Just like home factor
Residence Inn Tustin Review
There aren’t very many times I’d use the word ‘cozy’ when it comes to a hotel. Hotels are usually nice, clean, and sterile looking, designed to welcome you in and welcome you back out again. After all, if you’re only staying a night or two, you don’t need cozy. You need functional.
But cozy is exactly what I’d call the Residence Inn Tustin. From the minute I walked in the door of the room I felt like it was a place I could put down my bags and stay awhile. And stay I did – 15 sunny days in Orange County in all, and you know what? This is one hotel I was sad to leave and will definitely go back to. For everyone from business travelers to a quick trip to the OC, this hotel feels like home.
Tustin – a hidden gem near Disney
When we go to California, we rarely stay less than 8 days. Every summer we do our family road trip to Southern California and we stay for weeks (last year it was a month) so I can get my Disney fix and write about the experience for The Vancouver Province. We’ve been doing this for 7 years, and I’ve stayed at no less than 15 hotels near Disney. I guess you could say I know a thing or two about the hotels in the Disneyland area.
This year I started looking for a rental early. Our theory was that we’d need a home base like a condo or a townhouse, because we didn’t want to be uprooted like we were in years past.
But when I looked through FlipKey and HomeAway, I wasn’t that impressed. Most rentals were over $250 per night and they honestly didn’t look worth the money. Even going inland away from popular hot spots like Newport beach, I couldn’t find a place I wanted to stay at. And if I did, it was over $400 per night.
Did you know that private condo rentals have to charge state tax now? Just like hotels do, so there isn’t much in the way of savings and there’s a lot in the way of hassle (damage deposits, etc) when renting a vacation home. That’s when I went back to searching hotels near Disneyland, and for some reason set my sites on hotels in Tustin.
Tustin is an amazing area near Irvine. The houses are nice, the streets are wide, spacious, and clean, and I felt safe walking into the local Target at night. This is where the Residence Inn Tustin is located. Right on the side of the 55 freeway, it’s a quick 10 minute drive to Disneyland and, with such easy freeway access, is also the perfect central location for a quick trip to local beaches.
Speaking of the area, you’d miss out if you didn’t drive by the old Naval Base near the Tustin Costco. It was built in the 40’s and is still used as a blimp repair facility.
Long term or short term – it’s a home away from home
When you walk into the suite at the Residence Inn Tustin, you’ll have your choice of doors to pick from. Our room was 138, right by the entrance to the pool. You can enter through the main hallway in the hotel, or go through your deck door and head straight outside. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it was to have deck access. We didn’t use the hallway entrance once, instead coming through the deck to go swimming or leave for the day. We could park in the parking lot and walk through the side gate, completely bypassing the entrance to the hotel. This created a real feel of being in your own ‘home,’ and made it easy to carry in groceries or kids after a long day in the parks.
Each patio has a few deck chairs and a small table, making it perfect for sunny breakfast. We used the deck chairs to dry towels after a day at the beach.
The Residence Inn Tustin Kitchen
Equipped with a full stainless steel fridge, small dishwasher, and hot plate, the kitchen in the suite at the Residence Inn Tustin was, in my opinion, equipped enough that you won’t stress about what you don’t have. There were several pots, a frying pan, and enough dishes for everyone. They also have a ladle, mixing spoon, glass mixing bowls, and measuring cups.
The toaster and coffee maker were put to good use every day, and the microwave has a rack inside that you can use for pizza or whatever. The sink has a garbage disposal, which was great when you’re used to one.
I loved the bar stools and the breakfast bar in the kitchen. It made more sense to have that than a big kitchen table taking up space in the room.
The Residence Inn Tustin Living Room
Along with a large flat screen TV, the living room had a large sectional couch that also doubles as a pull out. My son didn’t see the need to ever pull it out, instead sleeping right on the couch. He said it was quite comfortable.
There’ s a desk for working that also holds the TV. It had enough plug ins for all of my electronics.
As for sleeping…
The beds at the Residence Inn Tustin were clean, comfortable, and had enough pillows to keep everyone happy. I’m picky about the beds I sleep in, and I was really happy with this one.
One of the worst things about sleeping in a hotel is when you hear your neighbors, but that wasn’t the case here. We had kids on either side of us, and we didn’t hear them at all. Being on the first floor I was worried about people stomping on the floor above us, and we did hear them one time. The room seems very well insulated though, so it wasn’t a huge concern.
Glass shower? Yes please
The bathroom at the Residence Inn Tustin doesn’t have a tub, but with older kids you don’t need one anymore anyway. I loved the glass walk in shower, and the rainfall shower head was amazing. I’d like to give a shout out to whoever decided to add the lighting around the mirror – it’s very flattering.
Beyond the deck door
That cozy feeling of the suite extends to the rest of the hotel. There’s a BBQ you want to BBQ hot dogs or burgers, and there were many times when entire families would gather around the big patio table and host a get together. With a huge fire pit as a gathering point, you can cozy up in the deck chairs and just relax under the stars.
There’s a breakfast every morning with hot dishes like eggs, hash browns, oatmeal, and waffles. They also have a yogurt bar with granola and fruit, as well as toppings for waffles.
3 nights a week they host snacks in the main area, and we were able to take part in the BBQ night for hot dogs and pasta night. They serve complimentary beer and wine as well as juice.
If you need to do laundry, it’s all there waiting for you. We did several loads during our stay, which really helps because I didn’t need to pack as much.
The pool is large enough, with a hot tub on the side and is very clean and warm. I spent many mornings poolside working, and it was so relaxing. There’s also a basketball court.
With patios on the main floor, the pool right outside our door, and easy access to the car, this hotel really does feel like a home away from home. I’ve stayed at Residence Inn before in Anaheim near Disney and although we also had a full kitchen and a separate room with bunk beds for the kids, it never felt as homey as this location does.
And I have to mention how it’s pet friendly. I met a lot of cute doggies while we were there.
The only downside? Airplanes fly directly over the hotel and you can hear the traffic if you’re out back. It never bothered me at all, and with palm trees swaying outside my window, I can’t say it made any difference to anyone else who stayed there at the same time as us.
With condo rentals being what they are and the overall cozy nature of this hotel, I’d be very happy to make this our home base for upcoming trips to Orange County.
The best hotels are those you’re sad to leave and you miss when you’ve gone home, and I can honestly say this is one of the few in Orange County I feel that way about.