Luxury within walking distance to Disneyland: The new Westin Anaheim
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Planning a trip to Disneyland is very different than vacationing at Disney World. There’s a long list of ways the parks are actually quite distinct, with one a big difference being that Disneyland is located in the middle of an actual town, rather than sprawling out as its own “city” the size of San Francisco, as Walt Disney World does.
While there are three official Disneyland hotels you can stay at when you are visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth,” it’s a lot easier to stay off-property at a non-Disneyland hotel without complicating your trip than it would be at Disney World.
For those that like to earn or use hotel points on their vacations, this is great news. There are many points-friendly hotels in Anaheim within a roughly 15-minute walk to the gates of Disneyland.
Not only that, but in the last couple of years, there have been multiple new hotel openings in that area, including the Radisson Blu Anaheim, the JW Marriott Anaheim – and now the new Westin Anaheim, which opened in the summer of 2021 and is located just across the street from the park that Walt built.
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If you want to stay at a nice, new hotel and still be very close to Disneyland without paying the premium to stay at an official park hotel, the Westin Anaheim should be a top contender on your list — with one big caveat.
This hotel, while quite nice and heavy on available suites, seems to have been designed more with the convention crowd in mind more than family vacationers. If you are looking for a hotel with an onsite waterpark, splash pad, bunk beds and bright colors, you’ll be better served down Harborside Drive at the Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance or even the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Anaheim Resort.
On the other hand, if you don’t need fun decor or a long list of family-specific amenities – and want a hotel that serves as a solid respite from the action, has a lovely rooftop bar and is a one-mile walk to the parks (less to Downtown Disney) – then you’ll likely be pleased with the Westin Anaheim. I say that even though there are some service hiccups for the new hotel to iron out.
Related: Best places to stay at Disneyland
The Westin Anaheim is located behind Disney’s California Adventure on West Katella Avenue. If you fly into the John Wayne Santa Ana Airport (SNA), it is about a 25-minute drive to the Westin Anaheim, depending on traffic. I rented a car and made the pretty simple drive myself on this trip, but have used ride-hailing services in the past. Uber prices vary but were estimated at $25 to $40 one-way to the airport from the Westin during my trip, more for Uber Black.
What it costs
This hotel is typically much more affordable than the official Disneyland properties such as the Disneyland Hotel or Grand Californian Hotel, but it isn’t cheap.
As a Category 7 Marriott, it costs 50,000 – 70,000 Marriott points per night. TPG values Marriott points at .8 cents each, so unless you have a 50,000-point certificate to use, it may make more sense to pay cash here and earn points when rates are relatively low. On many dates, rates start at $250 – $350 per night, which is the range it cost for my stay, so I just paid cash.
Thankfully, there is no resort fee at the property, but there is a parking fee of $35 per day for self-parking and $39 for valet. If you have a Disneyland Magic Key (annual pass), you may be eligible for a package that includes half-off parking, so check the offers when making your reservation if you need to park a car.
Things we loved
- The decor is new and beautiful, with a comfortable Westin Heavenly bed that makes it easy to sleep well at night.
- Of the 618 rooms, 121 are suites, which makes your shot at using a Marriott Suite Night Award not terrible. Ours cleared and we landed in a true one-bedroom suite that sells for 2x – 3x the price of the standard room we initially booked.
- The hotel’s rooftop bar had decent food and fun views of the park and the evening fireworks show, including piped-in music in time with the visible fireworks.
- Really tasty breakfast at Tangerine Room with both indoor and outdoor dining options.
- On-site lounge with a fun terrace and Disneyland views included for those with Marriott Platinum or higher status.
- Walkable distance to Downtown Disney, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
- Service can be hit or miss. Our room wasn’t ready until an hour after check-in, our server for the rooftop dinner was a bit overwhelmed and there were many different and conflicting answers given to the question of whether breakfast was a welcome amenity option for Marriott Platinum guests. We got most of the charge taken off at check-out but it was done as a “one-time courtesy,” so I’m still not sure what was actually supposed to happen.
- Housekeeping seems to be a bit understaffed, as room service trays sat in the hallway for long periods of time and the flooring in common areas wasn’t nearly as clean as you’d expect in a new hotel.
- Taxes are high for paid hotel stays in Anaheim – to the tune of over 15%.
- While it is walkable to the Disneyland parks, it is a two-mile round trip to the entrance gates, which may not work for little feet. You may want to bring a stroller if staying here with little kids.
- The pool, while fine, isn’t special, so don’t come expecting a resort-style swimming experience.
Once conferences return in earnest to the area, I expect the crowd at the hotel to be more mixed. But for now, on our weekend stay, the crowd seemed to largely be adults and families visiting Disneyland or otherwise on vacation. The decor is decidedly on the luxurious side, but with a modern twist that keeps things light and airy.
The rooftop lounge, Rise, transitioned to a more nightclub vibe with louder music around 7 p.m. – but it was still relaxed enough that my kids didn’t seem too out of place eating their cheese quesadillas and Sprite while others around us enjoyed tapas and mixed drinks.
We loved our room since we were bumped up to a one-bedroom suite when my Marriott Suite Night Award cleared a couple of days before check-in.
The suite’s colors paired deep blues with more earth-inspired tones — a combo I really liked for a relaxing stay. The suite had a half-bath, a table for four and a pull-out sofa in the living area.
The bedroom featured a king bed and spa-inspired bathroom with a standalone soaking tub in a setup that I’d happily recreate in my own house. There were plenty of outlets around the room for charging all our devices.
While we had plenty of space in our suite, standard rooms here come in just under 400 square feet, which isn’t bad and should feel spacious enough for most stays.
Food and drink
The food we enjoyed at the Westin Anaheim ranged from fine to quite good and I wouldn’t hesitate to eat a meal or two on a future stay there.
Since we had time to kill waiting for our room to be ready, we had some afternoon snacks from Bar 1030. This space serves as essentially a lobby lounge. This menu was heavy on light options including vegetable crudites and smoothies in combinations such as an almond blueberry, banana, kale concoction or one with coconut, mango, papaya, ginger and turmeric.
Both smoothies looked beautiful but tasted too healthy for my kids and almost too healthy for me, which may be good or bad news for you, depending on your taste.
Breakfast at the Tangerine Room was outstanding for a hotel breakfast. The weekend breakfast buffet went for $28 for the full buffet for adults and $14 for children, but we ordered off the menu instead.
I can confidently vouch for the avocado toast ($18) served on perfectly toasted rosemary bread with a six-minute egg, cotija cheese and more. The bites I stole from my daughter’s mi chilaquiles ($16) were also excellent with chorizo, fried eggs, tortillas, salsa roja and other layered ingredients.
Rise Rooftop Lounge
During the evenings on Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30 – 11 p.m., hotel guests can take in the fireworks and the surrounding Disneyland views on top of the hotel at Rise.
This is a tapas-style spot with options such as flatbreads ($10 – $18), crab and avocado roll ($18), bruschetta ($16), daily specials and an assortment of wine, beer and cocktails.
Service here was a little on the slow side and I didn’t love the food quite as much as in the Tangerine Room, but it was still more than adequate. They also did their best to come up with some little kid-friendly options when there wasn’t an obviously perfect choice on the menu. (Cheese quesadilla for the win.)
On top of that, the views during the evening fireworks were a whole lot of fun, so I recommend at least having a cocktail or two up here. Note that after 8 p.m., I was told there is a $30 minimum, which is pretty easy to hit with a drink and a snack.
Amenities and service
The best amenity at the Westin Anaheim, assuming you are a Marriott Platinum elite or otherwise have access, is the club lounge. Located on the eighth floor, this lounge makes it easy to have a quick bite and grab a couple of water bottles before heading into the parks for the day.
I only visited for breakfast, but found smoked salmon, pastries, fruit, yogurt, eggs and enough options to keep everyone happy for a couple of days. There isn’t a ton of indoor seating, but that’s more than fine as there are ample outdoor tables with a view.
At the Westin Anaheim there is a pool area that has cabanas available for reservation, plus a hot tub type of area.
On the Saturday afternoon when we arrived, this was a popular area, with many families relaxing in the heated pool – but the pool was pretty basic so we skipped taking a dip. If you want waterslides, multiple swimming areas and other cool features, this won’t be the spot for you.
However, even if you don’t want to swim, the hotel offers a pretty charming outdoor area with tables and games adjacent to the pool area.
While there isn’t a shuttle available (since it really is very close), if you need to pick up your park tickets or do other similar tasks the hotel’s concierge can help you out.
Out and about
Around a half-mile away at Downtown Disney, you can enjoy shopping and dining to your heart’s content. There is no cost or park ticket needed to enter Downtown Disney. If you like sweets, I recommend an epic milkshake from Black Tap and some beignets from Jazz Kitchen.
A pro tip is that you can mobile order some of the options in Downtown Disney and skip the lines that form in peak periods. I saved at least 30 minutes in line by ordering our bag of beignets online ahead of time.
Another great choice, with no park ticket required, is a stop at Trader Sam’s at the nearby Disneyland Hotel for a fun tiki bar sort of experience. And you can also score some Dole Whip at the hotel without even needing to enter the parks.
Of course, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are the two starring attractions near the hotel, so be sure and read up on our favorite restaurants there, how to score park passes, use points for tickets and more before you head out.
At the pool, you will find a chair-enabled lift in both the main swimming area and the smaller hot tub area.
The main floor of the hotel didn’t have any required stairs or steps and the website features accessible rooms with roll-in showers, hearing accessible rooms and/or kits, bathroom grab bars, 32″ wide doorways, doors with lever handles and a bathtub seat.
We had a great stay at the Westin Anaheim for an overnight before starting a long weekend at Disneyland. Having our Suite Night Award clear into a large suite certainly helped, but I’d book a stay again even without the suite if the price was right.
It will be nice when the hotel staff is able to get on the same page about Platinum breakfast options, but otherwise, it’s a fine Anaheim choice for those who want to earn or use Marriott points and perks. The hotel finishings are nicer than most of what you will find at a true Disneyland hotel, with a price point that is usually a couple of hundred dollars less per night.
On the other hand, you are still a full mile from the gates to the Disney parks and the hotel is light on exciting family-focused amenities. Just go into the stay ready for a nice room and fun rooftop – and save the need for characters or a waterslide for a different property.
Featured image by the author.
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