Venice Beach's tallest boutique hotel is the Hotel Erwin, but that doesn't mean this is a towering skyscraper. For with strict zoning regulations in place, most of Venice is a low-slung beach community filled with quirky inhabitants and visitors; that is, except for the 8-story Erwin. So be sure to check in to this budget-friendly beach hotel before sunset and then head up to the outdoor penthouse where the High Rooftop Lounge awaits. There you'll gasp at the incredible views (and get a good grasp of exactly where everything is actually located in the City of Angels). Look north to Santa Monica and Malibu; northeast to see Brentwood, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills; due east for Century City's skyscrapers and further east for downtown L.A.; and south to Marina del Rey, LAX and the South Bay. It's amazing, as are the nice rooms to be had here at a reasonable price.
At the Hotel Palomar, there's plenty to enjoy. A prime location on Wilshire Boulevard near UCLA, well-appointed rooms featuring free wireless and daily newspapers and even a nightly wine tasting from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Add in room rates that won't break the bank, a fitness center, heated swimming pool and free bicycle rentals for guests and this may just become your go-to place when visiting the City of Angels. Discover Blvd 16 during your stay, the hotel's bar-restaurant that serves up food and drinks from early morning to late at night. The bar is open until midnight, so plan a nightcap here to finish off your daily L.A. adventure in style.
With a perfectly central location, the Farmer's Daughter Hotel is a fun, slightly kitschy place just across the street from The Grove shopping center and the Original Farmer's Market. It's in the mid-Wilshire/Fairfax area, which means getting anywhere from Hollywood to downtown to Beverly Hills is a reasonably easy drive. The hotel has been around for decades, but with a complete renovation, it is a comfortable spot with a slightly country feel. There are plenty of terrific restaurants just across the way (try the Gumbo Pot and the Whisper Lounge, for starters), but Tart Restaurant at the hotel is worth a visit, too.
If it is pure beach vacation that draws you to Southern California, then head straight from LAX to the Hotel Hermosa. For while it is not beachfront, this comfortable hotel is right on the main drag (Pacific Coast Highway) in the South Bay, allowing you to roam from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and even down to Disneyland for an easy day trip. Add in that your room rate includes breakfast, wireless, parking, a swimming pool and fitness center and we're sure you'll agree that this is a real deal. Be sure to visit the Hermosa Pier area while visiting, where lively clubs, restaurants and Jay Leno's favorite stand-up spot (the Hermosa Comedy and Magic Club) beckon. Add Saint Rocke to your list, too, where terrific live music happens just about every night of the week, just a few blocks south of the hotel.
If your visit to the City of Angels involves travel from beach to downtown, Westside to the Valley, then the Hotel Angeleno is the perfect place to call home. Located just off the busy 405 freeway at Sunset Boulevard, the Hotel Angeleno's comfortable setting allows easy travel to the beach, the valley (where many of the movie studios are located) or downtown. Plus, the Getty Center is a stone's throw away, if art and culture are on your agenda; and UCLA's campus is a quick drive south. Well-appointed rooms, free valet parking for hotel guests and complementary wireless make this an excellent choice. Don't miss the views (or the food) from West Restaurant, especially at sunset.
It has been 100 years since the Cadillac Hotel began serving travelers who want the real California beach experience, and they are still making sure that each person has a trip to remember. That's pretty simple, considering that this reasonably priced hotel sits right on the famous Strand (in this stretch known as the Venice Boardwalk). Step across that concrete bike path and you're on the sand; or take a stroll and you're in the heart of the Venice Beach experience. Take a moment or two and you'll find Muscle Beach and the famous basketball courts. Rent bikes or standup paddle boards from one of the many local shops, and you can range north to Malibu or south to Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo beaches. Just remember that you have to ride back! Book early during high season (July to October), when the weather is glorious.
The exotic Hotel Figueroa is one of downtown Los Angeles' special spots, a Moroccan-themed hideaway in the heart of the city. Housed in what was once the YWCA (built in 1925), the hotel is literally across the street from L.A. Live, Staples Center, the Grammy Museum and the Convention Center, making it perfect for those with business or pleasure plans (Lakers game, anyone?) in this bustling district. Expect to find rooms furnished to look like the Casbah, with tones of burnt sienna, yellow and orange, but to be right up to date with amenities and modern touches. Many rooms have full bathtubs and canopy beds; all have refrigerators and ample closet space.
Reasonable prices, with a Continental breakfast included, and free snacks (think "soda, candies, salty treats,"as they explain) all day and night make the Magic Castle Hotel an excellent home away from home. The comfortable basic rooms feature free wireless, refrigerator, coffee maker, DVD player, and even robes and slippers, making the Magic Castle Hotel a cut above other budget offerings in Los Angeles. And it is located just above the bustling section of Hollywood, steps away from the famed TCL Chinese Theater IMAX, Hollywood & Highland shopping center and the Dolby Theatre, where the Academy Awards are handed out each year. Plus, there's a heated swimming pool, turn-down service and the place is very kid friendly, which explains why the hotel keeps winning awards like the 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Located slightly off the beaten path, the Hollywood Hotel's 130 rooms feature a quiet oasis in the heart of the crazy scene that is Hollywood. Amenities at the hotel include a free American hot breakfast every morning, a refrigerator and microwave in every room, free wireless Internet, a swimming pool, sauna and fitness center. The 1160 Bar & Lounge is a nice place to unwind; on Monday and Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m., you'll find a free comedy stand-up show there, led by funnyman Jeff Hilliard. And while having a car is usually key to getting around Los Angeles, there is a Metro Red Line stop just steps from the hotel, so getting around the city is a snap.
The recently renovated Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza boasts 452 guest rooms and suites, a heated outdoor lap pool, Noé, a lovely restaurant with an outdoor patio overlooking the city and more, all to be had for a very reasonable room rate. Located on the city's historic Bunker Hill, the Omni is within walking distance of some of L.A.'s top cultural landmarks, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Mark Taper and the Ahmanson theaters; and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is also nearby. Staples Center, the Nokia Theater and L.A. Live are close by, too, as are plenty of top-notch restaurants. The hotel has a 4-Diamond AAA rating.