This summer, my wife and I holidayed in California and Hawaii. My wife’s birthday fell during the Californian leg of our holiday, and I wanted to surprise her with a “trip within a trip” as part of her present. She’s always liked Venice Beach, just outside Los Angeles, so it was a natural place for us to stay.
I found Hotel Erwin on the internet. I knew its great location one street back from the Boardwalk from previous visits to Venice, and upon asking a few Californian friends for their thoughts, I received positive feedback of its quality. So I made a reservation, and kept it a secret from my wife until her birthday eve.
Having battled through heavy traffic on the 405 driving up from Laguna, we arrived in Venice late Saturday morning, and headed directly to the Erwin. The valet was typically American with his natural friendliness and efficiency. Check-in was seamless, although there was a little confusion about who was actually looking after us – both staff members thought the other was, when in fact neither was! That aside, everything was perfect on arrival, and we quickly felt de-stressed after our frustrating 2-hour journey.
We were shown an option of two rooms, and we chose the larger suite with the lesser view, over the smaller room with the beach view. We really appreciated being given this choice, something rarely afforded to high-season hotel guests, in my experience. The suite was beautifully decorated in ironic retro style that perfectly suited our own personal taste.
After a day enjoying the sights of Venice, including lunch at the fabulous Bank of Venice Public House (beneath the light bulbs of the famous VENICE sign), an obligatory visit to the famous basketball courts, skate bowl and “Muscle Beach” gym, a meander along the canals and back along the beautiful behemoth of a beach, stopping off for some fine local beer at the recommended On The Waterfront Cafe beside the Boardwalk, we returned to the Erwin to find a complementary “birthday platter” in our room. This included two pairs of quirky, wayfarer-style sunglasses, a bottle of sparkling wine, and some chocolate-covered strawberries. My wife was thrilled at this gesture – and I was equally pleased that the staff had spotted the discreet birthday reference I’d buried deep inside an earlier email. Husband points and hotel points in the bag!
Before arriving, a friend had suggested I reserve a table at the Erwin’s famous rooftop bar for sunset cocktails, and I’m so glad we did. We were given the best view in (or rather “on”) the house, with front row seats overlooking the Pacific, towards the brunt orange setting sun. The cocktails were lovely, the fleece blankets were a necessary luxury, and the service couldn’t have been any better. The staff also knew we were celebrating my wife’s birthday, and on arrival we were greeted with complementary glasses of bubbly. More hotel points.
The evening continued in this rich pattern of quality. We dined at the fantastic American tapas restaurant Superba on Rose Street. Lots of small dishes, all unique, diverse and gorgeous. Unfortunately, the open kitchen and bar-style dining brought to our attention a few of the owner-chef’s questionable habits – like his fondness for picking his teeth before sprinkling salt over a dish of food, and repeatedly rubbing his face before massaging ingredients between his fingers. That aside, it was a great meal.
On Sunday morning we breakfasted at the Erwin’s own diner, Barlo. I arrived ahead of my wife and mentioned to the server that it was her birthday. She offered to present my wife with a surprise cakey treat, which I thought was a lovely idea. When my wife joined me she told our server that she wanted a gluten and wheat free breakfast, so the quick thinking server – having not yet surprised my wife with her cakey treat – spontaneously changed it for a beautiful fruit platter. More hotel points.
After breakfast we checked-out with heavy hearts. My wife loved her birthday surprise, and our stay at Hotel Erwin played a huge part in the whole experience. Both husband and hotel earned a significant number of points for their combined efforts.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- If you are looking for an energized, personable, legendary guest experience and luxurious escape in an unbeatable location Hotel Erwin is your home away from home. Located in Venice Beach, California, Hotel Erwin overlooks the Pacific Ocean and endless expanses of sand and entertainment. While relaxing with us be sure to check out our breathtaking rooftop bar High and to take in a sunset that will last a lifetime. Our restaurant, Barlo, serves up breakfast and dinner and provides a stimulating alternative to the normal bland hotel dining experience. Close to Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Culver City, Beverly Hills and Marina del Rey, this Venice Beach luxurious hotel is your doorway to explore the beauty of Southern California. Nearby freeways and Los Angeles International airport give you easy access to come and go. A mere 200 feet from the sand and overlooking the famous boardwalk, Hotel Erwin is a pure Venice Beach experience with a level of customer service excellence that simply can't be beat! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Erwin Hotel Los Angeles
- Best Western Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Best Western