Historical Traveller Reviews of Lafayette Hotel San Diego
Some friends and I stayed at this hotel to celebrate my sister's 21st birthday. We found out about it online and chose it because of the reasonable prices and the fact that it wasn't in the heart of downtown but was close enough for a cheap cab ride. All the staff were very friendly and we had a very good experience. I especially liked the social hour in the evening with free soda and chips. This hotel isn't the fanciest of places but that's to be expected.
Do not stay at this hotel!
My husband I were celebrating our three year anniversary. We checked in and the front desk clerks were very nice, they set us up in a larger room even though originally I was told there wasn't one available. Unfortunately the room we were in had a busted door and we were locked in! We had to climb through a window. The front desk clerk was very nice about it and comped us the jacuzzi room. That was great even though the room smelled like urine and had holes all over the floor. But it was ok and since we were comped the room my husband and I felt we would just live with it. We did decorate the room, but that was just really for our purposes. We had a couple of people over for drinks which the front desk said was ok. We left and went out for awhile and came back after the Halloween party we attended across the street. Some people were coming back and congratulating us and giving us presents and wanted to check out the room. (Some didn't realize that this hotel had jacuzzi suites) People were on their way out and a couple of people were outside smoking. The night security guard came by and said that people had to go. We agreed and we started to call cabs. Two minutes later the security guard shows up with the cops who escort everyone out and we had about three minutes to gather up every thing and leave. One thing we had was put on the bed and rolled on the ground and broke. It was glass. We tried to clean things up but they just told us to leave. The cops were actually pretty nice about it. Management was not. Because the following day I discovered there was a $500 smoking fee charged to my account! Even though that never occured in the room. I read the policy fully, and knowing that I smoke, I knew that I was not about to smoke in the room for $500! I don't even smoke in my own house anyway. The people outside who were smoking was what alarmed the security guard in the first place. In addition, my best friend and sister in law is allergic and so is my other friend who were there. They both have asthma and would not even be able to enter in the room if that had occured. Also, both these people have stayed in this hotel before and knew of the policy and were telling the people who did smoke to do it outside. I was told that the security guard had saw us smoking inside the room which I found odd since she did not step a foot inside the room in the first place. With everything that had happened, my husband and I feel that the whole thing was really blown out of proportion. After discussing this issue with my friends, we will not be staying here again. We could understand if we were having some crazy college rager party but thats not what was going on at all. We did not break or take anything and certainly did not smoke in the room. I would recommend to all who are interested in staying in this hotel, to research other options. I have been a North Park resident for over 20 years and appreciated the location of this hotel, but my husband and I will no longer be staying here. Which is a shame because its nice to have a night out, just the two of us and have our daughter with my mother who is just a few blocks away. My friends feel the same and will not be staying in this hotel ever again. I am in the process of trying to get my $500 back but I have a feeling its going to take small claims court to get it back.
Best kept Secret
This is the best hotel I have stayed at in years
It is clean and wonderful
The staff is great and the free breakfast is awesome
Friendly enviroment heated pool.
We need more hotels like this one
A step back in time!
Simply wonderful! However, keep in mind this hotel was built in 1946. The adventure started with driving up the half-moon drive to the grand columns. My fiance had just picked me up from the U.S.S. Stennis after a three week pre-deployment work up. He (Dave) & I have stayed in MANY hotels around the world and already have plans to stay here again, soon!! The charm of this hotel lies in the grandness of an era gone by, the late '40's. The entry/lobby is magnificient. The Spotlight Bar boasts local talent a pool table and food, all with a sweeping view of the the Johnny Weismueller terrazo swimming pools. We had a Lanai room, poolside, the ONLY way to go. We are smokers and thoroughly enjoyed sitting poolside in the moonlight and even took advantage of the upper deck hot tub/jacuzzi, and for those of you who have tried hotel jacuzzi's, this one was HOT! A rarity, most are barely lukewarm! As a huge added bonus the Red Fox restaurant/lounge inside the hotel complex is outstanding! We found the atmosphere there mesmerizing. The clientel was a mix of locals (always a good sign for a restaurant!) and guests of the hotel. Four things made us repeat dinner there two nights in a row. The service was terrific, never ending coffee cup, the steaks (New York Strip) were outstanding - cooked as ORDERED - and very savory, I had cheesecake which was out of this world, Dave ordered the Chocolate mousse - which he said was so-so, BUT the cook makes the ABSOLUTE best Blue Cheese dressing I've ever tasted, and that includes 5 continents! (Next time back...I'm GETTING that recipe!). OK, they are in the process of renovating, the bathroom ceiling was a bit rough. But, what isn't after 60 years! If you want to step back in time, and enjoy total relaxation, this hotel allows that opportunity.
Some great things, some so-so things
I had to leave my house for a couple of days because of termite fumigation, and I chose the Lafayette because I'm always looking for unique hotels to recommend to out-of-town friends. I also was drawn by the fact that the hotel is a San Diego icon. The good news is that the ongoing refurbishing is truly bringing the Lafayette back to its glory days. The lobby is gorgeous--spacious and a wonderful place to relax with friends. The lobby bar is quite nice too, with an extended happy hour, inexpensive drinks, and cheerful bartenders. My room in the main building was huge, nicely decorated, and it was easy to set up shop and work from there. The refurbishing and restoration are still in full swing, so I expect that the physical part of the hotel will soon be top notch.
There were a few problems, though. The hotel touts its wireless access, yet it was nonexistant. Even the desk clerk conceded it was "sporadic." However, high speed broadband in my room worked well and was a fine substitute, although I grew weary of being confined to my room. Also, housekeeping neglected to replace coffee supplies in my room, the kitchen staff failed to replace depleted breakfast items (eggs and juice), and the main desk clerk was crabby, barking at employees and guests alike. Finally, the clock radio in the vacant room next door started blaring music in the middle of the night, and I had to call the front desk to send someone to turn it off.
An isolated occurance of any of these missteps would not be an issue, but the pile of them shows an inattention to detail, something that distinguishes a good hotel from a so-so one. I honestly think the Lafayette is headed in the right direction, but it's not there yet. Still, I'd recommend it to friends with a couple of caveats ahead of time.
One final note: The Red Fox Room is just tired. I love nostalgia and tradition, but this restaurant needs updating so badly that it's scary.
Mixed reviews of this hotel
The hotel I believe is still being renovated. The hotel lobby, memorabilia, and pool area were the selling features of the hotel. Upon check-in, we were informed that they overbooked our poolside room and instead upgraded us to a penthouse suite on the top floor (4th floor). Unfortunately, the hotel elevators weren't working for at least a day. So we carried our bags to the fourth floor. There was no bellhop to help you with your suitcases. The room itself was nice, more than what we needed. It had a separate living room with a foldout couch. The furnishings and cleanliness of the room could probably be better, in line with what you expect a penthouse suite should be. The refrigerator door did not close and the freezer section was caked with ice. The toilet did not flush well. We needed a plunger to resolve the situation. At times, it was loud in the area, both by sirens and guests of the hotel who were there for more than relaxation. We did, however, manage to get a good night's sleep. The plus of the hotel were the free breakfasts (eggs, toast, cereal, coffee, etc.) and the front desk personnel were also pleasant. The side door was not secured, however, there is a security person walking around the hotel. The location of the hotel is convenient to freeways and has a cityish type feel. If you're looking for a more touristy-type area, try the Hotel Circle area or Mission Bay areas. The hotels there are more mainstream. We probably would stay there again but not at $199/night (Saturday night). It dropped to a more reasonable price for the summer to $99 on Sunday. For those still contemplating, this hotel is more for the experienced traveler looking for nostalgia of some sort. It would be great for families that want to take there kids swimming in the pool, but if you're in San Diego, I don't think your vacation will be centered on just pool activity. The zoo is in close proximity to the hotel, as well as other main attractions. Hope this helps with your decision making.
Would not return to this property
I found out that my employer booked both myself and a co-worker at this hotel as a last resort this past weekend. After seeing the reviews on this site I e-mailed Jason, who had responded to the negative feedback that I had read. He assured me that I would have a good stay and let me know that my info had been forwarded to hotel management.
When I arrived Friday night there was a live band playing in the lobby area so loudly that the desk clerks could not hear the customers. I checked in and was told to park in the outdoor lot around the corner - closest to my room. The secure underground lot was never mentioned. The lot was full but luckily someone pulled out after a few minutes of waiting.
I was booked in a two bedroom townhouse. There were two entrances - one off the street and the other off the parking lot. Neither were secured - it was like being in a street level apt. The condition of the place was below standard. It looked like an apartment from the 60's that someone had moved out of and nothing had been cleaned or replaced. There were stains on the furniture and carpet. The bedrooms, which were upstairs, were a decent size - but with old furnishings and a generally unclean feel. The t.v. in my room was unplugged and after figuring that out, it got no reception whatsoever. There was no lightbulb in the bedside lamp.
The message light remained lit on my phone for 2 days, as I was unable to retrieve the messages, and the front desk seemed unable to turn the light off as well as being unable to get the messages.
The neighborhood is not horrible but certainly is not in a "good" part of town.
Perhaps the main building is in better condition, but, I would never take the chance and return there.
Please be very cautious about this property.
Avoid this hotel! Disgusting!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Where to start? Me and my partner arrived at this hotel in hopes of grabbing a quick nap before heading out. However, there was a wedding party going on underneath our room and the music was blasting through the floor. So, we asked if we could be moved to another room. The hotel manager, a very unpleasant and extremely rude female, told us to prove to her that there was music coming through the floor. So, we brought her into our room so she could hear the music. She then told us that the wedding "isn't that loud" and that she wouldn't move us to another room. She began arguing with us and stated "I can't promise you anything. We're sold out and there's nothing I can do!" We asked her for her name so we could complain to someone else, but she refused to tell us and left. We then went to the front desk to see if the hostess could help us and nice lady at the front desk immediately gave us another room. We filed a formal complaint against the female manager with the company who owns the hotel.
The hotel is in a bad neighborhood and the buidling is very "70's." The lobby was very dated and the one single elevator was gross and felt like it was about to break down.
The first room we were put in was disgusting. Stains all over the floors, cheesy decor, our phone didn't work and the beds felt dirty. The matresses were very cheap and you could feel the box springs pointing into your back.
The second room they put us in was exactly the same. If you're looking for a quality experience, avoid this place at all costs. If you don't mind cheap rooms, uncomfortable beds, stained floors and poor service, then you'll be just happy here. Also, our local friends referred to this place as Hooker Hotel.
We ended up leaving the hotel and got a room at the Hotel Salomar in the Gas Lamp District - amazing hotel and excellent staff!!! And it only cost us an extra $25 over the Lafayette. We were greated by nice doormen in casual suits and told to call the front desk if we were not completely satisfied with the room. Now, that's was good customer service is like!
James, San Francisco
It’s genuinely disheartening to hear such poor things about our hotel, and apologize if you did not enjoy your stay with us.
Since your stay, we have taken the time to review several of the difficulties you experienced. In fact, we are currently doing an extensive makeover of the entire property; including replacing the carpets throughout, repainting, and refinishing and/or replacing much of the furniture.
The Lafayette is one of San Diego’s last remaining historic hotels. I noticed you mentioned and offered a comparison to the newly built Hotel Solamar in your review. Yes, the Lafayette has over 30 years on the Solamar, and with those three decades comes an unparalleled charisma and historic charm that one would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
from A TripAdvisor Member
this is the worst hotel we have ever stayed in. It was very dirty. Holes in the badspread(cigarette burn) holes in the curtains, toilet was mounted at a weird angle, stained carpet, amenities not as described, poor continental breakfest (not as advertised). We have stayed at many a Motel 6 that puts this place to shame. Bums and prostitutes on the street. If you value your car you don't bring it to the hotel. Also very over priced because it is historic ?
On behalf of everyone here at the Lafayette, I apologize that you did not enjoy your stay while with us. I do have a few questions regarding your review, and would like to take the opportunity to address them directly. Namely, I am concerned with your comments pertaining to the advertised amenities and continental breakfast, as well as parking.
The Lafayette has an amazingly secure underground parking structure for the guest’s convenience. Furthermore, our hotel amenities package is considered to be ahead of many similarly priced properties in the area. We are always looking for considerations and suggestions to upgrade our guest’s amenity options. We have even added a late afternoon complimentary social hour, where our guests enjoy soda, drinks, and popcorn.
If you still have questions or concerns regarding your stay with us, please feel free to email me at the following address: email@example.com
We liked it!
Normally when we go to San Diego we stay at Marriott and Hilton hotels. This time we wanted something different. Even reading the reviews of the Lafayette we decided to try it anyway. We could always check out. We got to our room actually expecting the worse but was surprisedly pleased. The 2 bedroom room was clean. We checked for bedbugs. Nothing. We have stayed at 5 star, $400 per night, hotels and have found bedbugs. We looked for filthy carpets. They were worn yes. But stained and gross? Not really. Yes, the rooms are old. What do you expect for a place that was built, what in the 1930's? That is part of the ambience we feel. Besides, what do you really expect for $110 per night? Would we go back? Yes. We did have our children with us at the time. We were in the back building. Try it. You might like it.
Top Local Tips for San Diego
Trolley close by
Mission Valley Plaza is just about 1.5 miles from the hotel by frwy 8, right next to hotel circle. Can catch the green line trolley to Old town, or transfer to blue line to Little Italy or seaport village.
Plan to stay in San Diego at least a week!
Don't short-change yourself on time here. There are so many things to do with a family - the zoo, Sea World, Old Town, the outdoor mall, La Jolla, the list goes on and on. The weather is wonderful and overall, it has everything. Beach, mountains, wildlife, etc. It was wonderful.
Stay at the Sommerset Suites. Great location, friendly professional staff and close to everything.