Choose-Your-Own-Adventure: California Accommodations

July 16, 2016

Normally I am a hotel traveler when I go on holiday; it’s the fastest simplest way to make a plan of where to stay. From individual hotel sites to aggregate sites like Expedia, Kayak or, I’ve always done quick and easy online bookings to secure my travel plans. Last fall when I decided to do a little California roadtripping I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try out some new accommodations experiences and compare options along the PCH from LA to San Francisco.

Motel 6 (Carpinteria, CA)

Description: Roadside motel, no pre-booking required, pay on check-in.

Motel 6 is an iconic chain of motor hotels (“mo-tel” hence motel) that you can find along any highway in North America. They seem to have more parking spots than rooms in the ones I saw, which is good if you’re hauling an RV along for your roadtrip.

Cost: $59/night

Pros: great pool and surrounding pool area; recently renovated design; easy to find and book.

Cons: seems like the tile flooring is designed so rooms can be cleaned by mopping from the shower to the front door so the strong disinfectant smell was a bit of offputting.

Overall experience: 7/10 For basic accommodations, Motel 6 hits the mark. There’s not a lot of amenities on-site but they’re centrally located enough that you can easily find whatever food and shopping you need nearby. Most important for the late California summer was the refreshing pool, so Motel 6 gets some extra points. Despite this perk, I don’t anticipate my fellow Guys Who Travel to convert to Motel 6 anytime soon.

AirBNB (Los Angeles, CA)

Description: Apartment sublet, pre-booking required, payment in advance. is the site/app that lets you rent out someone’s home for your short-term holiday stay or longer term sublet if you need. Choosing a place by area or by price, you are in control of selecting the place that best suits your budget and plans. I booked a bachelor apartment in West Hollywood for 5 nights.

Cost: $99/night

Pros: location location location – right in the middle of WeHo at SMB and Larrabee; big private pool area for residents only; A/C; coin laundry on-site; parking spot; easy check-in and check-out handoff of keys with owner.

Cons: bedding was pretty bare; construction noise on the condo stairwells.

Overall experience: 9/10 Airbnb can be hit or miss upon arrival, where the promise of the pictures meets the reality of the rental. Luckily this place was exactly as promised and I made sure to write a good review to let others know – reviews are a good way to see how others’ experience was before you book.

Hotel Mark Twain (San Francisco, CA)

Description: Hotel room, pre-booking required, booking deposit required.

Boutique hotel in Union Square with rates that compete with big chain hotels nearby. Booked on

Cost: $225/night

Pros: pre-booked, quality assured accommodations are convenient; design of the room was great use of small SF space; great location in the city.

Cons: separate parking garage ran up a $30/day parking tab; not many hotel amenities.

Overall experience: 7/10

Back to basics and a pre-booked hotel room, HMT was nice for a boutique hotel but not a must-recommend to other friends. Rates around Union Square can fluctuate and a better spend for your dollar is probably the nearby Westin Union Square, with all the usual Starwood hotel amenities.

This article is in the category: Hotels.



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