Thanks for kind words (I still would have answered without them ).
No, the properties were both all aces at check in and throughout the stays . What I have been observing is the strength of the market. Being the n'er do well that I am, I have the good fortune of having the luxury of planning trips well in advance, often going where there are low prices and good values. Back in the ol' days (2012-13) even those well in advance rates would occasionally decline for even more savings. This year, every one of my rates have gone up (the only one I have saved on is the Brussels Marriott and that is due to the strengthening of the dollar vs. the euro).
So, in summary, I booked a rate at both hotels months in advance and the rate at check in had gone up $35 or more, which gave me a warm fuzzy, but I would have much preferred switching to a last minute deal. Marriott currently holds all the cards (except in my hometown Washington DC where we/you/pluto and others have snagged excellent deals at The Mayflower and other nice properties).
Great write-up erc. Glad to hear it was a successful trip. Any of the wineries or brewpubs that you visited that you would highly recommend?
Of the three brewpubs we visited, all of which I enjoyed the flights;
Oxnard - BJ's Brewhouse
Ventura - Anacapa Brewing Company
Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara Brewing Company
my favorite for best tasting brews (and best food and service) was Santa Barbara on corner of State St. and Haley
My wife enjoyed all of the wineries (which essentially were tasting rooms - some in industrial parks, some in retail shops, and several in converted former business uses like tire shops and warehouses, etc) her favorites, which I also enjoyed were;
Casa Barranca in Ojai (Reds and whites and a good way to get out into the mountains (about a 30 minute drive from Oxnard)
Gone West in Ventura (Reds - cabs, merlots, petite syrah and blends - they also offered whites) smack dab in the middle of farms in an industrial office space that (as you can see below) the proprietors cleverly and effectively decorated (with a nice television for the games as well ). Perhaps my vote went here because they also offered beers and I had a pumpkin pie beer - which was a tasty pumpkin beer with a brown sugar/cinnamon coated rim.
Santa Barbara had about a dozen all together downtown on Anacapa St.
It was hard to go wrong with wine in Central California.
Also as jerrycoin wrote - we were right in the middle of farm land going from Oxnard to Ventura (on Gonzalez) and stopped at several farm stands (after noting how hard and long in very hot temps the farm workers toiled) for berries, grapes, and tomatoes.
Gone West - excellent food, nice flights, seasonal beer, great folks, terrific time
Saturday college football added to the good times
You may have to look him up jakeal, but that's Roy Rogers, "King of the Cowboys". Roy actually was a business partner with Marriott back in the 70's and Mrs. Erc has a very similar photo with the real deal, so this was a must. The Wurlitzer is a reproduction made in the 80's (it holds records made of vinyl that play music ).
No beer or wine, but across the street from the Ventura Beach Marriott - tasty shakes.
Looks like a wonderful trip!
I must share with you, I have only been to an IN/Out place once, and it was in Oxnard, and it was terrible. Maybe, the wrong thing was ordered, I don't know, it was just a hamburger?
Maybe if I go back, it would be better?
Great info! Thanks for sharing. We are currently planning our January trip and looking to return to California. We were just there two weeks ago at the Pier South Resort, part of the Autograph Collection, and that review can be found here. We are hoping to avoid some of the issues we encountered then by reading up on the experiences shared here on the forum. (Seattle/Vancouver in November and thankfully I have personal experience with Marriott there through work so I think we are good to go)