Sunday, March 11, 2012

LA Places to Stay

Our friend Becky was looking for some ideas on where to stay when it's her son's spring break, and I realized I don't have enough LA hotel info up on the blog. Here are some of my suggestions: If you're going to LA for vacation, especially with a child, stay near the beach. My personal favorite hotel that we always stay at is the Sunset Tower in Hollywood, but when we go, we are not on vacation. We are trying to squeeze in visits with our friends, all who live and work all over the city, and we want to be in a central location. We also like that it has a bar and a restaurant that our friends are happy to come to, so we don't even need to get in a car to go meet them. But that's a very isolated situation, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for most families on a vacation. Here is what I would do--stay at any nice property in Santa Monica or Venice, so that you're close to the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, and Abbot Kinney, which has some of my favorite places to eat.

Venice Beach Eco-Cottages: These are one bedroom cottages, have a 3 night minimum, and the prices range from $215-250 per night. You could shop at the farmer's market and cook dinner at home, (or at least breakfast!) and there's a washer-dryer. (We haven't stayed here--I have just heard good things about it.)

Everyone talks about Shutters, but it's very expensive, and often unavailable. I also figure, if you're going to LA because you want to go to Universal Studios, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Getty, and then to squeeze in a trip down to Disneyland or Legoland, how much time are you really spending in your hotel room anyway? I'm putting in this Loew's Santa Monica, because the downside of the Venice Beach Eco-Cottages is no pool! Loew's isn't cheap, but I bet that since it's a bigger hotel property, you could probably use some kind of mileage program to get a free night. (We have not stayed here.)

Hotel Oceana Santa Monica: We stayed here when Clara was a baby, and I can tell it's been updated nicely since we were there. I loved the location, and the pool in the courtyard. Our really good friends have stayed here many times and love how relaxed and homey the vibe is.

The Viceroy: We stayed here probably several years ago, so I don't have the most current review...but we did really like it. The location was great--there's a great breakfast restaurant right across the street. And it's just up the street from the beach. And a walk away from the Pier.

Our favorite places to eat:
On Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach:Gjellina (for lunch, or very early dinner--it's a mad house at regular dinner hours), Shima, Axe
In Santa Monica: Huckleberry Cafe, Tavern


  1. All great suggestions ! I used to travel with my 18 month old son to L.A. and would stay at either the W Hollywood or the Standard downtown (only due to the proximity to my work). If I were to go now however (with two young kids ) I absolutely agree that Santa Monica is where you want to be. Your hotel suggestions are bang on.

  2. m street kitchen is a good brunch-lunch-or dinner option - we don't usually go for "family friendly" restaurants, despite having a kid in tow, but this one is perfect. good food, great atmosphere, relaxed, lovely and not too pricey - and their chocolate chip cookies are dead ringers for the famous city bakery chocolate chip cookie! (which is to say, sublime!)

    also, gjelina has a take away spot next door now that is fab for a quick bite.