I very recently returned from a week's stay at Hotel Erwin on Venice Beach. I'm so mixed about my stay there, as they had some great advantages, but too many annoyances to go along with it. I'll try listing the good stuff, then go into the bad.
For the entire week, the staff was fantastic. Front desk clerks were always super nice and helpful, maids in the hallways would always give a friendly "good morning" as you headed out for the day, and the front door was almost always opened for you if an attendant was standing there. I have absolutely no complaints about the staff as a whole.
The hotel was very clean as well. The carpet in the hallway on the 6th floor was a bit spotty, but nothing major in my eyes. The room was very clean when we first arrived, and it was touched up every couple days by the staff, which we were pleased with. Linens were spotless, sheets/blanket was spotless, everything was great.
The location of the hotel was nice, but ONLY if you want direct access to the beach and the Venice Boardwalk, otherwise, there is nothing else around that you can easily walk to (Santa Monica Pier is a 45 minute walk from the hotel). Directly behind the hotel are basketball courts, the bike path, the boardwalk, and the beach.
Here's where some of the annoyances come into play. We reserved a 6th floor "Ocean View King Bed", or as it states on the website, the "Premier Ocean View King". We got a room on the south-facing side of the building. The ocean view was fantastic from the 6th floor, as there were no other buildings as tall as Hotel Erwin (on that side of the building, anyway). You could see a decent stretch of ocean down the coast towards Marina Del Ray. We were happy with the view.
However, the bed we had in our room was NOT a king size bed, but queen size. I have a queen size bed at home, and have slept on king size beds in other hotels, and I'm confident that what we had was not king size. The bed itself was very comfortable though, I never had any trouble sleeping. Also, it was of my opinion that the room was rather small overall for what we paid. However, that is said by someone who stayed a week. If I were to only stay a couple of days, it would've been fine.
Also, on their website, our room was described as having a "private balcony", which is an absolute lie. Putting up 3 foot high glass panes to section off a building-long balcony does not make it private. If I wanted, I could've easily climbed over these short walls and entered someone's room if they didn't have their balcony door locked. If one were so inclined, they could make their way all the way down the building and back just on the balconies. We were saddened that we couldn't leave the door open at night for fear of someone coming into our room. A nice touch, however, were the lockable screen doors, but those wouldn't have held anyone back who wanted in. This was only on the sixth floor, however, I cannot speak for other floors.
Next, the "complimentary high-speed wireless internet" was basically non-existant. On my laptop, I could see the network, but the signal was so weak that it wouldn't connect (< 20% signal). If I stood in the door to the room, it would get a little better (< 40% signal) and let me connect (although still excruciatingly slow), but the fact that I was standing in the doorway (and for such a meager signal) made it pointless. Keep in mind that I stayed in the very middle of the sixth floor, next to the ice/soda machine, so it's not like I was staying on one extremity or the other. As soon as you walk into the room, the signal drops and your connection goes bye-bye. I contacted the front desk about it, and from what I gathered (without him saying it directly), the person I talked to knew this was already an issue, and handed me an ethernet cable and a phone number to call tech support so they could help me while I was in my room.
I initially tried the ethernet cable and plugged it into the jack next to the bed, and the ethernet port was dead. I called the number, a gentleman came about 5 minutes later, had a conversation with me in very broken english that I did not understand (he never came into the room, just stood in the door), and left (never saw or heard from him from again, but then again, I couldn't understand what he was saying to me, so I just nodded to everything until he left). The wireless was still non-usable later that night, and I stumbled upon another ethernet port behind the coffee-maker on the other side of the room, plugged in the cable, and I finally was able to get internet. Unfortunately, I then had an ethernet cable strung across the room for the entire rest of my stay there, but at least the internet was fast. My suggestion is to bring a cable with you if you stay at this hotel and want internet.
On to other things, we were pleased with the large 42" TV in the room. It was a plasma, if that matters to anyone. There were composite, s-video, and component hookups on the wall, but we didn't use them. It appears that certain channels were for those hookups. The selection of channels available was fine, around 30-35 in all, everything you'd want/need for a business/vacation trip.
Another annoyance was the overpriced parking (valet only, no self-parking). $25/night is a bit steep in my opinion. Also, the long waits for valet service were bad. One night was a particular mess, as I waited for 25 minutes in my car so I could even get into the very small driveway to the hotel. I literally was halfway into the street and barely giving enough room for people to walk on the sidewalk. Luckily there was enough room on the street for cars to easily get by, but waiting a full 25 minutes is insane (it was right at 25 minutes, I kept watching the clock as I was pulling my hair out). When I finally got my car in far enough to where I could leave it, there were a couple of people that were still waiting to get their cars, that had been standing there before I even arrived.
The in-house restaurant, "hash", was way too expensive in my opinion, so we never ate there nor did we order room service. It's almost like they know they are the only nice restaurant in that area, so they be sure to charge as such. We also didn't go to "high", the rooftop lounge, because beer was $7 and mixed drinks were $13+. Way too expensive for my tastes, especially when I think about how I can get a 12-pack of the same beer back home for $9. Prices are highly subjective, though, so maybe others won't find them as absurd as I did ($13 for a biscuit with jelly and some eggs or whatever it was is expensive to me).
Probably the most frustrating thing overall is the single elevator. It has a mind of its own, and during the evening when the rooftop lounge is open, you'll easily wait over 3 minutes for the elevator to finally make its way to your floor (3+ minutes is a LONG time when you're standing and staring at the floor indicator). And when you finally get on the elevator, it will most likely stop at every other floor where people simply got tired of waiting and took the stairs (something which we did often, even though we were on the top floor). During my stay, in the middle of the week, we noticed they taped a printed paper that strongly recommended people pay attention to the passenger/weight limits, probably due to the fact that the small lobby becomes crammed with people in the evenings during the multi-minute wait for the elevator.
I'll close my book now by listing the pros and cons:
- Great location for beach goers if that's all you want to do.
- Very friendly staff.
- Very clean hotel throughout.
- Comfortable bed.
- Great ocean view on the south side with the premium package.
- Great entertainment options with video connections and the iPod dock/alarm clock.
- Bad location if you want to do anything other than the beach (Santa Monica looked to be a MUCH better option for vacationers like myself).
- Wireless internet did not work, and they will do nothing to fix it.
- Bed didn't appear to be king size.
- Valet parking was expensive.
- Valet parking waits were often long.
- Single elevator will make you curse during the evenings.
- Expensive in-house eating options.
- Small room.
- No private balcony after being advertised as such.
I'm sure I missed out on other stuff, but I wanted to be as thorough as possible with my biggest gripes.
- 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