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Hotel Review – Fairfield Inn Santa Maria, California

Santa Maria is often where I stop for a hotel night when driving between Monterey, California and Southern California. This city tends to be the lowest priced hotels between Monterey and Los Angeles when driving U.S. 101 and Highway 1 along the coast. The drive from Monterey is 175 miles and about 3 hours without stops. I tend to make detours and Cinco de Mayo was no exception with a side detour to San Luis Obispo, 30 miles north of Santa Maria, for Thursday Farmer’s Market and street events.

San Luis Obispo was a fun stop on a Thursday night with the town’s people on the streets in a relaxed atmosphere of street food, drink and outdoor music.

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San Luis Obispo has several chain brand hotels, but I have never stayed the night in SLO. The hotels are generally far higher priced than Santa Maria. After a couple hours in San Luis Obispo, I headed south another 30 miles to Santa Maria for my hotel stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites Santa Maria.

This hotel is located off U.S. 101 on the Broadway exit, the first Santa Maria exit driving 101 South. There are two IHG hotels in the same location with Holiday Inn Santa Maria and Candlewood Suites Santa Maria.

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria was priced $30 per night higher than the adjacent IHG hotels. I only stayed at Fairfield Inn due to Marriott MegaBonus ending May 15 and the opportunity to earn a free category 1-5 reward night certificate with two hotel stays by May 15, 2016. The Fairfield Inn was my first planned hotel stay on a three day, 850-mile road trip from Monterey to Orange County, California. The other advantage for Fairfield Inn is I purchased $200 in Marriott eGift Cards last week for $160 during Daily Getaways.

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Fairfield Inn Santa Maria is physically located directly adjacent to Candlewood Suites Santa Maria. Across the street in this business park region of Santa Maria is the Holiday Inn Santa Maria. I have now stayed at all three of these Santa Maria hotels and all seemed like perfectly adequate hotels for an overnight.

FISM lobby

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria lobby

FISM business center

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria business center off lobby.

The breakfast room for complimentary breakfast is located behind the fireplace. The selection was standard fare of eggs, meat, breads, fruit, yogurt, juice, cereal and coffee. The staff were attentive to keeping the area serviced with food refills and clean counters.

FISM Market

The Market for hotel food and supplies. One aspect of the location is this is primarily a business park area of town with limited stores and markets in the immediate vicinity. Most of the 100,000 residents of Santa Maria are located farther south in this large agricultural community spread out over several square miles. Much of the town is covered in shopping malls and fast-food joints.

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The room was comfortable and clean. About the only thing that caught my eye was a card on the bed with Arianna Huffington sleep tips. Falling asleep is rarely an issue for me.


Arianna Huffington Sleep Tips

The hotel has a 24-hour gym and indoor pool open during the day.

FISM gym

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria fitness room had some weights, an elliptical trainer and two treadmill machines. The exact same layout was present at the SpringHill Suites Bakersfield, the hotel I stayed at two nights later.


Fairfield Inn Santa Maria indoor pool. Hours 6am-10pm.

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria hotel is a good quality hotel choice for Marriott Rewards fans. The most surprising aspect of the hotel for me is the rate differential between this property and the two adjacent IHG hotels. I did a rate check for July 2016 and this Fairfield Inn is priced $159 when the adjacent IHG Candlewood Suites is priced at $104. I had a nice one bedroom suite at Candlewood before and I would not pay the premium for the Fairfield Inn, unless there was a good incentive like a Marriott MegaBonus free night. My room rate was $112 and $124.66 after tax. I paid using my newly purchased $200 in Marriott eGift cards.

Fairfield Inn Santa Maria is Marriott Rewards category 5 at 25,000 points per reward night.

Loyalty Traveler – Why Santa Maria is a good hotel stop for California coast drive San Francisco to L.A. (May 11, 2016).

Loyalty Traveler – Radisson Santa Maria hotel review (2011) My Radisson Big Night Giveaway 50,000 points posted. Hotel is airport location on south side of city and a few miles off U.S. 101. I stayed there several times on low rates under $100 per night for good value Club Carlson promotion bonuses.

Loyalty Traveler – Holiday Inn Santa Maria BRG (Dec 27, 2013). Holiday Inn Santa Maria is in same location as Candlewood Suites and Fairfield Inn at north end of Santa Maria, near U.S. 101 at Broadway exit, the first exit south after Highway 166.

Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Review: IHG Candlewood Suites Santa Maria (Jan 10, 2014).

1 Comment

  • Jana May 12, 2016

    We love the newer Springhill Suites Atascadero. It’s just past SLO and the hotel is a step up from most Springhill Suites. The staff was excellent and while there’s not much close by, it’s worth the extra drive. The hotels in SLO are all so tired and old.

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