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“Huge Disappointment”

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The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
Ranked #60 of 279 Hotels in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Greenbrae, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Huge Disappointment”
Reviewed 13 August 2013

Where to begin? Nothing about our stay was what we expected or even acceptable.
We arrived just after 3:00 to check in and were told that the room wasn’t quite ready so we went to get something to eat and returned at about 4:30 and were told the room still wasn’t ready. We couldn’t wait by the pool because there was a loud, 21 and over only pool party hosted by 91X radio station going on at the pool and our 15 year old wasn’t allowed in. When we were finally given a key at about 5:00 it was for a downstairs room even though we had requested an upstairs room. Upon entering the room that “housekeeping had just finished up” we found a large cockroach dying in the bathtub. When we tried to log on to the wifi we had been given a password for, there was no network and when I called the front desk they said the router was down and probably wouldn’t be fixed during our 5 day stay (it wasn’t). We had booked one of the Suze Suites so that our 15 year old and we could have a little privacy at night but the French doors between the rooms wouldn’t close so that was a bust too. That night a family with two small children checked into the room above us at around 10:00 pm and their children did gymnastics and jumps off of the bunk-bed above our bedroom for about an hour. Early in the morning the maids yelled loudly back and forth to each other but somehow when we left at 8:00 am and returned at 5:00 pm they still hadn’t gotten to our room. Additionally, they never replenished the shampoos or soaps so we had to go out and grab it off the carts, which were conveniently left blocking the hallway to the back gate all day and night.
One morning we woke up to find we had no hot water; the front desk said they were working on the water heater. When we got home that night the water was so hot that it was unsafe for suites made to accommodate small children and you couldn’t turn it up enough to get good pressure without scalding yourself.
Other reviews talk about the overzealous security but they must only work when they are having drunk-fests on Sundays. People screamed in the pool and walked past our room talking loudly late into the night and there was no one there to curtail any activity.
The Lafayette advertises itself as a sort of posh retro hotel for sophisticated guests and families who want suites and a lovely pool but when you get there it is clear that they are much more interested in catering to the 20-something college crowd, bachelor/bachelorette parties and business people on boondoggles. The management clearly does little to ensure any quality or guest service and we were sorely disappointed after the high expectations created by the presentation on the web site. The hotel has potential but they need new management, new house-keeping staff and a more honest marketing campaign.

Room Tip: Walls and ceilings are thin and guests are loud so try to get an upstairs room far away from the poo...
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Green Features: They had one recycling bucket in the room. I didn't observe any other environmentally friendly practices. There was no ventilation for the bathroom so towels stayed wet, even over night so we had to leave them to be changed out daily.
  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank TX_Katie_O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Drew H, Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, responded to this review, 18 August 2013
Thank you for your honest and candid feedback. I apologize that we did not meet your expectations. It is through comments such as yours that we can review our practices and provide training opportunities for our staff. You are correct that we have a pool parties for our guests who are 21 and over on Sunday’s and Monday’s. With that said, we also put on dive in movies and splash time for our youngers guests. All of our hotel happenings are posted on our website (www.lafayettehotelsd.com) under the happenings tab. I would appreciate it if you could please contact me directly to further discuss your concerns. Please contact me at drew@lafayettehotelsd.com. The team and I look forward to meeting your expectations during your next visit with us.
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Rating summary
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
121 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2013 via mobile

We only stayed one night. Love this hotel and will recommed highly. And will definetly will stay again. Rooms were great. And quiet. Slept very well. Pool is nice. Lobby kitche! Bloody Mary mixed perfectly. Loved the underground parking.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jennifer B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Drew H, Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, responded to this review, 12 August 2013
Thank you very much for your positive feedback. I am happy that you enjoyed your stay with us and that our staff provided you with the service that you deserve. I am glad that you enjoyed old Hollywood charm. I am not sure if one of our staff members told you that Bob Hope was the first registered guest of the hotel back in 1946. The team and I look forward to having you join us during your future visits on property.
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San Francisco, California
1 review
Reviewed 10 August 2013

Excellent hotel. Excellent staff. Excellent food. Excellent drinks. We will go back! Great pool. Can't say enough about this place. There is a pool party on certain days, that are open to the public, but they only go from one to five so you will probably be busy checking out the sights. Great location. The red fox has some groovy old cats playing the Great American songbook.

Room Tip: Try the size suite!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paula H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Drew H, Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, responded to this review, 12 August 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your positive experience at our hotel. I love that you used the word excellent four times in your review. I also love that you got to experience all of the amenities of the hotel including our neighboring restaurant the Red Fox. Next time you come back you will have to experience our newest amenity that is opening sometime in the fall, which is the Finest City Improv club.
The team and I look forward to your return visit.
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Canada
Level Contributor
113 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2013

I really wanted to like this hotel. It's full of Old Hollywood charm and character, and I, unlike other posters did not find anything creepy about it.

The public areas, the lobby and the pool, are decorated in a very cool old style and there was a lot of attention to detail put into them, which I found really brought the hotel alive. I can see why so many stars and starlets wanted to stay here when the Lafayette was in its prime. The hallways could stand to be redone, but everything else seems to be in really good shape. The hotel rooms are more modern, though still in keeping with the theme of the place.

There is great undergound parking, very convenient--we loved this. Also, there is a restaurant right on site, though we didn't have a chance to check it out. They offer breakfast quite early, which is great.

The front desk staff during the day are great, and very kind and helpful, and our room was pretty clean, except for a few stray hairs that we found when housekeeping placed new towels in our room.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad things that I have to say about this hotel, and they definitely outweigh the good. We wanted this leg of our trip to be a nice, relaxed few days (we stayed four nights) before we headed up the coast to meet up with friends at Disneyland. When we checked in, we were given room keys, and upon heading up to our room, we discovered that the room had not yet been cleaned. The previous occupants' towels were all over, the bed was unmade, carpet was wet. We called down to reception and they had someone run a new set of keys up to us, and we were moved to a less desirable room, facing right onto the busy front street (El Cajon Blvd), but at least it was clean.

Twice during our stay, we arrived back to the hotel after excursions in the day, at about 4:00 PM only to discover that our room had not yet been cleaned. We had to request service, and then wait in the lobby for about a half hour while they cleaned our room.

Our room was cojoined with another room and there was a large gap of at least a centimeter underneath the door, so there was virtually no privacy. We could hear what the people next door were doing and saying whenever they were in their room.

The pool area was beautiful and so charming, and I had been so looking forward to staying here to enjoy the pool. Both times we tried to head down, the entire pool area was so packed that we couldn't even get a couple of pool chairs. It's such a shame that they allow so many non guests to take advantage of the space that their paying hotel guests are unable to use it. There were several people partying and many people were extremely intoxicated, so there was a lot of noise, and it was not the relaxing atmosphere we'd hoped for. We ended up avoiding the pool for the entire duration of our stay.

We also ran into an issue with the toilet at about midnight one night. We called down to reception to ask someone to come unplug it, and about a half hour later, the lady at the front desk called back and told us she was unable to find a plunger and we'd have to wait until 7:00 AM the next day to have it fixed. She told me that if we needed to use the restroom during the night, we would have to venture down and use the lobby restrooms. This was utterly ridiculous to me, as you pay to have your own restroom, not to use a public one. We were not offered a discount or anything, though I had to trek all the way downstairs just to use the restroom during the night. Terrible customer service. I will not be staying with them again when I return to San Diego, and I certainly won't be recommending this place to my friends.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank lacanadiensita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
David C, Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, responded to this review, 17 February 2015
Dear Lacandiesita,

I noticed your review from a couple of years ago. The issues you mentioned would be frustrating to any guest. I wanted to let you know that since your last stay, the Lafayette has a new management team. I hope that you will have a chance to give us another try. You will not be disappointed.
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Pembroke Pines, Florida
Level Contributor
94 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2013

Read the reviews and felt comfortable booking at Lafayette. Reserved a Suzy Suite since I was traveling with teens. Upon arrival at 4 pm on a Saturday noted that there was a very loud party atmosphere at the pool and that people were walking into the lobby carrying six packs of beer. There were a lot of obviously drunk people walking around the lobby. You could smell the sent of alcohol on them as they passed you. I was told the the "pool party" was from 1-6 pm Saturday, Sunday & Monday. The pool party is open to non-guest for a fee. It was packed with people! I decided to overlook this since more than likely I would be out during the pool party time. This hotel is a series of detached buildings resembling cheap apartment. We were assigned Suzy Suite #25 located in the rear building of the property. As I stepped into the room the smell of smoke overwhelmed me. The suite consisted of the king bed room with an adjoining room with the bunk beds. It was drab and looked run down. I new I could not stay here so I checked out. The staff did not give me a hard time, I think they knew what I was complaining about. The neighborhood of this location also looked questionable. Lafayette is more like a motel in every aspect.

Room Tip: There are no quiet rooms during the pool party hours!
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
4 Thank Yoyi412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Drew H, Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, responded to this review, 12 August 2013
Hello-
Sorry to hear that you had a disappointing stay with us. We are continually trying to improve our product and service, which sometimes can be a challenge since we were built back in 1946. After hearing feedback from our guests over the summer we have adapted our pool scene to try to appeal to the majority. We only have DJ's on Sunday & Monday between 1pm and 5pm, which during this time we ask that our guest be of 21 years and older. Our pool is open daily from 7am and 10pm and we put on Dive In Movies on Thursday evenings for the families.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
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Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

The only good thing I have to say about this hotel is that the lobby is decorated cool. This hotel was creepy and not clean. I was tempted to check out 3 hours after being there. I was first given a room I didn't book. I was asked to give them an hour to clean the room I booked, I gave them 2 hours only to come back and hear that the carpets in my room are not dry yet. If you literally just want a place to sleep the LaFayette might be ok but I would not recommend it.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lillie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

We stayed at this hotel mid week and had a great stay. We only stayed one night as we opted to move on to our next location at night instead of first thing in the morning, but wished we would have stayed another night here.

The hotel is full of personality from the paintings done on stop signs to the umbrellas hung from the ceiling. We found the front desk staff pleasant enough. We got lots of information, but asked lots of questions so maybe that is why. This is also where we got nice big towels for the pool. The kids loved the full size chess and checkerboards although we never played a full game since we couldn't get them out of the pool when we were there. We checked in on a Wednesday which was a day when people not staying at the hotel can come swim, but the pool was still not that crowded. The chairs around the pool were taken by lots of young adults, but as we wanted to swim, it didn't matter if we couldn't get a chair.

My husband had to do some work and did have issues getting the WiFi in our room (which was in a far corner) but moved to the lobby and had no problem after that. We ate at the hotel restaurant, Imigs, and had a great meal and great service and it got the kids back in the pool quickly. I didn't want to swim after dinner, but there was a great little comfy couch area where I could see the kids and relax. Once the neighborhood folks left, the pool area emptied right out, but we were there mid-week and not for a "Dive-In Movie" night so I could see it being more crowded on other evenings.

We had a Suze Suite which was away from the pool and had lots of room for our family with three kids, but did get a discounted rate. It was great to have a separate room and bathroom for the kids. Being away from the pool it was quiet at night. I can imagine that the rooms by the pool would be loud at night. We found the beds to be quite comfortable and had nice big fluffy pillows.

We had no trouble parking right outside our room and while this hotel is not walking distance to the major tourist areas, it was an easy drive. Our only issue is that our keys kept getting turned off, but luckily it always happened when someone was in the room so we weren't locked out and the front desk reset the keys right away. It was an inconvenience but not enough to take away from a positive stay.

Room Tip: I would try to get away from the pool if you want privacy and quiet. The pool side rooms open right...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Virginia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows

Property: The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
Address: 2223 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92104-1103
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Green Hotel in San Diego
#11 Best Value Hotel in San Diego
#63 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows 3.5*
Number of rooms: 133
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1946, the Lafayette has been the site of historical glamour, and offers a unique change from a typical hotel experience. Among its famous guests were Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Betty Grable. Inside, the Mississippi Ballroom took center stage where Hollywood’s stars came to dance the night away. Conveniently located to all shopping, entertainment and business areas, the historic Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows is, indeed, the best lodging choice in San Diego. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lafayette Hotel San Diego
Lafayette San Diego

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