Spent a couple of nights at Shutters for a conference. This was my first time staying there and was surprised that it wasn't included (to my knowledge) in the AAA Diamond rating system. There are some definite pluses about this place (and a few cons) and I would definite recommend staying here if you are wanting to experience a really nice taste of L.A. by the beach. Here is my detailed review of the place.
Location/Hotel: Located right on along the beach, less than half a mild from the pier. GPS lead me right to it, but I still missed the hotel entrance. I was expecting a grand entrance and was surprised to find a small (very small) circular driveway. Valet seemed to be the only option so I pulled up. Lobby was very nice and checkin was a short walk from the driveway. The hotel is situated on both sides of the street and is connected by an overpass. One of the biggest downside to this hotel is the confusing layout. I did not find out if there was a specific ways the rooms were laid out, but you may have to go up multiple elevators or stairs (up and down) to get to your room. I actually had to escort one of our elderly guests because she didn't remember which stairs to take to get to her room. Second of all, I believe that a very low percentage of the rooms had actual ocean view. Because of the way the rooms were set up, some of the rooms appeared to be hidden behind different structures. However, I love the location and took advantage of it by waking up and going for a run along the beach. Venice pier is 1 mile away and the bike and jogging paths were awesome. Lots of restaurants to eat nearby.
Service: I thought it was actually pretty good. Checkin was a breeze and the receptions offered to walk me to my room (since it was "confusing" to get to). The service we received for our event was good as well. Food service went smoothly. Valet was prompt (as long as you called in advance). I left my toothbrush at home. Within 5 mins of calling, I had one sent to my room. The hotel was also very clean throughout. At 6am, they were washing down the deck by the pool. Fitness facility was well stock and clean. I didn't utilize room service so can't comment. All in all, I was pretty satisfied. Nothing stood out to make it a 5 diamond, but definitely at least a 4.
Room: The set up reminded me of cape cod. Very nicely decorated rooms and followed the vibe of the hotel really well. First, the bathroom I was impressed with. I had a standard room (I think) and it came with both a jacuzzi tub and separate shower. Towels were plentiful (including beach/pool towel). There was also a unique cupboard that had other amenities that you could purchase (razor, sunscreen, and other lotions). The entertainment bookcase had actual books, a nice Bose System (that actually charges your phone), a DVD player, and a couple of kids things (juggling ball and yo-yo). TV was good size and easy to use. The Chair there had too many pillows and was not really appealing to sit in. The desk had a keurig, cordless phone, and lots of outlets for charging. I thought the bed was really comfy. Had a pillowtop down but then there was a firm mattress below. Great night sleep. There was also my bedroom slippers laid out. My room was on the 3rd floor but was street level. Noise level wasn't bad. A tad of a pain to get to from the lobby, but once I found the shortcut, it wasn't too bad. The room was on the smaller side, but the bathroom was decent. If I had to compare, the room setup was similar to another hotel that we visited in Del Mar (L'Auberge). However, the rooms here totally blows that resort out of the water. I would give it a 4/5
Amenities: I did not utilize the restaurants but they looked nice. The pool looked very invitiing. Lots of lounge chairs set up with amazing view of the ocean. No cabana (too small a space). They offer food service pool side. Work out room was nice. Had about 5 treadmills and 3-4 elipticals. They had some interesting weight machines. Only free weights were dumbbells (up to 50-60lbs). I did not utilize the spa.
All in all, a great hotel with a great location. It feels intimate and not large and expansive. I think it is a perfect getaway. Not really kids friendly (so think ahead). Not quite 5 diamonds (service would need to be over the top) but definitely one to check out.