Location, location, location. It doesn’t get much better than this with a back-door entrance leading straight into Disney California Adventure® Park. Nature is the theme at this 6-story hotel fringed by pine trees and constructed of cedar and redwood, an accolade to turn-of-the-century Craftsman style. The jaw-dropping lobby hung with Mission-style chandeliers and strewn with comfy seating is a favorite meeting place for guests. Each afternoon and into the evening is storytelling and live entertainment in and around the great hearth where there’s a fire lit year round.
1,019 rooms (including 40 suites) and 50 villas. 1600 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802; phone (714) 635-2300, fax (714) 300-7300. Check-in 3:00 p.m., checkout 11:00 a.m.
Standard guest rooms here are a bit small at 353 square feet and, in my opinion, ready for renovation. An Arts and Crafts-style headboard with a carved Tree of Life motif is adorned with lantern lighting, and beds (either a king bed and sleeper sofa, two queen-size beds, or a queen bed and bunk beds) are made with white duvets and red and cream floral bed runners. The double-decker bureau features not only drawer space but also a built-in under-counter refrigerator and overhead flat-screen TV. Because the rooms are small you won’t find a sofa or daybed . . . there’s only room for a small table and two dining chairs. But unlike the Disneyland® Hotel rooms, these do have a balcony with varying views: Standard View of the front of the resort; Wood’s, Garden, Courtyard View of the courtyard, pool, or gardens; Downtown Disney® District View, a somewhat noisy option; or a Premium View of Disney California Adventure® Park which can also come with quite a bit of noise from the park.
Double sinks in a black marble vanity sit outside of a commode and white-tiled tub area. The nature theme of the resort carries over into a Bambi motif shower curtain and an accent bear tile inside the tub/shower. Unattractive brown leaf wallpaper, low water pressure, old-style showerhead, and dim lighting does little to improve the aesthetics. Additional amenities include H2O spa bath products, robes, hairdryer, non-lighted makeup mirror, full-length mirror, coffeemaker, DVD player, turndown service, and keyed safe.
Guests of concierge may access the comfortable Craftsman’s Club Lounge located on the 6th floor of the resort, a perfect spot to just hang out and enjoy the multiple food services available. Specialty Presidential and Vice Presidential suites as well as concierge guest rooms include access to concierge; standard one, two, and three-bedroom suites do not although concierge can be added at time of check-in for an additional fee.
Breakfast consists of luncheon meats and cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, bagels, croissants, muffins, fresh fruit, cereal, and juice. Afternoon snacks are fresh fruit, tea cookies, PBJ sandwiches, scones and jam, chocolate-covered strawberries, and goldfish crackers. In the evening enjoy cheese and crackers, focaccia bread, crudités and dip, and one hot dish such as crab cakes, chicken teriyaki on sugar cane skewers, black bean empanadas, jerk chicken brochette with sweet chili garlic sauce, Southwest chicken spring rolls with salsa, and Kalua pork. Beer and wine are served by the lounge hosts with choices of BV Chardonnay, BV Cabernet, BV Merlot, and Woodbridge White Zinfandel. Bottled water is available for the asking, and an espresso machine adds to the enjoyment. Evening desserts served from 8:00 until 10:00 p.m. include chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, macaroons, petit fours, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the lounge is the balcony that runs the length of it with a view of the monorail zipping through the hotel courtyard as well as the Disneyland® Park fireworks. Bedtime storytelling and songs along with milk and cookies are offered in the lounge each evening at 8:15 p.m. Additional amenities includes nightly turndown service, DVD players, Bose Wave music system, and in-room check-in.
The Arcadia Suite on the 6th floor, one of two Vice Presidential Suites at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, comes in one, two, or three-bedroom options sleeping either four, eight, or twelve guests. It is a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright with such nice touches as the living/dining area’s centerpiece brick fireplace and a wall of windows that fill the room with natural light, etched in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tree of Life pattern. A half bath is found off the entry hall. In a separate area is the dining room seating eight adjoining a service kitchen with sink, microwave, and full-size refrigerator. Relax on two smallish verandahs overlooking the Redwood Pool and California Adventure, one off the dining room, the other off the master bedroom. In the master is a king bed, and the adjoining bath has a whirlpool tub. Optional connecting rooms have either two queen beds or a king bed with queen sleeper sofa.
The Mt. Whitney Suite, one of two Presidential Suites at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel (the other is the El Capitan Suite), is embellished with warm tones of green, brown, and gold reminiscent of nature and strongly suggestive of the Mission style seen throughout the resort. Off one side of the entry hall is a half bath, and on the other side an office with an oversized desk and credenza. In the massive living room is rich hardwood flooring, fireplace, forest green sofa, and four easy chairs, two of which are Morris-style leather chairs, all flanked by amber-hued Craftsman standing lamps. As part of this “great space” the dining table seats eight, and above it hangs a stained glass light fixture. A service kitchen adjoins the dining area with full-size refrigerator, sink, and microwave.
The grandeur of the living area outshines the somewhat low-keyed master bedroom bedecked in moss green and lilac hues. The furnishings of king bed, easy chair, desk, bureau, and entertainment center seem a bit lost in such a spacious room. Pass through the bedroom to a small walk-in closet where a vanity area divides a two-part master bath: on one side is a single sink, whirlpool tub, bidet, and commode; on the other side, an oversized marble shower, single sink, and a separate commode area, all enhanced with Carrera marble and mosaic flooring. An additional bedroom with two queen beds can be added to make a 2-bedroom suite sleeping eight guests.
My favorite aspect of the suite is its outdoor space with a balcony the entire length of the suite as well as a gem of an eating porch (even an outdoor fireplace!) perfect for al fresco dining. And even more perfect is the superlative view of the resort’s pools and Disney California Adventure Park with semi-views of the World of Color show.
Also on the 6th floor the El Capitan Suite comes in one, two, or three-bedroom options sleeping four, eight, or twelve guest respectively. With a wall of floor to ceiling etched glass windows in the living area, an office, dual-sided rock fireplace, and kitchen, it’s a haven in the midst of theme park craziness. The arched living area’s furnishings include a sofa and four easy chairs; on the other side of the fireplace a dining table seats eight. The furniture in the sizeable master bedroom, like the Mt. Whitney Suite, feels a bit lost. In the bath are three rooms, all with marble flooring: one with two single sink marble vanities; another with a large shower and whirlpool tub; the third with a commode and bidet. A balcony the length of the dining room, living room, and office comes with splendid views of Disney California Adventure Park.
Standard one, two, and three-bedroom suites are also available with standard-size guest rooms attached to a small parlor area the size of a guest room with sofa, easy chair, entertainment center, and wet bar. The one-bedroom suites has a parlor with a sleeper sofa, two easy chairs, small table and two chairs, entertainment center, and balcony. Off the parlor is a bath that connects back into the main hallway with two sinks outside a tub and toilet in a separate area. Then the main hallway leads to a king bedded guest room with an entertainment center, easy chair and ottoman, and another balcony. These suites are configured such that off the main entry hallway are two other connecting standard guest rooms, each with bath, to make it a 2- or 3-bedroom suite. A one-bedroom sleeps four, the 2-bedroom sleeps eight, and a 3-bedroom sleeps 12. These suites are never sold by the view so you could possibly end up with a standard view.
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