Anaheim is Disney country and hotels are a dime a dozen. Ranging from the Hilton to the Marriott, the variety makes it a little more difficult to choose especially when the competition is high for your business. You can choose travel and accommodation packages so the pinch doesn't become a sting.
In recent times more and more people are opting to roost with residents in their own homes. There are various internet sites geared towards helping the traveller feel secure about their choice. One such site can be viewed here. For those a little apprehensive about the prospect of staying in someone's home, the pre-requisites are simple enough. Read the references and testimonies. In the past year I have travelled within Australia using this system and have not been disappointed. I wondered whether a trip to Anaheim would offer me the same good fortune.
In September I needed to attend a conference at the Anaheim Convention Center, and I chose to stay with host Octavio Gonzalez whose property is located only 3 miles away. You can check his details here. Once in LA, I took a shuttle from the airport to his place. It costs about US$15 from LAX to one of the major hotels in Anaheim, however I wanted to be dropped off at the door. I paid an extra US$20 for that service. Remember tipping is customary in the US. If you decide to hire a car, I would also advise to take a GPS device. LA is a maze of motor madness, and getting lost would simply spoil your trip.
I arrived at my destination promptly enough, although with a little more drama than what I'm used to. Unbeknown to me, the shuttle bus was blocking a street sweeper as I was being dropped off. I discovered that this was an offense in Orange County. Sirens, an armed policeman, a fine to the driver and arguments arose all within minutes of me stepping foot on American soil for the first time.
By the time the policeman and shuttle driver sorted themselves, I felt like plonking any place. The passcode to unlock the front door was already given to me, however I had left my mobile phone on during the entire trip from Melbourne and this resulted in a flat battery. Luckily a neighbor was arriving home as I was being dropped off, and she promptly contacted Octavio for me. Within a mere half an hour, a close friend of Octavio's arranged my secure check-in. Now that's service. Things were definitely brightening up.
Throughout my week's stay I felt completely at ease. It really felt like home. Octavio's gregarious and welcoming nature provided that something 'extra' you wouldn't ordinarily get in a hotel room, especially for the solitary traveller. In addition, he was an all in one resource center. I learnt about the history of the region and the best places to visit around Anaheim. I was even chauffeured to the main shopping precinct and 'let loose' so to speak in the biggest shoe store I have ever seen in my life. Shop hopping with a gentleman strolling behind carrying all your bags is simply…heaven.
The accommodation itself was well presented, clean and spacious. The ambience is a combination of Italian intrigue in the main lounge; Mexican magic in the kitchen; French allure on the bookshelves; Egyptian enigma in the TV room and American ardor in the garden. Wherever you come from, you'll feel at home. There are two rooms available, one with bunks and the other with an ensuite. I was in the latter. This room had ample storage facilities, fan, air-conditioning, seating, cabinets and locks for privacy. There are two lounge areas as well as an outdoor entertaining section just past the main lounge. What a relief there weren't any pesky mosquitoes hovering around me and hence no need to utter the famous Australian saying 'Where's the Aeroguard?'
The vista from the lounge is reminiscent of a typical villa setting only that the garden plants are an assortment of heat tolerant natives common in Orange County. Tranquil moments are definitely assured. The neighborhood is quiet and predominantly habited by families. The shopping precinct is only a ten minute walk away - as are buses that can take you to and from the convention center, Disneyland or to the main shopping district.
I would rate my stay with Octavio as ten out of ten. The only disappointment was leaving so soon. On a final note and as a recommendation, if you decide to stay with Octavio on your next trip to Anaheim, book in advance and ask to view his sister's amazing scarves and bracelets. I wondered when I gazed at the assortment of colours available, whether I should be buying any. After all, we were officially in 'spring' back in Melbourne. As I write this article it's the last week of October, my heating is on and I have the scarf wrapped around my neck; a memento of merry memories.