There aren't a lot of great hotels in Manhattan Beach, and this may be the best. That doesn't make it a good hotel. We checked into a deluxe room around 2:45 PMon a Wednesday afternoon to this small, boutique hotel. My husband was on business and I was tagging along on vacation.
To start off the desk person did not warmly welcome us. She was brusque, had to check to see if our room was ready, and shoved a piece of paper at my husband to sign. The valets were lovely though.
We were given room 205 facing the MB police Station. The first thing you see in the room, and from what I saw in all the rooms, is the tub. The tub/sink area has moveable sliders that mimic the look of shoji screens but weigh a lot more. They are clever and stylish and can be moved around in to have the room completely closed off or completely open. They are left open after housekeeping.
The bathroom has something called color therapy, which means there is a string of lights around the tub that change color to energize you, cheer you up, calm you down or get you in the mood for romance. The toilet and unusual walk in shower are in a closed room with a sliding pocket door. I liked the design of the shower but thought the curtains a little hokey and hard to keep sanitary. The floor of the shower had two mats in it to prevent slipping, which definitely made me think about how clean the floor would be.
The shower head water pressure was very weak. In this room it took quite a while for the water to warm up. The bathroom vanity is well designed. But more light would still be helpful. The tub fixtures were peeling and a turn off.
The room was well sized with dark wood modular furniture: lighted closet, a bar (minibar with no price list, and when I called the desk I was told it wasn't missing there just wasn't a price list for the mini bar - it was on their computer) and a dresser/TV cabinet. There was good space for clothing. In the corner was a cyclone gas fireplace. There was a window with a balcony overlooking the street and police station. It was pretty quiet. The window was covered by sheers and almost impossible to open and close large-grommet curtains. They were so hard to use they were frayed by other people pulling on them.
On the end of the be there is a long console table I thought was the foot board. It was heavy and somewhat difficult to move. I realized this was meant to be the desk and it had a bench under it. There is an electrical outlet in the foot of the bed.
I found the room quite dark. I also thought the room smelled off, bathroomy with a cleaning solution coverup. The bathroom fan was loud. A gentleman came up and said he did not notice a smell but that the room fan was a legitimate complaint and someone came to fix the fan.
The complimentary breakfast is nice: great coffee, juices, breads, cereals and deviled eggs, lox, tomatoes and fruit. They provided Gluten Free bread on request. The bar serves nice cocktails and wine. I didn't have a chance to enjoy the menu.
The location is great and very central to anything interesting in Manhattan beach. The restaurant and bar are always packed and busy with stylish people. If there is a party in the central courtyard onto which all the room doors open the noise easily permeates the rooms.
I found the room - other than the bed and bathroom dark. The light switches were almost impossible to see: a panel on each side of the bed and by the door (see picture), the size of a light switch with 10 buttons on it. The type size was maybe 10 points. I could not read the labels unless I either leaned off the bed level with the labels or crouched down to light switch level at the door. There was, on the right side of the bed a large knob that controlled the color of the mood lighting in the bathroom.
There is a small pool (SMALL but lovely) and bar on the roof deck. You can call down for drinks but there is no menu.
This is a small property with a garage under it and an assortment of fun stores and popular restaurants on the same plaza. However, I was told storage problems are the reason there are always large racks of banquet tables and chairs in both directions of the hall from our room (see picture). I asked why and was told this was because there was no storage. I suggested they could build cabinets or put up a door so the unsightly view was covered. There are multiple meeting rooms not always in use where these tables and chairs could be stored or a storage area could be devised in the garage. When I complained I was nicely told they "understood why I felt that way." I felt as if I had been relegated to the attic.
Housekeeping was uneven with sand from the beach not removed from the table over the bed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Shade, Manhattan Beach's premiere luxury boutique hotel, located 5.6 miles south of LAX and two blocks from the beach. Shade is a cool retreat after a long day at the office or a hot day at the beach, its exquisite environment is designed to maximize comfort and inspire relaxation while capturing the essence of coastal living. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shade Hotel Manhattan Beach
- Shade Manhattan Beach