Because the Fairfield Inn Visalia Sequoia got a fair number of favorite reviews, we opted to give it a test run on an impromptu visit to Visalia a couple of weeks ago. It's easy enough to spot right off Highway 198, nestled into a newish, well-maintained area. Check-in was effortless, personnel seemed eager to please and there was plenty of outdoor parking along the perimeter. Hallways seemed a bit institutional in feel and the rooms spartan. Even with the close proximity to the highway, we had no issues with traffic noise, though in warmer months when windows are open it may be another matter.
Our room was pretty utilitarian with the overall ambiance plain wrap-- it it was clean, comfortable and served well for a good night's sleep. It was furnished with the bed, one nightstand, a desk, a sofa, dresser with two drawers only, a microwave, coffee maker and a small fridge. (an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner were also thoughtfully provided by way of amenities.) One odd feature was that the room had no closet; simply a small rack and hangers. I'm not sure if the lack of closet is standard in all rooms or if ours was an exception. In any case, given the lack of storage the room doesn't seem a good candidate for longer stays, making me wonder why they'd opted to fill up space with a mini fridge and microwave-- both more likely to be used staying more than an overnight. Oddly enough, since I'd opted for a room with a single queen bed, we were given a handicap room, which presented a few issues I'll get to in a moment.
For a wheelchair patron, this room was well-appointed. Peephole and locks on the door were adjusted to wheelchair height, as were the furnishings. Though I didn't actually come prepared with a tape measure (my specialty back when I was in the travel industry happened to be handicap travel), I'm willing to bet that there is ample space on both sides of the bed for wheelchair-to-bed transfers, and doorways are comfortably wide. Bathrooms are spacious with plenty of room for a wheelchair to maneuver; The toilet seemed to be standard, but had a sturdy grab rail adjacent; wash basin and mirror are also lowered for ease of wheelchair use and the tub/shower combination equipped with a fold-down seat. Obviously, this arrangement is suitable only for someone able to perform a transfer from chair to shower seat; for someone requiring more specialized facilities (such as a roll-in- shower), this arrangement would be less than optimal.
The down side of this room? There was no closet, as I'd mentioned, and the clothing rack had been set at a level which is fine for a wheelchair patron-- unfortunately, if you happen to be traveling with a full-length dress as I was this trip, there was nowhere to hang long garments. Not horrible, granted; and probably an unlikely scenario for most travelers. Fortunately, we were able to get by just fine by draping my dress across the sofa for the night-- but should anyone else be in a similar situation, it's something to consider. A second issue was the shower, which is also designed to be used by the non-ambulatory with the shower head affixed at an unusually low level. To my six-foot husband, this was a bit of an inconvenience, since he didn't care to sit while showering. I'm thinking that opting for a detachable shower nozzle (the one in this room was not) might have made the issue a bit more manageable for non-handicap guests. Between the shower and the lowered bathroom mirror, I'd thinking that someone six feet or taller might do well to ask for a different room if placed in this situation.
In addition to indoor pool facilities, this property also includes breakfast with the cost of the room: hard boiled eggs, dried cereal, pastry, do-it-yourself fresh waffles, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee made up the offerings. The dining area was clean and well-tended, and there was certainly an ample array of foods to start off the day. I was glad to see it wasn't all junk food as I've seen at some breakfast buffets.
Probably what scored the highest for us was the phone call we got from the front desk shortly after we'd checked in, just checking to make sure everything was OK and that we were comfortable-- a lovely touch we certainly appreciated. And given that this is a Marriott property, I was particularly surprised at this gesture, which scored a few extra points in my book.
In short, it's a decent tourist class property, managed by people who actually seem to care. It would be confusing for me to give a four-star rating to a three-star establishment, but if you go in with realistic expectations, I think you'll be more than pleased with your stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Fairfield Inn Visalia Hotel Visalia
- Fairfield Visalia
- Visalia Fairfield Inn