For a quiet, private inn experience in the midst of the big city, try the The Turret House (556 Chestnut, Long Beach, 562/624-1991, www.turrethouse.com, $130–160). This cute late-Victorian home sits on a street corner in the densely packed residential section of Long Beach. Each of the five guest rooms has its own decorative theme, an antique bedstead, a clawfoot tub, plenty of knick-knacks, and a few pieces of high-end original art—all for a surprisingly reasonable rate. After your breakfast, stroll out into town for more coffee or perhaps a brief downtown shopping spree.
For a cute near-the-sand motel in Manhattan Beach, stay at the Sea View Inn at the Beach (3400 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310/545-1504, www.seaview-inn.com, $143–250). With only a block to the sands of the beach, this is a great place to hole up if you’re in town for some surfing, volleyball, or sunbathing along the shore. (You’ll avoid the traditional summer beach parking nightmare by leaving your car at the motel.) Just grab a boogie board and some beach chairs from the lobby and head on out.
Inside, the guest room appointments are prettier and more coordinated than those of most moderate motels. Rooms are done in light blues and whites, with matching prints on the walls and possibly even a live plant to add a homelike touch. The complex of blocky, mid-century modern buildings has its own small swimming pool as well, set in a small, plant-strewn courtyard. Just around the corner, you’ll find an array of restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs.
Of the three Best Westerns that comprise much of Redondo Beach’s hospitality, the Best Western Sunrise (400 North Harbor Dr., Redondo Beach, www.bestwestern-sunrise.com, $148) is the best of the lot, with rooms overlooking Redondo’s King Harbor and the location within walking distance of the pier and its restaurants and bars. Rooms are clean and comfortable, and the decor is cute and modern, with plaid bedspreads and light wood furniture. You’ll get all the standard amenities you’d expect at a Best Western, plus a nice pool and spa, a gym, free Wi-Fi, and a complimentary breakfast.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition