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March '24 Southwest Hotels Stay Report (Garden Grove, near SNA)

Aviator C

Hello Community Southwest:




Here's a trip report of a recent motel stay in Garden Grove on a Friday night booked through Southwest Hotels. Drive-up motels in this part of Orange County have recently been in the negative spotlight in the news media. The City of Anaheim for example was forced to close and knock down a similar property last year near Knott's Berry Farm that was mired in all kinds of bad trouble.


Normally, I would opt out of staying at one of these places mainly due to security concerns.


So when I was doing my hotel shopping knowing that the hospitality market was going to be very expensive in Garden Grove considering both Disneyland and Knotts were only a few miles away from my destination on a Friday night, the humble Tropic Lodge showed up in the search results for a good rate.


The place showed a solid 7/10 average review for an old motel which surprised me...600 RR Points...$113 after taxes with the "Deluxe Room" upgrade. After looking thorougly at the reviews, pictures, and other hotels nearby that priced way higher, I figured, "Let's give it a try!"



Tropic Lodge Motel

Room Type: Deluxe Room, Refrigerator & Microwave
Rapid Rewards Points Plus: 600
SW Hotels Rate after Taxes: $113 (w/ Deluxe Room; not listed on RocketMiles)
Competing Booking Site Rates:
Other 3rd Party Lowest Price per Trivago: $90.62 (for Economy Room)

With the Deluxe Room upgrade, I figured the mark-up for the Rapid Rewards points was minimal and therefore worth it.


Had no issues with booking on Southwest Hotels but the Tropic does appear to enforce 3pm or later check-in. Arriving earlier meant showing up to a locked door into the front desk area. Wasn't a big deal for me because I arrived at 2:50pm for a 3pm check-in time and waited around. Once the lobby opened, check-in went smoothly. Incidentals deposit was $60. 




Being an old motel, my expectations were not that high. However, the parking lot appeared to be recently resealed with a nice jet-black appearance.






The room was very well insulated and noise-resistant and I was able to sleep like a baby. The room's flooring was recently redone; wooden shutters for the window appeared to be recently installed to give it a modernized look-and-feel. Even when emergency vehicles passed by on Garden Grove Blvd, outside noise was minimal. HVAC worked like a gem. Wi-Fi was easy to log into but was a little unstable.




What I really liked about this place (and think this was why the ratings and reviews were in the 7's) was the Tropic strictly enforced guest room and property access. That meant if you're not on the reservation list, don't even think of going into a room or the guest corridors. There's cameras everywhere and guests getting caught letting strangers into their rooms might be booted from the property. I recall signing an agreement that made that policy positively clear. That basically meant there was zero trouble on the property after the sun went down.




Overall, really cannot complain. When I book hotel rooms, I basically need a private room with a bed to sleep in, a working bathroom, and functioning HVAC...And Tropic did its job.


Prior Trip/SW Hotel Reports:


Safe Travels!