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“Great Location, but thin walls” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cal Mar Hotel Suites

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Cal Mar Hotel Suites
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   220 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403 (Santa Monica)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #23 of 34 Hotels in Santa Monica
Austin, Texas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great Location, but thin walls”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2012

The Cal Mar is motel-esque with some unique characteristics that make it more enjoyable than a typical motel. The location is perfect for seeing Santa Monica, Venice Beach, etc. You can walk from Cal Mar to the Promenade, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping; we loved the convenience. The courtyard area with heated pool is really enchanting, and beautiful at night. However, I gave it only three stars for the noise and the interiors. The walls are really thin, and all the rooms face the courtyard, which means if anyone is in the pool area you can hear them. Also, we managed to find ourselves directly above the garbage pick up EVERY morning. Thin walls are inevitable with an older place, but I would recommend earplugs or a white noise machine if you plan on sleeping in at all, or in case of noisy neighbors. The furnishings and interiors were clean, but decidedly aged/dated.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay, and would go back, but only with our white noise machine!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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318 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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North Vancouver
Top Contributor
109 reviews 109 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
132 helpful votes 132 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2012

We rented a suite with two beds in the bedroom for our kids and a fold out sofabed in the living room for my wife and I. The suite was large (approx 600 square feet) with lots of storage space in the hall and bedroom. As others have noted, the suite was retro: with a cute country kitchen (window overlooking courtyard); pink tile with grey fixtures in the bathroom; and older furniture throughout (including tube tv). Unfortunately, we could not sleep on the ancient sofa bed that offered no support. We ultimately pulled the mattress off the springs, closed up the sofa and put the mattress on the floor. While the hotel may have offered to let us drag our stuff to a new room if we complained, that is not easy to do with a family of four and lots of luggage. There are other sleep issues: the blinds in the living room do not block out the lights from the courtyard (pretty, but why are they on all night) and the walls are thin - the tv in the next room must have been directly next to the head of our sofabed. This is an urban residential neighbourhood so there is some traffic noise from loud car stereos, etc (the windows do not help: the kids thought their bedroom window was open).
I would describe the service here as "hands off." We arrived directly from the airport at approximately 9pm. It was a considerable job to drag our luggage up various stairways to our room on the 2nd floor (no elevator or trolleys). The desk clerk did not offer any assistance or sympathy. Similarly, on a rainy day, I asked the clerk if they had an umbrella that we could borrow for an hour to walk over to the promenade. He replied that he had one - for himself. This is a hotel where you are basically on your own. If you have mobility issues or need a bit more service, you will not be happy here. On the other hand, there were some nice touches: on the day of the farmer's market, we came back to find a flower arrangement in a vase by our door. Our room was clean and the staff did a great job of freshening it up over our stay.
We loved the location - it was great to feel part of a Santa Monica neighbourhood and close to everything. However, we would not go back to this hotel. It is quite expensive for what you get. Including $15.20 per night for parking (and a room that was priced higher on Thursday and Friday nights) we paid almost $1000 for a 4 night stay in March (wifi not included). We paid the same for 7 nights in a condo in Palm Springs. I appreciate that Santa Monica is an expensive area but I do not think that this hotel is a good value.

Room Tip: If you have mobility problems think twice about this property or ask for a lower floor room. You wil...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2012

The Cal Mar is a great find. The location is perfect as it's a short walk to the beach, the Promenade, Whole Foods and only one block from a Starline Tours 'hop on hop off' bus stop at Wilshire and 3rd. The area is residential so it's quiet even so close to the action. We could see the ocean from our outside balcony on California Ave.

The size of the unit allowed us (my teenage daughter and I) to spread out. The fully functioning kitchen (and closeness of Whole Foods) allowed us to eat breakfast in and even one night have a friend over for dinner. We loved the pool and swam one afternoon. Yes, the walls are a little thin but not so much as to disturb our visit. The bathroom was very cute with its bright blue fixtures and pink tiles (it could have used a shelf for toiletries) but I can see how that wouldn't appeal to everyone. Housekeeping was great and the unit was always clean.

We love the Santa Monica area and Cal Mar will definitely be our place to stay. We've already recommended it to friends.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this review, March 21, 2012
klashToronto Toronto, Canada - super comments regarding your recent visit to our property. We are delighted that we exceeded your expectations and that you enjoyed your stay at the Cal Mar. We appreciate your highlighting all of the wonderful amenities that that our property has to offer. Thank you, too, for recommending the Cal Mar to your friends. We look forward to seeing you in the future and making us your home away from home. Have an amazing day!
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Boston
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

My husband and I returned to the Calmar for our third visit -- approximately 20 years after our first -- and enjoyed it just as much as our first stay. (It has been upgraded since then!) The suites are very comfortable and clean. It's very nice to be able to spread out. The staff is extremely helpful, and the location, walking distance to everything, is great. In the past, we've stayed on the second floor. This time we were on the first and could hear people above us (walking around, not voices). In the future, we'd request the second floor to avoid that. However, this is a wonderful place to stay in Santa Monica.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this review, March 20, 2012
Hello Sivia2Boston, thank you for relating your experience on your most recent stay. We are delighted that you continue to return to the Cal Mar and appreciate so very much your great comments. As you mentioned; we have an awesome staff, great location and our rooms are very large and comfortable for the traveler. Thank you again and we hope you will continue to return to our property when you are in Santa Monica. Have an amazing day!
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New York, NY
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

I am so of two minds about the Cal Mar. I really like properties like this one; it is a converted 60s-era apartment building with older but clean furniture. Plenty of space to spread out, a full kitchen, separate bedroom, small but clean bathroom with no shampoo but good water pressure, and great location. And unlike so many pools that are advertised as heated, this one really is and is very pretty, obviously recently renovated, making for a delightful swim even during a chilly night. The only thing I feel I must mention is that in the previous reviews, the owners have written reassuring responses about their ongoing soundproofing, but our room had none. The street noise was not a problem at all; the Cal Mar is on a quiet street and we live in an urban apartment so we are quite accustomed to the occasional partygoer and traffic sounds. The problem was the paper-thin walls! We were on the second floor and could hear every word the people on either side of us said. A disconcerting intimacy not conducive to relaxation! We had to choose our bedtime according to that of our neighbors—no use trying to sleep when a discussion was happening seemingly inches from our heads. The people were not loud by any means, it was just that sound carried so effectively. The fourth night, two well behaved small children occupied one room. Very good parents; I know because I could hear their parenting happening all evening. It could be that some of the rooms have been sound insulated and some have not, so it is worth asking about that if you like a tranquil stay.

Room Tip: When you book, ask about a quieter room?
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this review, March 14, 2012
Greetings fMarisol12 from the Cal Mar Hotel, we appreciate so very much your awesome comments relative to our property, the spaciousness of our suites and are wonderful garden area situated around our lovely pool which was just upgraded a few years ago. We apologize about the problems you encountered with our “thin walls”. We are still renovating many of our suites and adding insulation in each room to cut down on the “noise factor” in some of our rooms. We are always straightforward in acknowledging the issues you mentioned and whenever possible, we move our guests to another quieter room. Again, we apologize for any inconsistencies that you dealt with and hope you will return so you are able to view the progress we have made in our renovation process. Have an great day!
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Rochdale, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2012

We stayed three weekends, in a different suite each stay. The location is great - close to the ocean and to the heat of Santa Monica, yet reasonably quiet, with car-parking and a great pool - surrounded by lovely trees and shrubs, and with a pair of hummingbirds flitting back and forwards. The facilities in the suites are good, the beds are very comfortable and the whole place is clean. Reception is very helpful and the Cal Mar staff really friendly. And compared with the other accommodation in Santa Monica Cal Mar is pretty good value.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this review, March 14, 2012
Hello Robinhenshaw, we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your taking the time to post your review on Trip Advisor. We appreciate you acknowledging our awesome staff, the cleanliness and comfort of our rooms and acknowledging your great experience in revisiting our property. Thank you for denoting the Calmar as a delightful place with real character. We hope to see you the next time you visit Santa Monica. Have an amazing day!
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2012

nice place to stay suite was huge location great walk to every where a little older style but for the money it's well worth it

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
susansomers, General Manager at Cal Mar Hotel Suites, responded to this review, March 8, 2012
Hello Bretkero Sydney Australia, Thank you so much for posting your comments regarding your recent stay. We are happy that you enjoyed your visit and that you mentioned the value of our property. We are located in a wonderful pristine residential area and are a short walk away from all of the wonderful “happenings” in Santa Monica. Again, thanks so much!!! We hope to see you again soon! Enjoy an awesome day!
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Additional Information about Cal Mar Hotel Suites

Address: 220 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403
Location: United States > California > Santa Monica > Santa Monica
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 34 Hotels in Santa Monica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Cal Mar Hotel Suites 3*
Number of rooms: 36
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Also Known As:
Cal Mar Hotel Santa Monica
Cal Mar Santa Monica

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