Where should we stay? Anaheim edition.
March 28, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Where should we stay? Anaheim edition.

I am going to a conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in late June. I will be bringing my husband, my 18-month-old (he is 15 months now, will be 18 months in June), and probably two friends (a married couple). I need to know where we should stay.

There are, like, 32 hotels with conference-rate blocks, (though those rates don't look much better than normal rates, is that just me?). It's hard to get a sense of these hotels, and 32 of them is kind of a lot to wade through.

My employer will pay per-diem rate for my stay, which is $125 per night; anything above that is out-of-pocket. I am prepared to pay up to $100 per night on top of the per diem rate. I would like to get a suite if possible, so we could put the little one down for the night and then be able to stay up with lights on and make a little bit of noise. I would also like to get rooms next to each other if my friends come with us. Either that or a big suite with two bedrooms if they come with and that is something that's available.

I'm told that little ones really like spray pools/wading pools so if we could find a hotel with that, it would be great. Also if the hotel has cribs/pack n plays so we don't have to bring our own, that would be a big plus. We will be renting a car and if it's not ridiculously expensive to park that would be a plus.

We're also not into Disney, so that's not important. A place without too much freeway noise would be great.

So... where should we stay?

Bonus question: does anyone have suggestions for things to do in the area? One of our friends grew up there, so he will have ideas if he comes with us, but if not, it'll just be my husband and son doing stuff during the day, and all 3 of us in the evenings. We like pretty nature things, and dislike commercial, consumer-culture stuff.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Travel & Transportation around Anaheim, CA (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I live in Anaheim, so I don't really have hotel recommendations, although I like the Anaheim Doubletree (I've been to events there, and I love their bar, the Grappa Lounge).

As far as stuff to do in Orange County, if you're not into Disney and consumer culture, you're probably going to want to head down to Laguna Beach! Great restaurants (I recommend getting breakfast at the Cottage, where I've been getting silver dollar pancakes for over 30 years), great beaches for walking around and looking in tide pools, and lots of lovely little local hikes. Presuming you avoid rush hour traffic in the morning, it's about a half hour's drive from Anaheim.

For other pretty nature things, there's Irvine Regional Park, which is about 25 minutes from downtown Anaheim and has stuff like paddle boats and a zoo for the kids as well as nature walks) and Santiago Oaks Regional Park, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Anaheim and is pretty much straight up gorgeous nature trails.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:34 AM on March 28, 2012

My boss just returned from a conference there and stayed at the Marriott. Right there. She said it was great to be in such close proximity.

Her earlier booking was at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, which is about a mile away but looked more modern.

Have you also ever checked out AirBnB? You rent people's houses or apartments. Since you have so many people, maybe you could find a house to rent and it would be cheaper than a hotel and have more creature comforts...although probably without the pool.
posted by trampoliningisfun at 4:12 PM on March 28, 2012

Oooh, Annual! Anaheim is kind of a barren wasteland (I have zero rec's for things to do there--except rent a car if you want to be a tourist and then get out of Anaheim and say, go to the beach) and Annual is always exhausting, but I'm sure you'll have fun between your friends and your family and the rest.

Here's my advice: first, watch out for rollaway bed charges (some are nightly!), additional person charges, resort fees, and other lovely Disney-fueled add-ons.

Second, I have had tons of luck using hotels.com to narrow down the list of hotels (they include helpful listings of things like resort fees and parking fees while also including a listing of amenities like pools and breakfast); alternatively you can use Disney's Good Neighbors program to book a hotel (they know families travel together, so the option for suites is right upfront; no, you don't have to be going to Disneyland to use this service and prices are great).

Third: here's part of the list of hotels I sent to my colleagues. The prices are from January so I left them in only to give you a sense of perspective; my colleague just booked their rooms last week and said prices had gone up drastically (so I won't recommend any one hotel in case it's booked already).

1) Red Lion Hotel ($139/night, rollaway bed add’l $10/night). Block away from convention center, good reviews. Includes free internet; no breakfast.
2) Cortona Inn and Suites (between $146 and $155/night). Adjacent to convention center, decent reviews. Includes free internet and breakfast.
3) Anaheim Islander Inn and Suites ($120/night for three beds; resort fee $2.50/night). Near convention center, decent reviews. Includes free internet and breakfast.
4) Desert Palm Hotel & Suites (variable, ~$150/night and up). Quick walk to Convention Center, good reviews. Includes free internet and breakfast.
5) America’s Best Value Inn and Suites (between $68 and $85/night, family suite with three beds is $99/night; $2.34 resort fee/day). Near convention center, adequate reviews. Includes free (light) breakfast. May include free internet.

Of this list, I prefer Desert Palm Hotel and Suites and I did just check and they have suites for about $237/night (+taxes and all, I'm sure) during Annual so there's a baseline for you.

Finally, note the existence of the Anaheim Resort Transit, which is $4/day (or $16/5 days) and covers pretty much every hotel and almost all routes go to the Convention Center (and/or Disneyland, which is of course right next to it). See here for more details.
posted by librarylis at 7:34 PM on March 28, 2012

Disney is opening the new Carsland June 15, which is a huge deal to Disney freaks like me, and which means that I think there's gonna be a lot of competition for local hotel rooms.

For a suite, what I'd do is look at renting from an owner at Worldmark Anaheim-nice suites, way cheaper than any hotel suite, full kitchen. Check eBay and redweek.com. It's what I plan to do for our Disney trio this summer with three kids, including a toddler. I've been researching and it's well reviewed. VRBO is another positive option.
posted by purenitrous at 9:28 PM on March 29, 2012

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