We have been known to go on ‘reasonably’ well planned trips having booked no accommodation other than perhaps the first city on the itinerary. In America-land this is not too much of a big deal as pretty much any small town you drive into will have a minimum of 4 chain hotels, all only metres apart, all for around $75 per night including free wi-fi … there is a very good chance that we spent two weeks driving down the west coast in this manner a few years back.
In Europe it is feasible to do the same thing, sort of, but it involved booking online for the next town every few days, and although it meant we saw unplanned things [oh look, Valencia is the home of paella, we’ll go there next; Roman ruins and the Mediterranean in Taragona? sounds good to me; random farmhouse style inn in the middle of France, ok, sure] the constant searches got old pretty quickly. This trip, there were no unplanned nights for accommodation. We had a pretty packed schedule and honestly I couldn’t be bothered to plan along the way. Luckily the tour director [aka RJ] did the leg work before we left and we both just keep our fingers crossed that the reality matched the pictures on the interwebz.
The hotel for Blogher ’11 in San Diego was pretty expensive even with the block reservation so we decided to take a chance on a deal RJ came across through Travel Zoo one evening. He signed up for their specials back when we lived in NYC and kind of how I still get all the US shopping consolidator emails every day, he still gets the Travel Zoo ones. [Mine make me want to shop, his make us want to travel – not particularly healthy for anyone.]
Hotel Indigo in The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego was listed as the ‘hot new boutique hotel in San Diego’ and had a special on for about half the price of their normal rate, so we jumped on it and booked for 2 nights of the 4 we were in town. The other two we planned on staying with friends.
After the flight from Sydney and drive down from LA, we finally got to the hotel and from the looks of the lobby we had made the right choice.
Not only was everyone, from the valet guys outside to the front desk employees, lovely and pleasant, but the room sealed the deal. There was an entry way followed by a feature wall and the whole place was decorated in warm inviting colours, modern and rich at the same time, with more than enough room to spread out immediately.
A huge bathroom came complete with Aveda toiletry products – and we know how much I love travel sizes. Plus, the window provided a view straight into PETCO park – we could have nearly watched the game from our room.
Knowing how much moving we had coming up over the next few weeks, and how hectic the conference was in just the first day, we decided to extend the room for one more night, staying only Saturday with our generous friends – they did clean the bathroom in anticipation after all. While we didn’t get the same price as with the original booking, they did offer a discounted rate for the extension and we were able to stay in the same room with only a quick re-activation of key-cards.
The location was perfect [if just a touch on the outer edge of Gaslamp] and a quick walk to restaurants, shopping and the Convention Center. Valet parking is pretty much the only option other than working around the ever changing, colour coded curb marker meters and the [ahem] wandering locals. It ran at $35 a night – but included in-and-out access and a bit of time leeway as the next evening was not charged until midnight.
All in all we had a lovely stay, RJ had his first win of the trip on accommodation bookings and I recon we would not only consider Hotel Indigo again for San Diego, but would look into their other locations as well. Admittedly, a special offer would help though!
HOTEL INDIGO – SAN DIEGO, GASLAMP QUARTER
509 9TH AVENUE
SAN DIEGO, CA 92101 UNITED STATES
Hotel Indigo has no idea who I am, that I stayed at their hotel or that I am writing this. In other words, everything came out of our bank account. None of this ‘accommodation provided by …’ stuff, unfortunately.