My family is just back from a great vacation to San Diego where we flew into the Orange County airport and stayed at two fantastic hotels going and coming. Hotel Irvine and Island Hotel, both located in Orange County close to the John Wayne Airport and owned by the same company, are hip, yet elegant properties that offer one of the best amenities I’ve come across at a hotel to date: a casual marketplace.
You know how it feels to arrive late after flying all day, starving, yet too tired to sit down and pay a fortune in the hotel restaurant? Problem solved at the Island Hotel and Hotel Irvine. Simply pop into the marketplace at either for a freshly-prepared sandwich, dessert, protein bar, soda, Red Bull or bottle of wine; pay no more than market price for them; and then kick back in the privacy of your own room.
Island Hotel debuted the concept first and has a smaller marketplace, while Hotel Irvine followed with a much larger layout. During our visit to Hotel Irvine on a Tuesday night around 9 p.m., it was packed! Apparently, it is also popular with locals.
The Hotel Irvine Marketplace also offers freshly-tossed salads with your choice of protein, freshly-baked pizzas and paninis and even a taco bar. They are happy to deliver anything they carry direct to your room at no additional charge and both marketplaces are open 24 hours a day!
ACME Hotel Company in Chicago also had a similar idea with the West Town Bakery in its lower level. While the selection was smaller, the prices were still reasonable and it was easy to pop in and out.
Why don’t more hotels follow suit? I’m sorry, but I’m NOT interested in paying $5 for a candy bar only to remain starving and aggravated in my hotel room forced to order a $20 hamburger from room service. There is a time and a place for these things, but please give us more casual marketplaces!
I loved getting up early on California time, grabbing a drink in the marketplace and typing away on my laptop in one of these hotels’ many comfy and stylish places to hang out with convenient plugs and chargers around every corner and every seat — and even at the bar!
Have you stayed at a hotel with a similar concept? What did you think?
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