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“Bar service at the pool, spa and cabanas - love it!”

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Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
Ranked #4 of 54 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 23, 2012

The Paradox hotel in Santa Cruz has only been open a few months, so I thought I should write a review after staying there this last weekend. This property was previously called the UCSD Hotel. I never stayed there, so can’t compare. But I think a huge amount of changes have been put in place. I was really stunned, since most if not all of the hotels in Santa Cruz tend to be dated and a bit moldy around the edges.

On the plus side, the lobby, restaurant, bar, and pool area are great. The pool is especially wonderful – cabanas, fire pits, a large spa, large pool, an outdoor bar, and snack/beverage service at the pool and spa! You had me right there, when I get someone to bring me munchies and wine while I loll in the hot tub.

The rooms are spotless, modern, with a large shower (I liked the pebbly shower floor, my sister didn’t), guest fridge, etc. The beds were comfortable. The rooms, though standard size, were fine for 2-4 people, I thought. There is free wi-fi. Parking isn’t free, but is only $5.

Overall, I loved having such a modern, attractive hotel to plan to visit for future overnights in Santa Cruz, esp. when the weather allows lounging by the pool.

But, a few downsides. The location isn’t great, meaning mainly you won't be walking to the beach. On the other side of the river from the Pacific Garden Mall (downtown Santa Cruz), it’s next to government buildings, which is fine, though there’s a tattoo/piercing parlor across the street. (But this IS Santa Cruz.) It's a short drive to the beach and boardwalk (but then you have to deal with parking). You'll probably also drive to downtown, though that’s more walkable.

One big problem for my sister and me was the hot tub full of little kids. At one point I think there were just my sister and me, and 9 kids unrelated to us, playing Marco Polo, tossing a beach ball, and splashing chlorinated spa water into my glass of wine. There were fully clothed adults letting their three-year-old go into the spa! It was a noisy and inappropriate setting. Other parents may have been at the bar, I don’t know. The kids needed to be in the pool, not the spa, and the parents of small children need to be in with them or at least in bathing suits. I didn’t see any spa rules posted. The hotel staff saw all this because they were around serving drinks. I’ve taken a child into a spa but I always insist on “spa behavior.”

The layout of the hotel is a little odd. After you check in, you exit the lobby/restaurant building and then the rooms are in the building next door. If you have a room overlooking the pool, nice. The other side overlooks the parking lot and government building. The first floor porches are nice on the pool side, but pretty pointless on the parking lot side (see photo).

The front desk is presumably inexperienced because they didn’t seem to know how to print a receipt for our expenses while there, showing the $20 Groupon meal credit. They just provided individual receipts for meals, drinks, etc. But that might be just the one person who checked us out. And they were all very pleasant.

We ate dinner at the onsite restaurant, right next to (in the same building as) the lobby. It was very attractive, had a fireplace, and open cooking area. But the menu was fairly limited, and seemed pretty pretentious. LOTS of words that we had no clue about, and we eat out quite a bit, both in this country and internationally. The risotto I had wasn’t particularly memorable. But again, they are very new and no doubt things will improve. And the atmosphere was nice.

All that said (quibble quibble) I definitely plan to return. The outdoor/pool area alone (esp. with the food and drink service) would be enough to bring me back, and the hotel’s attractive décor, new rooms, and overall luxuriousness compared to most other Santa Cruz hotels (along with a reasonable room rate) makes it a standout, in my opinion.

Room Tip: If you want an outside sitting area, ask for first floor poolside, though you may get some foot traf...
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Sharon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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528 - 534 of 566 reviews

Reviewed October 21, 2012

No luxury hotel, but then again, it's not trying to be. And frankly, I don't think such thing exists in this town. Staff was clearly trying very hard to be helpful & friendly (and succeeded). The restaurant has a small menu, but food was good, fresh, and reasonably priced. Pool & bar area were great! Would be a cool place for out of town wedding guest to gather & visit.

Convenient, location to downtown. Easily walkable. Just be aware that you are walking through a local park and its homeless residents. They didn't seem to bother anyone, as it seems the homeless are unavoidable in Santa Cruz.

My only real complaint was that we could never get the AC to cool the room down enough. I suspect it may have had something to do with being a "green" hotel. May be more energy efficient than powerful.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a pool view.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank SeibH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2012 via mobile

It's a six week old hotel, therefore it was very clean and probably we got a lower introduction price.
On the other hand, the staff is a bit untrained (even thought they were very nice)
Bottom line: highly Recommended!

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank Mclemon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2012

My boyfriend and I used a Living Social deal for one night at the Hotel Paradox. The location is great (short drive to the beach/boardwalk, downtown or Capitola). Although we didn't use the pool or jacuzzi, it looked very inviting with quality poolside furniture and private cabanas. Very boutique-like. The room was nicely decorated and very clean, flat screen TV, nice bathroom with robes and small closet off to the side. I would strongly recommend that for the room rates charged, additional amenities be provided (Q Tips, shower cap, more body lotion, etc) as done in some of the better boutique hotels. If they want to be in that category, then it should present itself as one. The room lacked a hotel guide with all of their information, restaurant information, local points of interest, etc. We couldn't find one anywhere and wanted to review the restaurant menu. Now, for the restaurant.....my low rating on the service is for them and not the front desk or valet as they were very professional and couldn't do enough for you. We went to the restaurant for dinner and breakfast since the reviews have been more than favorable. I will state that the food is very good and I don't mind paying for a more expensive dinner but the service has to be as good (if not better) than the food. Our dinner service was very slow (we had to ask three times for bread and butter), but the breakfast service was awful! First of all, it took us 15 minutes to receive menus as they ran out! Really??? In all my years of travel, I've never had that happen in ANY restaurant. Their excuse was the hotel guests had taken them to their rooms (see my comment above on the hotel information guide). It took us 20 minutes to get water and another cup of coffee. Thank goodness the breakfast itself was very good as I was beyond being irritated at that point. I should've complained to management about the service, but was exhausted from asking for menus, water and coffee and we needed to check out. Overall, this is a nice hotel and has a lot of potential, but management needs to address the service issue or lack thereof in the restaurant. I understand that it's newly opened and bugs need to be worked out, but quality and experienced servers shouldn't be hard to find in this economy.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lori L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2012

We were looking for an inexpensive place to stay for 1 night while passing through Santa Cruz. The Hotel Paradox apparently only opened 6 weeks ago, so it seems there were still some teething issues, but all in all we had a GREAT stay.

The valet and front reception were very friendly at check in.

There was no sign to the elevator to find the rooms, and we eventually found it, but I heard the question over and over again from other people "where are the elevators?" Anyway, its not a big hotel, so its not too difficult to find your way around.

The rooms were clean, bright, modern and actually pretty quiet. The beds were super comfortable with crisp, clean white linen sheets and duvets. Nice flat screen TV and all the toilteries in the bathroom were made of natural ingreidents. The hotel had lots of recycling trash cans everywhere, which is great to see.

The pool & hot tub area were a wonderful little oasis. There were cabana's with fire pits which gave a great atmosphere and a pool bar with people serving you drinks in the hot tub, very nice.

The Restaurant and bar area had a great modern vibe to it, great lighting to create a nice atmosphere with an open fireplace and lounge sitting area where you can enjoy drinks. The menu was not extensive, but modern and delicious local food at a reasonable price. The service seemed a little overwhelmed with all the people, and our main course came as we were still eating our appetizers, but again, I think its just teething issues as they adjust to being open.

All in all we had a really enjoyable night, I guess the paradox is that the hotel doesn't look like much from the outside, a bit of a concrete block, but inside its all very simple, natural, modern and clean. Would definitely stay here again if we're ever in the area.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank lovetraveling6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2012

Stumbled upon this place more by accident than design! Travelling from San Simeon to San Jose decided to call into Santa Cruz for an hour to see the Boardwalk. Stayed for 3 days! Recommendation from 'stranger/local' at Visitor Centre. Called in and staff so accommodating and helpful we were 'hooked'. Totally refurbished and top notch. Paid $185 first night (Sunday)reduced to $139 for next 2. Nice place to chill out with great pool area. Eating there was quite expensive (our view!) but made the most of the nearby Denny's for breakfast and the Greek Festival that weekend (love Greek food!). It's a good location as you can walk to the Boardwalk (about 25 mins - ok for us Brits as the guy in reception said! Americans dont walk!?) and through the park about 10 mins to the shops (downtown?)! Another 10 mins to West Cliff Beach, the light house and surfers! Perfect Sunday morning walk!

Room Tip: We had a room at the back of the hotel on level 4 overlooking the car park! Thought we'd been ha...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank David G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

I've very much enjoyed my stays at the Paradox in Santa Cruz. Recently renovated in modern style with creature comforts usually only found in the high-end resorts far away from all the Santa Cruz scene. Rooms are fashionable, functional, and quiet. Flat screen tv, Apple iHome, and high flow large head showers offer luxury you won't find in other SC hotels. The bed is very comfortable, actually exceptionally so....and can you say "pillow valet"? New pool and deck with cabanas, social style hot-tub, and fire pit give a sort of Vegas style touch but still kid friendly.

I usually don't frequent hotel restaurants, but this is hotel where I make an exception to my own rule. There's a great local beer offering on tap, backed up by a few choice bottle sections for the beer savvy. The burger at Solaire is top notch...and not just another burger...these are hand pattied big boys cooked perfectly to temp (I'm a rare to med-rare guy) with nice options like bleu cheese crumbles and a balsamic marmalade that's pretty original.

The staff is one that tries hard to please...friendly and exceptionally friendly. From valet to reception to barstaff I found smiles and genuine interest in making my stay as good as it could be.

Kudos and welcome to Santa Cruz, the Paradox is exactly what this area needed.

Room Tip: Odd numbered rooms don't have a pool view, but they're on the quiet/cooler side of the build...
Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
2  Thank dailypint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection

Address: 611 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4005 (Formerly Hotel Paradox)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 54 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Price Range: $194 - $432 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 170
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Paradox is the newest boutique Hotel in Santa Cruz. The hotel has been fully rebuilt by designer David Oldroyd of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates of San Francisco. The design elements replicate the feeling of being in a Redwood forest to bring the outdoors indoors. Enjoy the feeling of the forest in our specially designed guest rooms and suites. Visit the Hotel Paradox Pool Deck complete with private, rentable Cabanas, chaise loungers, tables for poolside dining and outdoor/indoor bar area. Hungry for more? Dine with us in Solaire, a fresh farm-to-table organic produced and sourced dining experience headed up by Chef Ross McKee. Solaire serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with a wine and beer bar area. All guest rooms feature the outdoor elements to enhance the feeling of the outdoors, yet offer all the amenities you seek to ensure a completely fresh, sunny Santa Cruz experience. ... more   less 
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