on July 22, 2008
The Hilton Garden Inn LAX/El Segundo is quite convenient to Los Angeles International Airport, and provides very comfortable accommodations with a moderate array of services and amenities. Like most Hilton Garden Inns, rooms feature one king or two queen beds, satellite TV with pay-per-view movies, large work areas with well-placed outlets, complimentary high-speed Internet, mini-refrigerators, and microwaves. Other amenities in the hotel include a complimentary business center with computers, printers, office supplies, and a copier, a fitness center, a pantry with snacks and sundries, a pool, and a restaurant providing full breakfasts and evening dinner service, with room service in the evenings only.I've always enjoyed my stays at Hilton Garden Inns, and it is a brand I chose often for my work travel. Hilton has positioned the Garden Inn concept in between its full service Hilton, Embassy Suites, and Doubletree hotels and its limited service Hampton Inn hotels. As a result, the Garden Inns provide a variety of services not usually found at more limited service properties. For example, instead of just a continental breakfast, a full breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelets, eggs, and items like waffles and French toast is available. However, unlike limited service hotels, breakfast is not complimentary; the full buffet usually runs around $10, while a continental breakfast buffet only, consisting of pastries, fruit, yogurt, and other cold items, is available for around $5. However, unlike full service hotels, prices at Garden Inns are generally more affordable.The LAX/El Segundo Hilton Garden Inn is really two hotels in one. The majority of the hotel resembles any other Hilton Garden Inn. However, one wing of the building is called the "university wing." Here the rooms are all different. Hilton uses this hotel as a testing ground for new furnishings and amenities, and as a training center for its staff. As a result, the university wing has rooms configured for all of the different Hilton family brands. In the university wing a room may look just like a Hampton Inn, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, or Homewood Suites room, even though it is technically still part of a Hilton Garden Inn. There are also some special technology rooms, with high-tech features such as lighting controlled by a central remote control, and advanced audio/video entertainment systems. The university wing has a more private feel to it, as it is accessed through a set of double doors that separate it from the rest of the hotel. The wing also features its own stairs and elevators, and a separate exterior entrance to the parking lot. This helps make the wing quieter than the rest of the hotel.As a result of my Hilton HHonors Diamond status, I was upgraded to the university wing. My room was a test room for Homewood Suites, another Hilton family brand I've stayed in many times. Instead of a standard room, I had a two room suite with a full kitchen. The extra space was a nice treat, as I had just spent over 50 hours riding on Amtrak in a small Superliner Roomette. I also appreciated having the fully stocked kitchen, with dishes and utensils I could use to eat the dinner I had picked up at PF Chang's and taken back to the hotel.While the location of this hotel is not the most convenient for much of the LA area, it's quite close to LAX and some of the beach areas. I also recommend it for its unique features in the university wing. Although these rooms cannot be reserved in advance, requests entered on the reservation for an upgrade to the university wing are often honored by the staff, especially for guests who have membership in the Hilton HHonors frequent stay program.
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