Hotel Tonight: Using This Travel App For My Last Minute SoCal Staycation
Have you ever heard of or used the app Hotel Tonight?
Last month (July 2018) my friend Fernando who lives in Spain and works for an airline sent me a text saying he wanted to visit. He had an excess of vacation days (lucky Euros!), no plans, and there was a serious heatwave happening in Europe. Since I work from my laptop and am pretty flexible with my schedule, I suggested he come but I wanted a bit of a vacation also. Because he’s an airline employee he was going to be flying standby the following week. I wasn’t able to book anything in advance and that left us in a bit of a predicament!! This is the best example of when to use the app Hotel Tonight.
For $25 off your first stay, use my code ARTW on Hotel Tonight
On the day he planned to come, I got a text in the middle of the night that said “I’m on the flight. See you soon!” Alrighty then! Fernando had been to LA on vacation last year, so he wanted to experience newer places. I lived in LA for a few years and was more than eager to skip it also. The first night I booked us into an Air BnB because staying in a hotel would be a total waste since he was going to be jetlagged and then we were planning to get out of LA asap.
In the morning after checking out of the Air Bnb, we went to a restaurant nearby called Playa Provisions to have breakfast and decide where to go. It was a spin the bottle type scenario with destinations. Pretty thrilling! We could go to Las Vegas, San Diego, up to NorCal, or the desert. SoCal is busy in the summer with tourists, both foreign and domestic so I had to plan wisely. Fer wanted to go to San Diego but the hotels were all booked up. I forgot that it was Comicon! He had never been to Palm Springs and even though it’s a scorcher out there, I love it so much. So I pulled the trigger on Hotel Tonight and Palm Spring it was!!
Playa Provisions in Playa Vista
After a 2-hour drive east (with carpool access and all) we were in Palm Springs. It was hot as hell but we booked The Riviera using the Hotel Tonight App. Even though it was the weekend, it was still pretty cheap because it’s so hot in the summer. Almost unbearable. Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (over 35 C). No problem because we were going to submerge ourselves in the pool, go to the gym, eat inside air-conditioned restaurants, catch up, and eat some more.
Read more: 48 Hour Guide To Palm Springs
Lobby at The Riviera Palm Springs
The hotel is older but to my knowledge, they have undergone a big renovation. Our suite was in a building with renovated suites. The rate for my room was $89. That, of course, does not include a resort fee which almost all hotels in Palm Springs charge. This usually includes the use of the pool, gym, complimentary water, etc. I am not that fond of these resort fees but even on top of our Hotel Tonight deal, it was still a great rate.
A happy Arnette at The Riviera Palm Springs
Overall I was happy with our stay at The Riviera. The staff was all really friendly, the suite was renovated, the pool fun (busy with a DJ and party scene but fun), and room service was not bad. In regards to food, the burger I ordered was good but for variety, I would have ordered Uber Eats but everything in Palm Springs closes early (retirement community) and by the time we were hungry a lot of places were closing or closed.
My updated suite at the Riviera
Pool vibes at the Riviera Palm Springs
After the weekend in Palm Springs, we were ready to head somewhere new and Fer wanted to see San Diego. I love living in San Diego but I tend to be a homebody so I used this opportunity to treat his visit like a staycation. We got on the Hotel Tonight App and decided to stay downtown in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. We chose to stay at the Kimpton Hotel Solamar.
My suite at the Kimpton Solamar San Diego
I’ve stayed at a couple of Kimptons and I’m always happy with them so I booked it. My only gripe is that parking in the Gaslamp is $50 for a night. Parking sucked but we wanted a central hotel and easy hub to get around. The hotel and staff were lovely though and it was nice to walk around. We caught the end of Comicon and Fernando was so stoked to see all the buildouts. He loves The Walking Dead and they had a set a few blocks away.
The rooftop pool at the Kimpton Solamar San Diego
Back to LAX
After San Diego sadly, it was back to LAX because Fernando’s trip was a short one. I didn’t want to deal with traffic getting to LAX so we decided to stay close to the airport the night before his flight. Traffic in the summer in SoCal is unpredictable so better to be safe than sorry. We got back on the Hotel Tonight app again and chose to stay by LAX. I also didn’t want to fight with east-west traffic in LA so we chose Aloft LAX it was. It’s technically in the city of El Segundo which is south of the airport by 10 minutes.
The hotel was fine. It’s part of the Starwood Group of Hotels but their more budget hotel as opposed to the Westin or Sheraton. Fer wanted to do a bit of shopping before he got on the plane so we weren’t going to be in the hotel that much. As much as a Westin or Marriot would have been nice, I honestly hate dropping money on a hotel that I don’t plan on using much.
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The location was ideal and the front desk was friendly and prompt. The room itself was fine. No frills. There wasn’t a restaurant in the hotel but you could buy food in the lobby area. But there are loads of places to eat nearby. For the price and proximity to LAX, it was fine. I am not 100% fancy all the time! We would have booked the Air Bnb we stayed at again but it’s normally a two night booking but the first time they had a cancellation.
I do wish I had more time for the pool. Looked great but I imagine the noise from the airplanes could be loud
And that my friends are my SoCal staycation with Hotel Tonight. And….it was not sponsored. Everything on this trip was paid for by Fer and myself. I consider myself to be a savvy traveler so I did check other apps and the prices Hotel Tonight provided us with the best deal on our last minute bookings. I did not book anything till the day before or even the day of arrival.