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Last month, I stayed at the Grand Californian four nights (DH had a symposium there, and the convention rate was phenomenal), then moved to the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn for another four nights. I know, you usually want to do the highest-end hotel last, but this is how it worked out.
Park Place Inn (I'll call it PPI from here on out) was very comparable to the GCH in terms of room size--my room actually seemed a bit larger than the one at GCH. It had a couple of advantages: it had both a table for two (which GCH has) plus a desk with chair, a microwave, and a free hot breakfast. From here on out, though, I won't be comparing the two, as the GCH at normal rates is beyond the budget for most of us!
To start with, PPI (like 2 or 3 other hotels) is as close as a hotel can get to the parks, without actually being in the park (as GCH is); it's actually much closer to the parks than the Disneyland Hotel is! PPI is directly across Harbor Boulevard from the shuttle dropoff, which itself is maybe 200 yards from the bag check area. The crosswalk is quite broad, and the WALK signs are lit sufficiently long for everyone to cross the street.
The doors are exterior, opening to the outside. Noise was never a problem; in fact, a prominent sign lists quiet hours and asks everyone to be considerate (I think the quiet hours were from 9 or 10 pm to 9 am or so). Parking is $10/night; however, I took the Super Shuttle to and from LAX for about $35 round trip and had no need of a rental car or parking.
The beds were queen-sized and comfortable, and the closet, drawers, and bathroom were large and clean. The pool was smallish but refreshing, and the hot tub was large enough to easily accommodate 8 people (the posted maximum limit).
Toiletries were standard--the brand was PAYA. The only nit I had there was the conditioner--my hair is thick and curly and tangles easily, and it took an entire bottle and a half to get the tangles out. Fortunately, the hotel provides two of those and the housekeeper started leaving extra when she discovered I tipped . I always carry my own conditioner now, too, anyway.
Hot breakfast buffets are offered 6-10 am every morning, next door on the second floor of Captain Kidd's Family Restaurant. Hot items include hash browns (yummy!), scrambled eggs, and sausage patties. Bread, English muffins, and bagels were located by a toaster, and other items included muffins, cereal, juice and milk. What I like best about this layout is that you can toast an English muffin and add egg (some of which were cooked in rings for just this purpose) and a sausage patty to make a nice portable breakfast sandwich to eat on the way to the park! I usually eat oatmeal in my room, to save time and calories, but I did make a sandwich on my last day to serve as an early lunch.
A final nice touch is that you can see Disneyland fireworks from the front of the building! Of course you don't hear the narration and music, but it was nice to see it anyway.
I found a decent rate on Expedia: $160/night. Bear in mind that this was an off-season rate, late September. The hotel describes itself as "deluxe," while it's described as a moderate in the Good Neighbor Hotel list, and the hotel's location and the size of its rooms make it high-end indeed, well worth the price I paid, while the exterior doors are more of a "moderate" touch, I think.
PPI also has mini-suites, but I didn't see them.
In summary, Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is an excellent place to stay, with the most prominent pluses being location, location, location! The next-best pluses are room size and free hot breakfast. It doesn't have the "magic" associated with staying on-property....but you couldn't even dream of staying this close to any park at Walt Disney World! Besides, you're a short walk (and bag check) away from all the magic you could desire in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.
Let me know if you have any specific questions, and I'll try to answer them. I can post pictures on request.
Haven't stayed at what I jokingly call "Beast" Western for years, but I never have had a bad stay at any. In fact, my experience has been higher quality for less money than the more common chains like Holiday Inn. The rooms tended not to be so ho-hum hotel, too. You didn't walk into a room that looked like rooms everywhere else.
PPI sounds like it could be a great choice for those wanting a comfy but not fancy-schmancy room. Sure couldn't complain about the location!
"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." -- Alice (Alice in Wonderland)