Shandelle Battersby checks into the Residence Inn Anaheim Resort/Convention Center, Anaheim.
After a two-hour slog through the security queue at LAX following the long haul from Wellington via Auckland, I could have cried when Terrence, our friendly Karmel shuttle driver, materialised kerbside at the Tom Bradley Terminal. He dropped us at the hotel in Anaheim less than an hour later, following a pretty good run on the freeway and we were in the rooftop pool as soon as we dumped our bags.
Check-in experience: Diego gave us our first dose of California friendliness.
Room: A spacious Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite on Level 6, the same as the pool, gym and laundry. It had two massive flatscreen TVs, a fully equipped kitchen including dishwasher, a nice sofa bed and two queens. The hotel is contemporary and fairly new, so everything was in great condition.
Price: Rooms start at US$139.
Free Wi-Fi: Yes, for up to three devices.
What's so good about this place? The location — it's a 10-15 minute walk to Disneyland, five minutes from the Anaheim Garden Walk (shops and restaurants) and Anaheim Convention Center, and an easy Uber ride to attractions including The Outlets at Orange, the Anaheim Packing District and Angel Stadium. I Ubered to Costa Mesa (half-hour) for a quick shop at the South Coast Plaza and my nephew (8) demanded a trip to Walmart for Pokemon purposes. Knotts Berry Farm is also not far, and I made the trip back to LA for the day to visit Universal Studios. One way to Universal with Karmel was US$28, and I decided to get the train back which cost around US$18 and proved an easily navigated journey.
Toiletries: Basic Paul Mitchell shampoo, conditioner and body lotion.
Food and drink: There is a Pizza Hut Express attached to the hotel at ground level but the hotel does not offer food aside from the free buffet hot breakfast which is great (especially the four waffle makers). There's a lobby bar with board games, and the Jolly Roger on Level 6 serves drinks and snacks poolside. The CVS pharmacy downstairs has basic groceries which is super handy.
The beds: So good. We slept really well.
A room with a view? Just of the towers opposite.
Bathroom: Plenty of towels and a nice big shower.
Noise: The Disneyland fireworks are so loud my brother-in-law woke from a post-flight coma thinking there was an earthquake.
Other facilities: Carparking and a self-service laundry available for a fee, and a well-equipped fitness centre open 24 hours. The pool deck is awesome — a huge spa pool, gas fire, heated pool, outdoor showers, loungers, cabanas, complimentary towels and a splash pad for the little ones. Note there is no lifeguard.
Perfect for: Families and couples in town to see Mickey and co or anyone attending a conference at the nearby convention centre. It's pet-friendly.