Just as you might choose to eat at a chain restaurant in an unfamiliar town - because you know what to expect - I chose this Hampton Inn (online) over no-name competitors. (I chose San Clemente because we wanted to do day trips to L.A. and San Diego.)
My family and I just finished a week-long stay at this hotel and we generally liked the place. I did some research before booking, including a Google aerial view, so I had a sense of the property and its surrounding area. Knowing that, when we arrived I asked the clerk
which side of the hotel would be best - the golf course side which gets the morning sun or the ocean (and interstate) side which gets the setting sun. She suggested the golf side and I'm glad she did - the interstate traffic noise is incessant, punctuated by truck dieseling and motorcycles. If you must have some view of the ocean (about eight blocks away) stay on the top floor. Below that, trees begin to block your view.
On the golf side of the hotel, the top floor has three suites with balconies that bump out to give you some sitting room. We had one of them. It overlooked the golf course's drainage ditch and last green, but also had a nice view of private homes as you looked up the hills beyond. Immediately below us was a paved parking area and a side street, on which were parked a huge empty car carrier and a freight container. Looking down and to the side, we could see the hotel swimming pool. (See photos.)
The suite itself was nice and the double beds were very comfortable.
The bedroom also had a good-sized writing table and TV atop a dresser. The bedroom's sliding glass door to the balcony had two locks, a sheer curtain for privacy and a lined drape. The windowless living room had a sofa, chair, coffee and end tables, another TV and a DVD player in an armoire, a closet, a small sink, microwave and midsize refrigerator. A small coffemaker and coffee fixings were on the bathroom counter, along with complimentary toiletries. Wireless internet was free and worked perfectly. (Note: there is no encryption
so there is no data privacy.) We had a couple insect problems - I killed a roach that was crawling along the bedroom wall midweek and trapped another under a glass in the bathroom the last day of our stay.
Don't make your choice to stay here based on the complimentary food service, it isn't up to the level I've come to expect from the Hampton chain. The basics were fine (cereals, breads, bagels, whole fruit, yogurts, coffee, juice machine), although the muffins, biscuits and danish were bland. The hot items were a disappointment; just two a day and they were institutional grade. Sausage patties, pancakes, and french toast sticks were all thaw and heat. The only egg offering during our stay was some kind of pre-formed sunnyside-up egg. One morning there was some kind of speckled goo. The Thursday
night BBQ was accurately described by a recent reviewer; I walked to a liquor store and bought a case of sodas for the guests.
Although the main boutique/antique/cafe street, Avenida Del Mar, is about 1.5 miles north, there are plenty of mini-marts, restaurants, etc. on El Camino Real before you travel that far. Chains like Fatburger, KFC, Starbucks, Ralph's Supermarket, and Blockbuster are also within a mile of the hotel. The Hampton Inn is roughly at the southern end of the commercial district along El Camino Real, with ramps to I-5 a block to the north. Given that, there is less local traffic here.
Summing up, this Hampton Inn is a decent business traveler hotel in a resort area, but it is not a resort hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.