A quick, family trip to Disney in Anaheim gave us the opportunity to stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites Hotel Anaheim, which is only a few blocks from Downtown Disney.
We met my brother-in-law and his family for a Goofy’s Kitchen breakfast (review coming soon!) at the Disneyland Hotel.
Our house is about 70 minutes from Disney when there’s no traffic. Our breakfast reservation was 11:00 AM on a Monday morning. That would be a three-hour trip during morning rush hour. So we decided to take a mini-vacation and spend Sunday night in Anaheim.
Disney properties are god-awful expensive and we had an expiring free night from my wife’s IHG One Rewards Select Card.
Lucky for us, we found the Holiday Inn & Suite Anaheim for a free night!
Holiday Inn & Suites Hotel Anaheim Location
Location is a major plus for the Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim. The hotel is an easy walk from the Disneyland compound.
We loved walking to and from Downtown Disney. Especially considering we ate like complete fools during our trip (as one is wont to do visiting Disney).
Sports fans: the hotel is about 15-ish minutes from Angel Stadium (baseball) and the Honda Center (hockey).
Figure about 30-40 minutes to John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) or Long Beach (LGB). LAX is 35 miles away — which can take 40 minutes or two hours.
The published parking rate is $18 per day. IHG Platinum & Spire elite status members pay only $9 a day. (You can get IHG Platinum status simply by holding the IHG® One Rewards Premier Credit Card.)
Holiday Inn & Suites Hotel Anaheim Lobby
The lobby has plenty of Disney touches and offers a nice area for kids.
For the most part, the hotel does a very good job of catering to families.
The Hotel’s General Appearance
The hotel leaves much to be desired if you expect acceptable upkeep. The property looks worn and tired.
Our Guest Room
We were a little late booking our room. No kingsize beds were available, nor were any IHG Platinum status upgrades.
Two double beds were totally fine, however. My wife and daughter took one bed and I had my own.
The room was a little dark. Aside from that minor quibble, though, everything else was fine. The beds were comfortable and the room was clean.
Maybe it’s just me — but all the pillows I’ve ever slept on at IHG properties were amazingly comfy. The Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim kept the streak alive!
A television sits atop the room’s dresser.
There’s also a desk. Its lamp features two 110V outlets.
Our room contained a mini-fridge and microwave — which are always nice amenities. Fellow parents know how what a godsend these are when traveling with little kids.
Power-wise, there were no built-in USB ports in the room (which maybe is a good thing?). Make sure to bring your charger(s) with you. (Or get a travel surge suppressor-power strip combination like this device both René and I use.)
Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim Hotel Pool and Water Play Areas
The hotel features two aquatic areas.
One is sort of a mini-water park.
The weather was windy and little chilly (for Southern California 😉 ), so the machines above weren’t operating. I bet they’re plenty of fun during a nice, warm day.
My daughter — like every kid — had to visit the pool. Even though it was cool outside.
So we put on swimsuits, grabbed our waterproof cases, and headed down to the pool area.
It’s a great setup with a number of chairs, some tables, and poolside food and beverage service.
We walked to the heated pool’s stairs — and stopped. The water was so cloudy that we couldn’t see more than a couple of inches deep. I don’t know if the chlorine was off, the pool filter was broken or jammed, or some algae decided to spend a weekend at Disneyland.
I told my little girl the pool was broken (she’s young enough to accept that answer). We decided the jacuzzi was a better, warmer option.
Here’s the good news: the hot tub’s water was perfectly clear!
The bad news? There were some surprises in and around the jacuzzi.
Off to the side lay what appeared to be a t-shirt.
With the exception of a tour group that entered the pool area after us, we were the only ones there. So it wasn’t like someone was in the water and left their shirt to retrieve later.
Weird, but fine.
Then came the dealbreaker.
A pair of swim trunks rested on the jacuzzi’s floor.
Did someone get this Holiday Inn resort confused with a Hedonism resort? Was there an excretory system accident? Some sort of assault?
Call me naive or a prude — but how does one just accidentally leave a swimsuit in the pool?
Between the murky pool and discarded swimwear, our aquatic appetite was gone.
Onyx Restaurant at the Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim
Speaking of appetites, we visited Onyx — the hotel’s restaurant and bar — for dinner.
We were very impressed.
First of all, there’s a television at every table. Plus, USB ports if you want to charge your mobile device (but you must supply your own USB cord).
The staff was very friendly and happy to help with food recommendations.
Kids eat free off the children’s menu. So my toddler opted for macaroni and cheese. My wife and I split some chicken fingers and house chips. Both were delicious.
My wife couldn’t decide between two items and let the server decide. She was not let down.
She said the Thai chicken stirfry was one of the best dishes she’s ever had anywhere.
I went with a burger and fries. While not the best burger ever it was very, very good.
Before heading back to our room, we flagged down the restaurant manager to compliment her on the wonderful food and staff.
Quick Note About the Gift Shop
There is an onsite gift shop with souvenirs and snacks. However, the store’s owners don’t allow room charges. (So lame.) This really stinks because my IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card earns 26X per dollar spent during IHG property stays. I hoped against hope that the purchase would code as a grocery store. And I’d have a slim chance of earning bonus points with my American Express® Gold Card, which earns 4X American Express® Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 a year in those purchases, then 1X after that. Terms apply).
Alas, it didn’t.
But I also enjoyed knowing the store would pay a higher swipe fee. (Petty of me, I know.)
I recommend going to the Shell station convenience store a couple of hundred feet to the north. Prices are cheaper and you can use a credit card that rewards gas station purchases.
Watch Disneyland Fireworks from the Hotel!
The hotel is a few blocks off to the side of the Disneyland fireworks’ staging area. The hotel allows guests to enjoy the show (check here for times) from a viewing patio in its conference center wing. Just take the elevator to the second floor of the conference center and look for the balcony.
You won’t see every firework and effect — many of them are displayed inside the park. But the balcony permits a great view of the really big fireworks.
This was my daughter’s first time seeing fireworks — and she loved them.
We suggest bringing beverages and enjoying the show!
When asked the customary, “How was your stay?” I showed the swimming pool and jacuzzi pictures to the front desk staff.
“Someone left their swim trunks in the jacuzzi,” I said.
“Ew,” one of them said. “Sorry about that.”
I politely explained we couldn’t enjoy the aquatic facilities because they weren’t exactly acceptable. I asked if the hotel would credit our Onyx dinner. (The Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago immediately credited a meal when I gave them a heads-up that my shower wasn’t hot.)
“It’s already been charged to your credit card,” he said.
“What about some points so we can come back and try the property again?” I asked.
“Your room was free because of the IHG card.”
I guess I got what I paid for.
As a whole, though: each staff member I encountered at the front desk or in the hallway was kind and welcoming.
Will I Stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim Again?
Its proximity to Disney is great. For someplace to eat and sleep, it’s fine. I hope the pool situation literally clears up. But I won’t rush back to stay there.
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