Stayed at the Erwin over Christmas 2012 recommended by our agent. After a long flight from London, all we wanted was dinner and a comfy bed. First impressions weren't good. The hotel matches its Venice location by being a little "edgy" (manga style murals not our thing). Unfortunately, we were given a very poor room on the third floor (small, grotty and next to the lift shaft), looking into an alley with a live band playing in the shop opposite. If we'd been stuck wi the original room, we'd not have stayed for more than one night. The restaurant was closed too (it was the Cougar Town wrap/Christmas party) and bumping into Courtney Cox in the lift was little consolation (though has been great story of our trip)! We considered moving hotels, but Ryan on the front desk sorted things.
We were moved to a room on the fifth floor which was much better for the night, then moved again the following morning to a partial ocean view suite (again on the 5th floor no full ocean views available), which was a great improvement for a discounted upgrade fee and given complimentary valet parking. Ryan - you turned our trip around!
Location was good for the sounds and sights of Venice, though if this is not your thing, then try hotels in Santa Monica.
Barlo was great for breakfast - try the breakfast tacos, the eggs benedict or the lox.
Roof terrace great to catch views of the ocean.
Overall, choose the right room (the higher and further away from the main street and closer the the ocean the better) and you'll enjoy your stay and the staff are friendly and accommodating.