Last month my wife and I stayed five nights at the Huntley in a king room on the 10th floor. We had never stayed in Santa Monica before and decided to stay there after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor.
It is one street back from the sea front (Ocean Avenue) and, as a consequence, is more moderately priced than those hotels which look directly onto the sea. Our room had a good view of the sea and was well appointed for the price. A short walk away is the Third Street Promenade (a quite pleasant shopping mall with shops and a few restaurants). The Santa Monica Pier is about a fifteen minute walk away - although don't bother paying it a visit unless you are into tacky tourist rubbish. The hotel is situated on a quiet tree lined street and there was no traffic noise.
Having read other reviews on Trip Advisor we were ready for the darker than usual reception area and did not find that a problem. The darker than usual theme is followed through into the hallways leading to our room but we were told that the hallways are being renovated and the dark theme is being replaced.
The other major plusses of the hotel (apart from the price and its location) was the 18th floor rooftop restaurant and bar and a particularly charming and helpful guest relations lady by the name of Elizabeth. Tip, you will have to ask where the guest relations is because there is no such thing as a sign where she and her colleagues are located.
Firstly, Elizabeth was not only helpful in answering questions and fixing any minor issues but also made a sensible suggestion of hiring some bikes from the hotel and riding a few kilometres along the beach bike track to Venice Beach. (It is a hard call which is more tacky - the Santa Monica Pier or the area around the foreshore of Venice Beach - but the bike ride experience was well worth it - even if some of the beach goers almost insisted on dicing with getting injured by walking along the bike path even though their walk path was clearly signed.)
Secondly, the 18th floor roof top restaurant and bar is a real bonus. The area has great views, north and south, towards the ocean and back towards the downtown area of Los Angeles. It is well worth paying a visit. The service is excellent.
I only have one negative to report about The Huntley and that is that they wanted to charge for Wi-Fi. In this day and age and given that it probably likes to regard itself as a four star hotel giving guests a high standard of accommodation and services - such a policy is almost insulting. We did not end up having to pay this charge (long story) but in our 5 weeks in the USA from staying at Washington DC, Boston, New York and Las Vegas - this was the only hotel which wanted to charge us.
Would we say here again ? - definitely and hopefully they would have changed their policy about charging for Wi-Fi.
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