About Our Unusual Concrete Hotel


Though we closed on our new home Friday, we won’t be moving in for another week. The washer and dryer were delivered yesterday, but we still have no refrigerator nor furniture nor any of the possessions we packed up in Connecticut. We’re staying in Old Town Irvine in a building with a history.

20130630_103107-w1200-h1200This La Quinta, squeezed between I-5 (“The 5”) and the Metrolink/Amtrak tracks, didn’t begin life as a hotel. It was built as a grain elevator, mainly for lima beans! That’s it in the 1957 photo at the top of this entry and on the left in a photo I just took.

Before Irvine became a city, this area was part of the immense Irvine Ranch–over 100,000 acres. Agriculture has been pushed aside by development gradually over the past few decades.

20130630_103218-w1200-h1200What makes this building so unusual is it’s constructed entirely of concrete. That’s my hand straddling an exposed wall, cut to make a connecting hallway between two silos.

Our room is a six sided concrete bunker with some small concrete inserts to round the corners. The doorways and windows were cut out of the previously solid concrete.

Sure, we’re near the highway and railroad tracks, but we hear little. Hello, it’s solid concrete!

Unfortunately, the floors which were added during the conversion from grain to guests are not concrete. We found out what that means around 2:30 AM when the people above us went crazy!

It sounded like they were wrestling or jumping up-and-down. Whatever it was IT WAS LOUD.

What a wake-up! Surreal. More noise by far than I’ve ever heard inside a structure. Helaine thought the ceiling might collapse!

One call to the front desk and the noise was quickly quelled, but not before we suffered through an hour of it. Very disappointing in a hotel we otherwise like.

20130630_093748-w1200-h1200This hotel, like all the hotels we stayed in during our cross country journey, offers a free continental breakfast. The menu is very limited. Did I mention it’s free?

I suspect there are people who go hotel to hotel getting these free breakfasts. No one checks if you’re a guest. No one has asked for our room key.

Who knew?