We want to share our experience with Extended Stay America hotel chain with a review. We stayed at the Extended Stay America in Anaheim, CA with the intent of having a studio suite with a full kitchen while we were in Anaheim visiting Disneyland. This is a review of that Extended Stay America location, along with a review of Extended Stay America in general.
If you remember, we shared how we planned our highly anticipated family vacation to Southern California to go to Disneyland. This trip was in the works for a couple of years as a big celebration for our daughter being cured of her peanut and tree nut allergies, combined with it being our 2017 family vacation.
First, Disneyland was a total success! I will be sharing more tips on how we saved on every aspect of the trip (you can at least catch the ticket deals here), but I wanted to focus this post on one of the most important and often priciest aspects of a vacation or of business travel.
We shared our experience at Extended Stay America with a couple of videos, including one of the mornings we made a hot breakfast. We walked through both rooms and shared our thoughts!
I love the shot that YouTube picked from this video to highlight – my best look! NOT! 😉
When we began our search for hotels near Disneyland, there were two key important factors, along with some minor factors.
I am going to list the major and minor factors with our thoughts!
Access to a Full Kitchen
The #1 factor was the importance was the ability to cook food in our room. We had plans to make a big hot breakfast each day to fill us and pack a lunch for Disneyland for each day. Since there were eight of us, a full fridge was necessary, not the little dinky kitchenette fridges you find in many hotels. We stuffed that fridge full the first day after hitting the local Walmart with our groceries for the week. Our plan was to eat one meal a day in Disneyland, so the importance of a kitchen for the rest of the food was critical and a GREAT amount of savings each day for a family.
The fact that I could feed my family a big breakfast that kept us full for awhile saved us money in the parks. Plus we packed lunches with some cold items in a small cooler each day for one meal inside the park. Yes, you can pack cold lunches from a standard hotel room, but the cold storage (i.e. mini-fridge) and other factors make it more difficult. We had no problems preparing and storing foods for cold lunches for eight people for eight days.
In addition, the first day, we arrived mid-afternoon and so that first night we made a hot dinner in our room after a nice afternoon swim. It was the perfect end to a long drive down and the perfect start to our vacation on the right food and money-saving track!
The kitchen had everything except an oven. So you can’t really bake anything, but we had a full fridge, full microwave and a stove top. We couldn’t find any hotels with an actual oven regardless of the price. So this must be a standard thing with “full hotel kitchens.” So although we couldn’t cook anything we wanted, we had enough home cooked options that the lack of an oven was not a problem.
When it came to the kitchen, one thing that I was surprised at first about was that all of the cupboards were empty.
I was a little confused until I saw this flyer on the kitchen counter.
I actually thought that was a really cool idea – to be able to request specifically what you need! We planned to be there for a full week and so we requested the full “kitchen caboodle.” We just called the front desk to order what we wanted and then they sent it up within 20 minutes! Note that there is no extra charge for any of the supplies – it’s just that they don’t overload your room with more than you need and you just request what you need.
The cost of food is always a huge factor as it is expensive to eat on vacation, regardless of family size. Our problem was solved and we spent just what we intended to spend in Disneyland on food!
The Price of the Hotel
The second important factor was the price. Sure, we could find hotels that would fit the requirement for the full kitchen, studio apartment feel, but most all had prices that were through the roof!
When we searched for hotels, I was shocked at the price of hotels with a full kitchen. It off-set the savings on food. I knew that I had set out with high expectations – basically wanting a standard hotel price, with a full-kitchen suite.
We actually had not heard of Extended Stay America before. So when we stumbled upon it, I was surprised about what was included for the price!
How much is it?
We actually got two rooms. We got a standard room with two double beds and then a king room with pull-out couch. The reason is that their rooms are the “standard” room prices and sizes. Since we are a family of eight, we very often have to reserve two rooms with some exceptions of some hotels being able to accommodate our entire family in one room. But these one-room family suites are often more than double the price of two standard rooms. So we often go this route instead. We wanted to have plenty of space and so two rooms here was actually less than family suites at neighboring hotels (without the kitchens even). Since we did have two rooms, we had far more room too, saved money and had the full kitchen!
I actually checked the prices across the country to compare how the Extended Stay America in Anaheim compared to other locations. I noticed that Extended Stay America was about the same prices as many Best Western and Comfort Inn hotels and had the same star rating (3 star average – BBB gives it a 3.68 out of 5) and class as these hotels. Extended Stay America costs a little less than places like Holiday Inn and Comfort Suites type and a lot less than places like Embassy Suites, Sheraton, etc. But…they had full kitchens! The others did not.
Once we determined that the prices were the same for the mid-level hotel chains, the NEWS GOT BETTER!
Extended Stay America very frequently offers discount and coupon codes for their hotel stays. You can see all of their promotions on the website under the promotions section HERE. This will give you the current coupon codes and discounts, saving you another 10-20% off their lowest prices. But, if you join the Extended Perks program, you get 20% off of your next visit. So, that’s what we did of course!
Each room was under $100 a night before the discounts! That’s amazing for Anaheim where the hotel prices are inflated!
Also, here’s something I have never seen from other hotel rewards and discount programs. The Extended Perks program gives you additional discounts to activities, restaurants, events, places to see, etc. all over the country. It is a coupon book to use anywhere that you are visiting. You can even use them in your local area without having to stay at Extended Stay America.
So, check the prices in the area you wish to visit and then check for coupon codes and join the ExtendedPerks program for even greater savings!
A Place to Work
The first minor factor was to find a place for Alex to work. Alex was able to go with us and he went into Disneyland for a couple of days and then at night, but he really needed to work. So we also wanted to find a place that would be convenient and comfortable for him to work and to make his own hot lunch each day. This was a perfect solution with a work desk and quality office chair.
Another minor factor was that it was close to Disneyland – like within walking distance or a quick hop on the Anaheim Resort Transit as it is on the ART route.
But it wasn’t until we arrived that I realized how important this had become due to the savings. We were at the Extended Stay America close to the convention center on Clementine Street (there are three near Disneyland and this one was the closest). We originally planned to get Anaheim Resort Transit Tickets for the family for a week. This would have been $76 for our family. We had actually planned to make this purchase, but we realized just how close we were! The first day we walked and it was nice, but that extra mile in the morning was a bit much for the kids. So Alex actually dropped us off, drove back to the hotel and ran back (he is a runner). So he got part of his workout in and we avoided the $18 daily parking at Disneyland or the $76 ART transport. This ended up being one of the closer hotels to Disneyland in the area! So a super great location!
A pool! My kids always have to have a pool! We were busy with Disneyland, but we did have two chances to swim during our trip and that was a bonus!
The pool was refreshing and nice. It would be compared to any standard hotel pool. The bonus for us was that we were swimming when our home town was experiencing a freak spring snow storm at the same time! The palm trees in So Cal always make us feel like we are in paradise when you are from the cold deserts of the Rocky Mountain West.
Many hotel locations across the country will have automatic free parking for many hotel chains. But Anaheim is an exception (along with other tourist areas or big cities). The price of parking at many of the hotels was $10-$20 per day. Extended Stay America has free parking! That’s just another daily savings. Combined with our transportation discounts above, it was a super savings!
A Breakfast Option
Most hotels with a full, hot breakfast were very much out of our budget. But a hotel that had any sort of breakfast is always a bonus. We would say that Extended Stay America has a light continental breakfast. Meaning, they had packaged pastries, granola bars, oatmeal packets with hot water and coffee/tea.
The real purpose of Extended Stay is to have the full kitchens and a studio apartment type of feel, thus making a complimentary breakfast unnecessary for most, but it was a nice bonus because we could have our hot breakfast early in the morning and each grab granola bar on the way out the door to eat a couple of hours later in the parks. It wasn’t a huge factor, but the fact that there were some eats was nice!
Other Considerations – No Daily Room Cleaning
One thing I did not notice when booking was that this hotel does not offer a daily cleaning service automatically. You can add it for a small fee each day. Many use this hotel for, yes, vacations short and long, but also as a place to live if they are between moves, a place to live during home remodel/construction, a place to live on extended work orders, etc. So to lower the prices, they do not automatically clean your room each day.
However, you can request new supplies like towels, bedding, dishes, garbage bags, tissues, toilet paper, etc. at any time. You just won’t have someone come in and do the actual cleaning. There is a place on each level of the hotel to dump your garbages and they will pick up your dirty towels and bedding. You can pay a small fee each day if you would like or just pay for it as needed.
There is one complimentary full-service cleaning per week for stays of seven nights or longer. During your stay at any time, you can pay $10 for each full-service cleaning. If you want the hotel to come into your room to refresh supplies (like towels and linens) this is $5 each time (like a partial cleaning service). We stayed for 6 nights, so we actually requested a full service clean halfway through for $10 each room. Nearly everyday, we did request clean kitchen towels. We really used that kitchen. Of course, this part was free as you could request as many supply refreshments as you wanted. This worked perfectly for us!
Here’s details from their website:
For many, one nice thing about vacations is someone else does the cleaning. You can certainly get a full-service cleaning each day for just $10. With the daily cleaning service, you will probably find the prices to still be far better!
Everything else in the room besides the full kitchen was standard. The two double beds room was just like any double beds hotel room, but with a full kitchen.
The king room with pull-out couch had two televisions and a slight room divider. It was very, very roomy – much larger than the double beds room with lots of open floor space. The King Suite was only $10 more per night and so worth having lots of stretching room.
It felt like we were living first-class, but super affordably as we had lots of room to spread out and not all crammed into small spaces! The kids piled into the family room area with the couch and watched what they wanted to watch and we had our movie night the first night in the other part of the room with the king bed.
We wanted to share every detail that we could so that you can know exactly what to expect and to make a wise decision on hotels on your next travels.
Our Extended Stay America experience was totally new, totally affordably and totally satisfactory! We will be checking Extended Stay America first and foremost on all of our travels now!
Have you stayed at an Extended Stay America before?
I wanted to quickly mention to that there is a donation opportunity for all, not just hotel guests. Extended Stay America has provided over 85,000 free or deeply discounted hotel rooms to the American Cancer Society for use by patients receiving treatment. Having had family members that have survived cancer and been in remission for many years, this means a great deal to those that have dealt with cancer.
Now they want to expand the giving to cancer patients by providing 5,000 HOPE bears to cancer patients. With a $10 donation, you can have a Build-A-Bear Hope Bear sent to a child cancer patient in children’s hospitals.
Learn more about donating a bear HERE.
This is a sponsored post written by us and all opinions and experiences are our own. We strive to provide real, relevant, and helpful information.