This hotel is hard to rate as my sentiments about it constantly move from a 3 to 4.5 star rating. I really wanted to rate it higher, as the staff and management seem to try hard to make it right, but some of the minus keep bugging me.
Here are the pluses.
- First, the hotel has some of the best rates for its location. Few properties that I researched would sell rooms for its rate (about $130 for a 2 Queen deluxe suites, less if you are AAA member) that is so close to most of San Diego's major attractions. The rate includes parking, internet (well, limited) and breakfast - a continental breakfast with packed pastries/bagels, waffle machine, and boiled eggs. Breakfast is pretty decent. Items were constantly refilled, and we found no issues finding a place to sit (hotel was fairly full during our stay, judging from the occupance of the parking lot). With respect to rates, if you are an AAA member, make sure you mention that during your reservation. It is likely that the whoever is handling your reservation will ask if you are an AAA member (a plus, a hotel that offers a discounted rate on the phone). Also, the AAA rate is not mentioned in the hotel website, and the published rates do not reflect the 10% AAA discount. According the the front desk agent, what you should do is to make a note that you are a AAA member in the comments field of your online reservation. Or call in person, they are quite friendly.
- The rooms are quite clean and comfortable. Well appointed and functional. I would say they tend to be on the smaller side (the deluxe 2 Queen, I mean) but it worked for our family of four. The vanity area is separated from the bathroom which is a plus. AC is an under-window unit, a bit noisy, but it works pretty well. The room had also a tv and a dvd unit, where you can check movies at the front desk.
- The hotel is nicely landscaped, and the pool area, although small, is pretty nice. Another plus is the lobby, where you can help yourself with coffee and water the whole day. It also has a computer and a printer station. It is actually a nice area to hang around, and there were even some board games that you can check and play (chess, scrabble), which is what actually excited my 8-year boy quite a bit.
- I believe that the best feature of this property is the location. It is actually close to everything that matters in San Diego. It is walking distance to Old Town San Diego. It is less than 10 minute drive from SeaWorld - and you don't need to hope into the freeway to get to SeaWorld, which is a plus to save some rush hour traffic. The same holds for downtown, Gaslamp quarter, marina, and Balboa park. It was a 10 minutes drive to the beaches and 20 minutes drive to La Jolla. Actually, location is one of the major reason we chose to stay at the Old Town Inn, since its proximity to SeaWorld allowed us to leave the park late afternoon so our kids could have a brief nap and we could enjoy some dinner outside the park, before heading back to watch the night shows, which we found was well worth it. Also within the location topic, there are plenty of dining options right near the property (we had thai in a mall nearby), although I think it would a bit too far to simply walk.
- I should also note that the staff works pretty hard to make it right. They are quite friendly. I wasn't aware of the AAA discount until the second day of our stay. When I mentioned that, the front desk agent automatically gave us discount for the remaining nights - I didn't even need to ask (bring your AAA card, though). The morning helper was also very friendly in giving us information and directions.
Now some minuses
- The first, I would like to say that the Old Town Inn is basically an old motel that has received a nice face lift, furnishings, and landscapting to look it nice. It is successfully most of time. However, there are times that you are reminded that this is an old motel under the facade, for example, when you hear the sound of the pumbling in action early in the morning, and you know nobody is using the bathroom. We were on the first floor, so perhaps this factor is magnified. Nevertheless, it does highlight that this is an older property.
- The property is quite small (which is good and bad), and so is their parking lot. To be fair, we haven't had any parking issue, even arriving late, and the hotel was fairly full. But it does give that feeling of being crowded, not to mention the need to do some maneuvering to fit into some spaces.
- The location is great, but the immediate surrounding area is kinda iffy. I did not feel unsafe in the area (it is just desert, with an industrial feeling, and only runs for a block or two) but I would not stroll around outside the motel after dinner. Still, it is perfectly safe to walk during the day, as a lot of people do.
- In room internet is free, but ... Well, it seems that the hotel does not have a large bandwidth, and if you do try to download something, the server will block your mac address permanently. I don't if that is what happened to us, but I was not able to access the internet after my wife used the computer, and she said the only thing she was looking was CNN. Maybe we were blocked for some accidental news streaming, I don't know. It was a bit of an annoyance, although I was able to remedy by using the lobby computer. At the end, the free perk was not actually free.
- Finally, my biggest quibble is with the noise. From our room, we had an unobstructed view of an elevated portion of a freeway and, hence, the noise had an unobstructed path to our room. The noise actually arrived in the form of "white noise", but very audible. Again, it may be that our room magnified the conditions (rooms facing other directions may not be in the direct path of the noise). I also believe that the gaps between the door and the door frame (which were relatively wide) may have to do with it (sounds seem to flowing through these gaps), meaning that it may be possible to ameliorate the situation by narrowing those gaps. There were also other noises adding to the symphony, including airplanes and the aforementioned toilet flush from the upstairs neighbors. In all fairness, I should mention that I only noticed these sounds early in the morning - evenings were quite ok. Also, wife had less issues with noise - and she is the light sleeper. Also, to be clear, these issues were not deal breakers, otherwise I would not have given a 4 star rating. However, they were reminders that this actually an old motel underneath the nice facade.
I thought that overall the hotel provides an excellent (probably the best) value for your money, considering its ammenities and location. It has a friendly, accommodating staff that works really hard to make it right. However, it does have issues, like noise and crowding, that keep reminding me of its old motel facet. As I said, my sentiments for its rating swings from 3.0 to 4.5, averaging 3.75, so that's why I finally decided to rate it at 4.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our rates reflect what we are, a modest AAA 2 Diamond property, family owned with a priority on customer service. Great central location, commercial pocket – we joke that we are nowhere but right next door to everywhere. Amenities include a complimentary expanded continental breakfast, free wireless internet and parking, and heated outdoor pool. Children 12 and under stay free. Pet friendly. We have a wide selection of room types, including large apartments with kitchens. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Old Town Hotel San Diego
- Old Town Inn San Diego
- Old Town San Diego