Monday, May 16, 2011

Alpine Inn, Anahiem, CA

We went to Alpine Inn to stay while visiting Legoland, Disneyland, and Huntington Beach last week.

I had made reservations a month or so before.  They seemed to have the best price in the area for those places to stay that were in walking distance of the Disneyland gate.  Several others said they were closer to the park, but were in fact misleading people, since they were not within walking distance of the gate.  Their property just happened to be the closest to Disneyland's property, but there was no way to get into Disneyland on that side of the park.

It was interesting that the one that I almost made a reservation with that touted being closet to Disneyland that was only close due to property lines and not location to the gate also had the most reviews dealing with being dirty.  Are their misleading marketing tactics and their lack of keeping their place clean and repaired symptoms of the same problem of lack of ethics?  Are they more looking to trick people to coming there, rather than provide a good experience to their customers to inspire them to come back.

I called to confirm the reservation a couple of weeks ago, since I am a little paranoid and I have seen the Seinfeld episode where Jerry makes a reservation, but the company he made the reservation with was unable to hold the reservation and when he got there he had no car or hotel or flight or whatever he had reserved.  Alpine Inn still had it. I was going to call as we were getting close to Anaheim while we were drive, but I got lazy.  Thankfully everything was in place when we got there.  I was also grateful that they didn't try anything tricky like change the rates on us.

Alpine Inn is smack up against the back of California Adventure.  We could see the tops of a couple of rides like the Mickey Fun Wheel ferris wheel sort of thing and California Screamin.  The noise was not bad from the park.  Occasionally you would hear mild screams in the distance from people coming over the top of one of the rides and rolling down the other side, but it was not intrusive.  The park closes around 8 or 9, so that stopped before it became a problem for sleeping anyway.  Daylight savings time and the neighbors returning from the park were way more intrusive on sleeping.  Sleeping was pretty much the top priority after driving all day and taking the kids swimming.

The drive was about 10 hours or so from Ogden, Utah.  It took us more like 12 since we stopped to see the LDS temples in Saint George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The driveway was easy to get into pulling in right off of Katalla Avenue, but there were several problems with the parking lot and driving in general.

People pull in off of Katalla quickly to get out of traffic and they are right where one of the stairways to get upstairs is.  If they stop under the canopy to check in at the office, things are fine, but I did not see anyone stop and park in front of the door.  Also those stairs are kitty corner to the entrance to the swimming pool, so kids are likely to run across from the pool to the stairs and not look and possibly have an issue with cars coming in.

The parking lot is small and cramped.  I don't think there was one parking space for each room.  The parking spaces were also close together.  It was difficult to navigate around the parking lot, which is necessary, since one side is enter only and the other side is exit only in a horseshoe.

Another problem we had with driving in this location was that if I wanted to go left I had to go right and then u-turn.  I'm not sure at this point if this is a California problem or just some of the places we visited here.  I think I saw this in every city we visited Anaheim, Carlsbad, and Huntington Beach.

The swimming pool was decent.  It was outdoor, but it was heated somewhat.  It was in the upper 60s in the evening and it was still comfortable to swim in.  It was much less comfortable when you got out.  The jets that let in the heated water were very warm and felt good on the back after driving so much.

The water depth of the pool went from three feet to nine feet.  The deep end seemed to slope in from the sides and many times I would jump in it felt more like seven and a half or eight feet.  It was a small rectangular pool and was great for just me and my four kids.  At one point we had another family that was there that had five kids in with us and it was good, but that was because we had made friends with them when we first got there and we had very similar ways of behaving and similar values.  Had there been more people in it or people we did not have a relationship with, it would've gotten crowded quickly.  Nonetheless, people come to go to Disney, I suppose, and not to swim in the motel pool.

The entrance of the Alpine Inn is done up like a chalet, but as soon as you drive into the parking lot it is just one typical motel horseshoe.

We had a two bedroom queen room.  It was just big enough to get around with 2 beds, a TV, a night stand, a little desk, a sick, a mini fridge, and a microwave.  The bathroom was very small, but livable.

The room was clean.  We had two adults and four kids in the room.  Most places I called would not allow this.  Alpine said on the phone it was fine.  No one gave us hassle when we got here, but there were signs about, saying that the room could only have four people in it.  Not sure what the fire issue is with having two people sleeping on the floor or three people in each bed.  To me it seemed more like a scam to get people to rent bigger rooms.  I'm not sure that the scam was the motels, but maybe the governments to get people to spend more money.

There was a threatening sign about not smoking posted outside our room door.  I did not see one next to anyone else's door.  On the one hand it was weird to be singled out.  On the other hand it was kind of nice to know that we could be proud that the sign was entirely irrelevant to us.  There were people below us that would come out and smoke and when we would be on the balcony we would have to deal with the stench of smoke.  Maybe I should've moved the sign to their door.  :-)

After we made a few bags of microwave popcorn and changed the settings here and there to help it, we found that the microwave was incapable of completely popping a bag of popcorn.  We tried popping it longer on high and all it did was burn it.  We tried turning the power down and it burned it with even less getting popped.

The microwave did heat other foods sufficiently.

There was a decent sized mini fridge in the room.  We could fit most everything we brought in our cooler in it without much trouble.

There were two trash cans in the room.  One under the vanity outside the bathroom and a slightly smaller one in the bathroom.  It is true that we had six people in a room they set up for four people, but a third trash can located on the other side of the room would've been a nice convenience.  When you are sitting at the little desk or if someone is using the vanity it would be an added convenience without much extra expense to the motel.

There was a Subway restaurant, a 7 11, and a convenience market sort of thing on the way to the main gate, about five minutes walking distance from the inn.  There were also several other restaurants in the area.

As I review things now, as I write this, I see on their web site that they offer a complimentary breakfast.  They don't use the word continental, but they do use the word breakfast.

There was indeed a something that could be called a breakfast of sorts.  It consisted of tiny cups for orange juice, cocoa, coffee, and sugary plastic wrapped pastries.  The orange juice was in a big tub dispenser with a spout, which worked well, but the cups should've been bigger.  The pastries were hardly sufficient for anyone starting an entire day of walking and playing in a theme park.  They were pretty much empty calories that did not stick with us very long once we got going and were heavy and not satisfying.  The cocoa was in packets and they had a coffee jug filled with hot water to use to mix the cocoa yourself in the tiny cups.

As I had researched hotels and inns in the area it appeared to be one of the most inexpensive in the area that  didn't have rotten reviews about being filthy.  It was only about ten minutes from the Disneyland east gate and 15 or so from the ticket stations inside the gate.  If they are going to offer appliances in the room I would prefer that they work, but it would not preclude me from coming here again.  It is hard to argue with getting the best price around and accommodating the six members of my family without making us take a bigger room than we needed.

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