Guess what brought me back to Santa Maria? Yes, it was another rocket launch, this time by SpaceX. While staying overnight in the area, I try to stay at different places to cover pretty much every hotel in the area.
Booking & Stay Details
I booked the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Maria a day before check-in through the Marriott mobile app on my phone. The reason why I chose the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Maria had two main reasons. First, it had a decent rate of about $120/night which was comparable and in some ways cheaper than other hotels in Santa Maria or Lompoc. I also didn’t want to stay in hotels I previously stayed in and some of them don’t a very good breakfast choice because of Covid, like the Holiday Inn Express in Lompoc. Another main reason for choosing a Marriott branded hotel was the currently ongoing Amex offer where you could earn cashback for staying at a Marriott hotel. Overall, I stayed at the hotel for 3 nights.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Maria is located at the North end of town near Highway 101. This makes it also a great hotel if you are traveling along the coast and need a place to stay for the night before you continue on the next day. However, there is a lot to explore in this area many people don’t know about. One of the most amazing things here is watching a rocket launch in person. It’s just different than watching it streamed on the internet.
The hotel is located at the end of a culdesac. A Candlewood Suites by IHG is located next door and shares one driveway to enter the parking lot of either hotel. Speaking about parking, it is complimentary at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Santa Maria.
There are a few restaurants and shops nearby. But you can basically find everything you would need in town. The best restaurant in town is Shaw’s Steakhouse. They have some of the best steaks I ever enjoyed.
After arriving at the hotel, I parked straight at a parking spot near the main entrance. It was late afternoon and nobody was in line to check in. Overall the whole process took only a few minutes. As usual, I had to show my ID and credit card and received my room keys. As a welcome amenity, I had the choice between a market item or points and I decided on points. Besides that, I also received two water bottles as a loyalty bonus with Marriott. The elevators are down the main hallway to the left. Masks were still required during my stay for all individuals and most people wore masks. Only some guests refused to do so but the hotel staff didn’t do anything to even make them aware of it.
1 King Bed Room (Room 321)
The room layout is a little strange. When you enter you have a long entryway leading to the actual bedroom. It’s a “wide” entryway, but not wide enough to set up a suitcase there. The rest of the room is not very spacious. I mean you have enough space to move around but if you want to set up your suitcase somewhere you will run out of space.
From the entryway, you have access to the bathroom on your right. The bathroom has a decent size. A vanity with a single sink with a wall-mounted mirror is on the one side. Next to it is the toilet and on the other side, you have the shower/tub combination. Inside the shower are wall-mounted dispensers.
The King bed comes with a nightstand on either side. There is a lamp on either nightstand which also has a power outlet and USB port to charge your devices. Opposite the bed is a work desk with an office chair.
Next to that desk is a small closet which has a rather tiny flatscreen TV on top of it. The TV was broken, it had a big blue hue to it and a small black line across the screen. It didn’t bother me much, as I mostly watched streaming services on my iPad or worked on my laptop. To the right of the desk is another closet. The bottom of it holds a small refrigerator and on top you find a microwave as well as an ice bucket.
The bedroom area has a small niche, which serves as a “closet”. It has hangers and a luggage stand. It’s rather small and it’s not very convenient to store a bag in there if it’s a full-size piece of luggage. In the corner between the bed and the outside wall is a small sofa chair with an ottoman.
From the only window in the room, you get only a view of California State Route 135. The main road through Santa Maria. Besides some interesting skies during sunset, there is nothing really interesting to watch from the window.
Public Areas & Amenities
The lobby space in front of the check-in counter has some seating options to hang out. Perfect to meet up with the rest of your party before heading out.
Opposite the front desk, on the other wall, is the business center. It’s a little bit hidden and you won’t notice it right away while walking by. It comes with two workstations and a printer. There are also some newspapers and magazines you can check out.
Fitness Center & Swimming Pool
The Fitness Center and Swimming Pool share the same entry door. You get to a small foyer from where you can get to the fitness center or the indoor pool. Both require your room key to enter during normal operation. Because of covid, both are locked and you have to request a key card from the front desk. They will manage how many people are in each area. I never saw any people using the pool. Only the fitness center got used regularly.
The fitness center is not very big but has all the necessary workout equipment. Pool and whirlpool are both indoors which makes them easy to use throughout the year.
There is a patio out towards the back of the hotel. The patio is actually facing one of the busy main roads of Santa Maria. There is even a sign in the breakfast area inviting people to use the patio. Unfortunately, there is a small downside to it at the moment. You can’t re-enter the building from the patio. Once the door closes behind you, you have to exit the patio onto the sidewalk and walk all the way around the building to the main entrance of the building. It would be great to enjoy breakfast there, but there is no way at the moment to do so. The breakfast area and the pool area have a door with access to the patio.
The guest laundry is located on the ground floor of the hotel. Follow the hallway down to the left after the front desk. You need your room key to get into the laundry room. Inside are two sets of washers and dryers.
The breakfast was actually pretty good. It was basically a full continental breakfast buffet even tho we are still battling the Covid pandemic. Compared to other hotels, they made an effort to provide a valuable breakfast. Some items are individually packed rather than just being set up for everyone to grab. An example is the plastic dishware, it comes in a small plastic bag rather than being put on display in bins for everyone to pick what they need. The food overall was decent and exactly what you would expect from a Fairfield Inn breakfast buffet. The service was great as well. The staff member on duty kept all the items stocked and continuously wiped all the surfaces and tables after people left.
Coffee is available twenty-four hours a day. The coffee counter is outside the breakfast area, on the other side of the hallway. Not too far but makes it easy for everyone to get to all day long.
A small marketplace is located next to the front desk. They have some snacks, beverages, and microwavable food in case you are looking for something simple.
Overall it was a smooth stay. Besides the half-broken TV in my room, there were no issues. I barely used the TV anyway as I either watched a streaming service or was working on my laptop before going to bed. The biggest advantage was the breakfast as they offered a full continental breakfast rather than the to-go bags. You can’t go wrong staying here if it’s just for a few days. If you are planning an extended stay in the area for a week or longer, you might want to get a different option.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.