Best for Families
With a great location close to both the beach and boardwalk, a terrific oceanview pool, pet-friendly programs, a new eco-friendly fitness center and spa, and a kids-stay-free policy (plus welcome goodies and special menus for young ones), Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica (tel. 866/563-9792 or 310/458-6700), tops my list as L.A.'s best family hotel. Families on a tighter budget might prefer Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Ave., Venice (tel. 800/786-7789 or 310/452-1111), located right next to the carnival-like Venice Beach and boardwalk. The large suites are equipped with full kitchens and a pullout sofa. If you're heading to Universal Studios, stay at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, 333 Universal Hollywood Dr., Universal City (tel. 800/325-3535 or 818/980-1212), which offers free shuttle service to the theme park and adjacent Universal CityWalk, both just a minute away.
Best for Business Travelers
With an oversize work desk, a fax machine, two-line phones, a terrific business/copy center, extensive recreational facilities, plus 24-hour room service and a wet bar for late-night, report-due-in-the-morning munchies, the guest office suites at Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 404 S. Figueroa St. (tel. 800/WESTIN-1 [937-8461] or 213/624-1000), are Downtown's best accommodations for business travelers. For a more casual California business experience, travelers might enjoy the beachfront Le Merigot, A JW Marriott Hotel and Spa, 1740 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica (tel. 888/539-7899 or 310/395-9700). A short walk from shopping centers, businesses, and major Southern California landmarks, and just steps from the sand, Le Merigot has great meeting spaces, boardrooms, and state-of-the-art amenities and accommodations, including 24-hour clothing mending and pressing, complimentary shoeshine, and more -- all perfect for the busy business traveler.
Best Budget Hotel
The bargain of the beach is the friendly, family-run Sea Shore Motel, 2637 Main St., Santa Monica (tel. 310/392-2787), whose motel-basic but beautifully kept rooms couldn't be better located: in the heart of the stylish Main Street shopping and dining district, and just a stone's throw from Santa Monica's pier and sand.
Best for Travelers with Disabilities
With 25 accessible rooms, the Sheraton Universal Hotel, 333 Universal Hollywood Dr., Universal City (tel. 800/325-3535 or 818/980-1212), offers the most extensive facilities for wheelchair-using and vision-impaired visitors. Two bathrooms have roll-in showers; the rest have tubs with available benches, lowered closet rods and peepholes, and raised vanities and toilets. There are also strobe kits for door and phone, and Braille symbols on the restaurant menus and on all public facilities. Downtown, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, 404 S. Figueroa St. (tel. 800/WESTIN-1 [937-8461] or 213/624-1000), boasts 39 rooms with similarly extensive auxiliary aids and 15 with roll-in showers.
Best Hotel Nightlife Scene
The gorgeous 18th-floor Penthouse restaurant, bar, and lounge at the Huntley Santa Monica Beach, 1111 2nd St., Santa Monica (tel. 310/394-5454), is my new favorite hotel hangout. It has everything you need for a great night out: a lively bar scene, great food, beautiful 360-degree views of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Malibu, and plenty of eye candy. All this and no lines, cover charge, or snobby attitude. For Hollywood eye candy, the Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood (tel. 800/697-1791 or 323/650-8999), with its poolside Skybar and a Sunset Strip location, is still a contender for the hottest hotel nightlife scene, but for sheer number of rejections at the door, the new king is the rooftop Drai's Lounge at the W Hollywood, 6250 Hollywood Blvd. (tel. 877/946-8357).
Travel page content provided by Zagat © 2013, Google.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.