Ok, it’s not the Montage…and maybe in a resort town this is what $300+ a night will get you, but I expected more. I had booked the rooms several months in advance, and there were four main reasons for choosing the By the Sea Inn: 1) walking distance to downtown and Master’s Pageant; 2) close to the beach; 3) the continental breakfast…yea, that may sound dumb, but I rationalized the price of the room by subtracting the cost of breakfast for three each morning. 4) The good Trip Advisor reviews.
Well, on point one this was a good choice. No way do you want to drive into town, and certainly not over to the madhouse at the pageant. There is also a free bus service during the summer that runs up and down PCH every 20 minutes (a stop is near the hotel), however, the bus is often full and drives right by you, so get ready to wave at all of the smiling faces! The north end of town is quieter than the south side, and you are very near Heisler Park (along beach walk), which is one of the more picturesque areas of Laguna Beach. If you want more of the action though, choose a south PCH hotel.
Point 2…yeah you are only a block away, but I just assumed that we would be able to see the ocean…especially from the balcony. We all got a good laugh when we opened the door to our balcony (see pic), which was the first and last time we opened that door. And for the ocean view…there is one from the second floor…but it is through a utility pole and power lines (see pic)…not exactly a lot of romance there.
Finally, the continental breakfast. It no longer exists. When we showed up in the lobby expecting to chow down, we were told they no longer offer the breakfast (and sure enough it is now removed from the website). Instead there is a nice snack basket in the room, which there was. Unfortunately, we snacked on those items the day before…and they don’t replenish the basket. What’s up with that? Why even place the basket if it is not going to filled? If I checked out and checked in again I'd get a new basket.
The rooms themselves were great. Good size, nice furniture, comfortable beds, clean, with a refrigerator, that was very handy. Plus the two free waters and a snack basket (that isn’t refilled). The room AC seemed to have a problem as it kept cycling off every ten minutes or so. The staff was very pleasant and helpful, and the parking is very convenient (and free). The pool is small, but the jacuzzi is clean and hot. There is also a sauna, but we didn’t get to try that. There is a grocery store a block and a half away for buying a little wine and cheese to sit and enjoy while you almost watch the sun set over the ocean.
The By the Sea Inn is a nice motel, not a resort, and imho, not worth $300+ a night, especially if you are looking for at least a view of the ocean.
Eating tips – 231, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Heidleberg Bakery, and drinks at sunset on the roof at K’ya.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As vast as the area's beaches, trails and art galleries, the pleasures at Laguna Cliffs Inn are virtually endless. Stay steps from the beach in a hotel that boasts an open-air design facing the ocean for a peaceful, picturesque experience. While here, enjoy coffee and croughnuts, Wi-Fi and our heated pool and spa, as well as our nightly wine reception and cookies and milk every evening. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Laguna Cliffs Hotel Laguna Beach
- Hotel Laguna Cliffs