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“Nice motel, but overpriced” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Laguna Cliffs Inn

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Laguna Cliffs Inn
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   475 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (Formerly By the Sea Inn)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 22 Hotels in Laguna Beach
San Diego
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
“Nice motel, but overpriced”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2008

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.

  • Liked — Rooms were clean and comfortable, and the staff very friendly and helpful.
  • Disliked — No ocean view and too expensive.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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507 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (141)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Park Ridge, IL
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2008

I agree with the previous reviewers that this is really just a nice motel, not any kind of resort, but then it really doesn't pretend to be (other than that, as has also been pointed out here, the website makes it look nicer than it is--but they all do to a point).

The good: 1) It's in a nice location--the north end of town is less busy, it's only half a block from Heisler Park (which is one of the most picturesque parts of Laguna Beach), and there's a grocery store a block away; 2) it's very quiet (even though it's right on the PCH all the rooms face the ocean, and the walls must be pretty thick--we never heard another guest in 6 nights); and 3) the rooms are really very nicely appointed and clean.

The not so good: When my wife booked the stay with the hotel, she was told: 1) we would have a king bed with a sleeper sofa (our 18 year old daughter was with us) and a private balcony. Minor point: there are apparently no such rooms in this hotel--you can have a private balcony OR a sleeper sofa, but not both. Since one of the main reasons the location was acceptable to us was the balcony, they offered to put a rollaway bed in the balcony room, which required that we move a table and two chairs into various corners, cramming the room pretty tightly. Not ideal, but ok.
2) That there would be a deluxe continental breakfast with pastries delivered by local bakeries. Unless the local bakeries specialize in generic whitebread bagels in plastic wrap, this was not true either--the only other "pastries" were english muffins, and they only appeared for one day.
3) Beach accessories were readily available. There were none in the room, so we called down to the desk and were told that beach chairs (which was all they had--no umbrellas) would be sent up. Didn't happen; had to go get two (all that were available) rusty chairs that looked like the bottoms were ready to give way at any moment. Otherwise, we were surprised upon returning to the room at 3:45 (after being out since 10) that it hadn't been cleaned yet, and after we pointed this out, the next day the beds were sloppily made, the throw pillows left on the floor, the mirrors not cleaned, only half the towels replaced, and the plastic in the waste cans hadn't been replaced. I guess they showed us.

We weren't looking to spend Montage prices, but really did kind of expect more than we got for the price we did pay, and a lot of that expectation was created by the front desk itself. I don't quite get the point of making statements that the guest will find out are untrue pretty quickly unless you really don't care about repeat business. All that said, this is a pretty nice little property--just don't expect too much, and you won't be disappointed.

  • Liked — Location, nicely appointed rooms
  • Disliked — breakfast pretty lame, promised room did not exist
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2008

We were duped by the beautiful web site and surprisingly wonderful reviews from Trip Advisor.com. The keys didn't work twice; the breakfast buffet was in a shoe box; the pool and lobby look much more spacious on the web site. Great view of the Pacific.

  • Liked — view
  • Disliked — room
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
eagle rock, ca
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2008

This was quite a disaster...after booking two weeks in advance and confirm two rooms (1 deluxe king w/ ocean view & 1 traditional king w/ ocean view) we ended up with neither. We had lunch at the Beach House. Check in was at 3pm. We arrived at 3:25pm and weren't given a key to our rooms until 4:30pm. The front desk clerk was going through his computer and then running upstairs "to check on our rooms." After almost an hour delay, he presents us with our two rooms on paper. both reservations were wrong. When I confronted him with this and showed him my paperwork which had been confirmed over the telephone twice, he said "rooms must have been moved around." In the end, my mom who had just flown from Miami with her fiance, was stuck in a tiny 2 queen room with no ocean view for two nights. These room weren't cheap. They were going for $224/night. The clerk said there was nothing more he can do but just leave a note for the asst. mgr who would be in Sunday morning. In the end, they got the room they wanted on the second night. Nothing else was done to make up for the inconvenience.

The location itself is good. The rooms are fairly nice. Within walking distance to the main beach and Las brisas. There's a lot of construction on Cliff Dr. so I recommend staying on south pch if possible. It's hard to enjoy the stroll along the sea with a 3/4 mile long fence running the length of the road up to las brisas restaurant. I am somewhat reluctant of ever booking with this place again. It's not like a booked through a 3rd party and some details fell between the cracks.

Stayed June 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arizona
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2008

Small hotel, clean. We reserved a deluxe ocean view, 2 queen-bed room but did not get it. We arrived at 12:30pm and they said they had given away our room, but were upgrading us to the king room. We would have preferred the 2 beds as the sofa bed was not very comfortable. Room was a little narrow, not alot of room to place luggage, and ocean view consisted of looking out the bathroom window. We did have plenty of closet and drawer space and a flat screen tv. Continental breakfast was a muffin or bagel, cream cheese, milk, cereal, orange juice, coffee (strong).
Maid service was lacking. We left for the beach at 10am. Our room had not been cleaned when we returned at 2pm. We asked for them to please clean it but they only made up the king bed and left the sofa bed unmade.
Great location to access beach. Some construction going on so we walked 2 blks further to access the stairs down to a smaller beach. State beach is about 3 blks away. Shops were too far to walk to so we drove. Pool and spa were small but clean, and pool towels were available. Quiet place. Front desk clerks very nice and accomodating when we asked for water and extra towels. Free parking underneath the hotel and easy access for check in. They have a cart that you can borrow to take your luggage up yourself.

  • Liked — proximety to beaches
  • Disliked — size of room
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Niagara
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2008

My husband and I, plus another couple stayed here for 2 nights in May. What a great find! We really enjoyed our stay here. The staff was very friendly and the rooms are great! We got a deluxe room I think, and it was huge and beautifully decorated!

We loved the area and wished we had more time to spend there. Hope to go back soon and will definitely stay here again!

  • Liked — The rooms were great, spacious and nicely decorated
  • Disliked — Can't think of a thing.
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, MD
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2008

We stayed at this property shortly after renovation a little over a year ago. Unlike some properties, this one has improved with age and rooms still seem brand new. The decor is equivalent to a Fairmont hotel, but in a renovated motel style building surrounding a clean pool and hot-tub patio. There is plenty of parking below the building and the staff could not have been more helpful. I would HIGHLY recommend this property and hope to stay here again and again.

  • Liked — Beautiful rooms, great staff
  • Disliked — I had to leave
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Laguna Cliffs Inn

Address: 475 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (Formerly By the Sea Inn)
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Laguna Beach
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Laguna Beach
#4 Family Hotel in Laguna Beach
#6 Business Hotel in Laguna Beach
#7 Romantic Hotel in Laguna Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Laguna Cliffs Inn 2.5*
Number of rooms: 36
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

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