Los Gatos – The Toll House Hotel Review

Now here is a nice hotel!  Its located at the end of Santa Cruz St.  My client dropped me off here and drove past it the first time, he thought it was a cute little apartment complex.

The room was a little on the small size but it was “cozy”  It had a great balcony.  Large with 2 chairs and a table.  I really liked the decor.  Its a nice dark colored wood (real) and well you can see from the pictures below how nice its is.

The bathroom was small, but in 2 pieces.  shower in one room, and washroom in the next.  L’Occitane bath and body products, free internet, and free parking. Bed was comfy and in general the room was nice.

On the bed they leave you a large Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie which was really tasty.  You can order some to take with you but its faster when you order during the day.  If its the evening they aren’t baking anymore .

The hotel is down the street from a lot of shops.  I wish i had more time because I noticed a lot of lively looking places and the hotel told me some of the restaurants have “wine tasting” from some of the local vineyards.

This was such a short stay that I feel I’ll have to stay here again and test out some of the amenities to give a better review.  I heard they have a great restaurant on property and a spa.  I wasn’t clear if the hotel ran the spa or they were recommending a spa.  Anyway next time I’m in the San Jose area I’ll definitely make it a point to come back to The Toll House and stay a bit longer.

Westin Pasadena – A review on their workout room

A review of The Westin Pasadena, a Starwood property. Had lots of highs but also lots of lows. Although I loved the city of Pasadena, and management did try to make it up to me, I’ll probably try the Sheraton Pasadena next time I’m in the area.

I have mixed feelings about this property. To begin with I had booked the Westin Workout room. This room is equipped with either a treadmill or a spinning cycle. I called Platinum Concierge and asked them to please note that I didn’t want my customary upgrade. I arrived around 3 in the afternoon and the room wasn’t ready. They said it would be 1/2 hour at the most. They told me I could wait by the pool or in the lobby (this is a Westin so no club lounge) and they would call me when the room was ready. I choose to wait in the lobby hoping to get the room faster. The hotel is really busy with a lot of people coming for weddings. I enjoyed “people watching” for a while but as it closed in on 1 hour of waiting in the lobby with no call, no one coming up to check on me or offer any kind of beverage I went up to go see about my room. It was so busy I couldn’t catch anyones attention and I didn’t want to wait in a long line again, so I called. The receptionist transferred me to the front desk, and it rang, and rang and rang. I hung up and tried again. This time someone picked up. I told them no, I couldn’t hold. I wanted to know when my room would be ready. The agent looked it up on her computer and informed me its ready anytime I want to come down!

I was pissed! I stomped over to the desk, lugging my luggage behind me (even though I had to take it up and down some stairs to sit in the lobby, none of the hotel staff offered to help me) I go over there with a definite attitude I will admit. I think I gave the front desk clerk such a dirty look she was startled. I asked how long my room had been ready and she couldn’t tell me but she apologized that they had forgotten to call me when it was ready. I grab my keys and head up to the room.

It was nice and spacious with a big commercial grade treadmill. I took a deep breath I wasn’t going to let a bad beginning taint the whole trip which had started out on such a high (free upgrade to first class on US Airways & then free upgrade to a tricked out rental car by National Car rental). As I settled in I got a call from the front desk apologizing again for the long wait and offering to send me a bottle of champagne. Nice touch! Unfortunately, since they were so busy that almost 3 hours later the champagne hadn’t arrived and I had to call down to the front desk for it. I asked them for a bottle of red instead since i’m not a champagne drinker unless its mixed with orange juice LOL.

After that I settled into the room, ready to sit back, order some food and drink my wine. Except the treadmill was just staring at me in the face. It knew once I settled in I wouldn’t jump on and work out, so I put the wine aside and changed into my workout clothes and enjoyed a nice jog / walk on the treadmill. Then a few isometric exercises on the exercise ball. Yep this room was truly a workout room. In addition to the treadmill you have a balance ball, weights, a few workout books and a Pilates DVD. I really enjoyed having the DVD player in the room. Not just for the Pilates workout but since I had a few DVD’s with me I enjoyed watching my favorite show while jogging.

All in all the room was a typical Westin room, it was a suite sized room, unique to this room ( or maybe just this hotel) was a small room adjacent to the main room. I was thinking it was perfect size for yoga or stretching but not really close to the t.v if u are using a DVD.

The T.V was really large. I would say somewhere around 50 inches. The room had a desk area but what I found disappointing was there was no refrigerator. I called down for one but since the hotel was so full there was no refrigerators available. I would think for a workout room where you know the person will probably drink a lot of water, you would automatically have a refrigerator in the room.

There is no street parking available for overnight guest. If you have people visiting they should valet if they will be staying with your or staying late. I had a mixed experience with the Valet service here too. On the one hand, after my first night I drove over to Old Town Pasadena to walk around and tour the area. After leaving the hotel and finding parking, I got out and realized there was a HUGE scratch on the driver-side passenger door. I was really shocked and about to head right back to the hotel but my friend said, its too late you left the property. Well when I got back I was pissed about it, mad mostly at myself for not checking the car before getting in. I talked to Valet about it anyway and they said they would send up an incident report. I didn’t think it would go anywhere but the following morning I dropped off the report. The Valet manager called and we talked about what happened. He asked me if I was sure it happened on property and I assured him I was. He said they had some things that could get scratches out and would I mind if they tried to get it out. I said go ahead, better than taking it back to the rental company that way. Well when I went to go pick up the car, I couldn’t even find the scratch and believe me I was looking hard! So while I didn’t like finding the scratches and spent a lot of time worrying about how much the rental car was going to charge me for the scratch. To really happy that not only did they  NOT say too bad you drove away, but they took my word for it and fixed the damage.

In the final analyze I would say this is a nice hotel but too busy for my taste. Maybe its the season, but it seemed like non-stop weddings which tended to make service very slow. The room was nice and spacious and I couldn’t hear anyone in the rooms nearby, but anytime someone was in the hallway, I could hear them clearly.

St. Regis Hotel Monarch Beach CA – Much Ado About NOTHING!

The St. Regis Hotel in Monarch beach was one of the worse resorts I’ve ever stayed at. I think because they build tips into everything the incentive to provide good service isn’t there. The grounds are nice but if you feel like you will have some luxurious vacation, you will find that this particular St. Regis falls far from the mark! Don’t waste your starwood points on this resort!

I needed to go to Monarch Beach to meet with a company that we wanted to hire to create promotional videos for our company.  My sister was going to be there with her family and I was lucky enough to stay with them for 7 nights and I only had to pay for 2 nights.  The whole family was looking forward to experiencing a truly luxurious vacation and pulling into the St. Regis your hopes soar even higher!  Its mandatory valet parking and as I handed over the keys to my car I marveled at the TWO or was it THREE Bentleys parked off to the side.  Bentley’s, Mercedes and every luxury vehicle you could imagine were parked and gleaming in the sun.  I handed over my keys feeling my car would be safe….

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Santa Cruz CA – Chaminade Resort & Spa Review

My review of the Chaminade Resort & Spa located in Santa Cruz California.

I had high hopes for the Chaminade Resort & Spa located in Santa Cruz. The company I was meeting with highly recommended them for a nice relaxing 3 night stay. By the time I finished work for the day, my client dropped me off at the Chaminade around 9pm. I had booked their room with one queen bed. For some reason I ended up in a room with 2 queen beds. Normally I would have called about it, since I didn’t need the extra bed and I was hoping the 1 queen bed rooms would have bigger bathrooms. But at the Chaminade, the lobby is in one building and you have to drive to your room. Since my client had driven me there and then was nice enough to wait while I checked in so he could drive me to my room. I didn’t feel like walking back to the main lobby with my luggage, getting a new room, then walking to that new room. Continue reading “Santa Cruz CA – Chaminade Resort & Spa Review”

Hermosa Beach CA – The Beach House

I got a great deal on an ocean view room (AAA $242 a night). Really nice room, but i felt a little crowded. What I mean is there wasn’t a lot of “free” space for those of us that like to get up and do some exercising. Its location makes up for the small size though. I loved walking up and down the pier.

Furniture was nice and was quality. The bellman told me that a lot of the units are privately owned and the hotel rents them out when the owners are not in residence. There is a small cabinet that is locked in the room, he said thats full of “personal” belongings of the owners, but its kind of small. My thoughts are they probably don’t leave anything valuable in it.

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W Hollywood CA – Great Hotel

I LOVED this place! I was lucky enough to get upgraded to their WOW suite and boy did it deliver! It was huge, comfy and very nicely decorated. It had 2 window seats with what seemed like a twin sized mattress in them with some comfy pillows. Perfect for taking a nap and relaxing in. I had friends up to the room and even w/ 6 guys and 2 ladies everyone fit comfortably on the couch or in the closest window seat.

I LOVED this place! I was lucky enough to get upgraded to their WOW suite and boy did it deliver! It was huge, comfy and very nicely decorated. It had 2 window seats with what seemed like a twin sized mattress in them with some comfy pillows. Perfect for taking a nap and relaxing in. I had friends up to the room and even w/ 6 guys and 2 ladies everyone fit comfortably on the couch or in the closest window seat.

Service was wonderful, but I’ve come to expect that at a W. The room service was good and fast, also available 24 hours a day. We had drinks at Drai’s one night and the drinks were great and the atmosphere was fun, perfect way to kick off a conference.

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The Westin Costa Mesa California – Worst Stay EVER!!!!

I read these reviews and have no idea how this hotel can get such high reviews. I got the awesome rate of $99 a night during SPG latest prepaid special. I walk in and as they look at my reservation they tell me that no one flagged my reservation as Platinum so no upgraded rooms were available. Ok fine, I just want to lay down after driving almost 5 hours from Vegas. Then the guy tells me in a loud voice that my credit card has been declined and my room not confirmed. I was like WHAT, first of all why announce that to the whole registration area, and secondly he was dead wrong! I called Amex and they never even attempted to charge my credit card until he did. He also made some other claims about my reservation that just weren’t true but I just wanted to go. As he hands me my keys I ask him if there will be any upgraded rooms available during my stay. I was more than willing to change rooms, he said yes, but I would have to pay for the upgrade. According to SPG as a platinum member I will be upgraded to the best available room. I was ready to cancel my reservation right then and there but the rep advised me that I would still be charged for all 3 days. This year alone I’ve spent almost 50 nights in SPG hotels and never been treated the way I was that day.

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The W Westwood – Near UCLA

Great hotel suites. 650 sq feet with 2 flat screen t.vs. Nice pool area, and on property spa.

“W” stands for Wow! The W is fast becoming my favorite SPG brand.  I was here for a business networking and training event and really not familiar with this particular brand.  I’ve stayed at the W in Atlanta (review to come) and honestly thought it was nice, but I wouldn’t stay there again.

This hotel was NICE!  I got my platinum upgrade and they put me in the Spectacular Suite.  It has a HUGE living area (see pics below) and separate bedroom.  Its 650 sq feet with this huge L shaped couch that was really comfortable.  It had large flat screen t.v , a small glass desk and small minibar in the living room.  The room was well lit and had a bank of windows that you could adjust how much light was coming in by adjusting the wooden plantation shutters.  I LOVE plantation shutters, want them in my own house but they can be a bit pricey .

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The US Grant Luxury Hotel – San Diego CA

The  U.S. Grant is part of Starwoods luxury collection…and boy did it live up to its name!  I was just in San Diego for 1 night to meet with one of our business coaches on a new telemarketing campaign we are rolling out in 2010.  I got to stay here in one of their 28 signature suites.  Here is the description from their website.

Offering a sophisticated, self-contained stay, our 770-square-foot Signature Suites—with views of either downtown San Diego or the hotel’s rooftop garden—are a top choice of discerning guests. The spacious and open floor plan comprises a dining area complete with a four-person table. Adjoining the dining area is the spacious living room lit by an exquisite chandelier and equipped with a refreshment center….you can read the rest by clicking here for their site

I stayed here for $32+tax! Yes you read that right!  $32 bucks!  SPG ran a promotion that if you have 4 stays within a certain amount of time you get a free night.  So I had that promotion running on my account and decided to use my free stay for the 1 night I would be in San Diego.  The $32 was for parking.

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The Ayres Hotel & Suites – Costa Mesa California

The Ayres Hotel & Suites is a really nice boutique hotel. The style of furniture here is French Provincial. This hotel is great for a romantic weekend getaway.

The Ayres Hotel & Suites is a really nice boutique hotel. The style of furniture here is French Provincial. The hotel room was really comfortable but it wasn’t really my style of hotel. It felt like its more for a romantic weekend get-away then a hotel meant for the business traveler.

Things I liked about this hotel.

  • Was close to the freeway – being close to a major freeway made this hotel really easy to find
  • Was really comfortable – was a nice change of pace from the usual hotels I stay at
  • FREE parking
  • FREE internet
  • Small bar area that had a mini fridge

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