Tuesday 12th December, 2017

Country Inn & Suites, Ventura, California, USA

I had selected the Holiday Inn at Ventura which is right on the beach as a target for a review, however it was sold out on the night. Ventura is approximately 70 miles north of Los Angeles Airport on the coast.There were no other hotels in sight so I went back a street or two to find a strip of hotels, the Country Inn and Suites, Best Western and Vagabond. I selected the first of them, the Country Inn and Suites and parked in an area in front of the hotel. They also have parking under the building. I enquired as to vacancies and was told there were rooms available. The cost was $89 a night and this included cocktails from 5pm to 7pm and breakfast the following day. I enquired as to whether there was a room facing the ocean. There was, so I completed the check-in which was smooth and professionally handled. I was given keys to Room 323 on the third (and top) floor. I estimate there are around 100 rooms in the building. There appeared to be only one lift, however there did not seem to be any problem in accessing it, and the hotel was fairly busy. As I realised later around a third of the rooms were on the ground floor hence the reduced demand for the lift. As I entered the room on the left there was a dressing room with wardrobe, basin with good bench space, mirror, hand towels, coffeemaker and brilliant lighting. The wardrobe was large, had full size mirrors on the two sliding doors, and contained an iron and ironing board. There was then a door that led into the bathroom, which featured an equivalent basin and bench space, toilet, full size bath and shower combined (actually it was a module) and again excellent lighting and a heating timer. There were plenty of towels, flannels and bath mats, an ice bucket and cups, a small bottle of shampoo, soaps and tissue dispensers in both the bathroom and the dressing area. The actual hotel room was very spacious with a king size bed, two bedside cabinets housing a phone on one and a digital clock radio on the other.There were bedside lamps fixed to the wall on each side of the bed. The brown polished timber furniture, including bedhead blended well with the brown patterned carpet and wallpaper. There was a two-seater sofa and a rich armchair with two occasional tables. There was also a good size work desk with a lamp and a swivel office chair on wheels. . There was also a lamp on one of the occasional tables. Two contemporary prints decorated the walls. There was a mini-fridge and a long cabinet about two feet tall which housed two very large drawers, and the TV was on top of it. The view was of the ocean although the busy 101 freeway was in-between and a railway line. With an air-conditining unit in the wall alongside the balcony, which was enclosed and was a little musty, the noise of the traffic was quite pronounced. A train came through which was extremely loud, but during my stay this was the only one.

I had a paper so shortly after checking in decided to go to the lounge for cocktails. The area was also used as a breakfast room and this was the atmosphere, even though it was approaching 6pm. It was not the atmosphere of a lounge or pub but more of a meeting place. The area was busy and guests were chattering away. The hotel provided two beers on tap, a selection of wines (by flagons) and snacks which included pretzels, corn chips and saltsas, popcorn, carrot and celery pieces.

Later I went down to the Pier to a very nice seafood restaurant (over 3 storeys) right at the end of the Pier. Its called Eric Rasmussens. I then returned to the hotel and retired. The traffic noise had dropped off as the night bore on but still could be heard.

Breakfast commenced at 6.30am the next day and as I entered the breakfast room shortly after it was already busy. The hotel provided dispensers of juices (orange, grapefruit and apple), dispensers offering a choice of 3 cereals, fresh fruit (apples and bananas), fat-free (99%) yoghurts (several varieties), muffins, toast and hot dishes which included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and hash browns. There were stacks of Ventura County Star and USA Today newspapers, all complimentary. As I reviewed the promotional literature for the hotel in the room and in the foyer I established this was pretty general throughout the Country Inn and Suites chain. All local calls and long distance access calls were also complimentary. The chain is operated by the travel conglomerate Carlson, which also runs Radisson, Park Inns and Suites and Carlson Wagonlit.

Check-out was friendly and efficient. To best summarise my stay at the Ventura Country Inn and Suites, which I'd categorise as 3 star, I'll adopt the chain's slogan 'A cozy stay at a comfortable price'.

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