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Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

Aviator C

SoCalFlyer97's April marathon of hotel stays winds down with his last two stays for the month.




Next stop was in Tehachapi CA, home to the Tehachapi Rail Loop, rich history, numerous unique restaurants, and a stopover destination in between the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. It involved a road trip from SoCal with no flying. However on this forum, I've read numerous customer requests to bring the LUV airline into BFL which Tehachapi would feed directly into. For now, the journey there would be on the ground. 




However, SW would still play a role. My trip was a 3-night stay at the Fairfield Inn booked through Southwest Hotels. Regarding pricing, I was absolutely brilliant and decided to misplace my notes that documented the cost comparisons between SW Hotels, Rocket Miles, and the various hotel booking sites versus booking direct for this property. Thus, I don't have any source costing data to share on this stay other than what I paid for for through SW Hotels.




Nevertheless, I believe the SW Hotels' deal I got was good. For this trip, I also needed to purchase an upgrade to a suite for accommodation needs. Being a weekend at this California historic and roadside stopover destination, the amount paid was $562 total after taxes and fees.




However, the Points Plus payout offered a generous 6,000 points for the stay. Long story short, SW Hotels fulfilled the booking process as promised, hotel staff located my reservation, assigned me a suite as purchased, and John Willard Marriott delivered on hospitality.



Throughout my hotel stays, I always take pictures of the room upon arrival not only to photo-document the hotel experience, but to proactively look for and identify any existing damage or defects.




This would include looking for any broken fixtures, cracked floor tiles, linen stains, signs of smoking, or dents. This would serve as evidence that the defects were present prior to check-in as pre-existing. Once the defects are documented, I'll alert these to the front desk staff.





Travel Tip: Much like inspecting a rental car at the airport, be sure to inspect the room--both the bedroom area and the bathroom and document all existing damage if found.


No defects were found during my stay at the Fairfield but some other places where I stayed had visible problems that required me to document and report pre-existing damages. Here are a few:



A cracked TV stand during a stay in Riverside.


This door stopper has seen better days.


And some kind of accident occurred in this motel's bathroom.

I always assume the hotel overlooks damage caused from previous guest or workers. Photo documenting these as evidence on arrival and reporting these to the front desk immediately have helped assure me to not be mis-charged for these defects upon checkout. This is a "travel insurance" that SoCalFlyer97 subscribes to.


Last hotel stay for the series takes place in Redlands at an independent drive-up motel with loads of boutique extras often found at traditional hotels. Plus, SoCalFlyer97 gets a little surprise when he needed to go to the local library prior to check-in time to use the WiFi.


Stay tuned.

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

Aviator C

Greetings Everybody!




Well, SoCalFlyer97 has come to the final hotel of this long lodging marathon month, all booked through Southwest Hotels. I don't recall ever before in my personal traveling history of sleeping at seven different lodging places for eleven nights total all within a 30 day window which started during the first week of April and ended last weekend:


  1. Holiday Inn Corona, 1 night
  2. Fairfield Inn Norco, 3 nights
  3. Residence Inn Corona, 1 night
  4. Hotel Apache Las Vegas, 1 night
  5. Azure Hotel Ontario, 1 night
  6. Fairfield Inn Tehachapi, 3 nights
  7. Dynasty Suites Redlands, 1 night


I think this one is for my personal record books. Anyway, as mentioned in the list above, the final destination to wrap up this 30-day line up of travel is Redlands CA. Before I made my way to the hotel, I needed stop over at a place that had a public Wi-Fi signal and I figured one the public libraries would do the trick. I got an unplanned surprise.


So I punch in my GPS the location of the nearest library in Redlands near the hotel and I get routed to this place:



I thought for a moment, "This can't be the right place" but sure enough, there I was in front of the A.K. Smiley Public Library which was built and established exactly 130 years ago from this year of 2024.




The interior design preserved the 1800's décor with the wooden framed doors, black and gold lettering on the interior windows, and wooden bookshelves. Combine that with today's amenities like Wi-Fi and you've got a historic place fully alive.




After I finished my work, I absolutely felt I should take a look around and tour this place.



To do some remote work inside of an 1800's historic library was an unexpected surprise.


One can reach Redlands from ONT airport either via a car rental or a $35-40 rideshare hail. Or if you have time spare and can time the train departures, SoCal's regional rail provider Metrolink also links the ONT area to Redlands via public transit feeder bus. Train ride with the transfers would take about 60-90 minutes.


Off to the inn.




Southwest Hotels had a very high rated, independent drive up motel listed and when I took a look at the reviews and pictures, this little place actually appeared to be a nice destination spot, even though it emulated a motel. Whenever I book hotel rooms and a drive-up motel deal shows up, I take a thorough look before booking because unlike traditional hotels, there's no hallway or lobby in between the parking lot and the rooms.


But I figured after reading through the organic reviews that this little inn is worth a try, at least for one night. Here's how costing compared (taxes and fees included):


Dynasty Suites Redlands, 1 night
SW Hotels, RocketMiles: $134.36, +1,000 Points Plus Property
Trivago Lowest Price: $136.76
Booking Direct: $120.12


The $14.64 mark-up from booking direct in return for the 1,000 Companion Pass Qualifying points was a fair-and-square tradeoff in my opinion. With the high ratings and advertised amenities, let's try this place out.




I arrived shortly after the 3pm scheduled check-in time. No problems whatsoever with the Southwest Hotels/ reservation. Incidentals deposit was $100, parking free which was enforced with a printed paper dashboard permit.


What I noticed right away was a simple yet relaxed, garden-like ambience. Wall vines gave the building exterior life and drew attention away from the center parking lot. During the daytime hours, the motel would play soft classical music along the corridors...soft enough where it would not be heard inside of the rooms. The place had security cameras all over the place as I saw zero trouble overnight.




The pool and spa area was very well maintained and also featured dual sauna cubes. Next to the pool was a decorative gazebo adjacent to a putting green.



And yes, this little motel offered not only hot free breakfast, but had real dishware and utensils.


The Room:








Travel Tip: 3rd Party Booking sites are really good of listing independent hotels, many of which can provide for an uncanny and unique travel experience. Take the time to read through the reviews and ratings to assure you're getting a great deal. It may be worth it to try something new. I always opt for the Free Cancelation option as my "travel insurance" in case I need to make a change or reprice the booking.




Well, that's it...that wraps it up for this marathon hotel series in 30 days, but SoCalFlyer97 has a couple of more Southwest trips and at least one other SW Hotels reservation lined up for the rest of May.


I do appreciate and thank everybody for reading my trip and hotel experiences that was made possible through Southwest and the participating hotels. Talk to you next time!

Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

Explorer B


SoCal:  Your travel posts are absolutely the best.  Don't get carpal tunnel working too much on them.


Did the hotel free breakfast have a waffle maker?




Can't wait for the next post.


Artanis out of TUS





Re: April '24 Southwest Flights & Hotels Line Up - Seven Hotels, Eleven Nights, Two RT Flights

Aviator C

@Artanis wrote:


Did the hotel free breakfast have a waffle maker?




I didn't see a waffle maker at the Dynasty. Not sure whether or not they serve waffles at all or only on certain days of the week. On the morning of stay there, Sausage and Scrambled Eggs was the free meal which was served from the warmers.


I think both of the Fairfields and the Holiday Inn on this series served pre-prepped soft waffles on certain days of the week from one of the warmers too; I didn't see waffle makers. The Residence Inn stay was the location that I noticed had a waffle maker. The Azure stay had hot breakfast but I had to check out before the dining room opened; likely same scenario as I didn't see a waffle maker from a prior stay. No breakfast included at the Apache.