Two weeks ago I dropped by a Candlewood Suites in Santa Maria, California for a quick visit on my quest to earn 30,000 bonus points from the IHG 2013 Big Win promotion. I needed stays in three different IHG brands for 22,000 bonus points.
Candlewood Suites is an extended stay apartment style hotel brand with over 300 hotels in the USA. Most of the extended stay brands I have stayed are similar to a two room apartment with a kitchen and dining unit off a living room area and a separate bedroom. The primary difference between extended stay hotel brands seems to be the quality of furnishings in the room and the facilities of the hotel like a pool and fitness facilities.
Candlewood Suites is ranked a midscale extended stay hotel brand by Smith Travel Research, a hotel industry data company. The six tier hotel market segment of hotel brands ranges from luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale and economy. The rankings are based on the average room rate across the hotel brand. Still, there can be a wide range in rates within a hotel brand depending on the hotel location.
Photos of Candlewood Suites
One bedroom suite offered kitchen, dining area, couch, chair, TV in living room.
Most couches in an extended stay unit open into a sofa bed. This Candlwood Suites had a large collection of DVD movies at the front desk available for free rental. I saw movies on the DVD rack that had not hit the premium stations on my cable TV (for free yet).
Bedroom of suite. Notice the laundry basket in the closet. The hotel has a small free of charge laundry room in the ground floor fitness center.
Laundry room at Candlewood Suites Santa Maria, California.
The bedroom has its own door and another TV. The bathroom wa a standard bathroom, so no photo here.
The kitchen is the primary draw of an extended stay hotel room.
Full-size refrigerator, microwave (with complimentary popcorn package inside), dishwasher and stovetop.
Eating utensils in the drawer.
Plates, bowls, glasses and toaster in the cabinet.
Cooking pots in the drawer.
Empty cupboard for personal food items.
There is a self-service market on site with the bare essentials for dining.
Candlewood Suites Cupboard.
Candlewood Suites Cupboard
Pay at the front desk or fill out a slip to charge to room.
Fitness room was small, but nice equipment where you can work out while doing your laundry. The hotel did not have a pool. A BBQ patio and gazebo was being fired up when I arrived on an 80 degree Christmas Eve afternoon in sunny California. Record high temperatures were being recorded across California that day as I drove 300 miles up the coast from San Diego.
One of the funny aspects of this hotel is a Marriott Fairfield Inn brand hotel was adjacent to the Candlewood Suites. From the outside the hotels looked almost identical. Fairfield Suites is not an extended stay hotel brand. The Fairfield Suites has an indoor pool. There is a Holiday Inn across the street where I stayed the week before with an outdoor pool.
IHG Candlewood Suites Santa Maria in foreground and adjacent Marriott Fairfield Inn in background. This photo was taken from Holiday Inn Santa Maria across the street.
Winning Big with IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points (Jan 7, 2014) – this post details how I earned 53,000 points from The Big Win promotion for $190 on four IHG hotel stays. The $77 hotel stay at Candlewood Suites Santa Maria was one of those stays.
Extended Stay Brands for Hotel Apartment Living (Jan 10, 2014) – overview of different extended stay hotel brands across major hotel chains of Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, IHG, Choice and Wyndham.
Holiday Inn Santa Maria BRG (Dec 27, 2013)
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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