More about Lafayette Hotel San Diego
Straight Out Of The Fifties!!
This is a blast from the past, if you know what I mean. The Red Fox Room is connected to Red Fox Steak House, which is connected to the Lafayette Hotel & Suites San Diego. It is located on El Cajon Boulevard and has been around for over fifty years!
I started coming here over twenty years ago when I worked for EF Foundation. My boss and I would come here for dinner, as a way to wind-down and relax from the hectic days just before a group would arrive. The funny thing is that we wouldn't leave until well past one in the morning! After a delicious steak and lobster dinner we'd move over in to the bar--a piano lounge--and take a booth until two of the seats around the piano became available. My boss loved to sing along , but I was just the audience. The age range at this dimly lit lounge was 21-91!! There were songs for everyone and everyone had a good time. This is how it would work. Each person around the piano--except me--would have a turn singing their song while the pianist played. Most of the clientele happened to be "regulars" but everyone felt welcomed. Later in the evening a bright beautiful and talented group would show up and show off! Young actors from the local theaters stopped in for a night-cap and wowed us with their great voices.
Well, it was passable, but not by much
I stayed at the Lafayette Dec. 25 - 28, booking through Orbitz.com at a price of $84 per night. This hotel is quite close to the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park, and very close to a spectacular American breakfast at Brian's American Eatery (highly recommended). I had read many bad to OK reviews of this hotel, but the price was right so I thought I'd try it. Here's what we found.
Our initial room was in the main building, second floor, room 206, two queen beds. Upon arrival I found that one of the two telephones was not working (the other did, so no big deal), but the message light was always flashing, and the front desk could not correct this problem. Worse, the main piece of furniture in the room, on which the television sat, was quite damaged. The left side panel had been dislodged about 1 inch, leaving several nails visible and a very sharp mitered edge protruding at ground level. It would have been quite painful to stub your toe against this sharp edge. Otherwise the room looked OK, but not great, same for the bathroom. We got in late, so I didn't request a new room, although management did offer one that night when I reported the telephone problems.
The next morning I took a shower and found just a trickle of water coming out of the shower head. That did it; I had to switch rooms. Management was polite, and didn't even ask why I wanted to switch rooms until they had found a new room for me. They then asked for a list of the problems. I guess it is not uncommon for guests to ask for a change of rooms.
We were moved to 246, also in the main building, and I checked it out before I accepted it. Everything in this room worked adequately, although the windows were somewhat dirty. The carpets were far from new, but were of reasonable cleanliness. Had we been given this room to start with, I would have had a more positive review.
The free breakfast is about what you'd expect for $84; bread, bagels, english muffins, jam, cream cheese, coffee, orange juice, cereal, milk, and a make your own waffle station.
The swimming pool is big (3 to 9 feet deep), and there is a nice hot tub. The parking is underground, felt secure, and was free.
There were a lot of families with small kids, probably thanks to the low price and location near the zoo. The neighborhood was OK; I didn't feel it was dangerous, and if you have a car you can go directly into the gated parking garage.
Overall I would say that for $84 this hotel is a good deal, and I would stay here again. The most important word of warning is to tell management as you are checking in that you want to look at the room first. If you find any problems, just ask for a new room and check that one out too. Management seems to be used to this. I would not recommend this hotel if it were full, because then you couldn't change rooms, and you have a significant chance, based on my experience and all the other reviews here, of getting a poor room on your first try.
Returning to its former glory
Stayed here 2/16-20/2007 and booked via Expedia for about $125/night including a Hertz car. The hotel is a bit worn around the edges, but they continue to do renovations. We were in room 504 (the Gloria Swanson Lanai Suite -- all the rooms are named for stars of stage and screen), overlooking the pool. Very large room with two queen beds, refrigerator and microwave oven in the the room, too! There's an Albertson's grocery store a few blocks away on University Avenue, so stocking up on soft drinks, liquor, and snacks is something to consider if you're there for a while. NOTE: Bring your own pillows -- the ones I had were horrible. The furniture was a bit worn, but certainly adequate. The bathroom was in dire need of upgrade, however. The shelf over the sink was sagging so much that we couldn't use it for anything. The shower head was also quite bad, but I mentioned that to the desk clerk and by the time we returned from the Zoo it was replaced with a brand new shower/massage head.
As others have mentioned, location is good [easy drive to Balboa Park, Hillcrest (for gay nightlife), and only 10 minutes drive from the airport]; breakfast very adequate.
I would stay again, and hope that the renovation schedule is a bit more aggressive so that I could improve the overall score.
Wonderful Stay at Great Value
I had average expectations of the hotel after reading the reviews. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much of an enjoyable time I had. The hotel had been recently renovated and our room was clean and very pleasant with a wonderful view of the pool. The complimentary breakfast was great and had a good assortment of bagels, waffels, toast, coffee, tea and juice. The service was good and the staff were helpful with any extra accomodations or information about San Diego. On the very plus side, the hotel was close to San Diego attractions and was quite close to the airport. The hotel's reasonable price was a definite benefit to our stay and I would recommend this hotel again.
Great price, but subpar accomodations
The Lafayette is in a random location, not close to downtown or most attractions. The website claims it's in the Hillcrest neighborhood, but it's really pretty far east of that. It's not unsafe, just boring.
The hotel looks like it used to be a nice place but has not been well-maintained at all. There was a loud electrical buzz in my room b/c too many appliances were plugged into not enough outlets. This was scary and annoying. There was no hot water.
The hotel staff was nice enough to move us to a different room and actually upgraded us to the Presidential jaccuzi suite. That was spacious (two bathrooms, bedroom, living room) but the jacuzzi was not clean enough to use. Furthermore, it was in an annex and we had to walk thru a parking lot to get b/n the room and the rest of the hotel. Also, the internet in the room did not work (although we could pick it up in the lobby). We didn't mind that much b/c we weren't paying extra for the better room, but I don't think it'd be worth the actual price.
The hotel is convenient in offering free parking & complimentary breakfast (incluidng make-your-own waffles). It's an okay place to stay but feels very budget and sort of run-down.
Still needs a lot of work as of March 2007
I frequently enjoy staying at older hotels, especially when an effort is being made to bring them back to their "former glory." This one still has a long way to go, and I doubt the current management is going to make it there. The room was generally clean, the complimentary breakfast was just fine (although the wait to make a waffle was a litle ridiculous and there was not enough seating available in the dining room), and it is well located for visits to Balboa Park. The free wireless network worked well, though it's not a secure network. That's about the full extent of the upside. They've done a reasonably nice job with the public spaces, though it's pretty clear they are cutting corners to save money. I don't think I saw a single staff member smile the entire time I was there. The room itself (we were poolside) needed a lot of work. As others have said, the beds were hard as stone and the pillows were lumpy foam. The furniture was well worn and one of the drawers was even missing its pull. The nightstand is designed with no drawer at all. The curtains were dirty from the ground up to about two feet. One of our bedspreads had obviously been ripped and patched, and the patch on it was hanging loose in the middle of the bed. Towels were thin and skimpy -- and on our second day there, housekeeping left us a handtowel in place of the floor mat. The bathroom appears not to have been updated in about 40 years (not an exaggeration), but it was clean and minimally functional. Footsteps from the room upstairs and sound from outdoors and adjoining rooms was plainly audible. With the main door to the room closed, we could still see light streaming in on all 4 sides, which didn't create much of a sense of security -- though all the standard locks were present. Due to exposed electrical wiring, the pool was off limits for our entire stay -- with no apology or offer to credit us the extra cost of a poolside room. The convenience of a poolside room is greatly diminished in any case, because the poolside doors can't be locked from the outside. The result is that if you leave your room through the poolside door, someone would have to stay behind to lock it from the inside -- or you have to just trust that no one's going to walk into your room while you're not paying attention. Overall, the Lafayette was serviceable, but very disappointing.
My family and I were very disappointed with this hotel. We booked it thru the entertainment book and after looking at the website thought it looked great - esp. the night time photos around the pool, etc. But the hotel is clearly worn out and doesn't seem to have the money to refurbish. Our room only had 3 towels, 2 washclothes and 2 face towels - seems like you should automatically have 1 for each person, right? Only 1 roll of TP in the bathroom and no tissues in tissue holder. Also, the air conditioner wasn't working right and rattled horribly all night - we called the front desk to voice our concern but no one ever showed up to check on it, even though we were told someone would.
We were looking forward to "old charm" but were faced with no hot water the next morning and had to take our family to another room to shower. They were gracious about giving us the room to shower but offered no compensation or even an apology for the inconvenience.
The continental breakfast was chintzy and they were constantly running out of things with no help to be found. Trash cans were overflowing, no napkins to be had, a line for the waffle maker out the door and only sugar-free syrup offered! Clearly the room housing the food wasn't big enough to accomodate the guests and although we got to "breakfast" a half hour after it started, the bread box was almost empty and fruit (apples) they offered were bruised.
I know this sounds terribly negative but we honestly felt mislead about what's on the website and what is actually offered. We also made the mistake of not going to Trip Advisor first. We won't make that mistake again!
Not as bad as some reviews I have read
My daughter and I stayed there for 3 night in early April. I was a bit apprehensive because of the bad reviews I have read. When I called in advance and asked for a renovated room, the hotel operator laughed at me and said "Ma'm, you are asking for what we don't have based on your reservation," as if to say that for the discounted price($98.00/night for King) on Orbitz, I had to settle for whatever they were going to give me. After putting me on hold for a little while, she came back and said that all the rooms in the main building had new carpets and new paint. Since this hotel was the closest to where my aunt was staying (seeing her and helping her with some personal business was the main reason for this trip), I decided to take a chance. Well, it wasn't so bad. Our room on the first floor facing the pool was acceptably clean just smelled old. Bathtub and showerhead did need some upgrading. I oftern heard some sort of maintenance noise through the wall. Free breakfast with waffles was OK, needed more fruits though. Hotel staff could use some people skills and
smiles, too. I'm used to more friendly service and I live in New York City! Overall, it was OK. The old hotel did possess certain charm and uniqueness that are different from what typical budget hotels offer. Would I stay there again? Maybe if the price was right.