Appears to have been the former Mission Inn Old Town.
Any recent stays? Images on property's website appear to be of newly redone interiors and renovated exteriors versus the old Mission Inn.
Would love any feedback on the parking. Not that I terribly mind $15/night for in/out parking but there appears to be a fair amount of street parking that might work just as well. Google Street Views show images from August 2011 which still have the Mission Inn signs but very little effective imagery WRT on-street parking restrictions.
Aug 25, 12, 2:32 pm
It is, indeed, the former Mission Inn. Looks nice from the outside. I usually stay at the CY a block down the street. Never have had a problem finding street parking. On weekends parking is dicey, but I've always had good luck. Keep in mind that parking on Jefferson St on weekdays is restricted to non-working hours because of the elementary scool.
Aug 25, 12, 6:51 pm
I stayed there on Friday, August 17th, 2012.
I parked on the street. No problem. Except down the block by the school, there are no restrictions in the immediate area of the hotel. Even went out to a club and came back at 2 am and still found on street parking 1/4 block from the hotel. They actually asked me at check-in if I wanted the $15 parking or to park on the street. I had done my research prior to the stay so I knew what to answer.
Room was very clean with updated look. We liked the little balcony (we were on the 3rd floor close to the elevator above the lobby area) with a courtyard view (no smoking on it allowed). It was very quiet. I would imagine streetside rooms are not as quiet. Wi-fi was very fast with no need for password. I got a better platinum amenity bag (water, Butterfinger candy bars, Kellogg's NutriGrain bar and Kellogg's Rice Kripies treats bar) at this Fairfield Suites then I got at IHG's Staybridge Suites in NYC (their own home made package of gummi bears) - a hotel that is double or triple the price of this inn.
The beds at this hotel are too hard. Too few channels on their cable tv (about 30-35 total). Air conditioning, although central, is noisy. Like a noisy refrigerator running but it did keep the room cool after a while (it was about 90 in the Old Town area that day). Breakfast area was busy just after 7 am. We did like the pre-packaged Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches that we just took back to the room and used the room microwave to heat. Breakfast was 7-10 on the weekends (6:30-9:30 weekdays).
Public areas are very clean and nicely redone. Staff was highly professional and friendly. You have to access the front sliding doors late at night with your key card. If you take a walk in the area, you can use the back gates and reenter with your keycard. There are ice machines outside on each of the 3 floors (in the attached back building), one above the other.
All in all, my partner and I agreed that we would likely not return to this hotel (#1 reason, beds too hard). It's ok but I was expecting a little more.
Aug 27, 12, 1:58 am
Thanks, CalItalian. I had considered this prpoperty as a possible place to use any free level 4 nights I may earn from the wondrous Megabonus.:D
But now will stay away...
Aug 30, 12, 3:03 am
OK, wanted to follow up with a quick review given the most recent comments.
As dd992emo pointed out, there is quite ample street parking around the property. We didn't pay the $15/night to park underneath but reviews on Trip Advisor of nearby properties indicate that YMMV depending on what you have stored in the vehicle so I'll leave that to each person to decide. By parking on the street, we were able to park right behind the hotel on Ampudia and access the back gate to get in and out easily.
Personally, and to a person in this 2 adult, 3 kid family, we had no problems with the beds at this property. We found them quite comfortable - even the rollaway that our youngest slept quite well in.
The property is the former Mission Inn that's been renovated to Fairfield Inn's flagship (furnishing) colors and is truly very new - the earliest reviews I've found so far are from early January 2012 and, while if you look around there may be a few dings here and there, you still notice how new the property feel.
I took similar shots for room 315 (adjoining/connecting room) since we used our MR Visa Cat 1-5 certificate which was about to expire for the second room.
The exteriors are quite appropriate for a hotel located within the Old Town area and made me feel quite at home as a Californian staying this recently renovated property - white stucco, wood balconies, external walkways, open plazas and multiple running fountains. Here are some shots from our windows and balcony:
You can find analogous shots both on the property's web page as well as a few other websites. These and all of my photos are located here (http://s1179.photobucket.com/albums/x385/leedavide/Fairfield_Inn_SD_Old_Town_CA-August_2012/?start=all).
Was given 5 platinum amenity bags as well as two free appetizer coupons for one of the restaurants in Old Town.
Monday's breakfast area was not terribly busy as probably compared to on the weekends but certainly had its share of families, kids and other tourists from other lands. Area was kept clean and food regularly replenished. Some shots of the breakfast area are included at the link above.
While there are finite number of cable channels on the TV, this property does have purchase options if you choose to go that route.
Room keys are the proximity RFID plastic cards instead of the magnetic stripe swipe variety. As shown on the door below, you place your room key over the circle and either look for a green blinking light on the upper left and/or listen for the door unlocking itself:
Front desk clerk had to go through a number of cards when she was generating ours given the sheer number that we needed for each room since programming the cards didn't always quite take as she was generating them.
While the address is 3900 Old Town Avenue, the entrance to registration as well as the underground parking are on Jefferson:
(click on the below scan to pull up a larger, more detailed version)
This is one of the four properties that Marriott/Fairfield Inn are offering as part of their 25th anniversary sweepstakes (http://www.marriott.com/marriott/Fairfield-SilverSeptember.mi).
Both my wife and I found that this was a very special property. Certainly I would prefer that it not be a Category 5 property but its location with respect to Old Town and its value currently as one of the newest Marriott properties (and the newest in San Diego so noted on marriott.com) make this a decent value. While one of our rooms was covered by our MR Visa Cat 1-5 certificate, we were able to get the other at the AAA rate of $101/night. Doing a search right now for tonight (08/30/12) shows a $84/night AAA rate and $99/night standard rate. All other Marriott properties are at least $104/night at AAA rates and most are between $160 and $250 - especially downtown where parking is mostly valet and anywhere from $35 to $40/night.
If you don't need to be in the Gaslamp Quarter or on the water much less up in La Jolla or Carlsbad, I really do recommend staying at least a night. We were able to walk into Old Town for dinner, go shopping, enjoy handmade tortillas, get ice cream and have a great time. There was even a 10 minute large show of fireworks just north of Old Town on Sunday night which we got to enjoy.
Aug 30, 12, 8:09 am
Thanks for the detailed review/pictures!
Sep 30, 12, 6:45 pm
(Metacomment: all of the pictures shown in the review and a few others are located here (http://s1179.photobucket.com/albums/x385/leedavide/Fairfield_Inn_SD_Old_Town_CA-August_2012/?start=all).)
Needed to use the MR Premier Visa Anniversary Free Night certificate – Cat 1-5 – from last year(!). My certificate from last year was originally to expire on 03/01/12. Called MR on Feb. 28th and they agreed to extend it – this time until 08/31/12. So, wife and I looked around and decided on San Diego for a quick family trip before school started for the kids. Also, I was hoping that my certificate for this year would post and I could pair them up so we’d have two free nights. Unfortunately, the one for this year didn’t post until 08/31/12 (and fairly close to midnight since I was on my MR account and saw it pop up on the Account Activity page after a refresh).
Because we were looking for two rooms – one to use the certificate on and the other for a pay since we have a larger family and certificates don’t cover minor things like suites – this property fit the bill: Category 5 with both award and AAA rate availability.
Booked close in via the MR website. Got a $101/night rate for a 2 Queen room. Called MR and they were having issues booking the award night the first time I called. I went back to the website and booked a second 2Q room and then called MR back. Was able to identify one of the rooms as one to be used for the award and they were able to make it stick as an award reservation.
Another thing to note is that this property does not have any 2 bed studios/suites so we wouldn’t have benefited here even if the cert could have been applied to a studio/suite. More on this later…
At the south end of San Diego’s Historic Old Town District/Park. For the MR elites, there’s a CY just up the street on Jefferson but, while it too is currently a Cat 5 as well, it books in at a higher per night rate. If you want something more closer in to the Historic District, there’s a Best Western that looks interesting but also books in at rates higher than the FI. If you want to stay directly in the Historic Park/District, there’s a Hotel Cosmopolitan that’s really a historical 10 bed B&B – and again books in at higher rates than the FI.
So, while the room rates are lower, you end up walking further if your destination is Old Town itself and you decide not to drive the 5 (short) blocks. Another benefit of this property is its proximity to Interstate 5: Exit either north or southbound @ Old Town Avenue and you’re immediately there.
Not sure when Marriott took over the old Mission Inn but from my best estimation, this FI opened around the beginning of January 2012. From the few photos I’ve dug up on the web, much of the external look and feel that ties the hotel architecture to Old Town (white washed stucco external walls, “carved” balcony rails, circular fountains, etc.) are still present from the Mission Inn.
FWIW, if you look at this property layout map, rooms 140, 136, 138, 236 and 237 are the likeliest to be the studios/suites.
Also, if you’re ok with parking your car/vehicle on the street to skip the $15/night underground parking charge, look for parking on the south side of Jefferson or the east side of Ampudia. As dd992emo noted, watch out for parking limitations when parking adjacent to the school on the west side of Ampudia or north side of Jefferson.
(Sorry, no shots of the front desk)
WRT the amenities bags we received, here are the contents:
Also to note that the clerk that serviced us gave us cards for two free appetizers for one of the restaurants in Old Town – so there’s an active effort to draw guests into Old Town (as well as a probable bounty on which clerk can generate the most referrals).
Here’s the lobby sitting area and adjacent PCs/printers:
The property occupies most/much of the trapezoid bounded by Jefferson, Old Town Avenue, San Diego Avenue and Ampudia. However, there’s a small office building+garage on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Ampudia that takes a sizeable piece out of this property so that the rooms are laid out along three connected wings that follow along Jefferson, Old Town Avenue and San Diego Avenue.
Here’s a reduced screen grab from Google Maps that shows the layout from an aerial perspective (click to get a full sized image):
The red box outlines the small office building+garage cutout, the pink box shows where the lobby entrance is on Jefferson, the yellow box on Ampudia is approximately where the back gate is and the green oval highlights the balconies for 314 and 315 (should have been for 315 and 316 but I’m not going back and fixing the reference…)
Also note that the property is sited on a slight slope/incline with Jefferson as the low side and San Diego Avenue as the upper side so that rooms on the second floor along San Diego Avenue are actually at street level. Why is this important/relevant? I mention this because the rooms previously identified as candidates as studios/suites on the first floor are all below grade on that side of the property so a bunker feel might be expected. Also, since the second floor studios/suites are at street level on that side, these might be noisy. Would welcome any feedback from those who actually get to stay in these rooms.
The prior review showed 316. Here are basically similar shots for 315:
If you’re looking for a MR property that’s fairly central in San Diego and not terribly expensive, I’d recommend this location. If you want to be barhopping downtown or want that close to the water option, this may not be the property for you.