Hotel Review: La Jolla Cove Suites

First, let me state for the record that this is not a sponsored post.  I did not receive any compensation or perks from La Jolla Cove Suites in exchange for writing this post.  This, like all my reviews, is a reflection of my personal thoughts and experiences.

My mom invited Squirt and me to accompany her on a business trip down to the San Diego area and I jumped at the chance.  San Diego is beautiful and I knew it would be a fun little getaway for a couple of days.  She was in charge of booking our room, and found a suite at the La Jolla Cove Suites.

I did a little research online before our trip and the reviews of the hotel were pretty mixed.  It seemed they were in the middle of renovating and some of the rooms were really nice, and some were not so great.  (Side note: I did email them and ask for any press kit or info they might want to give me about the property and the renovation and they told me to just look at their website.)  So I was a little wary going into our room, but was mostly pleasantly surprised when we walked in.

The suite is basically like a one bedroom apartment, with a separate living and dining room, and small kitchen.  For a hotel room in Southern California, it’s huge.

The decor in the living room had a bit of a sixties vibe and I honestly couldn’t tell if the room was one that had been renovated or not.  It was definitely clean and spacious, but also looked like it was straight out of Mad Men, but not in a chic retro way, just a this looks old kind of way.

By far the best part of the room, and the hotel in general, is the location.  We walked out onto our balcony to see this…

We probably spent more time on the balcony than we did in the actual room.  One great factor of the suite was the kitchen.  I cannot express enough how awesome it is to have a real kitchen when traveling with a toddler or baby.  Between washing bottles and binkies and storing milk, a kitchen is a must.  While this one was certainly not the prettiest ever, it was large and got the job done.

The bathroom was also spacious, and seemed clean, though it did look like it was out of the seventies.  The shower and tub were nothing noteworthy.  I do love lots of counter space in a hotel bathroom, but the space could have been better served by adding another sink.

The bedroom looked like a standard hotel room with two queen beds.  I did love that it was a separate bedroom, so we were able to put Squirt down, close the door and still be able to hold a conversation while he slept.  It was so dark in there (great for nap time!) I couldn’t get a good picture, but it was again, spacious and seemed clean.

The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast each morning, and it was one of the better ones I have seen at a hotel.  They had waffles, bagels, muffins, fruit, cereal, and juice and coffee.  Bonus, it was served up on the roof deck, so we got to start off our morning with this view…

In many ways, this hotel had a lot of pros: the size, the view, the kitchen, the separate bedroom, the breakfast.  All of those are qualities I look for, especially now that I travel with a kid in tow.  However, there were some big problems with the hotel that would prevent me from staying there again.

First, the rooms have no air conditioning.  I’m sure that this is not a big issue most of the time, however, California has been experiencing a very hot and humid summer.  While there was a nice ocean breeze, it was definitely not enough to cool off the entire suite.  In the bedroom, the only window overlooked the walkway so there was no good way to leave it open when Squirt was sleeping because people were constantly walking by and talking.  They did have two fans in the room, which helped, but not having AC in Southern California is a big minus in my book.

The balcony of our room was one of our favorite places to hangout, and the view was killer.  But there were two rods on our balcony railing that were completely detached at the bottom.  This would be a serious safety hazard for anyone, but given that we were traveling with a toddler, it was a huge concern.

We also had some major problems with the hotel on the final day of our stay.  My mom was gone for the morning for her work event so I loaded Squirt into the stroller to take him up to the roof for breakfast.  In order to get to the breakfast without encountering stairs, I had to go down to the first floor, walk across the property, and then take the main elevator up to the roof deck.  Our room was in an adjoining building and there was no direct way to get from our floor to the deck without encountering stairs.  It wasn’t a huge deal, though it did seem odd that they would put us in one of those rooms when they knew we were traveling with a small child (as I had asked about portable cribs beforehand and Squirt was with us, in his stroller, when we checked in).  After breakfast, Squirt and I went to go for a walk.  There was some construction going on and the only ramp from our room to the front of the hotel was blocked off, meaning the only way we could get out was to go down stairs.  Again, not the end of the world, but since I was on my own with him, I had to take him out of the stroller, hold him, and walk with him and the stroller down the flight of stairs.

When we were walking back to our room, I asked one of the workers how we were supposed to get our luggage cart down to the first floor as we were going to be checking out soon.  He told me I could walk over to the other elevator (in the main building).  I told him there were stairs in between my room and the main building and he said there weren’t any.  Given that he works there, I figured there must be a way.  I went back to our room and started packing up our stuff.  My mom was going to be arriving back at the hotel right when we needed to check out so I was on my own for loading up our stuff.  So I called down to the front desk to ask for bell service.  The woman told me they didn’t offer bell service normally but since I was alone with the baby they would send up a cart.  I asked her about the route from my room to the elevator that didn’t involve stairs and she couldn’t given me directions, only told me that there weren’t any stairs.  Okay?  I mean, it’s hard to mistake stairs. Either they’re there or they’re not.

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door, I opened it and one of the male housekeepers was there.  I asked him if he had a brought a cart since we had a lot of stuff.  He communicated that he didn’t speak any English.  I pointed out the bags that needed to go and watched him walk out the door and down the emergency stairs to the first floor.  I got Squirt loaded up in the stroller and grabbed the rest of the bags, figuring I would make my way to the elevator in the main building as ours was still blocked off and apparently, there were no stairs.

Except there were definitely stairs.  And not one or two, because that I could have handled with the stroller and the bags.  More like five or six.  At that point my mom came up the stairs and she was not happy.  You do not want to mess with my mom when she is not happy.  Apparently she had parked the car, got out to come to the room, and noticed that all of our bags were sitting on the ground in the middle of the parking lot unattended.  And when she tried to get up to the room, she found the elevator blocked and the door to the staircase locked.  One of the construction workers let her in and then came to help us get down the stairs, with our remaining bags, the stroller, and Squirt.  The construction workers (not employed by the hotel) were by far the most helpful in the whole situation.

In all, it took us about forty minutes to get all of our stuff, and the baby, down to the car.  The first hotel employee we talked to seemed to think that it was no big deal and we shouldn’t really be upset that we were trapped in our room (no elevator and stairwell locked), which aside from being unsafe and annoying, is also totally illegal.  What if one of us had been on crutches or in a wheelchair?  Luckily, the manager was much more understanding.  He did refund my mom the cost of one night’s stay.  He then informed us the construction was unplanned and they had to be called in on short notice as the landing in front of the elevator on the floor above us was starting to collapse.  So this totally unsafe situation was created due to a totally unsafe building.

I do appreciate that the manager took the time to rectify the situation, at least financially, but these were some big problems we faced.  And I’m not sure why a hotel that has a lot of bad reviews online wouldn’t take the time to make sure someone who has forewarned them they will be writing a review (I mentioned the blog when I asked for the press kit) has a good experience.  I don’t ever expect perks or special treatment, but you might want to make sure I’m not trapped with my toddler.  The room charge (during the week, mind you) was $250 a night.  Outside of the Disneyland properties, I have never spent that much on a hotel (and wouldn’t, my mom did :o)).  If I were going to spend that much, I would expect a lot more than what this property provides.  I am from LA, I know the value of a good location, but for me, this location, while stunning, was not worth the cost and the downfalls of the hotel.

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