Not your average Radisson: The Radisson Blu Anaheim
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The Radisson Blu Anaheim is one of two new luxury hotels in the Anaheim Resort area.
And this isn’t your average airport Radisson. With two pools, a rooftop garden and designation as a Disney Good Neighbor hotel, the Radisson Blu Anaheim is a notch above the typical property that might come to mind.
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Here’s what you can expect when staying at this Disneyland-area hotel.
When I made my reservation, the hotel was offering a “Magical Reopening” package. For $30 more than the standard rate, I got free daily parking (normally $25), a $25 Disney gift card and a daily $100 food and beverage credit. This was a great value, especially the food and beverage credit, which could be used at both the cafe and rooftop restaurant.
You can book this hotel using 50,000 Radisson points per night. If you’re like most people and don’t have a stash of Radisson points on hand, you can still redeem points at this hotel by paying with your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book your stay.
The Radisson Blu Anaheim is located in the Anaheim Resort area, about 1.5 miles from Disneyland. As such, you won’t be able to walk from the hotel as you would when staying at the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort. However, the hotel is located just off the freeway, convenient for getting to the airport or elsewhere in town.
There’s also a shopping center nearby, offering dining and entertainment options beyond what’s available at the hotel.
The Radisson Blu Anaheim offers self-parking, which is conveniently connected by a very short hallway. The first level is designated for green vehicles and there are even several charging stations available for electric vehicles. The parking meter was broken during our trip and the staff told me not to worry about it. Until it was fixed, they would comp parking for all guests. In my case, it was already comped due to the package I booked, but it was still a nice gesture.
We found a convenient parking spot and headed to the lobby. The connecting hallway had a sign outlining COVID-19 protocols, along with hand sanitizer. There was also a cool “Star Wars” statue. This is a Disney Good Neighbor hotel, so it’s expected that you’d see some Disney magic here and there.
Check-in and lobby
To the left of the sign was a short corridor leading to the lobby, which was stunning. They really got the decor right at this property. It’s the perfect blend of Zen modernism with fun and vibrant art thrown in for a splash of color.
The lobby had yet another sign advising guests to wear masks. There were social distancing markers leading up to the front desk, where each station was outfitted with a glass partition.
I was checked in by Stacy, who was friendly and professional. After welcoming me to the hotel, she asked me several questions about potential COVID-19 exposure, which I thought was great. I appreciated the extra caution.
We arrived two hours before check-in, so I didn’t expect them to have a room just yet, but they were able to accommodate us. After the COVID-19 questionnaire, she quickly checked us in, handed me the $25 gift card and explained that we could use the $100 daily food and beverage credit at both the on-site cafe and rooftop bar.
With that, we were off to our room.
When we got to our room, the key wasn’t working. After repeated fails, I went downstairs to get a replacement. The agent found it odd, since it worked in the elevator. She handed me a replacement and told me to call her if I had any issues. The second key didn’t work either, so I gave her a call and she sent up an engineer.
He was able to open the door with his keys and speculated that it might be a battery issue. He said he’d work on it and get back to us shortly. About an hour later, Stacy appeared at our door with a new set of keys, apologizing for the inconvenience and offering us an upgrade to the room across the hall. I really appreciated that we didn’t have to travel far to the new room.
The rooms at this hotel are spacious and feature high ceilings. The large windows, light floors and furnishings definitely contribute to an airy feel. My niece, who has traveled with me quite a bit and has seen her share of incredible hotel rooms, was visibly impressed by this one.
The layout was identical to our first room but the view was better, offering more light and a view of Disneyland.
I appreciated the abundance of power outlets above the nightstand. There were two, plus two USB ports.
The room was clean and a pack of sanitizing wipes was laid out for us. The room featured two comfortable beds, with two chairs and a table by the window. Above the refrigerator was a coffee maker with several coffee and tea packets.
The closet offered plenty of space, with additional storage under the desk/TV console area. Hotel art can be pretty generic, but I thought it was well executed here. The cotton candy painting added a fun, bright pop of color and the artwork next to the desk was a nice nod to Disney insignia.
The bathroom was bright and featured just a shower (no bathtub), along with a fun art display. We saw simple, fun artwork throughout the hotel. It just gave the space a unique feel, which isn’t always easy for hotel chains to achieve.
The shower was equipped with a rainfall showerhead and refillable amenities. These are a sore point for some travelers, but I don’t mind them. What I do mind is when they’re difficult to use. In this case, there was a metal ring around the bottle, making it difficult to pump shampoo.
The shampoo didn’t really lather and there was no lotion in the bathroom. These were minor annoyances, but worth mentioning if they matter to you.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the hotel gym was open, while the nearby JW Marriott, Anaheim had closed theirs down due to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I didn’t actually use the gym and there was no one there when I passed it a few times, but it seemed well equipped.
I also appreciated how accessible the gym was. Normally hotels will have their gyms on a separate floor, but this one was just off the lobby, near the elevators.
The Radisson Blu Anaheim has two pools: one for families and a rooftop pool for adults only. The family pool is on the first floor, between the lobby and parking garage.
The heated pool and hot tub are accessible to families, with lots of loungers and seating nearby. During our stay, the pool was always packed, so we didn’t make use of it.
The pool does have a gate surrounding it, which is great if you’re with a toddler and just want to make use of the outdoor space nearby.
There were plenty of loungers around the pool, as well as cabanas that are free of charge. The nearby JW Marriott charges $250 per day for cabana rentals (which includes some appetizers and unlimited bottled water), so this is definitely an added value.
The hotel’s adults-only rooftop pool was also pretty packed, and I couldn’t get an unobstructed photo during my stay. In the evenings, you can go up there for cocktails and enjoy the sunset.
The Wi-Fi at this hotel worked great. I didn’t have issues with streaming, even though I was using the standard version.
Food and beverage
The package I booked included a nightly $100 dining credit, good at any of the hotel’s dining establishments. Currently, that extends to Blu Marketplace and Blu SkyBar. The FireLake Grillhouse and Cocktail Bar seems to offer a slightly more upscale dining experience, but it wasn’t open during my stay (it’s scheduled to open in July).
Blu Marketplace is a cafe just off the lobby that offers breakfast and snacks throughout the day. The breakfast is limited to baked goods and a sausage-and-egg sandwich. On the first morning, I asked the cashier what kind of meat was in the sandwich and she asked several people before telling me it was pork but “I’ll work on another option for you.” I’m not sure what she meant by that, but maybe they’ll expand their options in the future.
While the snack selection at Blu Marketplace was impressive, the pastries left something to be desired. The bagels and croissants were pretty dry and bland. The cold brew was pretty good and we ended up using most of our daily credit stocking up on snacks.
Blu SkyBar is located on the top floor of the hotel. We arrived before sunset, without a reservation, but only waited a couple of minutes before being seated. The outdoor area was packed with guests, so we were seated indoors, near the patio entrance.
The waiter informed us that dining was limited to 90 minutes, per CDC guidelines. It was plenty of time for us to eat and take in the sunset.
While I had doubts about making full use of the daily $100 dining credit, it actually ended up being easy at Blu SkyBar. We ordered the steak, lobster paella and asparagus. The steak was delicious but the paella and asparagus lacked flavor.
Overall, I felt like the Radisson Blu Anaheim lacked good food options. Hopefully, that will change when the FireLake Grillhouse opens soon.
The service at this hotel was great. The staff handled the little snafus (i.e., keys not working) well and seemed to really care about their guests. I talked to a few of them and they expressed genuine pride and excitement about working at this property. I observed several staff members walking around and making sure the pillows were fluffed, even in the outdoor seating areas that were never used.
At one point, I accidentally pressed the “emergency” button on the phone when I meant to call the front desk. A staff member immediately called me to ask if everything was OK. Apparently, an alarm went off. When I told him it was a mistake, he laughed it off good-naturedly and said, “They gave us instructions on what to do if this happens, but this was good practice!”
This was my first stay at a Radisson Blu hotel and I was impressed all around. I had low expectations considering this was a new brand for me and the hotel hadn’t been open very long. However, the rooms were so nice and spacious, I would have gladly stayed here during my entire four-night visit if I could have. While the on-site food options aren’t ideal for families, that will hopefully change when the new restaurant opens.
That issue aside, this hotel does a great job of catering to both adults and families without compromising the experience with either group. If you’re visiting Disneyland, this hotel isn’t ideal if you’re hoping for accommodations within walking distance of the park. However, if you’re going to drive or Uber to the park, I would absolutely recommend the Radisson Blu Anaheim. The “Magical Reopening” package, in particular, is a fantastic deal.
Featured photo of the Radisson Blu Anaheim lobby by Ariana Arghandewal/The Points Guy.
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