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Nowhere else in Los Angeles does a neighborhood capture the essence of a city renowned for both glamour and fashion and weird rock 'n' roll grittiness quite like Venice Beach. Built to satisfy Abbot Kinney's dream of creating a ‘Venice of America,’ the famed canals, boardwalk and beach have become iconic LA landmarks. Venice Place Boardwalk is a place to see and be seen, where celebrity meets street and people-watching is prime. A heavy dose of skate and surf culture make for a laid-back, grungy vibe, and this is reflected in the local hotels. Hotels here may be small, basic in design and filled with historic character, but for the thousands of visitors who come to experience that special LA vibe, Venice Beach is the heart and soul of the City of Angels.
Best Overall: Hotel Erwin
With a relaxed energy, no-frills accommodation and a young, hip clientele, Hotel Erwin perfectly captures the atmosphere of Venice Beach. Since 1975, the hotel has played a key role in local culture, and its historic footprint has survived through several refurbishments which have given the hotel a fresh, modern feel. Large TVs, writing tables, coffee machines and iPod docks are just some of the homey comforts guests will find in spacious, well-lit rooms. The hotel's relatively large size makes for a lively environment, and the fun centers around the popular rooftop bar where guests can sip on cocktails while enjoying spectacular sunset views over the beach promenade and rolling Pacific waves. Down in the lobby, the Barlo Kitchen doles out quick and easy burgers, fries and other diner grub, as well as a varied and tasty breakfast menu.
Best Budget: Samesun Venice Beach
Standing alone with graceful arches, fluttering rows of flags and elaborate mural artwork, the Samesun Venice Beach cuts a dramatic figure. Just steps from the boardwalk and the beach, this well-located hostel/hotel provides dorms, doubles and ensuite doubles to suit any budget. Spacious rooms feature soft blues and whites and contain simple, modern furnishings — some with ocean views through the large windows. Guests can borrow free boogie boards and paddle tennis games for beach excursions, or else can hire bicycles to tour the surrounding street scene. The Surfside restaurant/bar provides a wide range of meals from juicy burgers to vegan salads. Social events, live music and DJ parties are regularly hosted and great all-day happy hour deals on beers and cocktails make it a prime location for people-watching over a drink or two.
Best Boutique: Venice Breeze Suites
In a classic red-brick building on the corner of the Speedway and Breeze Ave, Venice Breeze Suites places guests at the heart of Venice Beach Boardwalk's activity with the Drum Circle and Freakshow just literal steps from the entrance. Simple but stylish rooms feature exposed brickwork, hardwood floors and modern furniture as well as air-conditioning units. Fully-equipped kitchens come with chrome fridges and dishwashers, coffeemakers and utensils, while bathrooms feature marble tiles and large, two-person showers with dual rainfall showerheads. The rooftop deck provides excellent panoramic views of beach, surf and street, and is furnished with tables, padded couches in bright beachy colors, a BBQ and a granite serving counter. Laundry facilities are located on-site and guests can find a variety of restaurants and cafes within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Best for Families: Inn at Venice Beach
With a detailed and intricate 18-foot mermaid mural at the entrance and an eclectic collection of local art and quirky furnishings, the Inn at Venice Beach embodies the casual beach vibe and bohemian arts scene of the surrounding neighborhood. Modern rooms feature simple furnishings, large-screen TVs, coffee machines and in-room Wi-Fi and have plenty of room for additional beds to accommodate families of all sizes. Rooms come with a comprehensive and complimentary continental breakfast and fresh cookies — upon check-in — are a delightful touch. The hotel is built around an elegant European courtyard with cobblestone floors, a tiered fountain and wrought-iron furnishings. Set in an enviable location, the canals, beach and Venice Fishing Pier are all within easy walking distance. Beach cruiser bicycles are available for guests wanting to explore further afield.
Best for Romance: Venice on the Beach
A small, cute hotel clad in soft pastel pinks, Venice on the Beach occupies a relaxed section of beachfront that still offers easy access to the more energetic and excitable areas of the boardwalk. Ocean view rooms offer lively beach scenes through Venetian blind-clad windows and are styled in a simple, modern fashion with hardwood floors, soft grey beds and light blue walls. A continental breakfast is included in the room rate. Gourmet restaurants, upscale shopping boutiques and street-side cafes perfect for people-watching are all within close proximity. In the evenings, guests can watch the sun set behind graceful palm trees from the scenic rooftop deck which also offers excellent views of the Venice Pier, beach volleyball courts and Ocean Front Walk during the day.
Best for Luxury: The Rose Hotel
As one of the first buildings in Venice — it was built in 1908 by Abbot Kinney — The Rose Hotel has endured and become an essential piece of local identity. With a painted wooden façade complete with a white picket gate, hardwood floors and retro furnishings, The Rose brings a taste of traditional and classic style to lax Venice Beach. Room décor exhibits a simple grace, with wooden furnishing in muted tones creating a minimal and tasteful ambiance. Resident masseuses are on hand to provide Shiatsu, Thai and reflexology treatments for guests in the peace and privacy of their suites. Friendly and enthusiastic staff will accompany guests on a range of beach activities, surfing trips and tours of the area. Bicycles are also available for exploring the boardwalk and neighboring areas.
Best Business: The Kinney Venice Beach
Situated on Washington Boulevard with easy access to both LAX and the Santa Monica Airport, Kinney Venice Beach provides comfortable accommodations with sleek modern furnishings and an artistic twist. Psychedelic murals on the exterior facade and inner courtyard reflect the bright colors and retro furnishings to be found in large, well-lit guest rooms. Desks and chairs create a functional workstation, with large-screen HDTVs, mini-fridges and coffee and tea facilities providing homey comforts. In the spacious and relaxing courtyard, table-top fireplaces are surrounded by comfy chaise lounges, while the dipping pool and spa are a great way to unwind after a busy day. If you're looking to socialize, ping-pong tables provide a fun excuse to mingle with fellow guests. The small but serviceable fitness center contains aerobic and weights machines and the hotel hires out well-maintained, bright red bicycles for guests wanting to explore the wider neighborhood.
Best Hostel: Venice Beach Hostel
Cheap and cheerful, the Venice Beach Hostel is a small, homey hostel with friendly staff, a comfortable lounge with sofas, TV and a pool table and a rooftop terrace. Both 8-bed and 13-bed dorms are brightly colored in yellows, blues and maroon and private twin and double rooms offer privacy and ensuite bathrooms. A fully equipped kitchen is available for guest use and laundry and bicycle hire services are provided. For guests flying into LA, and staying two or more nights, a free LAX pick-up is offered. An American-style breakfast is included in the room rate and free tea and coffee are available throughout the day. The hostel attracts a younger, international crowd, drawn by its intimate, inclusive atmosphere and the short walking distance to the action and attractions at the nearby boardwalk and beach.