The Venice Beach Suites & Hotel (1305 Ocean Front Walk, 888/877-7602, www.venicebeachsuites.com, $155–250) is a surprisingly lovely and affordable little Venice hotel. It sits right on the beach, but it’s far enough from the Boardwalk to acquire a touch of peace and quiet. You can also stroll over to Washington Street to grab a meal or a cup of coffee, or just wander out of the lobby and straight onto the beach.
Inside, the rooms and suites all have full kitchens so you can cook for yourself—perfect for budget-conscious travelers and folks staying in Venice for several days. The kitchen’s also great for simply coming in from the beach for a quick lunch with ice-cold drinks! The guest room decor is cuter than that of an average motel; you might find exposed brick walls and polished hardwood floors stocked with rattan furniture and cute accessories. Check the website for weeklong rental deals.
For a charming hotel experience only a block from the ever-energetic Boardwalk, stay at the Inn at Venice Beach (327 Washington Blvd., 800/828-0688, www.innatvenicebeach.com, $165–275, parking $5/day). The charming yellow-and-blue exterior, complete with a lovely bricked interior courtyard-cum-café, makes all guests feel welcome. Inside, you might be surprised by the brightly colored modern furniture and decor. Common spaces are done in a postmodern, blocky style, while the guest rooms pop with brilliant yellows and vibrant accents.
The two-story boutique hotel offers only about 20 rooms, and its location on Washington Street makes it a perfect base from which to enjoy the best restaurants and beaches of Venice. Start each day with a complimentary continental breakfast, either in the dining room or outside in the Courtyard Café. If you need to stay connected while you’re in Venice, the inn has complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
If you want to bring your family to stay in legendary Malibu, one of the best hotels going is the Casa Malibu Inn on the Beach (22752 Pacific Coast Hwy., 800/831-0858, $150–250). This pleasant and kid-friendly property sits right out on the beach. Many of the rooms have ocean views; some also have gas fireplaces for cozy cool winter evenings. White bedsteads match the paint and draperies in the smallish rooms, while colorful bedspreads add visual appeal to the European styling of each unique guest room.
Some of the gleaming white bathrooms have oversized bathtubs, perfect for a relaxing soak after a long day out on the beach. Head down to the lobby of this unpretentious 1950s-era building for a genuinely fresh continental breakfast each morning. From there, you can stagger right out onto the sand to pick out a prime spot before the crowds descend. You don’t even have to worry about parking!
Yes, you really can stay at the Hotel California (1670 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310/393-2363, $197–310). Appropriately decorated with classic longboards and electric guitars, this moderate hotel sits a short block from the beach and next to the Santa Monica Pier. You’ll be in the perfect spot to enjoy all the best of Santa Monica without ever having to get into a car or worry about finding parking. Inside the hotel, you’ll find hardwood floors and matching bedsteads, calming pale yellow walls, and white comforters and linens.
Choose between a classic guest room, a Jacuzzi suite with the obvious amenity, and one- and two-bedroom suites. Outside, enjoy the lush greenery of the oddly named Spanish Courtyard, which looks more like something from the tropics than from Europe. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, a mini-fridge, and a smoke-free hotel experience.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition