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Hotel and tour?

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East Grinstead
Level Contributor
23 posts
Hotel and tour?

I land at LAX (from Heathrow) at about 19:00 on Thursday 12th December and so hope to be out of the airport at say 20:00. (Reasonable?)

I've rented a car from Avis at LAX, starting on the morning of Saturday 14th December and finishing in Carlsbad airport on the afternoon of Sat 21st December.

Apart from the flight and the car hire I've so far made no other firm plans. For LA, my initial idea was to book into a hotel for those two nights, 12th & 13th and return to LAX using its shuttle service to collect my car on the 14th. My current preference is some sort of guided tour on the 13th. Either starting from my hotel or from some easily accessible location nearby (and returning me).

I'd greatly appreciate recommendations for hotels and tours please. The mid-range hotel should have a regular shuttle service and free room wifi (I'll pay extra if I have to) and either a decent restaurant for my first night's dinner or others nearby.

By way of background, I plan to spend the 8 days 14-21st December touring (solo) in a broadly N and NE direction, perhaps Yosemite and/or Grand Canyon South Ridge and/or a few scenic/attractive locations (excluding Las Vegas), before getting way back south again for Christmas with grandsons etc in Carlsbad.

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
40,787 posts
150 reviews
1. Re: Hotel and tour?

So the only reason you have to stay at a boring LAX hotel is because of the car ? Why not look at the top questions on the right side of this forum page which has one on where to stay in La ? And find something close to what you want to see instead of boring Lax Staying near Heathrow is as much fun as it would be if you stayed near Lax. Avis has other rental spots around LA as well

Let the folks here know your nightly budget and they can help. I

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
46,559 posts
415 reviews
2. Re: Hotel and tour?

Most Americans think on a 12 hour clock, so if you land at 7PM, you will not be out of the airport until closer to 9PM would be my guess.

What hotel are you staying at near LAX? Can you pick up the car one day earlier? It seems silly to spend two nights near LAX just waiting to get the car. I get the first night, you'll be tired, but staying a second night just delays getting on the rest of your trip.

If you CAN'T pick up the car one day early I'd take the hotel shuttle back to LAX so you can catch the Flyaway Bus into Downtown LA you can stay in Downtown or catch a subway to Pasadena, Long Beach, Hollywood or a train to Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano or other areas.

In Winter I think I'd to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, not both. If you want to see Yosemite, you can do a drive up the coast on Highway 1 cutting over to Yosemite from Monterey.

http://goo.gl/maps/H1eNe

Driving to the Grand Canyon is a very long drive. You can drive there through Needles, Bullhead City or Kingman AZ to spend the night to break up the drive. Then you could get back to Carlsbad through Scottsdale and maybe stop at Joshua Tree National Park.

http://goo.gl/maps/2fr6f

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
15,164 posts
58 reviews
3. Re: Hotel and tour?

You can get tours from the airport hotels (all the tour companies will pick you up from there) but the airport hotels are in a dull, boring area and not a good place to get stuck without a car - for instance there are almost no restaurants in walking distance of these hotels - what there is are the mediocre, overpriced restaurants in the hotels themselves, and a few fast food places.

I would echo the advice above and stay elsewhere, and if possible get the car straight away instead of waiting a couple of days for it. LA is much easier with a car. In any case if you don't get the car right away, you can easily get to the Hollywood area from the airport terminals for about $8.50 (FlyAway bus plus subway ride, or taxi for $55'ish) and its a much better area to stay without a car - great public transit, plenty within walking distance and the largest tour company (www.starlinetours.com) has its main depot there in front of the famous Chinese Theater.

In terms of what time you'll be out of the airport, its difficult to say. Assuming that your flight is on time, customs and immigration will generally take 30 minutes or so, but could easily take a lot longer. It depends on what terminal you arrive at, how many flights from overseas arrive around the same time as yours, and so forth. My guess is you'd probably be out of the airport by 20:30, it shouldn't probably be longer than 21:00, but 20:00 is possible but not necessarily likely.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
15,164 posts
58 reviews
4. Re: Hotel and tour?

Actually, I mis-spoke, I meant to say that customs and immigration will generally take *at least* 30 minutes or so.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
28,705 posts
65 reviews
5. Re: Hotel and tour?

And remember, when you head to you hotel at around 10 or 11 pm, it will be 6 or 7 am GMT. If you haven't slept on the plane, you'll be tired! From your itinerary, it seems apparent that you don't intend to hire a car whilst in L.A. I'd recommend that you do (even if you don't use it very much). The cost of an additional day or so of car hire isn't going to be very much and when you consider the cost of returning to LAX to retrieve the car, it's really no more expensive to keep the car the whole time except for the cost of overnight parking at your hotel (if any).

For your first night, I'd take a taxi to a hotel somewhere 'in the city' (not near the airport). The ride, at that late hour will take about 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you stay near the airport, you'll have to wait for your hotel's shuttle which is likely to take 10 minutes to arrive at your terminal (at minimum). Then, you'll ride around the airport, stopping at other terminals picking up more guests, then you'll queue up at reception to check in. By the time you check in, 30 minutes will have past (and you could be arriving at a hotel in the city by taxi).

You can pick up the hire car from a location near your hotel when you're ready.

There are a number of popular tour companies, e.g. starline, grayline, LA City Tours, etc

As far as a hotel is concerned, first pick the neighborhood, then the hotel. Our TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right has tips for finding the perfect hotel.

East Grinstead
Level Contributor
23 posts
6. Re: Hotel and tour?

Thanks all appreciate those helpful replies and suggestions.

@Scott: Re your Q about hotel. Still undecided.

"I'd greatly appreciate recommendations for hotels and tours please."

Based on your replies I'm now considering collecting the car a day earlier and heading out of LA. Alternatively, if I stick to the current pickup on 14th, it seems like I can get a tour from my hotel, whichever I choose.

There appear to be 3 or 4 hotels near the beach. I've visited Santa Monica before, but not Venice etc. Could I happily spend a day (without a car) at one of these, using public transport? (Or walking. I'd be happy with 4-5 miles.) I'll need a couple of hours with my iPad and maps in a wifi zone to plan the next couple of days (which will be be weather and mood dependent), so it would be nice to do that sitting on a beach with a beer.

@HopSkipJump:

"... when you consider the cost of returning to LAX to retrieve the car..."

Aren't hotel shuttles free?

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Edited: 3:10 am, November 26, 2013
West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
28,705 posts
65 reviews
7. Re: Hotel and tour?

Sorry, I overlooked that you planned to stay at a hotel near the airport. That's not a great idea. Would you want to stay near Heathrow (if there were no trains and no tube into London -- just buses?). That's what staying near LAX is like.

East Grinstead
Level Contributor
23 posts
8. Re: Hotel and tour?

"And remember, when you head to you hotel at around 10 or 11 pm, it will be 6 or 7 am GMT. If you haven't slept on the plane, you'll be tired!"

You're right that I'll probably be tired, but your time calculation is way out! LA is 8 hours behind London, so at 10pm in LA it will be 2pm in London.

"Would you want to stay near Heathrow? That's what staying near LAX is like."

Unfair comparison, Heathrow has no beaches within 15-30 minutes!

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
Level Contributor
25,271 posts
28 reviews
9. Re: Hotel and tour?

Do not stay near LAX. There's nothing nearby, it's ugly, and extremely inconvenient. Beaches are 20 minutes away by car.

No hotels in LA have shuttles to the airport, except for the airport hotels, sorry. Also, very few hotels include free wifi, sorry again.

If you must stay near LAX, then I recommend The Custom Hotel. It is both close to LAX, has a shuttle, and is fairly close to Venice Beach, and there are some restaurants nearby in walking distance. Otherwise, you're looking at a $20 taxi to hotels in Venice, although there are only a handful of them, with the Erwin being the best of them. Nearby Manhattan Beach is another idea, look into the Sea View.

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
13,338 posts
220 reviews
10. Re: Hotel and tour?

terrypin: If you want to use your electronics, come to Santa Monica! Third St. Promenade and several other areas of Santa Monica: santamonica.com/visitors/multimedia/wi-fi/