Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Savoy at The Hotel Hanford - Costa Mesa

A Holiday Inn will always be a Holiday Inn no matter how much paint and fancy pants carpeting or upholstery tries to cover it all up. Both the Hotel Menage in Anaheim and the Hotel Hanford in Costa Mesa, which were both Holiday Inn's in its previous life, went through extensive renovations to class up the joint--justification, of course, to charge higher room rates, and be different from the corporate stuff for the sake of being different from the corporate stuff.

But aside from the cosmetic and that the word "Hotel" precedes the name of the place (which somehow lends them their immediate boutique credentials), locals like me will always know it as the Holiday Inn. It's almost the same as how car buffs know that the Lexus ES 300 is really just a Toyota Camry underneath the leather and polished wood trim.

Yet these hotels do have a differentiator that matters more to me than the posh furniture--they have restaurants that are marketed as destinations in and of themselves.

The Hotel Menage's eatery, k'Ya, I reviewed a few years ago and then again on this blog when they decided to revamp their menu to "street food". And it is a good and decent restaurant that I visit every year for their cheap-but-surprisingly-good Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

Recently, I tried Hotel Hanford's Savoy not to necessarily compare it to k'Ya, but rather to propel our Open Table point count over the 2,000 mark. 2,000 points, of course, is the magic number where you get a $20 voucher from the reservation site. Ours had been stagnating at 1,200 points, even as we were putting down major coin at Mastro's to celebrate birthdays and such.

So when we saw that Savoy was a 1,000 point restaurant, we made the reservation (although the place is always empty). It's the oddball out of a list that includes more expensive restaurants. Compared to those, Savoy is a 1,000 point restaurant that almost can pay for itself. A dinner for two with the two entrees you see above (which included a salad or a soup and one dessert) amounted to somewhere around $60 with tax and tip.

Even without the earned OpenTable points, I thought the entrees themselves were reason enough to go. The chicken was a Frenched breast, cooked well with skin rendered down to crispy flecks. The pan-seared sea bass was large, easily twice the size you'd normally expect at places that does sea bass. There may have been a squishy asparagus here, and an over-reduced tortilla soup there, and the place was deserted save for the occasional out-of-town guest saddled up at the bar; but overall, it has proven to me that in former Holiday Inn's there are some decent restaurants.

Savoy at The Hotel Hanford
3131 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-3000

Early Bird Cafe - Fullerton


At 5:12 PM, Blogger caninecologne said...

my husband and i went to the hotel hanford for our anniversary last year. we had dinner at the savoy and were disappointed by their so-called tapas. their manchego cheese was not manchego at all, despite me questioning it to the waiter. he didn't know his cheese. the serrano ham also wasn't serrano ham. they may as well have served cold cuts! very disappointing.

the hotel itself was quite nice and swanky but i expected more from the food. at least my husband's food (he ordered steak) was much better.

my crappy dinner experience was salvaged since we were able to get in last minute at marche moderne for dessert.

At 8:13 PM, Anonymous JB said...

Believe it or not, The Hotel Hanford is now the Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa...guess they couldn't survive independently, w/o the benefits of a franchiser's branding, central reservation capabilities, loyalty program, etc. Savoy's name still appears on the sign on Bristol Street.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Wow that's a bad experience alright. I would've walked out too. Fortunately, we went into Savoy with very low expectations...which is always good I suppose. And I'm glad Marche Moderne came to the rescue!


Well I'll be...I guess that explains why receipt said Crowne Plaza!


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