Best Layover Ever: Learn to Surf in LA

••• Westin LAX

Next time a layover looks inevitable, consider a deliberate stopover in Los Angeles, where you can be catching a wave in the Pacific waters off of Manhattan Beach in as long as it takes you to claim your luggage at LAX and pull on a wetsuit. This extremely ambitious way to kill time between flights is being brought to travelers by the Westin LAX hotel, where a new Surf Concierge program—born from the personal passions of the hotel's employees—is targeting a growing market of millennial business travelers looking to stretch their legs between meetings.


The Westin, which is just under two miles from the airport, provides transportation to the beach before handing things over to the professionals. The program is run by local surf school Campsurf, which provides boards, wetsuits and personal instructors to guests of all skill levels. Beginner lessons start with a land-based demonstration of essential paddle and pop-up skills before transitioning to the water. Rest assured: Campsurf's instructors can pretty much place you on top of baby waves on the beach's appropriately shallow shore break. All that's left up to you: getting on your feet. 

Surfing hopefuls need not be overnight guests at the Westin, though the hotel does offer a Manhattan Beach Surf Package that includes group lessons, overnight accommodations and assistance from Jenny, the Westin's Surf Concierge. Westin LAX is strategically situated between the airport and beach, making a quick surf session a possibility even for travelers with just a few hours between flights—the hotel's day-use rates (20% the best available rate) that make it easy for travelers to freshen up before heading back to the airport.

The Surf Concierge program is also a plus for the Westin's large market of in-house meeting and convention guests—those traveling solely for business can still fit in a hit of California culture. 

The encouragement to stay active during travel is nothing new from Westin — the brand is known for putting a heavy focus on the personal wellbeing of its guests.

Run Concierges are available at all of the hotel's 250 global locations, and like LAX, other individual outposts are stepping up with further options like Yoga, Tennis and Hike Concierges. Knowing that bulky sneakers and gym clothes may not get high priority with light packers, Westin has also teamed up with New Balance on a Gear Lending program.  Guests can borrows shoes, and activewear from the hotel for just $5.00.

(As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some discounted services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.)