It took us around 2-minutes to learn the shocking cost of accommodation in Los Angeles, United States. Unfortunately, by that point with tickets to VidCon 2018 and flights already booked it was too late to change our minds. Instead, the visit was going to require us to get creative.
We were looking at spending around one week of our two-week visit to Los Angeles in Anaheim. This is where Disneyland California, the California Adventure parks are, as well as the Anaheim convention centre is – where VidCon would be heald.
We could have stayed further out, however from previous experience we know that public transport in the US isn’t what it is in the UK and so we’d only end up hiring a car (something we’d never done before) or spending far too much money on and in the back of Ubers and Lyfts.
My creativity led us to exchange our American Express membership points into Hilton Honors points. We were cancelling the card so it turned out to be the best way to shift the points. Then use the points for our stay.
As you can see we originally booked to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim / Garden Grove for 5 nights, but actually ended up extending our stay an extra night having been so impressed by the hotel.
The cost of the stay was 150,000 Hilton Honors points. According to HeadForPoints, one Hilton Honors point is worth 0.0033 and the ratio of points transfer between American Express and Hilton is 1:2 (0.0066). This means that the total value in points was somewhere around $990 for 5 nights.
Considering the hotel was retailing for $181 a night (exc tax) I was getting a pretty straight exchange paying in points instead of cash.
I managed to book a promotional offer that was advertised in our room during our stay for that final extra night in which I paid cash ($99 standard rate, $116 inc tax). This also earned me 2,532 Hilton Honors points as a Gold Member (Valued at $16.71).?
The Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim / Garden Grove is within walking distance of;
- Anaheim convention centre
- Disneyland California
- California Adventure
- A number of restaurants
It’s one thing seeing it on the map, it’s another thing realising just how close you are to the Disney action. The only way we could have been in a better location is if we had chosen to stay on-site.
We had a traumatic travel day back from Las Vegas to Los Angeles for the start of our VidCon & Disneyland experience. So, we arrived at the hotel later than planned, stressed, having just spent a couple of hours on the roadside, and in desperate need of dinner.
We made it to reception and upon asking about the most local restaurant etc. We were told that the bar would stop serving food in 10 minutes (10 pm)… Helen dashed across the room only to find they’d already finished serving.
Unfortunately, none of the staff members seemed very apologetic about the fact, and instead, we found ourselves snacking on things from the small shop in a pantry style area behind reception.
We stayed in the standard Evolution room featuring a king-sized bed which was the typical luxury as with all the Hilton Hotels we’ve stayed at in the past. The room was impressively spacious, with a 47 inch TV in front of the bed, a desk to the left of that and a chair by the window.
By the door, opposite the bathroom, there was a coffee machine with a number of different coffee, hot chocolate and tea products.
Here you’ll also find a fridge and a microwave, perfect for cooking snacks from the shop downstairs or Target around 250 metres away.
Our room was at the front of the hotel, looking out onto the swimming pool to the left and the car park and road to the front/right. Despite this, we didn’t have any issues with noise.
One evening during our stay we noticed the Angels stadium lit up in the distance for a game which was a great little-added feature to our stay and in our opinion a great benefit to the location of our room within the hotel.
The bathroom was very clean and well kept with a small set of toiletries including shower gel, hand cream and shampoo.
I always appreciate having a number of towels as I always need a towel for my hair. There was a hairdryer located on the shelves under the sink.
We had no issues with WIFI outages during our stay and received constant upload and download speeds of 20mbps, even during peak times.
We didn’t visit the swimming pool during our stay, however, we noticed it was popular with families on an early evening. No doubt using it to relax and recover from a fun-filled day at the nearby Disney parks.
While the pool was never crowded, we did notice a limited number of sun lounges and space in the swimming pool. This might make it difficult to find space during peak times, or if a group or large party is visiting and chooses to use the swimming pool.
After the failed attempt at getting food from the bar on the evening of our first night at the Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim / Garden Grove. We went back to try again over lunch, to purchase a drink, a lunchtime snack and get some work done.
Unfortunately, our request was declined by staff who informed us that the restaurant wasn’t serving during the day, and instead only in the evening.
I’m unsure whether this was a one-off or not as the staff member wasn’t particularly clear. We could have chosen to sit at the bar however it didn’t suit our preferences and we still needed to eat so we chose to go elsewhere.
Upon returning from our trip we found out that breakfast was being served at the hotel every morning around the corner from the bar. Unfortunately, however, we were never told about it or prompted that it was included as part of our stay (especially being a gold member).
What only makes things worse, is that every morning we instead went to buy breakfast like snacks from the shop next to reception and it was never picked up on by staff that instead, maybe we should have been eating what has been described as ‘fantastic breakfast’ within the hotel.
Speaking of the shop. It had resort like prices (not quite as extreme as you’d find in the typical mini-bar). Making it a great alternative for a quick drink in the room on an evening instead of a short stroll to Target.
At the time I thought our stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim / Garden Grove was great, and don’t get me wrong it is. However, it seems like a miscommunication on multiple occasions between ourselves and the staff left us being rather short-changed.
Personally, I feel that we have to take some of the blame on ourselves. Had I been more aware at the time of what we were entitled to as gold members I might have been more forthcoming in asking about breakfast etc.
Images courtesy of the Hilton website.