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Hotel Review: Town & Country
When gearing up for our first-ever SDCC, my friend and I wanted to do things right. First on our agenda? Make sure we got a hotel room. So as soon as we managed to land badges to the convention, we decided to go through Travel Planners’ early bird hotel sale and secure a room. Although the hotels offered in the early bird sale were further away from the convention center, we figured this would be a small price to pay for… well, a smaller price to pay. Did we feel that way afterwards? Yes and no.
We wound up booking a room at the Town & Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley. Here’s what we thought!
+ Price. I believe we paid around $178.00/night to stay there, and when you compare that to the upwards of $300 it costs to stay at something like the Hilton Bayfront or the Hard Rock, you’re getting a real bargain. For people attending the con who are really looking to save money, this would be a great bet.
+ 4-Day Badge Pickup On-Site. As four-day passholders (without preview night), this saved our asses. The drive into San Diego from Los Angeles, which we’d figured would take around two and a half hours, topped out at almost five. Arriving at the hotel, we were tired, hungry, and worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to check in and get our badges before badge pickup ended at 8pm. If we’d been staying anywhere else and needed to check in there before picking up our badges, we might not have made it. But we rolled in just before 7pm and were in our room, badges in hand, by 7:30pm. Definitely a major convenience!
+ Helpful Hotel Staff. Everyone we encountered while staying at the T&C – from the girl checking us in, to the concierge who helped us arrange an early Thursday morning taxi, to the servers in the hotel restaurants – was lovely. They pointed us in the right direction when we were lost, answered our questions quickly and effectively, and always greeted us with a smile. For two girls who were exhausted by all the amazing things SDCC had to offer that weekend, the hotel staff made all the difference in the world.
+ Hotel Parking. $5/day for a parking pass at the T&C, and you could get two parking passes per room. For people planning to drive to San Diego from surrounding cities, this is a huge upside. Our car was safe the entire time and we never had to worry about it.
+ SDCC Shuttle and San Diego Transit Readily Available. We had originally planned to drive down to the convention center every morning, and our car never wound up leaving the T&C lot. The SDCC Shuttle picked guests up at the hotel, and although we were the last pick-up/last drop-off stop on the route, we never had problems finding a seat. That may be because we never tried to take the shuttle at peak hours, though – but 6am on Saturday morning, no trouble fitting on the shuttle? Not bad. And right behind the resort is a trolley stop, which was also nice and convenient. It never took us longer than 25 minutes to get to or from the convention center, which was just fine with us. Then again, we didn’t really attend many night activities, and we may have had we been closer to downtown. Being out in Mission Valley might not be for everyone!
+ Clean Room and Lots of Places to Eat. Every day we returned from the convention, our room had been looked after – we never had a problem with how the room was taken care of. There are also multiple places to eat spread around the resort, and most of the prices aren’t anything crazy. The food is simple, but it was always tasty. They also offered free breakfast to anyone staying there for SDCC from 6am – 10am, although we never took part in that. Too busy getting to the con early!
– Incredibly Thin Walls. I can’t speak for the hotel-style rooms, but there’s a large section of motel-style rooms at the front of the resort, which is where we stayed. The rooms were quaint and it was nice to be able to step out your front door and be right outside by your car, but you could hear everything. The conversations of other guests, slamming doors, cars driving into the parking lot… it didn’t always make it easy to fall asleep at night, and anyone attending SDCC knows how precious those few hours of sleep are. This was one of our biggest problems with the hotel.
– No Free Wi-Fi. When we’d booked the hotel, Travel Planners had listed “Free Wi-Fi” as a bonus of the hotel, and we were incredibly excited about that. Upon arriving, however, we learned that wasn’t the case – you had to pay for a password to access the hotel’s Wi-Fi. (Although I can’t actually tell you the cost… let’s just say a little hotel guardian angel took care of us on that front!) Once onto the Wi-Fi, though, we had no problems with speed or coverage.
– No Mini-Fridge. We were lucky that most of the food we’d chosen to bring with us – apples, PB & J sandwich fixings, granola bars, muffins – didn’t really require a refrigerator, because our room didn’t come with one. It would have been nice to have a place to keep our bottled water cool, though. If this is an important factor for you, I’d call ahead before booking to see if they allow you to rent them for an extra fee.
– Air Conditioning Didn’t Work. We may have just been the unlucky ones here, because though our room had a thermostat on the wall, we couldn’t get that damn thing to drop the room temperature one bit. Fortunately it wasn’t a particularly warm weekend in San Diego, and we weren’t in our room all that much, so we survived. It would’ve been nice to be able to come back after a long day at the con to a room that didn’t feel stuffy, though.
– The Distance To The Convention Center. As convenient as the SDCC shuttle and San Diego transit were, we were still spending close to an hour a day getting to and from our hotel. I imagine that if we’d stayed somewhere downtown, we might have been more inclined to take fuller advantage of the events going on in the Gaslamp District. Really, staying out in Mission Valley required us to wake up even earlier in order to make it in line for those important morning panels. And it would have been nice to have somewhere within walking distance from the convention center to store our stuff when we didn’t feel like lugging it around.
Would we stay at the Town & Country Resort Hotel again? We’d consider it, especially if next year is just the two of us again. The lower price, given that we were only splitting it between two people, was a huge help for us. And the convenience of badge pickup coupled with the lovely staff were definite pluses during our stay. But the thin walls, no air conditioning and lack of free Wi-Fi might lead us to consider checking out another Mission Valley hotel for next year.