Generally I like to avoid chain hotels on my vacations. While I can appreciate the solid value and consistency of a good chain (Hampton Inn is one of my faves), I usually prefer to try out lodging that’s unique to a particular city. Plus, I like staying in hotels where the decor has more personality than the standard corporate chain.
Anaheim, California, a.k.a. the home of Disneyland, is a place that many Americans will visit at some point in their lives, and the area is chock full of chain hotels–Holiday Inn, Best Western, Hilton, Sheraton…you’ll find all the old standbys. It’s much harder to find boutique, one-of-a-kind hotels with design that goes beyond the same old corporate/motor lodge feel. However, I’ve discovered a couple options that would allow you to escape the run-of-the-mill:
Hotel Menage: Located within walking distance of Disneyland (and with a great view of the park’s nightly fireworks), Hotel Menage has reasonable rates and nicely designed rooms. Standard rooms have flat screen TVs and a modern look, and the themed suites take everything up a notch (pictured above is the “Asian Suite”). There’s a nice pool and restaurant on-site, and as a Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, discount park tickets are available at the front desk.
The Anabella Hotel: Also within walking distance of Disneyland, this hotel offers a California Mission style environment, with rooms reminiscent of a polished bed & breakfast. There are 14 room types to choose from, and some even feature hardwood floors! Other amenities include a gym, garden, restaurant and pools.
Keep in mind: If you’re flying into California, renting a car is a good idea–otherwise you’ll be stuck in the Anaheim/Disneyland area and won’t have the freedom to explore other SoCal attractions. And when hitting the theme parks (I can’t stress this enough), get there early!! The best strategy to avoid long lines is to ride several rides in the early morning and also collect Fast Passes, then relax during the midday crowded hours, and redeem your Fast Passes later in the day.
Bonus tip(s): Anaheim is right next door to the largest Vietnamese community in the U.S., and delicious, cheap eats abound! Try grabbing some banh mi sandwiches and fresh pastries to go from Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie (14352 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, 714-418-9098) before you head into Disneyland. It’s a way better lunch option than the usual greasy burger and fries.
Photo via hotelmenage.com.