This will be a short review of my stay at the SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western in Lompoc, California. You might ask yourself, where the hell is Lompoc? Well, that’s a good question. I haven’t heard of Lompoc before and it’s not a famous place for an ordinary person. However, if you are interested in space and rocket launches, you might know Lompoc as the closest city to Vandenberg Air Force Base. I was here for the Falcon 9 launch carrying the Radarsat Constellation of the Canadian Space Agency.
Vandenberg Air Force Base / Lompoc is about a 3-hour drive north of Los Angeles International Airport. I took the scenic route, which is a little bit slower, but it takes you along the coastline on the famous Pacific Coast Highway. The drive took me through Malibu before I merged onto 101 which took me through Santa Barbara and ultimately into Lompoc.
I came here for a one-night stay. Well, that was the plane, but you never know how rocket launches go, and might have to extend my stay. I arrived shortly before the official check-in time of 3 p.m.
I grabbed my camera bag and carry-on and walked into the lobby. The first thing you notice is the lack of an automatic door into the lobby. I know, first-world problems, but it is just more convenient than holding the door open to get your bags in, especially if you travel heavy like me.
Once inside I walked up to the front desk where the clerk helped a couple out with viewing locations for the upcoming rocket launch. After a few minutes, it was my turn and the clerk already assumed that I am here for the rocket launch as well. He checked me in and gave me a brief overview of the property and where to find what. I also got a choice of bonus points or a snack and two bottles of water as my loyalty benefit.
He gave me my room key and I went to the elevator just next to the lobby to go up to the fourth floor. I pressed the button for my floor but nothing happened. You must actually press the close-door button to get the elevator to work.
1 King Guestroom (Room 411)
After getting off the elevator it was just a short walk down the hallway to get to my room. I was surprised that the room was actually pretty small. Barely enough to get all my bags in and set aside somewhere. The room also had a weird smell like the heavy usage of bleach.
The bathroom was very small and had a shower-bathtub combination. The vanity was outside of the bathroom on the opposite wall. Opposite the bed is a closet with a TV on top of it. The flatscreen TV looked actually fairly new rather than the rest of the room which was very outdated. Next to the TV was a work desk to set up my laptop. This one was rather small as well. The desk was in the corner of the room and close to the window. The window was not the issue, because you could close the shades if you get glare on the screen. However the AC was mounted right underneath the window and when you turn it on and sit at the desk, the cold air blows straight in your neck. I really hate this room setup and it’s, unfortunately, a very common setup.
On either side of the King Bed was a nightstand with a lamp. To plugin anything, you had to find the power outlets behind the nightstand as there were none easy to reach. A little sofa chair was in the other corner of the room, next to the bed. A big plus of the room was the rather big refrigerator and a microwave in the room.
1 Queen Kitchenette Suite (Room 730)
Almost two years after my initial stay at this property, I came back for another rocket launch. I tried to get a room at one of the nearby Hilton’s but they were already sold out. The booking was made just a few days before arrival. Nothing has really changed at the property except that we are still in a pandemic and there is no more breakfast buffet. You only get a to-go bag with an apple, water bottle, pastry, and oatmeal. During my check-in for this stay, I tried to get the booked suite on a ground floor level, as I had a lot of things to unpack. Unfortunately, they don’t have any of the suites available on the ground floor and therefore I requested a suite close to an elevator. Well, he was able to get me very close to the elevator, but it was broken and there was already a sign on it. As I called back if they may have the same room closer to a working elevator, he was surprised that the elevator was down, even though they put signs on it. Either way, I stuck to the assigned room.
The first part of the room is identical to the other room I stayed in before. When you walk in you have the vanity and bath sink right next to the entrance door and opposite of it is the bathroom with toilet and shower/tub combination.
After that you find the Queen bed tucked in a niche with nightstands on either side. Unfortunately, neither of the lamps on the nightstand had a power outlet and I had to unplug the alarm clock to plug in my charger. Who even uses these alarm clocks anymore nowadays? Opposite the bed were two closets. One bigger one with hangers for your clothes and a smaller one with drawers and a TV on top of it.
Just past the bedroom area of the room was the living room/kitchenette. The kitchen has everything you need to prepare a basic meal. You have a decent-sized refrigerator, a stovetop, toaster, small coffee maker, microwave, and all the required utensils, pots, pans, and dishes. There is, however, no stove or dishwasher. The microwave sits on top of the kitchen island, which also doubles as your dining table with two high chairs. You have enough space to eat for two but if you put the room to capacity, which is four people, you have to take turns. 😉 There is a tiled floor in the kitchenette area while the rest of the room is carpet.
The living area of the room consists of a sofabed with a cocktail table in front of it and a little stand to the left with a light stand. Opposite of the sofabed is the TV as well as a small work desk with a chair to set up your laptop. Luckily the desk has wheels and you can put it right next to the TV stand, as otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to watch TV at all. For some reason, there was only one TV remote in the room itself. You probably only use one TV at a time anyway.
The room has only one window, which is facing east and overlooks the parking lot. Directly below the window is the AC unit. If you have the work desk pulled out and leave it right in front of the TV, the cold air from the AC will always blow directly on you.
The outside of the SureStay hotel made a very well-maintained impression. Also, the lobby looked nice and clean but a little antique. This is kinda the charm of Best Western hotels and I don’t mind at all as long everything is clean. There was plenty of seating in the lobby but other than you would expect, breakfast is in a different room on the other side of the property. Almost across from the front desk is a pretty well-sized business center with four workstations to use. Pretty great setup.
The fitness center is located on the ground level just halfway down the hallway from the elevator. As usual, you need your room key to enter the fitness center. Its size is decent and has all the basic workout equipment. Just have a look at the pictures.
In the corner of the L-shaped SureStay hotel building is the outdoor pool. It is located behind the building from the parking lot and you need your room key as well to enter it. The pool is pretty big and made a very clean impression. Next to it is a small hot tub. Around the pools are some pool loungers.
A big bonus is the super cheap guest laundry rate ($1.25 to wash and $0.75 to dry). Usually, you have to pay for washing already $2.00 and here you get the full program for the same price.
As mentioned earlier, you won’t have your breakfast anywhere near the lobby. Breakfast is served at the hospitality room on the ground floor next to the outdoor pool. To get in you need again your room key. Seating is rather limited inside the breakfast room. I would recommend you to come here early. If the SureStay hotel is full, it will get very crowded in there. They serve a continental breakfast with the usual items daily and some other items are rotating throughout the week. For example sausage links on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and crispy bacon on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
As I was staying here only one night and the rocket launch was shortly after 7 a.m. I left the SureStay hotel ahead of breakfast time. I was able to grab a few bites after the launch, as I was back in time before breakfast would close.
One of the best things is their evening receptions for guests which is Monday through Saturday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Every guest gets two free alcoholic beverages and you have a choice between 3 local beers, white and red wine. Nachos (cheese, chili, and jalapenos) along with a snack mix and popcorn are served as well during the evening reception. I got no chance either to enjoy this benefit as we had a pre-launch visit at the launch pad during this time. I am really surprised that they do it almost every day of the week.
As it was a very busy time for me here in Lompoc and Vandenberg AFB, I had not much time to enjoy all of the SureStay hotel’s amenities. But one amenity I needed the most was not working. It was the complimentary hotel Wi-Fi. The login code was on the paperwork I received during check-in. I was able to log on to the network but the internet was so slow, basically, it wasn’t working. It was just fast enough to send a ping but loading a webpage, impossible. I called the front desk if they know anything about it and he thought I was asking for the password. I explained that I am logged in and that the connection is just terrible. He told me to wait and that he will send someone to help me out. Nobody ever showed up at my room, nor did anyone fix the internet this evening. I went to bed at 11 p.m. and the internet was still not working. I tried multiple devices to make sure it’s on the SureStay hotel’s side and not mine. This was the biggest downside, as I had to use my phone’s hotspot function to actually work. Nowadays, pretty much everyone relies on a good internet connection. Besides this kind of big issue, I had no problems at the SureStay hotel. Check-out was easy and efficient.
SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western Lompoc
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.