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You know what sucks? Finding a hotel as a family of 5. Seriously, I do not envy those with even bigger families trying to find hotels for vacations. Even though two of our five are infants, plug in the number of guests and their ages and we still get the dreaded “Number of guests exceeds maximum occupancy” message. Is there anything families of five or more hate seeing more while planning a vacation? Seriously! 3 little itty bitty people and two adults, and most of our hotel options are gone?
Thankfully, there are still some hotels out there, but when your destination is Anaheim, California, the cost of those rooms can be quite high. One way my family likes to save during our Disneyland vacations is by staying just a little bit further away. Our favorite place to stay- Buena Park. We have stayed in this area probably eight or more times in the last three and a half years. We love to stay in the area right around Knott’s Berry Farm because there are plenty of places to eat, a Walmart, and easy access to the freeway and Disneyland (maybe a 10 minute drive in morning traffic).
This time, our family stayed at one of our favorite hotels in Buena Park- The Radisson Suites. Now let me start out by saying, this is not our first time at this hotel. Nope. It is closer to our fifth or sixth time. And also let me say, this hotel stay was not sponsored. In fact, I am doing this review purely because I have a new found sympathy for those trying to find a hotel when you have more than two kids. So, I want to review the hotel to give families some information on their options.
Where to start? Well, how about a description of the hotel. The lobby is large, with a gift shop on one side. All the rooms face inward to a giant courtyard area which houses a pool and a restaurant area. This area is supposed to only be accessible from the lobby or by using a key card to open the gates at all four corners, but during this visit we almost always found the gate closest to our room propped open. Same with my visit last summer.
The rooms are nice and roomy. There is a separate living area to the bedroom. The bathroom is right inside the door that separates the living room and bedroom. So, while a person would have to enter the bedroom to go the bathroom, they can do it without bothering anybody in the bedroom. The bedroom can have a king size or 2 double beds (no queen size). The furniture is nice and clean, there are lots of drawers, a safe, a flat screen TV, lots of plugins including several on the lamp by the bed (great for charging multiple phones at night). The curtains make the room nice and dark when pulled shut.
The living area includes a sofa bed, chair, end table, eating table with two other chairs, wet bar with a sink (great for washing bottles or sippy cups in), fridge (with a freezer compartment) and microwave. There is also lots of cupboard space there and under and over the TV in the corner of the living room.
So on to the good, bad and the ugly.
Let’s start with the ugly because I think it is very obvious in this picture. The sofa bed and the carpets in the suites NEED updating. I can appreciate older hotels that maybe can not update the outside of their buildings, their location, and that have older decor. However here, the carpets and sofas are very stained. We have noticed this the last few visits. This time, we also noticed that the carpet ALWAYS felt damp (darn humidity) and also, it turned our socks very dark gray (almost black) if we walked around on it for a long time. The sofa bed was just beat up. Not on the bed part, but on the cushions.
Okay, since we started with the ugly, let’s just do it backwards and now go to the bad (plus it is always better to end on a positive note right?). So really, there was not a lot of bad. This hotel really is great, but we just had a lot of little annoyances. First, our key card reader SUCKED! We replaced key cards thinking it was the cards, but no matter how many times we replaced them, our reader took 8-10 times to read the card and let us in. We never asked to be moved by this, or even brought it up to the hotel because honestly, we thought it was the cards, and then we brought everything in before getting new cards. With infant twins and all our stuff, it was NOT worth switching rooms over. So, seriously, half that issue was probably our fault.
Second, the pool was cold. Freezing cold. It is a gorgeous pool area, and it was crowded, but it was COLD!
Finally, we had a few customer service issues. This is where it got me. I can look past old carpets that need replaced, and the key card reader was partially our fault, and the pool, you know, we went in the evening when it probably was just too cold, but customer service should always be key, and so I take those issues seriously, and when there are issues, how they are resolved makes a huge impact (more on that later). So first, we only had one day we were in our room much. We had visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and were spending the late afternoon to evening in the room, doing laundry, etc. Well, being the first time we turned on the living area television, we found someone had changed the settings and it was not getting channels in. We called the front desk and was told they would send someone right up. 3 hours later nobody had shown and we went to bed.
The other issue was the same day, so it felt like a lot more than it was since it all happened that day. That day, we had decided to have the maid service come in. We do not use maid service most days, and choose to only use them when we really need the service. Well, when we returned to our hotel at 4 pm, they still had not come to our room. So, we called, they said they will be there soon. around 5:30 or 6:00 they showed up. We had asked for new towels. The maid took our old towels, gave us new wash cloths and hand towels, but forgot to give us bath towels. OOPSIE! On top of that, her trash was full so she put some of our trash outside of our door, and left it there. It was still there the next morning so Mike took it to another trash can.
Now the good-
So, you read the ugly and the bad- let me start off the good that happened while we were there. First, upon arrival, we learned that the hotel has become non-smoking. This was a huge plus. It did come with a small bad, guests decided since they couldn’t smoke in their rooms, they would smoke in the stair wells, but that is completely a guest thing, not the hotel. Back to the good- so yeah, they are non-smoking which I love. No more walking past rooms that smell like an ashtray.
And then the hotel won me over. How? With this-
Yes, that is a simple hair dryer. Yes almost every hotel you stay in has one. But there is a big difference about this one.
People- it is not attached to the bathroom wall! If you have ever vacationed with more than 2 people, especially girls who use the bathroom to do makeup, etc, you know that this is huge! I was able to blow dry my hair while others showered and got ready. This was not like this last time I was here, at least not that I remember. And maybe it is only certain rooms, but this moment, the moment I was able to dry my hair while someone else showered, that is when this hotel won me over. So much so that I immediately took to social media in delight! Oh, and for the record, it is a good hair dryer. It dried my thick hair super fast.
Other great things we loved- our room was nice and quiet, which is super important when you have babies napping, or get home late from Disneyland and there are a bunch of people in the pool. They have guest laundry (a must for large families traveling in tight spaces) a decent gift shop, beautiful grounds and more.
But Becca….what about those bads? Well, this is the awesome part. I never found time to talk to management while we were there. So really, they didn’t have a chance to address those aspects. I planned on emailing them when we got home. Before I even got home (we stayed in Vegas for a few days) I received the online survey invite. I took the survey, put my concerns in it, and decided to wait a day or two to email. Well, within a few hours I received an email from the hotel manager about my concerns and making it right. I won’t share how they made it right, but they made it right. They really care about their guests and their reputation, and I was quite pleased with the quick response and the resolution offered.
We will stay here again. We love how easy it is to get to Disneyland (they even have a free shuttle to the park), but that it offers some quiet (something I feel the hotels right by the park lack) and also the more budget friendly rates. It is also a good size and allows up to six people to stay there, which is great for those with 3-4 kids. We can find a nice hotel, without breaking the bank.
Did you also know that you can book this hotel as a package through Get Away Today? They have this and a lot of other area hotels that are NOT part of the packages offered directly through Disneyland. Oh, and they have a layaway plan so you can pay a little every month until you go on your trip. Be sure to check them out.
*I am an affiliate for Get Away Today. This means when you book using my link, I earn a little bit of extra money which helps me keep this blog going. It does not change the price you pay for your package, and you still get to help support me and my family. How awesome is that?