More about Lafayette Park Hotel And Spa
Beautiful but disappointing
I was very excited when I booked my room at the Lafayette Park Hotel. I was going to be attending a wedding at the hotel, and was filled with wonderful expectations from previewing their web site. I mean from a hotel that claims to be five star, this should have been a lovely pampering weekend.
Well, the site itself was lovely. Very "European Villa", and my room was spacious and sophisticatedly decorated even though I had a view of a cement staircase. My disappointment was in the service (or lack thereof).
Upon arrival I was hurridly greeted with no pleasantries or explanation of ammenities(although I was the only guest in reception). I then had to inquire about parking and how to find my room to a gruff response. When I did find my room, I found that the minibar required a key (which they failed to give me). I called the front desk to be told that they would bring one up "right away". Mind you it was 100 degrees outside after a long drive, so I was ready for refreshment. Well, after 20 minutes, they still hadn't brought up a key. So I went back down to the lobby, to find the four reception employees just standing around socializing. They weren't too busy to help me, but acted put out when I asked for the key again.
Next, I found that the TV in my room did not work, and when I tried to call the lobby from the second phone in the room I found that it (the phone) was broken too. So, now I was trying to get dressed for a wedding with a maintenance man in the room.
The next morning I pre-ordered my $29 toasted bagel and coffee breakfast. When the bellhop dropped it off, I noticed that he had forgotton the coffee. I called room service to inform them, and then had to wait 30 minutes for the coffee to arrive. By then my breakfast was cold.
Now I realize that in the hotel business there are bound to be errors with so many employees and a full house. But what disappointed me the most was that with every error on their part there was not one apology or effort made to be cordial. That to me does not make a five star hotel. That to me, is more like a motel. I will not be returning.
After a sour previous trip, hotel redeemed itself!
I am the person who also wrote that last review in November from November, 2005, named "Good, but there's room for improvement." Well, I happened to be in the neighborhood again and decided to give the hotel another chance
Summary: They redeemed themselves.
Why did I stay here again? The hotel is so convenient. My sisters attend St. Mary's College in Moraga, which is just a short drive away. I was too scared to stay at the Hillside Inn and Suites (also on Mount Diablo Boulevard) after reading the reviews on this site and seeing the gutter myself. My mom came out to help my sisters set up their dorm rooms, etc., at the beginning of the school year in September 2005. She stayed at the Marriott ClubSport Renaissance in Walnut Creek, the one I had praised in my last review. (I ignorantly praised it my judging its website.) She liked the rooms, but she hated the whole "valet", "let me help you as long as I get $20 tip" atmosphere there. That was crossed off the list. After staying at a multitude of Embassy Suites in my childhood, I do not especially enjoy those. I also did not want to stay in SF because it is too far and the traffic on the Bay Bridge (which they will replace in 2013) is awful.
So, how was my stay? So great! My room last time in May 2005 was like no other...in a bad way. The notorious room 228 was a giant suite right over the ever so pungent dumpsters. It's the only room that has this problem. I also did not like the decor last time. That room last time was so large that the decorator probably did not know what to do with all the extra space. As for this time, I was placed in a nice room on the second floor overlooking the town and across the hall from the beautiful "Wishing Well" Courtyard. (Yes, that is the actual name of it. Take a book there and enjoy yourself for an afternoon.) The bed was one of the best night's sleep I've had in years. While it was rather too cool to swim, I dipped my feet in there and listened to my iPod all alone, a nice little moment. The hotel also has many new ammenities that I never knew was there before.
In the circular lobby every morning, the hotel leaves out free coffee and tea. I cannot remember if any pastries were there. I recall a wine a cookie hour taking place several years ago, although I did not see one, but I was never at the hotel at 5PM, when it is rumored to occur. I also noticed a nice little armoire at the second floor stairwell (near the lobby) that has a PC you can use the internet on. The rate is $3.95 an hour. I was on a road trip in Northern California, and this was, by far, the business service deal out of all of the hotels in which I stayed.
The staff had a major improvement! Last time, the staff was rather surly, although the staff was as polite and as nice as can be this time!
To shorten the mass amounts of writing for you and save yourself some boredom, Here's my summary: The hotel has really improved, and I will definitely will be staying here again! Do not listen to that last post before this one! That was me with an uninformed opinion! Overall, I had a nice time, and was very impressed.
Decent facilities, nice pool and spa, spotty service
We stayed here because this property is supposed to be a cut above. The entrance is very nice and the rooms are surprisingly large. This is no 5 star, but the amenities are very good. The pool and spa are more recently renovated and it shows - the pool area and the two courtyards are quite lovely.
Service is the biggest issue. Not a surprise since its relatively expensive to live anywhere close. At check in, we were given keys that did not work - which turned out for the best as I could tell the room they gave us was near the street/freeway. I can handle moderate white noise, but no need to when you can have a better room. The check in clerk had to ask which rooms were where when I asked to have a room overlooking the pool! Turns out they were booked, but got a room overlooking one of the courtyards. CAUTION - they book 1-2 weddings each Saturday and the dancing in the courtyards goes past 10. If you need to sleep earlier than that, get an outside room.
We had room service by the pool with friends both nights. Friday was a model of efficiency. Saturday, with 2 weddings, a nightmare. Its clear that the weddings tax the place, but I understand why they need to have them. Just beware.
We will stay again. Less than a mile to the entrance of the Briones Park for some great jogging and hiking. Mt Diablo State Park is only 20 mins away. The hotel is is convenient to anything along highways 24 and 680 between Concord and Alamo.
High Class Hotel
My wife and I were visiting her grandmother and she put us up at this hotel. We were both very impressed with the hotel, our room, and the service we received. We ate dinner at the little restaurant off the lobby and thought the food and service was good. We also ordered room service one of the mornings and were happy with what we got.
Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage of any of the spa amenities, but we went up to check them out and they looked pretty nice.
This hotel is very convenient to getting into San Francisco (depending on traffic, I guess), as it is right off the highway.
Service is horrible, it is not five star quality !!!
I could write a book on how horrible the service is. To start with the hotel manager should be managing a MCDonalds not a 5 star hotel.
The front desk staff is very curt and cold when you first come to the hotel to check in. The room smelled very much like a fire because the fire place is dirty. If you try to use the Fireplace your room will go up in smoke. I agree with another review, I had a $60.00 dollar egg omelet with my husband.
They also tell you they offer wireless service and parking....yeah for a hefty price daily. All of which were not explained. To top off my trip...the maids threw out my soveniers for my children and the front desk did not think they should pay for it. They over charged me on the bill and lost my car keys in the valet. This hotel put me in tear on my last day in northern california on my trip..... if you want a vacation go to the holiday inn or hilton in oakland. Stay away from any properties listed under this hotel.
I went in for a facial with Aurea, and it was absolutely amazing. She has the best touch, and I told her my skin is sensitive, so she used a european botanical line of products that never irritated my skin, and gave it a lovely glow. Her massages are amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Do Not Eat At The Duck Club
Thankfully, we did not stay at the hotel, which bumps up against the freeway and does not live up to the description on the hotel website (which makes it out to be much more secluded and peaceful than it actually is). We did, however, waste our money ($70 per person) at the hotel's Duck Club Easter-brunch buffet.
What a mistake! Our experience was so bad, I hardly know where to start.
I will tackle the decor first, since it was the least offensive thing about the place. When I say least offensive, I simply mean that the decor was so bland, that, unlike the lousy food and mediocre service, it didn't offend me.
The food, however, not only offended me, it gave me a stomach ache that I still can't shake (and I have eaten papaya enzymes AND taken alka seltzer).
To begin with, the selection was pathetic for a $70 per person meal. There was a single carving station, a waffle bar, an omlette table, a single row of barely warm food (the food was supposed to be hot), a row of cold dishes that looked more like the stuff busboys scrape off plates at the end of an evening than actual dishes, and the smallest dessert table I have ever seen at any buffet.
The waffle bar might have been ok if the waffles had been made to order, but they weren't. Instead, the waffle maker (who doubled as the omelet chef) routinely filled two bins with cold waffles and only made fresh waffles when the cold waffles ran out or when someone begged. The toppings were as dismal as the waffles. For $70 per person, you would think you would at least be able to top your waffle with a fresh strawberry. Not at the Duck Club. Instead, we had a choice of strawberry goo, blueberry goo, or fake (think I Hop) maple-flavored syrup.
The made-to-order omelet would have been decent, if I hadn't added the shrimp. It was frozen and so fishy tasting I couldn't eat the omelet.
Over at the "cold" dish table, the "salad" bar consisted of greens, a handful of cheap (think Denny's) toppings, and watered down dressing.
The cheese selection was cheddar, a brie rind (it was never replenished), something green (not blue cheese, it was actually green) and some white stuff of unknown and unknowable origin. Oh yeah, they left the head on the cold salmon, which completely freaked out more than one child.
The desserts (the few that were available) were just awful. The hot cross buns were stale, the cheese cake would have made Sarah Lee cringe, the thing I thought was white-chocolate mousse was some sort of jello-brandish lemon pudding, and the carrot cake was just gross.
The service was just slightly better than the food. Although our waiter was very nice, he rarely came by to clean the plates. And, since we left most of what we took on our plates, they quickly piled up.
Finally, there was the Easter "bunny" --- or, should I say, the young girl in a dingy, grey rabbit suit, whose face and pony tail were showing. By "showing, I mean she didn't wear a mask or try to make her face look like a bunny. Rather, she simply stuck rabbit ears on her head and figured the kids wouldn't notice. (They did.)
I still can't get over how rotten this experience was. I have taken two digestive aids, but my stomach is still upset. Take my advice and stay clear of this place.
Expensive but good
We choose this hotel because of past recommendations (8 years ago) and because the reviews for hotels in Walnut Creek (where we planned to visit) were all so bad.
We stayed for 3 nights and it was very enjoyable. The accommodation was excellent. Very large room, huge bed, and well equipped except there were no tea and coffee faculties. Good selection of TV stations and Internet access worked well but cost extra. Good Air-con, no noise.
We had a quiet room overlooking a small courtyard. The place was very clean and decorated in a French style not to my taste, but the finish was first class. All the staff were very polite but also very discrete. We hardly saw a soul the whole stay! The reception staff were very helpful.
We used the free courtesy transport to and from Walnut Creek and the driver was extremely polite and friendly.
I would ignore the earlier review about bad location. It's close to the Freeway but not next to it and we didn't hear ANY noise. We didn't use any of the on-site restaurants, but we rarely do, preferring to search out better value in town.
My only real complaint was the 'mandatory' parking charge that you seem to get at all the local hotels. $10 per day for valet or self-parking. We did the later, as I’m quite capable of fitting my hire car into a large gap, but the place was never full so I think that is a rip-off. We only paid $20 in Fisherman’s Wharf
A quick note on the local area. It was my first visit to Lafayette but I have stayed in Walnut Creek before. Lafayette looks OK but it is built around quite a busy road making it hard to get around and see what is there. If you want a more pedestrian friendly and overall more welcoming town visit Walnut Creek just 5 mins up the freeway. Great restaurants and some good shopping. Even better shopping in the next town on the freeway, Pleasanthill, with it Mall and big stores.
We live locally and have been to the Duck Club periodically for breakfast over the years. It’s gone from fair to terrible. Service was inept, the waffles made of cardboard, the granola from tag board, and the tea from stale tea bags.
The hotel is not located close to anything but the freeway. Can’t really walk to town, which is a pleasant village. The resto Postino is good and located centrally, in town. And don’t miss Peet’s Café.
Great Hotel in Lafayette California
My husband and I stayed here for one night in August 2007 because we were seeing a concert in Concord, California. It was a lovely experience. The hotel is charming; our room was big, clean and nicely furnished. But most importantly, the hotel is really well run. The staff is very helpful -- they let us check in early and helped us print our boarding passes. We had an early flight out of San Francisco, so we left before 5 a.m. I couldn't believe my eyes when we walked into the lobby and saw coffee -- before 5, or 6 for that matter. And the town was really cute, with lots of restaurant options and shopping.