Trip: A drive from Arizona to California
Quick, low-budget, get the "flock" out of the heat & have a little fun.
Main destination: Fallbrook, CA -- Welburn Gourd Farm (for monthly free gourd crafting workshop, held 2nd Saturday of each month)
Online searching didn't yield many low-cost lodging options in Fallbrook, and since I had been satisfied with my last stay at America's Best Value Inn (see my Winslow, AZ review), I checked my ABVI lodging directory again this time.
ABVI listed two properties within reasonable distance. I chose Hemet, which was more on my direct route, and rated higher in the directory (four checks to Escondido's two). Hemet also boasted the Western Science Center Museum (cool exhibits, although definitely smaller than expected) -- along with an easy (and fairly scenic) drive to Temecula's Wine Country (I hit the Baily Vineyard for a perfect lunch of pesto-stuffed ravioli, along with a tasting for dessert -- do NOT skip the Port! It is awesome enough to drink naked.... ;p ) .
Back to the ABVI, though. It's immediately clear this is an older property that has probably worn several other chain signs during its lifetime. Current management has added fresh paint inside and out, the bathroom seemed to have seen a fairly recent tile and fixture update.
Room was very clean. Plenty of pressure, hot water, everything worked fine. A couple iron burns on the carpet, guess you can't force folks to use the provided ironing board.
Although the property exterior looked tidy, the sidewalks were sticky (I guess people like to spill???), the advertised spa was inoperative, and the pool was....green. (blea -- no swimming for this girl, this trip! And I was so ready for it, too!)
Bed on the firm side, but room reasonably quiet for having main street through town just outside. I slept fine. Girls at the front desk seemed okay with answering questions. Couldn't vouch for wifi, didn't use.
But the continental breakfast? Well, they didn't even unlock the breakfast room until half an hour PAST the 7 a.m. time posted on the sign. Wish I had just hit Starbuck's across the street, because it sure wasn't worth waiting for -- coffee with generic powdered creamer, fake juice (Sunny-D), some kind of prepackaged vending-machine type sweet rolls, cereal -- but no milk (????) . Good thing I still had some road food!
All in all, it was hardly what I'd expect from a property rated "among the best" in the chain's guidebook. If this had been my first ABVI experience, I'd probably rip up the Value Card.
Note to ABVI directory -- PLEASE do not rate properties like this as 4 checkmarks! I'd give this one a 2 as reviewed. Or 3 if they could get the spa working, the pool clean, breakfast room open on time (or coffeemakers in the room at least) and offering ANYTHING decent.
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