Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms
Few think of Fairfield, California as a go-to destination. In the past, it’s been more of a place to stop for gas and burgers as you blow into San Francisco.
However, on-going upgrades to the Hilton Garden Inn (on Gateway Court at Travis Boulevard) should make travelers reconsider over-night stays, as the place offers all the comforts of big city hotels at a fraction of the cost.
Value mixed with luxury is the mantra here: Patrons are afforded spacious rooms chock full of amenities for what amounts to small-town bed-and-breakfast prices. In light of today’s economy, with high fuel and food prices and endless surcharges added to every layer of life, it’s now vital to be able to maximize the reach of your dollars. The Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield shows that it’s very possible to do this without sacrificing a hint of quality.
ROOMS: The hotel boasts 150 guest rooms on four floors, including the standard king (one king-size bed) and the double queen (2 queen-size beds), in addition to a “junior suite” – this akin to a studio in that it has a dedicated living area with a coffee table and sofa (an amenity that graces many of the rooms at the Hilton Garden). In addition, all rooms come with a microwave oven, coffee-tea maker, small refrigerator, complimentary coffee, wifi and a digital clock. There are a host of things to remark on about the accommodations at the Hilton Garden, but the thing that stands out is its cleanliness: No clumps of dust or hair balls behind the door, no coca-cola stains on the pillow-cases. Although cleanliness is a common catch-phrase you often see in hotel advertising, and the Hilton Garden gets a high grade here. Also, the sofa and desk chair are both surprisingly comfortable for hotel furniture; and again, they’re clean, no stickiness coating the skin when you finally stand up. If you were an artist assigned to sketch an illustration of a hotel to show the audience that point where luxuriant value intersects with affordability, the finished product would depict the many faces of the guest rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn. For these kinds of dollars, this is as good as it gets.
INTANGIBLES: At first glance, the Hilton Garden seems to boast a purely corporate focus. But this isn’t entirely accurate. Over-all, the hotel does a laudable job at serving a dual purpose: During the day, the facility is dedicated to accommodating the business traveler. Specifically, over 6,000 square feet of banquet and meeting rooms make the Hilton Garden a viable choice for legal arbitrations and meditations, medical meetings and instructional seminars. But as day turns to night, the hotel brings forward a subtle social focus that extends a hand to the tourist traveler. Ahi’s Seafood & Chop House has an incredible menu for an off-the-highway hotel: Executive Chef Peter Garcia’s creativity is on center stage as he takes common plates and infuses them with his own distinct style. For example, the crispy salmon with soy glaze personifies the culinary focus of the eatery as layered taste is created via a careful blend of market-fresh ingredients and spices. Even though Ahi’s is on hotel grounds, it’s far from the standard hotel fare. Instead, the broad menu and eclectic preparation collectively demonstrate why the place is frequented by locals as well as folks staying at the Hilton. Moreover, that newly-remodeled ballroom and the adjacent meeting rooms don’t just lock their doors come Friday afternoon. Instead, they’re often in use on the weekends for wedding receptions, wakes, anniversary parties and quinceaneras (a Hispanic tradition celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday as she moves from adolescence into womanhood). Rooms at the Hilton are in high demand and the occupancy rate is high year-around. That fact alone speaks volumes and tells the story of the place better than any review can.
EXTRAS: Chairs or sofas in rooms (depending on suite size); free parking; complimentary in-room coffee; complimentary fresh-brewed Starbucks coffee in lobby from 6 AM to 11 AM daily; free wifi that runs along at a sure speed, even though there is often heavy use; a business center which offers public access to a computer and printer; Ahi’s Seafood & Chop House on-site, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (6 AM to 10 PM); hotel bar adjacent to restaurant with big-screen television; free house-baked cookies every evening beginning at 5 PM; complimentary wine, cheese and crackers every Tuesday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM (with a sampling of local wines).
LOCATION: The Hilton Garden offers an assortment of possibilities for day-trips to landmarks in every direction. Located on the Interstate 80 corridor between Vacaville and Vallejo, the hotel is central to everything in the North Bay, East Bay and Sacramento Valley (it’s approximately 45 minutes to each of these areas, as well as Oakland and the Bay Bridge/San Francisco to the west). The Hilton Garden also sits in the backyard of the famous Napa Valley, which houses some of the best wineries in the country. Additionally, the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Jelly Belly Candy Company, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, the Mankas Corner neighborhood in Fairfield (home to Vezer’s Family Vineyard), and the Vacaville Outlets are all within a 20 minute spin by car.
PRICE: The rates for rooms range from $119 to $199. In sum, you’re paying a third of the price you’d pay in Napa or San Francisco for similar high-end accommodations.
INFORMATION: For details and pictures, please refer to the Hilton Garden Inn website.