.

I called down to the front desk and asked if they had another room available in case the need for the room was needed for someone who actually needed it.  The front desk agent was apologetic and told me that she would be up to show me to another room.  The other room had a funny smell slightly reminiscent of faint urine.  She was extremely apologetic and we informed her that we wouldn’t mind going back to the first room if she thought it would not be needed for another guest.  She assured me it was fine and we proceeded back to the first room.  She also gave me $20 off the room for the inconvenience.

Desk
Sofa & Chair
TV
There is a small living room with sofa, sitting chair, desk, coffee table and TV.  This is a fairly small space and all of the furniture made it feel very cramped.

Bed
There is no door between the bed and the rest of the room.  The bedroom area feels spacious as it is easy to maneuver around the bed.

TV
Bench
There is a small flat screen TV and bench for additional seating or to put your luggage.

Closet
There is a small closet with a luggage rack and extra blanket.

The main drawback to the room is the lack of central air conditioning.  There is a free standing air conditioner which was quieter than most.

Fairfield Inn offers a complimentary buffet breakfast to all guests.  The buffet area is fairly small with limited seating.  It was a mad house and some of the guests were just grabbing things and cutting in front of people like they hadn’t eaten for a week.  I decided to pass of the breakfast for fear of losing a hand in case somebody thought it was a scrap of food.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites is a solid choice if needing to stay in the area.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Residence Inn Tustin Orange County



The Residence Inn Tustin Orange County is a relatively new hotel being built last year.  From what I could tell they are still going through some growing pains.

Lobby
Upon entering the hotel, the lobby is very spacious with plenty of seating.  There is also a flat screen TV and the breakfast area can be seen.  There is also a small pool located just outside of the lobby area.

The front desk is to the left.  There was a line of about six people in front on me but only one front desk agent working.  She kept calling for assistance but no other employees came to the front desk to assist the growing line of upset customers waiting to check-in.  Although check-in is at 4:00 PM from what I could tell all people waiting to check-n were told that there room was not ready yet, and that they would be contacted when their room was ready.  It sounds like there is not enough housekeeping staff in order to get the rooms ready in time for check-in.

2 Bedroom Suite
When it was my turn to check-in my Ritz Carlton Platinum status was recognized.  Fortunately my room was ready, maybe in part to my Platinum status.  It was strange in that I had received a message earlier that day indicating that my request for a 2 bedroom suite had been granted, and that I would be upgraded.  Funny thing is that I never called the hotel.

Kitchen
Free Hot Sauce!

Upon entering the room, you step directly into the kitchen area.  There is a full sized fridge, oven, dishwasher and microwave.  There is also a coffee maker and small sink.  There were packets of hot sauce on top of the fridge.  Maybe housekeeping is doing a poor job, or they weren’t tall enough to see it.
Desk
There is a small desk just past the kitchen, which does not provide too much working space for being a business hotel, but is functional enough.

Living Room
The living room features a sitting chair and long sofa with chaise lounge.  There is also a moveable tray that can be used as a table to eat while watching TV which I thought was a great idea.

King Bed
The first bedroom has a king bed, but feels very cramped as there is very little walking room around the bed.
TV
There is a flat screen TV which is conveniently located at the foot of the bed.

Shower
Sink
The bathroom is fairly large with a large shower and single sink.

The other bedroom is located on the other side of the living room area, and is great for families in which you can have some privacy away from your kids.

Queen Beds
TV/Drawers
There are two queen beds with two sets of drawers, a flat screen TV and 3 night stands.  Outlets are easily accessible which is always a plus.

Shower/Tub Combo
Sink
Toilet
The bathroom is large and features a shower/tub combo and oddly only one sink.  Water pressure was not all that great.  There is ample counter space which is also a plus.

View
Although the room overlooked the 55 freeway, there was very little noise when the windows were shut.

The air conditioning worked great, perfect for the hot summer days.

There is a complimentary breakfast buffet for all guests which is the norm at the Residence Inn.  The food area is rather small and gets very cramped and crowded.  There are hot options including scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal and a waffle maker.  Cold options include cereal, bread, pastries, bagels, yogurt and fruit.

All in all I had a great stay at the hotel, but staffing could use some improvement.

It should be noted that upgrading to a 1 bedroom suite seems to only be $10-$20 more than a regular room which is probably very well worth it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells - A Second Stay



Hotels in the Palm Springs area are very cheap during the hot summer months, much like hotels in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area or in Las Vegas during the week.

The Hyatt Regency Indian Wells has been a mini treasure trove of extra points in the past during the summer as the Regency Club is normally closed during the summer, meaning an extra 2,500 Gold Passport Points to Hyatt Diamond members along with full breakfast in the Lantana restaurant.

Unfortunately for point seekers, the Regency Club is planned to be open the entire summer which is both good and bad.  It is nice to have snacks and drinks available throughout the day, but the extra points and full breakfast is a trade-off I am willing to make.

Although there was a “My Elite” rate of $92 which is incredibly cheap, I opted to book a room through Virtuoso which includes an upgraded room, 4 PM late check-out, free breakfast and a $100 resort credit per stay.  Many of the benefits are redundant with being a Hyatt Diamond member, with the exception of the $100 resort credit, and in this case, the 4 PM late check-out since this does not apply to resorts.

The Virtuoso rate was $114 so for paying an extra $22 I received the $100 resort credit.

The self-parking fee of $10 is also waived for Hyatt Diamond members, but unfortunately the $23 resort fee is not.  The resort fee includes internet, golf bag storage and shuttle to the golf course, exercise classes, etc. many things I do not take advantage of.  Since I get internet with my Hyatt status I feel the resort fee is just an extra charge that can be done without for many.

Upon entering the hotel, the front desk is to the left.  There were several people in front of me being helped by other associates.  Although there is a dedicated Platinum and Diamond member line, like many Hyatt’s this is not enforced and evil glaring looks by other customers is the norm.

Virtuoso Letter
The front desk agent was nice, but did not explain any of the Virtuoso benefits.  He also did not inform me about the Regency Club being open.  I had to inquire about all of these to find out the information which I did not mind.

Presidential Suite
I was upgraded to a Presidential suite however, which was a great upgrade.

Coffee Maker
Upon entering the room, there is a small alcove to the right in which the coffee maker is located along with a mini fridge.

Guest Bath
Guest Bath
The guest bathroom is next to that which is only a half bath containing a toilet and sink.


Living Room
Living Room
The room then opens up into a large living room space with curved sofa that contains a sofa bed.  There is also a large coffee table and TV.

Dining Room Table
There is a small dining room table.

King Bed
There is a set of double doors that separate the living room from the bedroom.

TV

There is a small flat screen TV located on a dresser to the side of the bed.

Desk
There is an oddly placed desk with a painfully uncomfortable chair right next to the head of the bed.  There is also very limited work space so I had to use the desk to spread my work out.

Double Sinks
Tub
Shower
Shower

"Time-Out" Toilet
The master bathroom is huge with double sinks, a tub, a small shower and a toilet fit into a fairly small space.  It almost felt like you were being put in a “Time-out” every time you went to the bathroom.  I am happy to report that there was toothpaste in the bathroom, something that Hyatt had taken away the prior year.
 
Balcony
View
View
There is along balcony that overlooks the pool area which can be accessed from both the bedroom and living room.

Since I had the resort credit I chose to have breakfast in Lantana rather than the Regency Club.

There was a breakfast buffet which was moved from its prior location inside of  the restaurant to the outside entrance of the restaurant.  This is a great move in my opinion as the former location was very small and was very cramped and congested.  You needed to have your roller derby skills in order to get food with the prior set-up.

Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
Breakfast Buffet
Hot items included eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and pancakes (Hyatt makes some of the best pancakes that I have had), while other options included bread, pastries, muffins, croissants, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, smoked salmon, cheese and bagels among others.  There was also a cooked to order egg station.

Normally when booking a room through Virtuoso you also get a welcome amenity, however none was present or delivered during my stay.  Not a big deal all things considered but it is one of the stated benefits with Virtuoso.

Considering the rate I got which was greatly offset by the Virtuoso benefits, this was a great stay.  I only wish they would choose to continue to close the Regency Club during the summer.